Things to Do in Florida - page 2
Located off the coast of St. Petersburg, Fort De Soto Park is not your average ‘park.’ It’s actually 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands (keys) and is the largest park in the Pinellas County park system. With seven miles of waterfront, including almost three miles of beautiful, white sand beaches, Fort De Soto is a popular destination for both visitors and guests to the St. Petersburg area.
There’s plenty to do in Fort De Soto Park. History buffs can explore the historic fort while cyclists and walkers can enjoy seven miles of paved trails that run through the park. For nature lovers, it’s worth noting that the park is the start of the Great Florida Birding Trail (328 species of birds have been documented over 60 years and new species are being added every year) and offers the one of the greatest diversities of bird, sea life, plant and wild life in Florida. The beach is also a nesting ground for the loggerhead sea turtle between April and September. Add in the picnic area, kayak trail, camping areas, dog park and the ferry to Egmont Key State Park and there is plenty to see and explore during a visit to Fort De Soto.
The Key West cruise port is a gateway to America’s southernmost city, where pristine nature meets quirky culture and history. The cruise terminal is walking distance from many top attractions in the compact center of Key West and is a convenient starting point for exploring the city’s neighborhoods, beaches, and nightlife.
St. Augustine is a city rich in American history and the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse is the ideal place for travelers and families to take a step back in time. According to locals, this small structure made of wooden slats with an American flag waving high nearby is the oldest of its kind in the U.S. The building is made of aging bald cypress and red cedar and is chained to the ground to protect it from hurricanes.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of this unique attraction every day, and listen in as a robotic professor and student share historical information, stories and little known facts. In addition to the school house, travelers will see well-kept gardens, a traditional outhouse and an historic kitchen.
Miami Seaquarium® is a world-class marine-life entertainment park located on the island of Virginia Key in Biscayne Bay, Florida. The 38-acre (15.4-hectare) tropical paradise features a variety of marine life such as dolphins, killer whales, sea lions, endangered sea turtles, manatees, stingrays, and much more. With more than a dozen interactive and educational exhibits, the Seaquarium is guaranteed fun for the whole family.
It is believed that the Mission Nombre de Dios of St Augustine, Florida - the oldest city in the continental United States - may be the first mission established in America. The Franciscan mission dates back to 1587 when it served nearby villages and was a center of chiefdom in the area. Today it is a well-recognized spiritual site and a large part of the history of St. Augustine (its church is also recognized as the oldest in the United States.)
A visit to the small, ivy-covered stone church is often a peaceful, spiritual refuge. A massive steel cross stands 208 feet tall beside wide walkways and manicured gardens. The shrine dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Le Leche’ dates back to the 1600s when it was built by Spanish settlers. There’s also a historic graveyard and Mission museum containing artifacts and documents found during the original excavation of the grounds. The entire site remains a pilgrimage site for many, and an important part of early U.S. history.
The central business district of this popular Florida destination is rife with a diverse arts and culture scene, as well as lively nightlife, dozens of museums, and a handful of historic performance spaces. A stroll along the scenic riverwalk showcases striking views of the Tampa city skyline.
With expansive white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater Beach is a waterfront Florida community known for its aquatic activities and warm, turquoise waters. Clearwater Beach is an ideal launching pad for kayaking, parasailing, boating, and biking. It’s known as being more low-key than its southern neighbor, the bustling St. Pete Beach, and many consider Clearwater Beach to be among the best beaches in America.
This iconic Florida bridge is a testament to humankind’s architectural prowess and mother nature’s sheer beauty. Officially known as the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge (named after the former Florida governor), it was built in 1954 and spans Tampa Bay with a 1,500-foot cable-stayed main span. The bridge’s height, expansive views of the surrounding bay and modern design landed it the No. 3 spot on the Travel Channel’s list of top bridges in the world. Those traveling to Tampa shouldn’t miss the chance to be impressed by this architectural wonder and the amazing views of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico it provides.
More than just an aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a marine life rescue and rehabilitation center. Set on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the center gained fame when it rescued Winter, a baby dolphin that later starred in theDolphin Tale movies. You can visit Winter and other dolphins, sharks, stingrays, and such at the aquarium.
The Kennedy Space Center has been hurtling humans and shuttles into space since 1968 and is still a primary site for NASA launches. Parts of the sprawling campus are open to the public with daily tours offering opportunities to interact with real astronauts, test your skills with a simulated space flight, and see artifacts from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
More Things to Do in Florida
The Key West Lighthouse is one of the island's oldest structures. It was first built in 1825 to help ships navigate the dangerous reefs of the Lower Keys. The lighthouse that stands today dates back to 1847, and the 92-foot (28-meter) building offers some of the best views in town, as well as a maritime museum in the keeper’s house.
Experience the culture of the Polynesian islands in Daytona Beach at the Polynesian Fire show, suitable for the whole family. The Polynesia Fire cultural show includes a luau-style buffet dinner and live entertainment: music, hula dancing, and a fire knife performance.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve—commonly just called Rookery Bay Reserve—is a mangrove estuary in Naples, Florida. It is an important ecological area as it is one of the last undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. Rookery Bay Reserve covers 110,000 acres and is home to over 150 wildlife species. People are able to visit certain sections of Rookery Bay Reserve on guided tours.
