When you’re craving gorgeous beaches, perennial sunshine, and picturesque nature reserves, then look no further than Florida. Visit Key West to attend the Hemingway Days Festival, which is a vibrant celebration for the renowned American novelist, or venture to Tallahassee to stomp your feet at the Annual Swamp Stomp Music Festival. Book a stay at a Florida vacation rental near all the action for your upcoming summer getaway. That said, check out the top cities in Florida.

1. Tampa

beach chairs at the tampa bay beach

Have some fun in the sun with the big city attractions when spending a week or two during the summer in Tampa. With average high temperatures of 80 degrees, Tampa offers plenty of water-filled activities to keep you cool, such as a day at Davis Islands Beach. The Florida Aquarium provides the kids with an educational experience while they are out of school. Enjoy the natural areas of the city, too, with a hike through Fort De Soto Park.

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2. Key West

a key west lighthouse

Key West is a popular vacation spot during the summer because it is host to the Hemingway Days Festival each July. Celebrate the native city of writer Ernest Hemingway by participating in this festival that features lookalike contests, short story competitions and a marlin fishing tournament. Make a splash during your stay when parasailing with Key West Parasailing Adventures or take a hike on the trails of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

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3. St. Petersburg

a pond at walsingham park

Families who live for baseball can enjoy cheering on the Tampa Bay Rays when opting for a vacation rental in St. Petersburg during the summer. The team’s season is in full swing in May, June and July. This vibrant Florida city is also home to water attractions and outdoor activities to enjoy on Caladesi Island or St. Pete Beach. Learn how to sail the waters with lessons from Sailing Florida Charters or spend a day or two watching the dolphins leap in and out of the water with a boat tour hosted by Dolphin Racer.

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4. Amelia Island

a victorian style house

Admire the stunning Gulf coast views when making Amelia Island your vacation destination during the summer. Rent a kayak from Amelia Island Kayak Excursions to beat the summer heat or let the kids wander through the sand to find shark teeth. When that afternoon rain kicks in, enjoy a tour of the Amelia Island Museum of History for an educational experience.

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5. Orlando

an orlando fun park

Home of the Happiest Place on Earth, Orlando is perfect for families wanting to spend a week or two at Disney World during summer break. Visit with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and then head to Universal Studios to see the themed displays and interactive rides. The warm weather makes it ideal to spend an afternoon at the Exotic Animal Experience Zoo, but when the weather gets a little too hot, you can take the kids to Madame Tussaud’s specialty museum to see the celebrity wax figures.

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6. St. Augustine

palm trees at st augustine florida
Source: Flickr/Doug Anderson

Immerse yourself in the historic city of St. Augustine when renting a vacation rental in Florida’s oldest city. Summertime is the best time to take a dip in the water when renting kayaks and tubes from Anastasia Watersports for a fun-filled day at Crescent Beach. Time your trip for mid May and mid June and enjoy the Music by the Sea festival where local bands serenade you on the beach and local restaurants host food trucks.

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7. Pensacola

a pensacola beach house

Sink your toes into the white sandy beaches or spend an afternoon fishing off the Pensacola Beach Pier when making this Florida city your vacation destination during the summer months. You can dine on fresh seafood at The Oar House and Jaco’s Bayfront Bar and Grille after a busy day surfing and hiking at in the Gulf of Mexico.

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8. Destin

fort lauderdale beach top view

Book a cozy vacation rental in Destin and spend your summer vacation touring the Baytown Art Walk displays or tapping your toes to live music in the HarborWalk Village. Destin Harbor is a popular attraction for families wanting to swim or fish during the summer months. When the sun is shining bright, let the kids make a splash while sliding down the inflatables at the Crab Island Water Park.

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9. Miami

a miami rocky beach

Miami is an entertainment mecca for nightlife, but there is also plenty for families taking a summer vacation to enjoy, such as an educational tour of the Miami Science Museum or an exciting afternoon at the Miami Seaquarium. In June, this Florida city hosts the Redland Summer Fruit Festival where you can snack on all-natural treats. If you’re traveling in July, you can also enjoy the sweet tropical fruits of Florida when attending the International Mango Festival that includes cooking classes and tastings.

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10. Tallahassee

a pool at maclay estate
Source: Flickr/Richard Elzey

If you love to stomp your feet to the music, then Tallahassee is the obvious choice for your summer vacation. Time your trip for July to take part in the Annual Swamp Stomp Music Festival that offers music ranging from Southern blues to folk music at the Tallahassee Museum Park. Spend the rest of your days sightseeing with stops in at the St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge and the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum.

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