With its bright sunshine and year-round warm weather, Florida offers the perfect escape from everyday life. This large Southern state is packed with adventurous attractions, from the legendary theme parks of Orlando to the wild backwaters of the Everglades. As you plan your trip and search for cozy vacation rentals in Florida, add these great activities to your itinerary.
1. Walt Disney World
The undisputed king of Florida’s attractions is Walt Disney World, a massive theme park located in Orlando. Spend a whole weekend here, riding the legendary Splash Mountain, sailing through the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and interacting with characters on Main Street, USA. After dark, watch the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle and catch one of the brightly lit evening parades.
2. Kennedy Space Center
The awe-inspiring outdoor rocket garden sets the tone for a visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville. In the Shuttle Launch Experience, feel your seat rumble as you watch a simulated launch. Head to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit for a look at the retired space vehicle, and walk the mind-boggling length of the suspended Saturn V moon rocket. Other standouts include an onsite IMAX theater, launch pad tour, and the Journey to Mars exhibit.
3. South Beach
Relaxed and glamorous, South Beach is the energetic heart of South Florida. Spend your days biking through the Art Deco district, sunbathing on the sparkling white sands, and dining at the open-air restaurants on Ocean Drive. When evening falls, don your hippest attire and experience an adult night out as you explore Miami’s fun-loving club scene.
4. Everglades Airboat Tour
Glide through the maze of backcountry waterways in Everglades National Park with Everglades City Airboat Tours. From the comfort of a fan-powered speedboat, you can spot alligators and manatees, as well as a wide variety of water birds. As the captains navigate through narrow mangrove tunnels, they provide a fascinating narrative about the local area.
5. Florida Museum of Natural History
Dig deep into local flora and fauna at The Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. The highlight of the museum is the awe-inspiring Butterfly Rainforest; stroll down jungle paths while brilliantly colored butterflies and tropical birds soar overhead. Then, check out the dinosaurs in the Florida Fossils area, and step into indigenous Calusa culture in the South Florida People and Environments area.
6. Daytona International Speedway
Dream of becoming a racing champion at the Daytona International Speedway, where you can get close to the famous track and check out the pit stalls. Ride the tram on the hair-raising turns, and be sure to take a photo next to the winning Daytona 500 car. If you’re visiting around Christmas, don’t miss the beautiful 1.5-mile Magic of Lights drive-through experience.
7. Wynwood Walls
Lovers of art and pop culture shouldn’t miss the Wynwood Walls, Miami’s remarkable urban art district. Pick up an artisan latte at Panther Coffee, and set out to explore the colorful murals scattered throughout the neighborhood. Make sure your phone battery is fully charged; the fascinating pieces make excellent backgrounds for Instagram posts.
8. Salvador Dali Museum
If your Florida vacation takes you to St. Petersburg, head right for the Salvador Dali Museum. The experience begins outside, where you can get a view of the swirling glass dome and the Dali-esque twisted benches. Inside, check out more than 2,000 works of art and a series of changing exhibits that give a fascinating take on topics such as fashion and virtual reality.
9. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
For fans of the famous fantasy novels, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is imagination come to life. Stroll through Hogsmeade as you sip a butterbeer, and wander through the halls of the Hogwarts castle. After a ride on the Hogwarts Express, head to Diagon Alley to get a wand at Ollivander’s, and travel deep into the earth on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
10. Seminole Golf Course
With its sprawling greens and palm-fringed sand traps, the Seminole Golf Course is a golfer’s dream. The course, which was ranked number one in the state by Golf Digest, is notorious for its shifting wind conditions and challenging holes.
11. Florida Aquarium
Recreate the experience of a 60-foot dive at the Florida Aquarium, where the Coral Reef Gallery provides a stunning window into an underwater universe. Continue on to watch alligators roaming around the Wetlands Trail, and laugh at the ring-tailed lemurs in the Journey to Madagascar. For true marine buffs, the Shark Swim and Dive With the Sharks experiences are a must.
12. Bahia Honda State Park
Tucked away in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda State Park is an aquatic wonderland. Lay back in the white sand on Sandspur Beach or Calusa Beach, and pop into the crystal-clear water to cool off. Take a boat out to Looe Key Reef for world-class snorkeling, or if you’re up for an adventure, rent a sit-on-top kayak from the park outfitter.
13. Naval Aviation Museum
With its remarkable collection of aircraft, the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is fascinating for everyone in the family. Military history buffs can dig into the Prisoners of War exhibit, while adrenaline junkies can try the thrilling MaxFlight 360 flight simulators. End your visit in the immersive Blue Angels 4D Experience, where the 3-D imagery and special effects create a wild ride.
14. Busch Gardens
Indulge your love of roller coasters at Busch Gardens in Tampa. Drop 335 feet down the Falcon’s Fury tower, and try to catch your breath as the floorless SheiKra coaster makes a 200-foot dive. The park also features whitewater rafting, a gentle cable car, and a variety of kids’ rides.
15. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Experience the luxury of upper-class life in the early 1900s at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark. From the majestic Enclosed Loggia to the ornate, gilded Music Room, the Main House exudes grandeur. If possible, listen to the purpose-built organ, whose pipes are concealed by a split painting.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Florida vacation rentals on Tripping.com.