Florida is by far one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States, so it’s no wonder that there’s lots of fun things to do. The Sunshine State is the perfect getaway from colder climates, especially if you’re looking for a tan. This state is packed with beaches and amusement parks, and it’s impossible to see and do everything in just one trip. So, here are 21 fun things to do in Florida to help you narrow down your options.
#1 – Walt Disney World
When most people think of Florida, they think of Disney! This action-packed park is located in Lake Buena Vista, right between Orlando and Kissimmee. It has four main parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. But in addition to that, there’s also the Disney Springs shopping area, two waterparks, and endless resort options. Disney World’s property is so big that it even has its own highway system to get to all the different locations. It’s the perfect option for families with younger children because there are rides for all ages. If you’re looking for something fast and exciting, you can check out Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, or Test Track. Yet, if you want something more relaxing, you can choose options like the Jungle Cruise, Frozen Ever After, or the Kilimanjaro Safari. There’s so much to do in Disney that you could spend your entire Florida vacation there. And not to mention all the incredible Disney souvenirs you can buy!
#2 – Everglades National Park
If you’d rather get in touch with nature than hop on rides, then the Everglades National Park is one of the most fun things for you to do in Florida. The Everglades is a 1.5-million-acre wetland preserve that takes up most of Florida’s southern half. It’s an ideal location to see the state’s vast wildlife, including manatees, panthers, and turtles. During your visit, you can take tram tours, go on airboat tours, rent kayaks, or even go camping. If you love the great outdoors, then the Everglades National Park should definitely be on your bucket list.
#3 – Universal Studios
Universal Studios in Orlando is like the more intense version of Disney World. It has three main parks: Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. When you enter the parks, you also get to walk through the dazzling Citywalk, which is a shopping area with free admission. While there are some rides for younger audiences at Universal, these parks focus more on fast-paced rides and 4D adventures. So, if you get dizzy easily, it might not be the best amusement park for you. Some popular Universal rides include the Jurassic Park River Adventure, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, and the Revenge of the Mummy. And don’t forget to check out the incredibly realistic Harry Potter areas.
#4 – Kennedy Space Center
If you have a fascination with space, then the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville is a must-see during your Florida trip. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the area that is open to guests and offers lots of incredible exhibits. During your visit, you’ll see displays, spacecrafts, shows, IMAX theaters, and tours. Some of the most exciting things to experience at this attraction include seeing rockets close-up, talking to real-life astronauts, and feeling what a real space shuttle launch is like.
#5 – Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens is an animal-themed amusement park, similar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This Tampa attraction is 335 acres, and it has the perfect balance between animal exhibits, high-speed roller coasters, shows, and play areas for young kids. So, there’s something for all ages at this family-friendly park. The best part is that it’s usually not as crowded as Disney or Universal, so you’ll be able to set aside plenty of time to hop on all the rides and visit your favorite animals. Depending on the time of year you visit, they might also have special events or holiday celebrations.
#6 – Miami Beach
Miami Beach is an island city in Florida. You can get to it by taking bridges that are attached to the mainland. The beach in Miami is the most popular in the state. It’s known for having crystal clear water and soft sand. It’s recommended for both swimmers and sun-tanners, especially since it has a beautiful view of the Miami skyline in the background. The beachfront stretches for 35 miles, giving you plenty of room to spread out from other visitors. If you want to have a beach day, but you’re not planning to go down to Miami, you can also check out Clearwater Beach, Cocoa Beach, or New Smyrna Beach.
#7 – Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is an island in the Gulf of Mexico that’s only accessible by boat or seaplane. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Florida because it has crystal clear water and historical structures. It’s one of the best places to snorkel because it has a coral reef with colorful sea life. Even if you’re not big on swimming, you can wade in the water and still see many unique fish and plants. The island is also home to Fort Jefferson, which is an unfinished fortress that was built in 1846. It’s also where Samuel Mudd was incarcerated after killing Abraham Lincoln.
#8 – Daytona 500 International Speedway
The Daytona 500 is one of the most famous locations for the NASCAR Cup Series. It’s a must-see for racing fans! The racing season kicks off every year in February, attracting crowds of thousands to each race. The races used to take place on Daytona Beach until the Speedway was built in 1959. Many visitors travel to Florida just to see a race, so there are many hotels in the area. But if you happen to visit when it isn’t racing season, you can still take a tour of the place.
#9 – River Ventures Manatee Tour
If you’re an animal lover, then swimming with manatees is certainly the most fun thing to do in Florida. River Ventures at Crystal River is one of the many places where you can swim and snorkel with manatees. Manatee season in this area is from mid-November to late March. The manatees come toward the springs during this time to get away from the cold water in the Gulf. A tour guide will take you around and show you where the best manatee spots are. Boats use extra safety precautions to keep these marine mammals safe. The water is usually a little chilly during manatee season, but wetsuits will be provided with the tour.
#10 – SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld is not as popular as Disney or Universal, but it’s another one of the big Orlando amusement parks. Like Busch Gardens, SeaWorld has the perfect balance of rides, shows, and animals. If you’ve ever wanted to see animals like sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, and manatees up close, then this is the perfect attraction for you. Younger kids loves seeing all the animals while older kids adore the action-packed roller coasters. It’s an excellent family attraction that can help kids learn a little more about marine life.
