Florida is named the Sunshine State and for a good reason. For the most part it’s sunny (unfortunately with chances on hurricanes) in Florida, with a subtropical climate in the north and a tropical climate in the south.
The Best Beaches
On the west coast of Florida you have (in my opinion) the best beaches of the state. Especially in the southern part, from Tampa/St. Petersburg all the way down to Marco’s Island. In between you find Treasure Island, Naples and of course Marco’s Island! On the east coast of Florida you find Amelia Island (only place in Florida where you can find shark teeth washed up on the beach) and Daytona.
The Best Cities
Miami, how can this city not be on your list? One of my favorite cities in Florida. The best way to explore around the city is by bus and boat. You can find a combitour for about $40! I’m usually not a fan of these kinds of tours but this one i recommend. Places you are likely to visit during this bustour: Downtown Miami, Coral Gables and Biscayne Bay and the boattour takes you to Star Island where you can see the houses of very rich people!
Naples is a small city on the westcoast of Florida and really nice town. There are a lot of restaurants, bars, shops and ice-cream parlours in the centre of Naples. Just outside the centre you find Tin City, where you also have restaurants and shops.
St. Augustine is the oldest city in Florida and has a (very) European atmosphere. It was founded by Spanish settlers in 1565 and is one of the oldest cities in Northern America.
Best Nature Spots
The Everglades is a National Park in the south of Florida and famous for the alligators and the swamps. There are a lot of spots where they offer the same kind of tours: by hooverboat across the Everglades. An average entrance fee is about $25 p.p. Especially in the winter it’s not always certain you’ll see alligators but you’ll see a lot of them next to the road!
The Keys is a island group in the south of Florida. There’s a long road from just south of Miami all the way to Key West, although i didn’t think this route was very special (some might think it is). Anyway, if you’re going to Key West you only have one option and that’s the highway along the Keys. The best place to scuba dive and snorkel is Key Largo especially in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park where you can enjoy the beautiful coral reef.
Crystal River is a beautiful place to enjoy nature. You have several springs around Crystal River where you can find manatees. Crystal River is the only place where you’re able (or used to be able) to swim with manatees. The best way to enjoy the area is by kajak or boat (kajak renting is about $20 for 2 hours). Don’t forget to bring your snorkel with you!
Wakulla Springs is located just south of Tallahassee. It is actually a State Park, the entrance to the boat is next to the Lodge which is in the middle of the park. A few times a day there’s a boattour, you pay $25 for the entrance and the boattour. They’ll take you up the river towards the spring, along the way one of the rangers will tell you about the park, the animals and everything you ask.
The oldest city in Florida is St. Augustine. Europeans settled here in 1565 and the city was ruled by Spain and Great Britain before being incorporated by the United States. St. Augustine is probably the closest you get to Europe in Northern America. It has a lot of old (read: historical) buildings, statues, a fortress, a lighthouse and so on. The best time to visit St. Augustine is not during the holidays. It can get pretty busy: you end up searching the whole town for just one parking spot!
Another great historical place is Fort de Soto near St. Petersburg. This used to be a military fortress and is now a tourist attraction. It is located in a park and the entrance is free. There is a large beach behind the fort.
The Best Attractions
While in Florida visiting an amusement park is a must.
Disneyland has 5 different, if you want to visit more then 2 you still have to pay the entrance for both (luckily with reduced prices). Just for 1 of the parks of Disneyland is $105 for an adult ($99 for children), that’s pretty expensive and the parks are not that big. If you are planning on visiting more then 2 parks in a few days time it is best to buy your tickets before hand in one of the many giftshops around Orlando!
Space Center is a very informative theme park near Orlando. The entrance is $55 and well worth the price. This is a fun park for the whole family and in my opinion a better choice than the Disneyland.
Daytona Speedway – take a 3 hour tour around the Daytona Speedway, visit the tracks and the garages for $22! There’s also a 5-hour tour for $33 with more stops during the tour.
Want to save money on entrance fees and tours? Buy a Explorer or City Pass!