Where to Go in Florida

SD › Best Places in Florida
Updated: January 5, 2022
By Santorini Dave

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Best beach destination in Florida.

The idyllic Tranquility Bay Resort in the Florida Keys. Our favorite beach hotel in Florida.

The Best Areas to Stay in Florida

Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the US for good reason – beautiful beaches, great food, charming small towns, amazing weather, fun nightlife, the Everglades, Florida Keys, and South Beach. What more could one want?

All Florida beaches are unique, wonderful, and worth visiting. But our favorites (especially for first timers) are the South Walton beaches.

  • Best Florida Destination for Couples and Honeymoon: Amelia Island
  • Best Florida Destination for Kids and Families: Orlando
  • Best Florida Destination for Nightlife: Miami
  • Best Florida Destination for Beaches: Emerald Coast
  • Best Florida Destination for Food: Miami
  • Best Florida Destination for kayaking: Everglades National Park

Florida – The Highlights

Best Cities in Florida

  • Miami
  • Tampa
  • St. Petersburg
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Orlando
  • Pensacola
  • St Augustine

Best Beaches in Florida

  • Johnson Beach National Seashore, Perdido Key
  • Caladesi Island State Park
  • South Beach, Miami Beach
  • Delray Beach
  • South Walton beaches
  • Pensacola Beach
  • Dry Tortugas – Garden Key
  • St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
  • Siesta Key
  • Panama City Beach

Best Vacation Spots in Florida

  • Orlando
  • Florida Keys
  • Miami Beach
  • Emerald Coast
  • Fort Lauderdale

Best Food Destinations in Florida

  • Miami – Stone crab claws, Floribbean cuisine, and Cuban/Latin American
  • Florida Keys & Key West – Fresh seafood, key lime pie, and conch fritters
  • Jacksonville – Camel rider sandwiches (deli meat stuffed into a pita)
  • Orlando – Celebrity chefs
  • Apalachicola – Local oysters and crabs
  • Tampa – Cuban food
  • Tarpon Springs – Greek food
  • Pensacola – Southern food and Grits à Ya Ya (at the Fish House)
  • Everglades – Alligator dishes (gator tail), Indian fry bread, and frogs’ legs
  • Monroe County – Annual spiny lobster harvest

Best Small Towns in Florida

  • Micanopy (Alachua County)
  • Apalachicola (Forgotten Coast)
  • Defuniak Springs (Panhandle)
  • Cedar Key
  • Mt Dora
  • Celebration
  • New Smyrna Beach
  • Tarpon Springs
  • Flagler Beach
  • Fernandina Beach

The 35 Best Places to Visit in Florida

1. Key West

Key West feels a very long way from mainland America. Famed for its big-game fishing, tiny but tropical beaches, raucous nightlife, and its well publicized connection with Ernest Hemingway, Key West retains its laidback, bohemian, and individualist spirit despite the hoards of tourists that pile down US-1 every year. It boasts an especially vibrant LGBT community, brings in the New Year with style, and celebrates the sunset every evening with street performers and stalls in waterfront Mallory Square, the de facto center of town. From here, Duval Street is lined with legendary bars – Captain Tony’s Saloon, Green Parrot Inn, Hog’s Breath Saloon, Margaritaville and Sloppy Joe’s. Other highlights include the Oldest House Museum, Key West Aquarium, Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, Truman Little White House, Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, and The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. There’s also the Tennessee Williams Museum – the famous playwright also lived in Key West.

2. South Beach, Miami Beach

For many visitors South Beach is Miami. This legendary stretch of sand runs from the southern tip of Miami Beach – a chain of man-made barrier islands connected to Miami proper via causeways – to 23rd Street. It’s best known for its lively nightlife and waterside promenade (Ocean Drive), culinary scene, the biggest cache of Art Deco architecture in the world, and the white-sand beach itself, one of Florida’s best. Pedestrianized Lincoln Road is the neighborhood’s shopping district, while Española Way is a Spanish-themed street of restaurants and boutiques. Other non-beach attractions include the Wolfsonian-FIU museum and The Bass art museum, while the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach is a poignant memorial to the victims of Nazi Germany.

