With the longest coastline in the continental US, the sunshine state has much to offer for anyone who loves to soak up the rays on the beach.
It’s a large state with many different local cultures, venues, and experiences, you won’t get bored even after the sun goes down.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly trip, something a little more romantic, or an outdoor adventure, something perfect awaits you in Florida.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best things to do in Florida, from picturesque beaches to adrenaline-pumping activities and relaxing spa retreats.
Things To Do in Florida
Florida has world-class beaches worth the trouble of packing a bag full of sunscreen and lugging an umbrella onto the soft, white sand.
Though each of Florida’s beaches is beautiful in its own way, some are more suited for certain activities than others.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet, secluded beach or something family-friendly with many dining and retail options, you’ll find it here.
Address: 202 NE 21st Ave, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441 Opening hours: 24 hours Best time to visit: Morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds Cost: Free
A short trip from Fort Lauderdale will put you at Deerfield Beach, with white sands and blue skies stretching for miles.
For those who want to walk out a bit, it features a long boardwalk with benches to sit and watch people stroll by.
Keep in mind that food isn’t allowed on the beach and you’ll have to pay for parking – which can be expensive.
If you pack a meal, plan to sit on the grassy areas nearby other picnicking families.
Tip: Bring sunblock and a beach umbrella for sun protection
Address: 1 Causeway Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33767 Opening hours: 24 hours Best time to visit: Morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds Cost: Free, but parking fees may apply
Clearwater beach is one of the quintessential Florida beaches; it’s bright, clean, lined with shops and vendors, and has palm trees swaying in the breeze.
The beach is sandy and easy to walk on. You can rent things like lounge chairs and shade if desired.
If you’re looking for a place with plenty to do on and off the shoreline, consider Clearwater Beach.
Tip: Visit Pier 60 for sunset celebrations and entertainment
Address: Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Opening hours: 24 hours Best time to visit: Morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds Cost: Free
South Beach is more of a town than an actual beach and has a few different locations to help hit the exact right vibe.
Check out the beaches you access from lowered numbered streets if you want a quiet experience with fewer tourists, and go nearer the large attractions if you prefer a large, energetic crowd.
When hunger hits, check out the local Cuban places to get a great meal and a strong coffee before heading back out.
Tip: Parking can be difficult; consider using public transportation
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Address: 601 Howard England Way, Key West, FL 33040 Opening hours: 8:00 am - sunset Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon Cost: $6 per vehicle, $2 for pedestrians/bicyclists
It might sound like a history lesson, but Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park is more than just Civil War history.
It also has a gorgeous beach with affordable access that’s perfect for collecting stones and shells in certain areas but offers powdery sand in others.
You can stroll the beach, check out the nature trail, or even grab a bite in the cafeteria on-site if you prefer not to bring food along.
Florida is home to amusement parks that are famous worldwide and perfect for families visiting the state.
Amusement parks bring out the kid in everyone. They’re designed to delight your senses and attract your eye while thrilling you with the quick drops from each coaster.
Each Florida amusement park is a bit different, and understanding them before booking will ensure you get a ticket for the one that’s best for you.
Walt Disney World
Address: Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL 32830 Opening hours: Varies by park, check their website for details Best time to visit: Weekdays, during off-peak seasons (Jan-Feb, Sep) Cost: Starting at $109 per day for a one-park ticket
No list of Florida theme parks is complete without mentioning Disney World.
It’s the most popular and well-known amusement park in the world – and that’s before you include its connected parks like Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.
Most families who go to Orlando for a Disney vacation spend most of it at Disney, even choosing to stay at the connected resorts and campgrounds if possible.
Make sure to do a lot of research before you go.
You can find the best timing by using a crowd calendar to determine when it won’t be quite as busy.
There may be special events you want to line up your trip with, too. It pays to do the research rather than show up with your tickets.
There’s just too much to see otherwise, and you might miss out on what you’d enjoy the most.
Tip: Download the My Disney Experience app for wait times and FastPass reservations
Address: 10165 N McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612 Opening hours: Typically 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, but may vary Best time to visit: Weekdays, during off-peak seasons (Jan-Feb, Sep) Cost: Starting at $89.99 for a single-day ticket
Busch Gardens includes many things to do at their park, including a safari tour if you enjoy seeing the wild animals.
