Think Florida and conjure up images of fine beaches, rustling mangroves, turquoise-blue waters, and sunny skies. But there’s much more to the ‘Sunshine State’. Whether it’s partying in South Beach, visiting Mickey Mouse or spotting gators in the Everglades, there’s plenty to fill your Florida things to do list. Here are just a few highlights you’ll want to check off.

Unspoiled beaches

Head to the Tampa Bay area, where an unspoiled, palm-lined 3-mile beach awaits you at Caladesi Island State Park. Reached by 20-minute ferry or canoe from nearby Honeymoon Island, a visit to this beautiful family-friendly island ensures a lazy day spent picnicking and swimming. You’ll find quiet paths winding through the sand dunes, as shore birds, sea turtles and gopher tortoises carry on with their daily business around you.

If chilling out on a beach is top of your list of things to do in Florida, you’re really spoilt for choice. Sanibel Island is another perfect beach escape. Just a short drive from Fort Myers, is worth a trip for its sunsets, seafood restaurants and luxury accommodation alone. Kids will love searching for shells, one of the most popular activities on the island.

Theme park central

A family trip to Florida wouldn’t be complete without a checking out one (or all) of its unique theme parks, and for the kids the parks are right at the top of their list of things to do in Florida! At Walt Disney World, enjoy horse-drawn carriages down Main Street, thrill-seeking rides and fireworks bursting above Cinderella’s Castle.

If you’re more of a movie buff, wander around the popular Universal Orlando theme park destination for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and other film-inspired attractions. The interactive attractions, botanical gardens and 50-plus rides at LEGOLAND Florida mean that even kids under 12 get to enjoy a theme park experience away from the giant rollercoasters.

Party scene

With its warm weather, big beaches and great cocktails, Florida promises all-night fun. Whether you’re more into the cosy bars of the Key West or prefer to experience the party scene of Miami’s nightclubs, hitting the town is one of the best things to do in Florida. Probably the friendliest late-night town in America, the magic of Miami unfolds once the sun sets with clubs generally staying open from 9pm to 5am. Explore the rooftop bars, salsa-filled dance halls and high-energy clubs. When it comes to nightlife, the Key West is worth a visit for its paradise setting and tolerant, ‘anything goes’ attitude.

Unrivalled natural beauty

Full of diverse landscapes, miles of pristine beaches and an array of wildlife, Florida’s outdoors need to be explored. The Everglades is one of Florida’s most famous, and its wilderness won’t be found anywhere else in America. Combining wetland, grassland, swamps and rivers, its natural beauty is unrivalled. Explore by swamp buggy, airboat or even kayak to see herons, manatees and sea turtles. The whole family will enjoy keeping an eye out for the alligators that prowl the waterways. Want to see more of these scaly creatures? Florida’s Gatorland should be on the things to do in Florida list for anyone interested in these amazing creatures. Not only has a Breeding Marsh home to hundreds of alligators, but there’s a kid-friendly splash park too (that’s definitely gator-free!).

1. Daytona 500

You don’t have to be a racing fan to make the most out of your day out at the Daytona International Speedway. The whole family is guaranteed to enjoy a trip to the world’s first motorsports speedway
Find out more

3. Fun Spot America

There’s absolutely no doubt that there are some incredible theme parks located close to International Drive. But what makes Fun Spot America stand out among
Find out more

4. Orlando Eye

Standing tall in the heart of bustling International Drive is the spectacular Orlando Eye. Located at I-Drive 360, the 400 foot tall structure is dubbed as an ‘observation wheel’
Find out more

5. Disney Springs

New for 2016, and formerly known as Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is the place to go to experience food from around the world while being amazed by the jaw-dropping entertainment.
Find out more

7. I-Drive NASCAR Kart Racing

Experience the thrills of a racing circuit at International Drive’s very own NASCAR Kart Racing centre. The challenging indoor track consists of 12 turns, three hairpin corners and the famous Senna inspired snake-like pathway.
Find out more

11. Kissimee Air Museum

Away from the theme parks, take time out to visit the Museum of Military History or the Kissimmee Air Museum both will suit all lovers of history and those looking to discover more about the American heritage.
Find out more

12. Kissimmee shows and dinner

A popular evening activity, enjoy a dinner and a show at one of the entertaining themed nights. There are lots of themes to choose from and can be found at Universal Orlando® Resort, Walt Disney World Resort or Kissimmee itself.
Find out more

15. Epcot

This enormous, iconic dome houses two distinct zones: Future World with the wonders of tomorrow and today, and World Showcase, where you can visit 11 countries in one day. With over 30 attractions in one place, here are just a few not to be missed.
Find out more

17. Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park is the polar opposite of other Water Parks, quite literally! It’s based on a melted ski resort in the middle of tropical Florida, packed with downhill slides and plenty of ways to lay back and relax in the warm, Florida heat.
Find out more

19. Magic Kingdom Park

The Magic Kingdom Park is home to the iconic Cinderella Castle that sits at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. and is not to be missed. Make your way through six enchanted lands with over 40 thrilling attractions based on the timeless fairy tale classics synonymous with Disney.
Find out more

20. Gatorland

Relish in Florida’s swampy countryside and see the scaly creators that live in the notorious Gatorland. Tourists have visited the huge 110 acres since 1949 and it’s still rich in nostalgic charm.
Find out more

22. Shopping in Lake Buena Vista

Take a break from the rides and parks and indulge in some retail therapy. Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is one of Florida’s best kept secrets as it has discounted prices for quality merchandisers straight from the factory.
Find out more

23. Golfing in Lake Buena Vista

The beautiful location and warm weather means that a game of golf is high on the agenda when staying in Lake Buena Vista. There are lots of exceptional courses in the area, some of which are the popular Disney Golf Courses.
Find out more

26. Watch an exciting game of basketball

Cheer on your favourite basketball team against the celebrated Orlando Magic MBA in a thrilling home game. You don’t have to be a sports fanatic to enjoy basketball as the fast nature of the game means there’s always something new and exciting going on.
Find out more

28. Golfing in Orlando

For a golfing experience like no other, head to one of Orlando’s lavish courses worthy of any professional. The glorious weather and interesting landscapes only add to the experience of playing in this golfing paradise.
Find out more