3. Everglades National Park

Florida’s most unique natural feature, the Everglades National Park is a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, and a “Wetland of International Importance”. Encompassing much of the southern end of Florida, the Everglades is a bizarre, watery world of swamps and flat sawgrass plains punctuated by small pockets of trees known as “hammocks”. The area heaves with wildlife, most conspicuously alligators, of which there are thousands; manatees and the elusive Florida panther also live here. The park has 3 main access points. The most popular section begins just south of Homestead, where Hwy-9336 (Ingraham Highway) cuts across the plains to the Gulf sportsfishing and canoeing hub at Flamingo. Further north, Shark Valley can only be accessed from US-41 (the Tamiami Trail), while Everglades City on the far western side of the park is the gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands section of the Everglades, and the Wilderness Waterway, a marked kayak trail.

4. Walt Disney World Resort

Most people who come to Orlando come to visit Walt Disney World. Some 17 miles southwest of Downtown Orlando, it’s so vast it’s like an independent city. Since opening in 1971, it has expanded from the original Magic Kingdom theme park and iconic Cinderella Castle to encompass 3 additional “worlds” – Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (home of “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”), each one worth at least a day of exploration. There’s also Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, 4 golf courses, and Disney Springs, a “downtown” area of restaurants and malls. With over 25 official hotel options on Disney property, accommodation packages can help to lower the hefty costs involved and make it tempting never to leave the resort (cars are definitely not required).

5. Universal Orlando Resort

One of the gems in Orlando’s theme park crown, and Disney’s principal competition, the Universal Orlando Resort comprises 3 main areas: Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure (with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter split between them), and Volcano Bay (an incredible waterpark), with CityWalk acting as a shopping and entertainment hub (a bit like Disney Springs). Like Disney World, Universal encompasses several on-site hotels, but there are numerous places to stay nearby.

6. Kennedy Space Center, Space Coast

The family-friendly attractions at the Visitor Complex at the Kennedy Space Center can easily fill a full day, offering an enlightening and fun introduction to the US space program. NASA’s space vehicles have been developed, tested, and blasted into orbit from here on Merritt Island and the adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station since 1958. The Visitor Complex is set up like a theme park, with everything from exhibitions and displays on the moon landings to space shuttle launch simulations. The Space Shuttle Atlantis is also here, one of only three shuttles preserved in the US. To see the actual working base, the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour runs almost continually to the colossal Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), LC-39 Observation Gantry, and Apollo/Saturn V Center, which houses a 363-foot long Saturn V rocket.

7. St. Petersburg

Some 23 miles southwest of Tampa, on the other side of the bay, St. Petersburg is the region’s artistic and cultural heart, with a line up of world-class museums and galleries. Topping the list are The Dalí, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Chihuly Collection, but St. Pete also hosts the newish James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art and the Imagine Museum of Glass. Central Avenue is lined with indie galleries, posh boutiques, restaurants, and bars. The Florida Holocaust Museum is also here, as well as the recently rebuilt St. Pete Pier, the hub of a lively waterfront dining, shopping, and entertainment district.

8. The Florida Keys via the Overseas Highway (US-1)

The Overseas Highway (aka US-1) makes for one of America’s great road trips. Running for 125 miles from Florida City to Key West, it’s a remarkable feat of engineering, connecting the Florida Keys with a series of bridges and causeways, soaring over deep-blue channels and lagoons filled with tropical fish, giant rays, and sharks (often clearly visible). The Keys themselves are best known for the Florida Reef a few miles offshore, which attracts a dizzying array of marine life best experienced at John Pennekamp State Park or Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. Eating seafood and enjoying watersports and sportsfishing are the other major pursuits here, though there are also several wildlife sanctuaries for dolphins and turtles, and the endearing Key deer, which roam wild on Big Pine Key.

9. St Augustine

America’s oldest city, founded by the Spanish in 1565, St Augustine is one of the state’s most intriguing historical enclaves. Remnants of the colonial period – it was at times ruled by the Spanish and the British – include the 17th-century Castillo de San Marcos, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, the Colonial Quarter, Peña Peck House, Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, and Oldest House Museum. In the late 19th century, oil tycoon Henry Flagler developed the town as his first Florida winter resort, leading to a boom in Spanish Revival buildings: Flagler College, the Lightner Museum, and Villa Zorayda Museum are the best examples. On the edge of town stands the Fountain of Youth, an archeological site and tribute to the legend pursued by the Spanish conquistadors.

