Let’s be honest, Florida is a vacationer’s dream. So much to see, so much to do and the weather - with the exception of those rain squalls - is almost always sunny and beautiful.
What separates Florida from so many other places to see in the United States, are all of the amazing attractions and things to do in the Sunshine State. From the obvious to the obscure, traveling in Florida offers a stellar combination of real memory-makers for you and the entire family.
Don’t believe it? Here’s a Top 10 list of fun, interesting, exciting things to do in Florida, starting on the panhandle and heading to the Keys:
Panama City Beach
- There are two reasons to visit Panama City Beach in the western panhandle of the state...the beaches and the nightlife. Known as the home of the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches,” Panama City is lined with sugary white sand beaches, giving the coast an unusually bright glow during the day. At night, the glow comes from the bars and nightclubs that give the area its reputation as a must-see.
Ponta Vedra Beach
- The state of Florida is a golfer’s mecca. So if you are a golfer and choose to visit Florida’s attractions, you would be remiss if you skipped Ponta Vedra Beach, the home of the PGA Tour Headquarters and the organization’s jewel in the crown, TPC Sawgrass. The course - be prepared to drop $500/person for greens fees - is the home of the PGA PLAYER’S Championship and it’s iconic 17th hole is known the world over.
Daytona Motor Speedway
- Due South of your stop in Ponta Vedra sits the ancestral home of stock car racing in the US, the Daytona Motor Speedway, which is home of America’s Race, the Daytona 500, as well as Rolex 24 at Daytona, the nation’s premier 24-hour race. Racing opens in late January with the 24 and kicks into gear with the 500 in mid-February, the first stop of the NASCAR season. If you go, make sure you bring your earplugs...those cars can get loud!
- This isn’t a thing so much as a look at one of the great cities in Florida. Go to Orlando. If you have them, bring your Mickey Mouse ears and your Jurassic Park t-shirt, but no trip to Florida is complete without a stop in Orlando. Known as the Theme Park Capital of the World, Orlando boasts Walt Disney World, Universal City, Seaworld and LEGOLand.
NASA Kennedy Space Center
- If you are going to be near Orlando, then a few miles east, is another can’t miss Florida attraction on Merritt island, better known as Cape Canaveral, home of the NASA Kennedy Space Center. The Visitor Complex is filled with amazing pieces of American space exploration history, including the Shuttle Atlantis and Saturn V rocket. There is so much to see!
- In Tampa, baseball season is year-round. Of course you can see the Rays in their Tampa-adjacent (St. Petersburg) home at Tropicana Field - aka The Trop - during the MLB baseball season (late April through October/November). But you can also see half of the league, depending on the day, at the New York Yankees’ minor league facility during MLB Spring Training, with visitors taking their shot at getting a win at the legendary George M. Steinbrenner Field.
- Have you ever looked at the map of Florida and wondered what that giant spot of blue at the bottom of the state might be? Of course it’s water...but what body is so big it rivals many counties for square footage in the state. That would be Lake Okeechobee (O-kee-CHO-bee), the largest freshwater lake in the state and the second largest in the lower 48. The lake is 730 square miles and nearly 30 miles across. Though no longer safe to swim in (overgrowth of blue green algae) the area has a lot to see and do.
West Palm Beach
- Not far from the lake are some of the most beautiful, and accessible, beaches in the state. West Palm Beach, just next to the exclusive city of Palm Beach, has more public areas and is referred to by many as a slower Miami. The city boasts upscale shopping and dining while being much more laid back than the party-friendly South Beach.
- However, you cannot be in the southern part of the state and not visit the diverse and exciting Miami area, which has its share of amazing beaches, museums and shopping for daytime and some of the best nightlife in the world. From top-rated restaurants to pulse-pounding clubs, there will never be a dull moment in the city that brings us such diverse musical acts as the Miami Sound Machine and Pitbull.
- Once you have exhausted yourself traversing the state, it’s time to slow things down and take it easy. How about a 212 mile round trip drive on the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West? You probably won’t have to deal with jet fighters blowing it up like they did in the Arnold Swartzenegger film True Lies, but you will get to stop at many of the 70 Keys on your way to Key West, the last inhabited island in the chain. And when you do, do not deny yourself a taste of the legendary Key Lime Pie. We recommend the Key Lime Pie on a stick. It is well worth it.
Road trips like this allow you to make the most of your time with family while vacationing behind the wheel. It's a big beautiful country with so much to see. Load up the car with family and snacks, make sure you are fully insured (you saw that coming, right?) and get out to see it all! Florida drivers save $100s when they switch to Mercury. Find more information about our Florida auto insurance options and get a quote today!