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The best of Florida
Don’t believe the Snowbirds! There’s so much more to do in Florida than just going to the beach (although we’re pretty proud of the fact that we can do that all year round). From 1,300 miles of coast, swamplands, lakes, and fishing (not to mention the east coast home of Mickey Mouse), to world-renowned art museums, 1,000+ golf courses, the first European settlement in the U.S. and even NASA’s most popular launch pad, Florida’s endless roster of cities means there’s a special place for everyone. Our seafood is unparalleled (just take a look at these restaurants) and our people have a reputation for being, well… unique. Check out our list of the best things to do in Florida and you’ll see what we mean.
Long days in the Florida sun deserve a good meal, and here in the Sunshine State there are plenty of things to do that will work up an appetite, and plenty of tasty restaurants to curb your cravings. Running the gamut from hole-in-the-wall seafood dens and renowned hotel restaurants in big cities to high-brow Spanish fare and celebrity chef spots in the state’s small towns, Florida’s dining scene is as eclectic and diverse as its residents. Reserve a sought-after seat at one of these stunners below, and you’ll get a firsthand taste of what makes our state so special—besides its 663 miles of beaches, of course.
Regardless of what the tourists tell you, Florida is about more than just its beaches and swamps. A sprawling state divided into starkly different metros – from party-all-night Miami and Mickey Mouse-clad Orlando, to its quiet Gulf side and rural Jacksonville – Florida is a mecca of art, food, diversity, sports, views, history and yes, beaches. And just like its sundry neighborhoods, so, too, is the Sunshine State packed with hotels that reflect everything it has to offer. Here are our favorite hotels in east coast America’s most southern peninsula.
There’s loads more to The Sunshine State than, well, sunshine. And, no, we’re not just talking about Disney World either. Florida is one of the most diverse states in the US. Of course, it has more breath-taking beaches than you can shake a stick at, but there’s also swamps, creeks, canals and a host of unique cities. Whatever your reason for heading to Florida, you’re going to need an ace place to stay. Check out our list below for the best Airbnbs in Florida. Note: please check the latest travel advice before booking. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.
As most of the state is bordered by either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, the best beaches in Florida happen to be plentiful and diverse: the Gulf coast offers the crystal-quartz sands of western Florida as well as the glittering green/blue hues of the calm waters on the panhandle’s Emerald Coast. The crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean meet the golden sands of northern Florida in addition to the expansive beaches on the south-eastern coast. No matter where you are in the state, whether you are looking to snorkel, ride horses, hike nature trails, search for shark teeth, or you just want to relax, we’ve got you covered. And when you’re done with all that, satisfy your hunger pangs at the best restaurants in Florida, seek out some adventure at the top water parks in the state or rest your head at these awesome local hotels. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Florida
When thinking of Florida, images naturally conjure in your mind’s eye—endless coastlines and beautiful beaches, stunning hotels, lots of grandparents, extraordinary food served in splendid restaurants and, most notably, super-fun amusement parks—but not everyone knows that the best water parks in Florida are actually what make the Sunshine State that much more special, crowning it the world’s unofficial water park capital. Welcoming millions of visitors every year in search of the quintessential summer escape, most of these destinations are clumped in Orlando and its surrounding tourism pockets, but there are plenty of other under-the-radar attractions sprinkled throughout the state. Some are worth the extra road trip time, while others can certainly be looked past and we’re here to help you figure that out. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Florida
Music festivals in Florida offer some pretty sweet sets for all walks of concert life. EDM bros will find themselves right at home at the massive Ultra Music Festival while head-banging rockers should head to Jacksonville for the epic Welcome to Rockville. There’s plenty more too, from West Palm Beach to Tampa, proving that there’s much more to Florida than amusement parks and beaches (though those are pretty great too). RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Florida
Those looking for a Caribbean experience without traveling too far from home should beeline to the Florida Keys. Stretching from mainland Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, the 800 islands that make up this awe-inspiring section of the country offer pale-blue waters, white sand beaches and all the lazy seaside sipping your heart desires. There are tons of fascinating outdoor experiences to be had here—whether you want to mingle with sea creatures in their natural habitat, kayak through tunnels of lush tropical trees or go on an expedition to peep rare deer in a nearby refuge center. Find out how to have an unforgettable Keys vacation with our guide to some seriously amazing outdoor experiences that you’ll be able to have only in the Florida Keys.
A trip to the Florida Keys is a treat for all the senses, but it’s the things you’ll taste that just might wow you the most. Flavors from some of the world’s most passionate food cultures—Caribbean, Spanish and Cuban among them—inform the cuisine here, merging together fresh boat-to-table seafood with pops of tropical flavors like lime, coconut, papaya and mango. Feast your way through the Keys with our guide to the dishes and ingredients that define this region and where to find them.
When was the last time you really got up close to something wild? (And we’re not talking about the peacocks frolicking about Miami’s Coconut Grove, or the people you’re likely to encounter at one of the best clubs in Miami.) For a chance to meet monkeys, pose for pics with a sloth and handle creepy-crawlies of all types, skip the typical animal encounter (and South Beach!) for a visit to one of the top wildlife animal sanctuaries in Miami and South Florida. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Florida