Unconditional fans of Florida will stare at you dumbfounded if you tell them you have never been to the southernmost state of the U.S.A. Every year this destination becomes a Mecca for tourists, especially in the autumn, winter, and spring.
Here are the top ten reasons that Florida should be on your bucket list:
The top reason that people head to Florida is the over 825 miles of soft sand beaches that edge up to warm waters. The beaches not only offer a great opportunity to get a classic Florida tan, they are also the perfect spot to take amazing pictures of sunrises and sunsets (depending on which side of Florida you are on at the time). Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Disney fans head here every year to get their annual serving of Mouse Magic. But while Disneyworld is the top destination, it is far from being the only Amusement Park available. Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld are also found in Orlando. Don’t forget Bush Garden’s Africa in Tampa which is another world class park!
A state that has coasts on both the Atlantic and the gulf of Mexico, the myriad of water sports available here seems never-ending. Choose from calm water pursuits like fishing, snorkeling, or sailing to more exciting adventures, such as jet skiing, SCUBA diving, kite or wind surfing, wake boarding, parasailing, water skiing, and more. And between the 7,800 lakes and the abundant offshore game fish in the ocean, Florida is a true angler’s paradise.
National and State Parks
There are a dozen National Parks, monuments, and seashores in Florida. The must-see park is the Florida Everglades in the southwest portion of the state. This is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US, and is home to many species of birds and plants that cannot be found anywhere else.
Hop on an airboat (a flat-bottomed boat with a huge fan in the back that can attain speeds of over 130 MPH) as it is the best way to explore some of the over 7,800 square miles of this astonishing wilderness!
Arts and Culture
You can enjoy museums and entertainment venues up and down both coasts of Florida. Grab tickets for rock concerts, elaborate theatre productions, dinner theater, and much more, in major cities like Tampa, Sarasota, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and others.
Other cultural sites include incredible art museums (check out the Ringling Museum in Sarasota), history museums (found in nearly every county), aviation museums (like the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola), and science museums (including Tampa's excellent Museum of Science and Industry).
Florida boasts winning teams in several of the major professional sports in the U.S.A., like the teams in Tampa Bay who have won championships in both baseball and football!
They even have great teams in sports you might not expect, like ice hockey. And there is also a vibrant Jai-alai scene complete with gambling on the matches!
Probably not the first reason to visit Florida, it is still an added benefit to exploring the sunshine state. From the pre-European history of the various Native American tribes of Florida to the Spanish-style architecture of St. Augustine — the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the U.S. — to Tampa with its ties to the cigar industry, and to the rich military history of the Panhandle, Florida excites and educates visitors who enjoy gaining a little knowledge while on vacation.
For those interested in the future, Cape Canaveral is home to the Kennedy Space center which opened in the 1960’s and was the launch pad of all the Apollo moon missions. If you’re lucky, you might spot a launch during your visit. They can often be seen for many miles around, and the brightly lit night launches are spectacular!
Florida boasts a lot of rich and varied nightlife spots. On the east side, the most exciting spots are Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale (especially during Spring Break), West Palm Beach, and the other towns in that vicinity. In the central region, the Walt Disney World complex has its Pleasure Island area, where adults can party like it's New Year's Eve every night. Universal's City Walk offers many restaurants and bars. On the west coast, Tampa's lively Ybor City area is a favorite with the younger crowd.
No real holiday is complete without some shopping built in. There are many shopping options ranging from upscale shops in ritzy South Beach, Miami and beautiful St. Armand's Circle near Sarasota to popular outlets in Ellenton (near Tampa), St. Augustine, Naples, Florida City, and Orlando. You'll also find everything in between at the myriad of malls across the landscape.
Florida cuisine is massively influenced by its proximity to the ocean and its subtropical biotope. From Stone Crabs to Grouper, Mahi-Mah, Deep Fried Conch and more, the seafood lover will never be bored or disappointed. Looking for something you won’t find at home? Try an Alligator Tail!
If seafood isn't your thing, no worries — the Cuban sandwiches and “Floribbean” (a blend of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Jamaican, Haitian, and Colombian dishes) cuisine is sure to please your experimental palate. Don’t forget to leave room for iconic Florida desserts, like Key lime Pie and Dole Whip!