With its accessible and varied pleasures, Florida is a favourite of many. Drawn to the colonial charm of St. Augustine, Miami’s pulsing nightlife, the glitz of Palm Beach, or the quiet expanse of the Everglades, almost all visitors find something to love here. From the powdery white beaches of the Panhandle to the vibrant coral reefs of the Florida Keys, the ocean is always calling—for sailing, fishing, diving, swimming, and other water sports. Stray off the path a few miles, and you might glimpse a bit of the Florida of old, including cigar makers and mermaids. Maybe there’s no mystery to what makes the Florida peninsula so intoxicating.
Beaches as fine and sweet as powdered sugar, warm waters, rustling mangroves: all conspire to melt our workaday selves. We come to Florida to let go – of worries and winter, of inhibitions and reality. Some desire a beachy getaway of swimming, seafood and sunsets. Others seek the hedonism of South Beach, spring break and Key West. Still more hope to lose themselves within the phantasmagorical realms of Walt Disney World and Orlando’s theme parks. While many know Florida for beaches and theme parks, few understand that this is one of the most populous states in the country, a bellwether for the American experiment. And that experiment – and this state – is more diverse than ever.
From rural hunters and trappers in the geographically northern, culturally Southern climes, to Jewish transplants sitting side by side with Latin arrivals from every Spanish-speaking nation in the world, it’s hard to beat Florida when it comes to experiencing the human tapestry at its most colourful and vibrant. Tan, tropical Florida is smarter and more culturally savvy than its appearance suggests. This state, particularly South Florida, has a reputation for attracting eccentrics and idiosyncratic types from across the US, Latin America and Europe. Many of these folks and their descendants have gone on to create or provide patronage for the arts, as evidenced by enormous concert spaces in Miami, a glut of museums on the Gulf Coast, and a long, literary tradition – Florida has produced more than its fair share of great American authors.
Top 5 Places to Visit in Florida
1. St. Petersburg – Yes, you heard that right, there is a city in Florida that is a namesake of the infamous St Petersburg in Russia and the American one also deserves your attention. In fact, if you are a true lover of sunny days and hot weather you will particularly enjoy the city in Florida because St Petersburg holds the record for most consecutive days of sunshine, unlike its Russian rainy namesake. With 7 miles of waterfront parks, the St Petersburg beach is simply amazing, while the downtown offers plenty of attractions including the Sunken Gardens and the Salvador Dali museum.
2. Miami Beach – The epitome of the summer holiday in Florida, Miami Beach is one of the most iconic sun-soaked places in the vast land of the USA. Just a few places around the globe can compare to the colourful, charming, lively, and buzzing vibe of Miami Beach. Miami Beach caters for all the different needs and requirements, attracting everyone from relaxed retirees to party animals with the romantic art deco architecture along Ocean Drive, the scantily clad beachgoers on South Beach, the world-class clubs and bars, many great restaurants and shopping spots, and so much more.
3. Walt Disney World – Not a single of the Walt Disney theme parks needs an introduction and the magical Walt Disney World makes no exception. With endless attractions, shows, activities, and opportunities to have fun for all the family, this Disney theme park is definitely a priority in your tourist bucket list when visiting Florida. Orlando offers even more opportunities to have fun outside the theme park, including amazing shopping destinations, lively nightclubs and bars, meeting the animals at Gatorland and Discovery Cove.
4. Sarasota – If you fancy nature and want to explore its beauty and majesty more and more, Sarasota is the right place to go. Sarasota is a home to Florida’s oldest and largest state parks including Myakka River State Park. Other unique experiences you can plan when in Sarasota include admiring the colourful butterflies at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, soaking up the sun at Key Beach, learn more about the popular residents of the city at the John and Mable Ringling Museum and Ca’d’Zan.
5. Key West – Key West is an island in the Florida Keys and the southernmost point in the continental United States. Some of the symbols of Key West are the conch-style homes, the surrounding coral reefs that are a perfect spot for snorkelling and diving, also the free-spirited locals, and the overall laidback and relaxed vibe of the place. If you are a bookworm you will definitely enjoy visiting the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum located on the island.