You’ll get more out of the rides and food during your time there if you spring for the Quick Queue Unlimited Pass or the All-Day Dining deal.
They’re expensive but can help you squeeze more time in on your favorite rides and eat more quickly than paying typical amusement park meal prices.
Visitors praise the roller coasters, so this is a great one for thrill seekers.
Tip: Purchase Quick Queue passes to skip long lines
Address: 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884 Opening hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, but may vary Best time to visit: Weekdays during off-peak seasons (Jan-Feb, Sep) Cost: Starting at $84.99 for a single-day ticket
Groups with many kids will definitely get a kick out of LEGOLAND.
It’s a tribute to everything Lego, and you’ll meet characters from the various games and movies as you explore the park.
A lot of the entertainment is suited for kids. You won’t find the same thrilling drops and spins that you might find in more adult-oriented locations.
There’s also a water park where you can cool off after a long day exploring the builds and rides.
Tip: Bring a change of clothes for water attractions.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819 Opening hours: Varies by park, check their website for details Best time to visit: Weekdays during off-peak seasons (Jan-Feb, Sep) Cost: Starting at $109 for a one-park ticket
Universal Studios is a great amusement park if you like movies and offers a nice break from the Disney circuit if you want something a bit different.
I went during one of the days that we didn’t plan to spend at Disney and really enjoyed it!
Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter books is absolutely immersive and worth the time if you’re a fan of the series.
Check out the VIP experience or line passes to get the most out of the park; as with all Florida amusement parks, the lines are long and can eat up the day.
Tip: Use the Universal Orlando app for wait times and virtual line reservations
Those who enjoy spiking adrenaline and a touch of danger will enjoy thrill-seeking activities designed to get your blood pumping.
Whether it encounters with alligators or places to go crazy on trampolines, there are plenty of things for your adventure-minded crew to do.
Gator Park Airboat Tours
Address: 24050 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33194 Opening hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon for cooler temperatures Cost: Starting at $24.99 for adults, $15.99 for children
Many businesses offer Airboat Tours in Florida, but Gator Park is one of the best.
The guides are kind and knowledgeable and make each tour a real blast.
Expect to see alligators, snakes, and other wetlands life you wouldn’t want to near on your own.
When you step off the boat, you’ll be treated to a show that explains more about the environment and animals there. Visitors say it’s fascinating, so don’t miss it!
Tip: Wear sunscreen and a hat for sun protection
Devil’s Den Spring
Address: 5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696 Opening hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, closed on Tuesdays Best time to visit: Weekdays to avoid crowds Cost: $15 for snorkeling, $38 for scuba diving
Dive into the Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring and snorkel in this enclosed blue pool with lights streaming in from above.
You’ll be able to see fish and turtles as you explore the depths. Tickets will give you 90 minutes of swim time.
Once you’re done, snap some pictures of the hanging vines or go topside and take one of the pools from above.
Everyone who will snorkel must make a reservation in advance, or you could be turned away.
Only people over the age of 6 can enter the pool, and those under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian with them unless another present adult has a consent form from their website.
Tip: Bring your own snorkel gear or rent it on-site
Address: 4490 N Church St, Lakeland, FL 33809 Opening hours: Mon-Thu 9:00 am - 9:00 pm, Fri-Sat 9:00 am - 10:00 pm, Sun 11:00 am - 7:00 pm Best time to visit: Weekdays to avoid crowds Cost: Starting at $16 per hour
For the little thrill seekers among us – or those who just have a lot of energy that needs to be worked out – DEFY Lakeland is the perfect place.
There’s a zipline to zoom over fits of foam, battle beams where you fight to see who can stay up longest, and a giant trampoline park, including a wall tramp.
That’s not all, though. The Ninja Course, trapeze, and high-end air track are also available.
Many people book in advance for groups, private parties, and birthdays, so call ahead.
Tip: Wear comfortable clothing and grip socks, which can be purchased on-site.
Address: Various locations throughout Florida Opening hours: Varies by rental company Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon for calmer waters Cost: Rental fees vary by location and duration
You can do this almost anywhere with a beach or a significant water attraction – and it’s a lot of fun.
