Florida has been my home for over 20 years. I have lived in several cities where I had excellent experiences, strolled around many towns and I still feel that I do not know the entire state 100%.
Among the places I had visited, here I will show you about the ones you cannot miss, some very famous and others not so much, but on this post I tell you some of the reasons why you have to visit them.
It would be the entire area of South Florida. Obviously Miami is one of the most famous cities in the world and among the most visited in the state, and between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale there is so much to see and visit.
Begin your tour of Miami by visiting the beautiful “Vizcaya Museum & Gardens” with incredible landscapes. You can spend a couple of hours here walking around this stunning mansion, which is one of my favorite spots in the city. And by the way, some movies like Iron Man 3 (2013), Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) and Bad Boys II (2003) were filmed here.
Another area to stroll is the famous Calle 8. Here you can find really good Cuban restaurants or just stop for a delicious coffee in one of the ‘windows’ of those restaurants.
Do not hesitate to go for a walk around Brickell and Downtown Miami where Bayside Marketplace is located, which although it is very touristy, it is worth visiting at least once.
One of my favorite things to do in this area when family or friends visit and I want to show them as much as I can is to drive from South Miami Beach to Dania Beach on A1A (which goes all the way up by the coast). I start by going to Ocean Dr., continuing up to Oleta River State Park that if you have time, you can rent a kayak and tour the area. Another place is Hollywood Beach which has several beachfront restaurants and a walking area. In the city of Hollywood you will also find Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that even if you don’t stay there you can visit it.
In Ft. Lauderdale the beach is beautiful and there are plenty of shops and restaurants within walking distance. You can also visit Las Olas Blvd. which is great at night.
The good thing about the entire area of South Florida is that you have a great cultural variety so you can wander among Cuban, Venezuelan, Italian, Greek, Japanese restaurants… whatever you want and the vast majority are really good.
If you travel by car from Miami to St. Petersburg, the city will greet you with the beautiful bridge over the bay, Sunshine Skyway.
Between St. Petersburg and Tampa there is a lot to see, but one thing you have to visit is the beach. Get to Pass-a-Grille Beach which is a bit quieter than St. Pete Beach but just as beautiful, for some reason we chose this place to get married. Another place to enjoy the beach is Fort De Soto Park, which also has an area for camping, renting a kayak or riding a bike.
Downtown St. Petersburg is amazing too. Stroll around and enjoy the cafes, restaurants, shops and art, because you have to go to the Dalí Museum which is excellent!
A place I love visiting is John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk. It not only has shops and restaurants with a beautiful view, but also from there you can take different types of boat tour. From a pirate ship or at sunset to see dolphins, rent a kayak or go fishing.
Clearwater is located between the 2 cities and has been named, for several years, among the most beautiful beaches in the United States.
In Tampa you can find Busch Gardens which has super fun roller coasters and you can spend a whole day enjoying it to the fullest.
Obviously the first thing we think about Orlando are the theme parks, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. But I’m not going to talk about them, I will suggest other activities that you can do in Orlando and nearby areas.
In Central Florida there are several state parks that include natural springs where you can swim. Wekiwa Springs It is one of them where you can not only cool off while swimming, but you can also rent a kayak and go down the river where you may see the famous alligators.
Maybe you don’t like being in a kayak while an alligator passes by, but you can still see them from your car when visiting Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Not only gators, but birds of all kinds, turtles and more.
Near Walt Disney World (I assure you that I am not going to talk about the theme parks) is Showcase of Citrus, in Clermont. Here you can spend a different afternoon, taking a ride in a 4×4 super truck, feeding some farm animals, picking fruits or simply trying some local products in the store. We also enjoy getting some locally sourced and delicious honeys, jam, salsas, sauces and more…
In Downtown Orlando you can find several points to enjoy some music and fun/tasty drinks as in Aloha Beautiful (a tiki bar), Cocktails & Screams, Neon Beach or Aku Aku (another Tiki Bar). The latter in Lake Eola, if you visit during the day you can ride the famous swan-shaped boats.