#11 – International Drive
If you’re spending your time in Orlando, then you need to stop at International Drive. This road is one of the most fun things to do in Florida because it has hundreds of tourist attractions all in one place. It’s an 11-mile road that many locals refer to as “I-Drive”. You’ll find unique attractions like a massive ferris wheel, a wax museum, adventure mini golf, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Wonderworks, and a tall swing ride. You’ll also find endless dining options, including Mango’s Tropical Cafe, a giant McDonald’s with an arcade, and Dave and Buster’s. You could spend all day exploring this eventful area if you wanted, but be sure to prepare for traffic.
#12 – Duval Street in Key West
Key West is a beautiful location at the end of a string of islands, which can bee accessed by a long bridge. While there’s plenty to see and do in Key West, many visitors recommend taking a walk down Duval Street. The 1.25-mile street is full of activities, including shopping, dining, music, an aquarium, museums, historical buildings, and gardens. If the weather is nice out, the best thing you can do is walk around and enjoy the sights. Key West also has the southernmost point in the continental United States and plenty of boat tours.
#13 – St. Augustine’s Historic District
St. Augustine’s Historic District is one of the oldest Florida settlements. Thus, it’s full of old, charming structures. The area was built in the 17th century, and it has been well-preserved after all this time. One of the most incredible sights is the 19th-century Flagler College, which is a gorgeous photo opportunity. The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is also a must-see historical sight. It’s known for being the oldest masonry fort in North America. On top of everything else, this location has a beautiful view of the coast. It might not be as action-packed as some of the other attractions, but it’s a great place to learn some history and see incredible sights.
#14 – Salvador Dali Museum
The Salvador Dali Museum ranks on the most fun things to do in Florida because it’s not your typical art museum. This bizarre attraction is located in Saint Petersburg, and the building is even designed to mimic his surreal art style. It’s dedicated to this famous surrealist’s art, and it has the second largest collection of Dali artwork in the world. Even if you’re not a huge art enthusiast, it’s still interesting to explore the museum or take a tour. You’ll even find random structures related to his painting, such as a “melting” bench outside.
#15 – Devil’s Den
When thinking of exciting activities in the Sunshine State, it’s unlikely that the Devil’s Den comes to mind. This hidden gem is found in Levy County, and it’s exactly what you’d expect. It’s a prehistoric spring that’s inside a dark cavern. Even the photos are enough to give you chills, but most tourists adore it. The water has an average of 72 degrees year-round, and it reaches 54 feet deep. So, some choose to snorkel and scuba dive while others just like to hop in briefly. You can even rent a cabin or RV space if you want to spend the night.
#16 – Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens
With warm weather year-round, it makes sense that gardens would be popular in Florida. But the Sunken Gardens in Saint Petersburg aren’t your typical attraction. These gardens are unique because they’re sunken below sea level! This garden has 4 acres of beautiful plants, and they’ve been around for over a century. They’re likely one of the oldest attractions in the entire United States. This is a peaceful attraction that you can walk around and explore at your own pace. There are also special events and tours hosted at this location regularly.
#17 – Legoland Florida
Legoland is yet another Florida amusement park, but this one is located in Winter Haven. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Florida for younger visitors because everything looks like it’s made of Lego bricks. It has rides, shows, and an awesome Lego-themed hotel that you can stay at. And throughout the park, you’ll find various Lego sculptures, which are the most impressive part for many guests. This attraction takes up 145 acres and has about 50 Lego rides. It’s a dream come true for any young Lego builder.
#18 – Manatee Springs
If you can’t get enough of the adorable Florida manatees, then Manatee Springs is the perfect destination for you! Manatee Springs State Park is found in Levy County, and it flows directly into the Suwannee River. Near the water, there’s a 32-mile nature trail with several manatee viewing points. The water is clear, making it easy to see the manatees near the shore. You’ll also likely encounter other wildlife, such as birds, fish, and small mammals. November through April are the prime times for manatee viewing, so plan your trip accordingly.
#19 – Discovery Cove
There’s no shortage of water-related activities in Florida, and Discovery Cove puts a new spin on it. This exciting attraction is located in Orlando near SeaWorld and International Drive. It’s the sister park of SeaWorld and Aquatica Orlando. Yet, this park allows you to get even closer interactions with marine life. You can have exciting adventures, such as swimming with dolphins and snorkeling with manta rays. Most of the park consists of fully aquatic creatures, but you’ll also get to see otters and tropical birds. It’s the perfect family attraction for a warm day, especially if you love animals.
#20 – Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami was once the estate of rich businessman James Deering. It was built in 1916, but today it functions as an inspiring collection of art and nature. Inside, it holds over 2,500 pieces of art, and outside, it has 10 acres of vibrant gardens. The building has one-of-a-kind architecture, and it overlooks the water. Thus, this attraction is a great photo opportunity and a peaceful place to visit. The best way to experience this estate is by taking a tour, where you can do a food lab and find out which flowers are in bloom.
#21 – The Ringling
The Ringling in Sarasota is another peaceful attraction with jaw-dropping views. It’s a property from the 1920s that is now a museum with a wide range of attractions. On-site, you’ll find gardens, an art museum, a circus museum, and a Venetian Gothic revival residence. The museum takes up 66 acres, so you could spend all day exploring the different attractions there. Ca’ d’Zan is the name of the mansion on the property, once owned by John and Mable Ringling. It was inspired by Venice architecture, and it remains beautifully preserved after all these years.
Florida is one of the most popular states in the country, so it’s no wonder that there are so many fun things to do. This list is only the beginning. You might not be able to see it all in one trip, but you need to start somewhere. So, hopefully these attractions helped you decide where in Florida you want to visit most.