If you’re comfortable swimming, you can rent a board and join a group to tour things from ocean reefs to dolphin pods to mangrove tunnels.
You can even get themed tours, like the Yoga or full moon tours from WET, Inc in Destin, or the tour focusing on Manatees from Three Sisters Spring in Crystal River.
Keep in mind that the sun can be fierce.
If you are out for a while, a rash guard with SPF protection, a hat, and sunscreen are necessities.
If you haven’t done paddleboarding before, look for a beginner tour to ensure you’re comfortable navigating the water.
Tip: Choose a paddleboard rental company with good reviews and safety equipment
Spas and Relaxation
Vacations can’t be all outdoor adventure and exploration. Sometimes you need to slow down and treat yourself to pure relaxation.
Each of the spas below focuses on making sure their guests are comfortable and enjoy their experience while visiting.
If you’re traveling to a nearby city, consider adding a day at the spa to your itinerary.
The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando
Address: 4012 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32837 Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm Best time to visit: Weekdays for a more relaxed atmosphere Cost: Services vary in price, starting at around $50
This spa offers a variety of treatments that will have you glowing after all your stress melts away.
There are entire experiences that combine body treatments, massages, and on-site amenities, or you can choose from an a la carte menu.
Treatments include the Body Balancer, Awakening Bamboo Massage, and the Luminous Facial.
Book in advance, arrive 30 minutes early, and stop to enjoy the complimentary pool before you leave.
The Spa at The Breakers in Palm Beach
Address: 1 S County Rd, Palm Beach, FL 33480 Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8:00 am - 8:00 pm Best time to visit: Weekdays for a more relaxed atmosphere Cost: Services vary in price, starting at around $50
Guests praise The Breakers’ clean, neat surroundings and attentive staff for making the spa experience so pleasant and relaxing.
They offer the usual massages, facials, and nail and hair care you’d expect from a spa, but they also have an option called Spa Petite.
This is an experience for children where you can get an ice cream manicure and pedicure, a standard one, or have their hair tinseled.
Once you’re done, check out the six whirlpool spas or one of the four pools on the property.
Tip: Take advantage of the spa’s complimentary fitness class.
SpaTerre at The Little Palm Island
Address: 28500 Overseas Hwy, Little Torch Key, FL 33042 Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Best time to visit: Weekdays for a more relaxed atmosphere Cost: Services vary in price, starting at around $75
For the ultimate luxurious getaway, check out The Little Palm Island resort, which is exclusively for those over 18.
Once you step off the seaplane or boat that escorts you to the island, you can indulge in treatments like the Sunrise Water Massage, where two masseurs help remove your tension with the sounds of waves and seabirds.
There are also body scrubs, seaweed wraps, a rose petal bath, and various facials.
Check out their yoga and paddleboard classes if you want to be more active. Personal training is also available.
Tip: Make reservations in advance, as appointment slots can fill up quickly
Spa Palmera at Boca Raton
Address: 501 E Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432 Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm Best time to visit: Weekdays for a more relaxed atmosphere Cost: Services vary in price, starting at around $50
Spa Palmera has won numerous awards for its facilities and services, and it’s easy to see why.
Their ritual baths are modeled after Moroccan baths, including the Royal Ritual, which includes a soaking tub filled with water infused with coconut milk, honey, and pink salt.
There’s an included honey scrub, a Damask rose-scented compress, and a collagen mask included as well. That’s only one of several different baths.
They also offer dry brushing and exfoliating body rituals, facials, body treatments, and massages.
You can get a Spa Day Access pass that lets you use their amenities and cafe as long as you stay at the resort or are a Club member.
No matter which spa you choose, check their pricing and policies before you arrive. Many add a 20 percent gratuity to your bill.
Experience the Best of Florida: from Luxury to Adventure and Everything in Between!
No matter which experiences you crave, Florida has them all. This is just an overview of the many wonderful, wild, and luxurious things you can do during your trip.
Whatever you do, grab a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice one morning.
Florida produces 70 percent of oranges used in the United States, and every glass I’ve had there has been delicious.
We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into the best things to do in Florida.Happy travels!