During a boat tour, you’ll board a six-person boat that takes you slowly through the reserve. Your guide will point out animal species you come across, which may include birds, deer, raccoons, tortoises and even bottle-nosed dolphins. Another way to tour the reserve is on a guided kayak excursion where you’ll be taken through backwater bays within the mangrove forest. Just like with the boat tour you’ll get the chance to learn about the animals and vegetation you see from a knowledgeable guide.
Before or after your guided tour, visit Rookery Bay Reserve’s Environmental Learning Center. You’ll learn more about the reserve through hands-on exhibits, a large onsite aquarium and films in its auditorium.
Nestled among towering palm trees on Key West, the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum allows you to see where one of the United States’ most famous writers and greatest thinkers lived and worked. The Hemingway Home is a National Historic Landmark and Literary Landmark, and recorded at the Library of Congress as an Historic American Building.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park spans 54 acres (22 hectares) sits on the tip of Key West and is popular for both its military history and its current recreational opportunities. It is also the location of one of Key West’s favorite beaches, a stretch of sand with turquoise water sometimes called “rocky beach.”
The Southernmost Point of the Continental USAmonument is a quick but must-do photo op while vacationing in Key West. The iconic buoy-shaped concrete marker indicates that you’re in the southernmost point of the continental United States, just 90 miles (145 kilometers) to Cuba. Snap a pic and then get busy enjoying island life in this legendary Florida destination.
Tampa’s Busch Gardens combines the thrills of a theme park—replete with myriad roller coasters, ziplines, a white rapids ride, and other rides—with the wonder of a zoo, including more than 12,000 animals from 300 different species. Across its 335 acres (136 hectares), the Africa-themed park also hosts live performances for the whole family.
With soft, white sand and clean, calm waters ideal for families and people who like to wade and relax in the ocean, Las Olas Beach is the quintessential Fort Lauderdale beach. The beach offers great sunbathing, and you can also rent beach umbrellas and chairs.
A far cry from the busy beaches of Miami or Fort Lauderdale, this 7-mile (11-kilometer) expanse of pristine Florida coastline has managed to preserve its sleepy charm. Beachgoers can enjoy the sprawling sky and white sand dunes of the Gulf Coast, all while staying in a nearby resort town that offers a relaxed vibe and upscale amenities.
Step back into old Florida, and explore the estates of two of the United States’ most prominent men. Registered as National Historic sites, the buildings and beautifully landscaped lawns of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates tell stories of early Florida as well as the lives and times of the inventors.
The dignified Jungle Queen Riverboats have plied Fort Lauderdale’s New River for more than 80 years. Passengers aboard the historic vessels enjoy sightseeing along the city’s riverfront as well as in the waterway’s tropical environment—complete with extraordinary plants, exotic birds, and resident alligators. Whether you opt for a daytime or evening cruise, all come with the crew’s signature hospitality and entertainment along the way.
This iconic St. Augustine attraction is perfect for the whole family. With some 160 wax sculptures that run the gamut from actors and actresses to historical personalities, famous politicians and more, Potter’s is widely recognized as the first wax museum in America.
Travelers who enter this wildly entertaining museum will learn the story of the wealthy George Potter, who ventured to Europe with his family, where he paid a visit to the original Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Fast-forward to 1948, when this quirky institution was opened, and you have the short version of how Potter’s Wax Museum came to be. Visitors can wander the halls, check out top exhibits and marvel at how lifelike these figures truly are!
Filled with species from across the world—as well as those native to Florida—the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens are home to everything from leopards and alligators to butterflies and ferns. Take pictures of the majestic animals and delicate plants, or get into the action by feeding a giraffe or meeting a rhino.
When visiting the Florida Keys it is hard to miss the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as most of the water surrounding the Florida Keys is part of the sanctuary. Covering 2,900 square nautical miles, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the incredible underwater world of the Florida Keys, where reefs and animals flourish.
During a visit to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, you have a few different options for how to experience this protected area of nature. The sanctuary is home to the world’s third largest barrier reef and is an excellent spot for scuba diving or snorkeling. There are even a series of shipwrecks you can explore as a diver called Shipwreck Trail.
If you’d rather stay above water, you can rent a boat to explore the sanctuary and possibly do some fishing. When boating it is important to use mooring buoys for your anchor as they won’t damage the reef. In addition, boaters should pay attention to the commands of other buoys in the sanctuary as they are strategically placed to protect the environment.
To learn more about the history and conservation efforts of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a visit to the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is a must. Through interactive exhibits you’ll learn about the land-based and under the sea wildlife and plants of the Florida Keys. There is also a living reef tank, which has an abundance of coral and fish living in it.
- Things to do in Tampa
- Things to do in Orlando
- Things to do in Fort Myers
- Things to do in St Augustine
- Things to do in Fort Lauderdale
- Things to do in Miami
- Things to do in St Petersburg
- Things to do in Sarasota
- Things to do in Clearwater
- Things to do in Crystal River
- Things to do in Cocoa Beach
- Things to do in Cape Canaveral
- Things to do in Grand Bahama Island
- Things to do in Georgia
- Things to do in New Providence Island