Are you planning a first-time trip to The Sunshine State? Are you returning to the ever-gleaming jewel of North America’s South East? You may also simply be looking for the next spot for your annual adventure. Well, you’re certainly in the right place to learn a little more about this exciting state. Here are 18 experiences you can only discover by jetting off to Florida.
Natural beauty aplenty
Nature and adventure lovers alike will love speeding through the home of thousands of species in Everglades National Park. You will no doubt catch sight of the local alligators, large pythons, and feel the warm air on your face.
Just a few miles from the Florida Keys, you’ll also find the third largest coral barrier reef in the world. If you fancy seeing the 40 species of coral and hundreds of species of fish, head to Dry Tortugas National Park or the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Between May and October, you can also catch baby turtles poking their tiny heads from the sand. Over on Venice Beach, nature lovers may want to look for a unique ancient souvenir of their Florida visit by hunting for fossilized shark teeth up and down the golden sand.
For the ancient world on land, you can explore some of the oldest plants in the region at The Sunken Gardens’ living museum, or visit the 46,000 acres of creeks, rivers and marsh of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, which is home to nearly 500,000 years of history.
And for a natural experience that’s often added to bucket lists all over the world – there are also several areas in Florida, including Discovery Cove, that offer you the chance to swim with dolphins. But while swimming with dolphins in Florida is a must do, there’s only one place in the state where you can swim with manatees – Crystal River.
Finally, at night, you can take a slow cruise along Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, and witness the natural bioluminescence in all of its illuminating glory. Simply grab a kayak and an oar, and watch the plankton glow!
Florida’s Kennedy Space Center might not be rocketing people into the stratosphere every day, but if you’re a science fanatic, you can time your Florida visit to coincide with a launch by checking its calendar of events.
Available at significantly lower altitudes you ca take in a breathtaking view of Miami from a helicopter ride. Aim for a sundown setting when all of the incredible colours of the early-night sky illuminate the city!
Then, of course, there are the theme parks. Be sure to take in the universes of Walt Disney, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens Tampa.
In addition to these incredible all-day lands of fun and adventure, you may want to take a trip to Celebration. This curious town in Osceola County was created by the Disney Development Company nearly 30 years ago. It shows visitors the vision of an ‘ideal’ community. Make your own mind up what you make of it as you stroll or cycle through its quirky streets.
Something a little different
Throughout Florida, you’ll find a host of nostalgia and culture-tinged restaurants, hotels, and unique activities created within the state. For instance, The Bubble Room not only serves up a delectable platter of Americana cuisine for people of all ages, but is even more ‘out there’ in its decor than most eateries in the state. However, for drinks during the evening, on Seabreeze Boulevard you can find Wreck Bar. There, mermaids swim all night long in tanks while you suck up a few beverages.
Speaking of drinks, to sample genuine Florida brews, embark on the Central Florida Ale Trail. Grab a map and a beer mat and take the tour yourself, or look for a guide to educate you on this popular local industry.
If you’re looking for a genuine escape from the hustle during your stay, head to Cassadaga. The entire town is built around the concept of spiritualism. Here you can actually find a real spiritualist camp encamped within this unusual area close to Orlando and Daytona. Naturally, at the heart of your Florida visit should be a Florida villa holiday resort that you can retire to at the end of a busy day, but Cassadaga is certainly worth adding to your itinerary to explore inner peace.
Last but not least, be sure to take a trip to the oldest city in the country – St. Augustine. Founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, this charming town is home to rich culture, history and… it’s rumoured… ghosts!