11 Best Places to Visit in Florida
At the heart of Florida's tourist industry is the city of Orlando, home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. Families descend on these huge amusement parks in large numbers during school holidays but the city is a popular destination year round.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Orlando
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Located in southern Florida, Miami is one of the state's hippest cities. Miami and nearby Miami Beach showcase the old and new side of Florida. The thriving modern city center stands in contrast to the much more laid back atmosphere of Miami Beach. Here visitors will find a rich history, as can be seen in the historic Art Deco District, and a hot stretch of beach along the Atlantic.
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Tampa, located in northern Florida, is a modern city with many cultural attractions. Historic Ybor City calls to mind an early time in Florida's history. Tampa is also home to the Buccaneers NFL team, the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team, and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team.
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4 St Petersburg
Across the bay from Tampa is neighboring St Petersburg and nearby Clearwater. Visitors, particularly travelers from northern states, come here to escape cold winters and enjoy the oceanfront beaches and mild climate. Some unique areas to explore include the St Petersburg Pier, the dockside shops and restaurants of Johns Pass, the quaint atmosphere of historic Pass-a-Grille, and the soft sand of Clearwater Beach and Indian Rocks Beach.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in St Petersburg
5 Key West
Historic Key West, at the far southern tip of the continental USA, has a distinctly island feel, with old architecture and a slow pace. It was once the home of Ernest Hemingway, who penned several of his famous works while living here.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Key West
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Daytona's main claim to fame is the Daytona 500 Nascar Race held here each February, but the beaches also draw visitors year round. Daytona Beach, once known as a spring break hot spot, has become more of family oriented destination which also attracts seniors.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Daytona Beach
7 Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach are located along the Gulf Coast, separated only by a narrow inland waterway and joined by bridges. Fort Myers old city center is a pleasant area to stroll through, with modern shops and restaurants. Fort Myers Beach town center, by contrast, is a true beach town. Surf, ice cream, and fudge shops line a pedestrian only area where people walk around in swimwear, fresh off the beach. During warm weather the beach is a busy scene, covered in umbrellas and sun seekers.
For an interesting excursion away from the beach, try the Seminole Gulf Railway's Murder Mystery Dinner Train. The tour involves a five course meal while the train chugs north from Fort Myers and a mystery unfolds for passengers' entertainment.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Fort Myers Beach
The southernmost city along Florida's Gulf Coast is Naples, an upscale area with a quaint city center and lovely stretch of beach. A mix of elegant houses and tall condo towers line the ocean but the downtown has maintained a small town feel.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Naples
9 St Augustine
St Augustine is often referred to as the oldest city in the USA. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed here on September 8, 1565 and claimed the territory in the name of King Phillip II of Spain. Colonial architecture and old homes line the streets of the historic center, which has become a popular tourist attraction.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in St Augustine
The port of Pensacola, situated on the best and largest natural harbour in Florida, is the economic center of the western edge of the Panhandle, the "Miracle Strip". Its history goes back more than 400 years, and the carefully restored Historic Village contains buildings of the Spanish, French, and British colonial periods.
Features of interest in the surrounding area are the U.S. Naval Aviation Museum, Fort Pickens (1834) at the west end of Santa Rosa Island, and Pensacola Beach with its expanses of sugar-white sand.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Pensacola
11 West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach on Lake Worth, inland from Palm Beach, has a number of interesting museums and many trendy and fine dining restaurants. Some of the highlights include the Norton Museum of Art and McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in West Palm Beach