And hey, who really needs another excuse to take a vacation in Florida?
That’s why we put together this list of the best places to check out in the state, from peaceful islands to the Miami strip.
As the southernmost city in the continental US, Key West is also the jumping off point for the Florida Keys.
When people imagine an idyllic Florida vacation, these are the islands they’re thinking of. The water is clear, the sand is white, and the local marine life makes for some bucket-list tier snorkeling, diving, and fishing.
And when the sun sets, there are no shortages of spots on Duval Street to wet your whistle.
She sells seashells by the seashore. But on Sanibel, they’re free!
In fact, this small island is considered the best place in the country to collect seashells, an activity locals call the “Sanibel Stoop”.
But there’s more to do here than pick up conchs. There’s beaches, birdwatching, and over 22 miles of bike trails, plus a cool wildlife refuge.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Sometimes, you just want to get away from it all. And Dry Tortugas may be just the place to do it.
Only accessible by a 70-mile ferry trip or seaplane ride from Key West, it’s not exactly a deserted island, but it only receives a fraction of the tourists of some of Florida’s other attractions.
Your cellphone won’t get service here, but you’ll probably use the camera a lot, capturing photos of the beautiful scenery, historic Fort Jefferson, and the huge flocks of birds that migrate through the area.
In between snorkeling sessions, that is.
There’s a reason it’s called Clearwater – and it tops so many “best Florida beaches” lists: this is one spectacular stretch of coastline.
And while the Keys are more about water sports, Clearwater Beach is the perfect spot for just laying out on soft sand, splashing around in the shallows, or strolling down the promenade.
This is the relaxing beach vacation you’ve been looking for.
Dolphins are cool and all, but wouldn’t you rather swim with manatees?
We knew you’d agree! And now, you can fulfill your wildest manatee dreams at Crystal River. They may be huge but they’re perfectly friendly, hence their nickname: “sea cows”.
The best season for swimming with manatees is winter, but there are still some around all year. And the river itself is quite enjoyable to swim or kayak.
If the Florida heat is starting to get to you but you still want to explore the outdoors, then descend into the Devil’s Den.
Despite what the name might suggest, this underground escape is actually quite beautiful. And there aren’t any lakes of fire: the water is a cool but comfortable 72°F year round.
The cave itself is prehistoric; animal fossils have been found here that date back to the Pleistocene Age.
Maybe you’ll uncover a few of your own during your scuba or snorkeling session.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
With over 3 miles of river and eight major springs, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a great place for kayaking, canoeing, swimming, snorkeling, and more.
But we’re partial to tubing down Ichetucknee River. Just grab some tubes, plop down at the head of the river, and float your way to the end in a leisurely fashion.
Unfortunately, food and drinks (including alcohol) aren’t allowed, but that just gives you more time to make friends with the otters, beavers, or other wildlife you might encounter along the way.
If nightclubs and shopping are your idea of a vacation, well, we’ve got just the place: Miami.
That being said, while Miami is definitely Florida’s glitziest city, it’s got more to offer than just luxury cars and celebrity sightings. You’ve got museums, art exhibits, Zoo Miami, Little Havana, and lots of pro sports teams.
Oh, and the beach. Bring your most fashionable bathing suit, if you want to fit in.
For others, their vision of Florida is more airboats and gators.
Fortunately, not far from Miami is the country’s most famous swamp – and one of its biggest national parks. Walk, bike, kayak, or boat through a beautiful ecosystem, filled with reptiles, birds, panthers, and more.
Now, the Everglades does get pretty toasty in the summer. But it’s also a lot less crowded, and the wetter environs let you experience the park in all its swampy glory.
History buffs pay attention, because you won’t want to miss this one.
You can find beaches and sunshine all over Florida. But only in St. Augustine do you get the oldest city in America, with all of the landmarks and attractions that come with it.
From the brick-paved streets to the European architecture, this place is filled with history – and maybe ghosts?
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories