There's no doubt that, among the states that call America home, Florida is one of the most popular states to visit. In fact, according to Vivid Maps, Florida is the second most popular destination in the United States, second only to California.
That said, there are many choices that visitors must sift through when deciding which places in Florida are worth the money and time.
Determining Which Florida Destinations are Considered a "Must Visit": Although Florida has 8,000 miles of coastline and countless attractions, theme parks, and state parks, there are many destinations that don't always immediately come to mind when one is planning a trip to Florida.
So the travel website WorldAtlas identified places in the sunshine state that it deemed a "must visit." They are as follows:
Kennedy Space Center: If you're already in Orlando, it's just an hour's drive to Kennedy Space center. This is a great place for a family-friendly day where you can see real rockets, and visit the Shuttle Launch Experience to see what a shuttle launch might feel like. If you're interested in the Apollo era, check out The Apollo/Saturn V Centre "Race to the Moon," which takes a few hours to tour in full.
Pensacola: The northern, historic city in Florida's panhandle features a large natural harbor. For history lovers, check out the US Naval Aviation Museum and Fort Pickens. There are beautiful, white-sand beaches, family-friendly museums, and delightful southern cuisines on offer.
Naples: Although Naples is a very affluent city, it's welcoming to guests because it features natural resources like the Everglades, the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, and the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The city is also renowned for its shopping.
Orlando: Of course, Orlando is best known for its theme parks, which appeal to families or to the young at heart. You'll find destinations like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Typhoon Lagoon, and Volcano Bay. More than that, though, there is golfing, shopping, and no less than four Michelin-rated restaurants.
Miami Beach: WorldAtlas felt that Miami Beach offered something for everyone. With its beaches (including South Beach,) Art Deco District, and high-end restaurants and shops, Miami Beach always offers something to do and see. There's plenty of cultural diversity, and visits to the city's Little Haiti and Little Havana were advised. The Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is also a lovely stop.
Tampa: This city is a choice that gives families plenty of options for nearby attractions such as Clearwater Beach's Mote Marine as well as the Clearwater and St. Pete beaches. But in the city of Tampa itself, there are tons of things to do, including Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Zoo, and taking in the city's vibrant RiverWalk and new attraction, Armature Works. If you're visiting during the sports season, you could take in a Buccaneers, Lightning, or Rays game.
Amelia Island: This charming city just outside of Jacksonville offers 13 miles of quaint beaches and a historic downtown that is full of Victorian architecture. The city allows for horseback riding on the beach and offers top-rated golf courses.
The Florida Keys: This destination can be broken up into the upper, middle, and lower key islands. Most of the shopping and nightlife occurs in the upper keys, with Key Largo being one example. The keys are a diver's paradise, being home to the underwater Christ of the Abyss. The middle and lower keys are home to beaches and attractions like Big Pine Key, where you can find tiny Key deer, which are only found in this part of Florida.
Daytona Beach: You may notice different types of crowds in this city depending on when you visit. It's popular with spring breakers in the spring and bikers love it during "bike week." But it has much to offer year-round. Its beaches are beautiful and it has a quaint boardwalk and pier. In addition to the outdoors, Daytona Beach offers museums, art galleries, and fine dining. For a truly different experience, tour the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory for some delicious chocolate.
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