10. Pensacola

This Spanish colonial city boasts a beautifully preserved historic core, with some 28 properties and museums forming Historic Pensacola. Chief among them is the T.T. Wentworth Jr Florida State Museum, Julee Cottage, and the Museum of Commerce and Museum of Industry. Six miles west, the vast Naval Air Station Pensacola contains the excellent National Naval Aviation Museum, one of the nation’s biggest and best air museums, and the Pensacola Lighthouse & Museum. The sugary sands of Pensacola Beach lie some 5 miles from Downtown Pensacola on Santa Rosa Island (connected to the mainland by a couple of bridges). The central built-up area near the 1471ft-long Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier features 2 beaches: the wide, Gulf-facing Casino Beach and the calmer, narrower bay side strip along the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk. On the Gulf side, undeveloped stretches line the coast for miles either side of the pier – Santa Rosa Island is 40-miles long. Because it’s composed of tiny quartz granules, the sand always stays cool in spite of the sun, and the emerald-hued water tends to be warm and shallow, perfect for swimming.

11. Dry Tortugas National Park

Some 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is expensive to get to – it’s only accessible by high-speed catamaran or seaplane – but it’s the state’s most exotic location. Its main feature is the giant red-brick Fort Jefferson, a long-abandoned 19th-century fortification looming out of the ocean like a fantasy castle. The park comprises seven small islets, but the fort stands on Garden Key, surrounded by small but pristine beaches and crystalline waters rich in marine life – it’s best known for exceptional snorkeling and the flocks of nesting Sooty Terns and Brown Noddys on neighboring Bush Key.

12. Wynwood and the Design District, Miami

Around 2 miles north from Downtown Miami, the former warehouse district of Wynwood has morphed into the arts hub of South Florida. It began with Wynwood Walls, an outdoor graffiti museum, with murals and street art now encompassing the entire neighborhood. Today, there are more than 70 art galleries here as well as hip restaurants and bars. Other attractions include the Miami Selfie Museum, the Museum of Graffiti, Rubell Museum and Margulies Collection at the Warehouse. Across I-195 from Wynwood, the compact Miami Design District is home to over 130 art galleries, posh shops, antiques dealers, restaurants, and bars clustered around the main drag, NE 40th Street. Other attractions include the Haitian Heritage Museum, the De la Cruz Collection, and Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.

13. Crystal River – Swimming with Manatees

Manatees, the gentle, endangered marine mammals known as “sea cows”, are one of Florida’s most endearing natural features, often visible in numerous parks, rivers, and lakes around the state. Our favorite spot to see them is Crystal River, some 75 miles north from Tampa. Here the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge attracts manatees year-round, with the extra bonus that it is the only place in Florida where it is permitted to swim with manatees – a magical experience. The Three Sisters Springs is a popular spot to get in the water, but there’s also a boardwalk. Captain Mike’s Swimming with the Manatees and Fun2Dive offer tours.

14. South Walton beaches

Much of Northwest Florida’s famed Emerald Coast is contained within Walton County, with the pristine white-sand beaches of South Walton lining the coast in a continuous strip some 26 miles long. It’s a safe and popular destination for families, with less crowds than the neighboring resorts of Panama City Beach and Destin. Highlights include Santa Rosa Beach, with its upscale dining and Gulf Place artist colony, and nearby Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, a completely undeveloped stretch of 25-foot high dunes and coastal lakes. We also love Blue Mountain Beach (named after the local blue lupine flowers), which has the added attraction of Big Redfish Lake, the ice cream at Blue Mountain Creamery and Blue Mabel Smokehouse. Finally, Grayton Beach State Park is another unspoiled strand backed by a coastal forest of scrub oaks and magnolias.