Also, International dr. offers many activities for everyone. Minigolf, attractions, museums, restaurants and much more.
3 other cities that I recommend in Central Florida are: Winter Park, Winter Garden (a post about this town on my other blog about Florida) and Mount Dora. Easy to explore around, with several options to eat and very pleasant to walk around the place.
A small town on the coast of the Atlantic Sea. Upon arriving at Sexton Plaza Beach you have the beautiful beach and several good local shops and restaurants.
Also in the area there are several spots where you can rent a kayak or even a small boat and navigate along the Indian River.
A few minutes away you can visit (especially if you have a reservation for breakfast or dinner) Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. It’s beautiful!
Also about 30 minutes or so to the south is Fort Pierce. In the area of Jetty Park there are some restaurants with a good view, it is worth driving a little to visit this area.
Vero Beach, to me, is the beauty of South Florida but quieter and less touristy. Remember to check our post/video about Vero Beach.
It is the oldest city in the country and it is beautiful. It is a town that I always recommend visiting at least once in your life.
If you arrive by car for a day trip (from Orlando it’s 2 hours or so), you can park and walk all over the historic town which is amazing.
Start at Castillo de San Marcos. It takes about 2 hours to see it and get to know it inside and out. It is the oldest fort in the United States and the only surviving 17th-century military construction in the country.
From the Castillo de San Marcos, walk to the Old City Gate and start your stroll all the way down St. George Street. A pedestrian street with lots of shops, restaurants and bars. Also here you can find the Oldest Wooden School House in the country plus museums and art galleries.
At the end of St. George Street you will find the Plaza de la Constitución, yes, the name is in Spanish. A beautiful area to walk and rest under the shade of the trees. Nearby is the street Avilés which is the oldest street in the country.
Another spot to visit, the City Hall which it’s gorgeous. So much so that you can celebrate weddings and other parties here. In front, Flagler College where you can take some tours inside to get to know this beautiful university, which, although it is from the 20th century, founded in 1968, it is a place that you cannot miss.
At the end of the day, enjoy the sunset from the beach or from the Castillo de San Marcos, which is spectacular.
When someone asks me about Florida, a place that I don’t get bored visiting, I definitely have to say the Florida Keys.
However, there is a rule. From many parts of the country you can fly to Key West, but no, no no no, you have to drive from Miami all the way through US1 until you reach Key West. There is no other way to get to know this spectacular place than passing by all the keys. There are many points to stop and enjoy the view.
Continue to Marathon, there you will reach the 7 mile bridge. Don’t cross it yet stop on a side and enjoy the view.
Once you cross that bridge, the view on both sides is incredible and you’ll be closer to Key West.
Key West has much to see and do. From museums, stroll around Duval that offers shops, bars and restaurants.
Don’t forget to enjoy the sunset from the Mallory Square area, by the pier, It is not only a beautiful point to watch the sunset, but also a fun atmosphere to celebrate.
I had to end this post with the 2 places I love most in Florida. I will never get tired of visiting St. Augustine and the Keys. Anyone who asks me about 2 destinations to visit, even though I love going to the Disney World parks, those 2 cities will always be the first options that I will mention.
Have you been to any of these places? There are many more worth visiting while in Florida, but the list would be very long 😆 and there are towns like Destin, for example, that I’ve been wanting to go for a long time and I haven’t been able to do it yet (by car from Orlando it’s about 6 almost 7 hours), I hope I go soon since by just looking at photos and once driving from New Orleans to Miami we passed by there, I think it’s a gorgeous city to visit.
If you have any questions about Florida, do not hesitate to contact us in the comments, I’ve lived in this state for more than 20 years and I’m more than happy to help you.
For more about Florida, visit our blog dedicated 100% to this state: TodoSobreFlorida