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.
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. African-themed Busch Gardens combines twisting rollercoasters for the whole family with 12,000 different animals and live entertainment from world-class performers.
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.
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!).