Gliding over the Everglades on an airboat tour
Ready to play on the soft, white sands of Clearwater Beach
The Cheetah Hunt rollercoaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Floating over forests and lakes on a hot air balloon ride near Davenport
Summer fun on the Wacissa River
Making a splash at the Reunion Resort Water Park
Classic cars and art deco architecture in Miami Beach
A perfect Florida beach day, floating in the surf on a flamingo raft
Spying marine life in the coral reefs of Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park
Home to beaches, theme parks and plenty of surprises
Beach Vibes and Thrill Rides
Sandy shores and balmy breezes would draw anyone to Florida in a heartbeat, especially when you add magical sunsets and sunrises, depending on your coast of choice. Your lounging options are nearly endless – from the golden sands and vibrant blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean beaches to the soft, white powder and teal hues of the Gulf of Mexico shores. The Florida Keys beckons with its own blend of tropical scenery and laid-back locales. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that driving through the Keys – often surrounded by water views – is one of the most scenic road trips in the USA.
From the beach, many itineraries lead to the center of the state, where you can increase the thrill level at some of the world’s most famous theme parks. Explore the immersive worlds of your favorite movies and shows, fly through the air on rollercoasters, zip down waterslides and meet new friends, both favorite characters and amazing animals.
History and Innovation
Florida was once the realm of conquistadors and explorers. The humbling forts and brick-lined streets of Pensacola and St. Augustine offer rich glimpses into the state’s colonial history. Then, there’s Amelia Island, the Isle of Eight Flags, so-called for its long history of changing hands. Today, this laid-back escape has been carefully preserved to retain its historic charm. Don’t forget to grab a beer at Palace Saloon – Florida’s oldest continuously operating bar. For more modern history, spend a day at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where you can explore the history of space travel or even time your visit with a rocket launch.
More to Discover
Traveling off the beaten path comes naturally here. Take an airboat ride or kayak across the wild waters of the Everglades, and hear the stories of the Seminole Indians at Big Cypress Reservation. Ride bicycles along a wide, beachfront promenade or down a rail-trail lined by ancient oaks and Spanish moss. For epic views, there’s lighthouses to climb, but also rooftop bars to relish. Florida’s cities blend sophistication with a warm welcome. Browse world-class art museums, catch a concert or just stroll the streets posing with the murals that catch your eye. Stop for a bite at restaurants, both casual and upscale, celebrating local seafood, fresh produce and international flavors.
Early explorers of Florida claimed to have seen mermaids; what they actually saw were the docile manatees who thrive in Florida’s waters.
The Citrus State? Florida is second only to Brazil in global orange juice production and remains the world’s leading producer of grapefruit. Florida also produces more than 70 percent of the USA’s supply of citrus.
Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna is the only place in Florida where visitors can tour air-filled caves. The underground limestone formations are more than 30 million years old.
Photo: Dorothy Thames