15. Tampa

One of Florida’s great cities, Tampa is best known for the beaches on the other side of the bay, but it also features a lively Downtown area crammed with attractions. In addition to the Amalie Arena (home to Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team) and several theaters, there’s the Tampa Museum of Art, Glazer Children’s Museum, Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay History Center, and the American Victory Ship & Museum. University of Tampa’s Henry B. Plant Museum lies just across the Hillsborough River. Tampa’s historic Latin quarter, Ybor City is the home of excellent museums and famous Cuban restaurants such as Columbia, but is best known for its nightlife today, especially along 7th Avenue. North Tampa includes the Busch Gardens theme park, Adventure Island waterpark, the Museum of Science and Industry, and ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

16. Forgotten Coast

“Old Florida” lives on along the Forgotten Coast, a stretch of thinly populated towns and barrier islands at the eastern end of the Panhandle. It’s the most unspoiled, undeveloped part of the state, an enticing combination of empty beaches, pristine forests, and fine seafood – Apalachicola oysters and smoked fish dip are specialties. Highlights include the 27 miles of powdery white sands on St George Island, the sensational beaches on 15-mile St Joseph Peninsula, the charming small towns of Port St Joe and Apalachicola (and its seafood restaurants), and the trails of Apalachicola National Forest.

17. Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island, 20 miles southwest of Fort Myers, is best known for its beachcombing opportunities, with an incredible array of shells scattered along its 15-mile Gulf coast. Connected to the mainland by causeway, the island (and neighboring Captiva Island), features incredible sunsets, an historic lighthouse, and a huge range of accommodations, from luxurious resorts to cheap rentals. Some 250 types of shells have been recorded on the island’s beaches, which are protected from overdevelopment by local ordinance.

18. Cedar Key

An isolated island off Florida’s northwest coast (linked to the mainland by causeway), Cedar Key is a genuine slice of “Old Florida”, its rustic cabins and shacks, ramshackle galleries, and extremely picturesque old wooden homes. A thriving railway terminus and port in the late 19th century, the island was soon stripped of its pine and cedar trees, and after the 1896 Cedar Keys hurricane, it went into steep decline. Today the town’s tiny population mostly survives on clam fishing and tourism, with several excellent seafood restaurants (including Steamers), and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge providing boating, kayaking, and wildlife spotting opportunities.

19. Fort Lauderdale

Just north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is best known for its fabulous beaches – a long stretch of Atlantic coastline made up principally of barrier islands separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway. The main rainy-day attraction is the International Swimming Hall of Fame. The principal attractions away from the beach lie in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the region’s commercial and cultural center. Las Olas Boulevard is the city’s premier shopping and entertainment street, while the Riverwalk makes a pleasant waterside promenade between several museums and arts venues: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, History Fort Lauderdale, the Museum of Discovery and Science, NSU Art Museum and Historic Stranahan House Museum. Thanks to its miles of canals, Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America”, best appreciated by Water Taxi or cruise boats such as the Jungle Queen.

20. The Ringling and Cà d’Zan

The Ringling in Sarasota is the legacy of John and Mable Ringling and the Ringling circus empire, which established its winter quarters here in 1927. Today the museum complex comprises several properties, most notably the Cà d’Zan, built for the Ringlings in the style of a Venetian Gothic palace in 1926. The Museum of Art, with its priceless collection of European paintings, opened in 1931. The Circus Museum followed in 1948, and soon after, the Ringlings purchased the 18th-century Asolo Theater in Italy and reassembled it in Sarasota. The stunning Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Center for Asian Art and the Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art, opened in 2016, while the Kotler-Colville Glass Pavilion debuted in 2018. Today, the whole complex is managed by Florida State University.

21. St Andrews State Park/Shell Island (Panama City Beach)

With miles of chalky white sands on the Gulf coast and a host of family-friendly attractions, Panama City Beach is one of the most popular resorts in Florida. Its best stretch of beach lies at the very southern end of the strip. The untrammelled wilderness at St Andrews State Park is one of the state’s highlights, with fabulous white-sand beaches and pontoon boats shuttling across to even more pristine Shell Island, which boasts an almost empty 7-mile strip of sand and shells.

22. Palm Beach

The island of Palm Beach has been a wealthy enclave since oil tycoon and railroad builder Henry Flagler established legendary hotels here in the 1890s (The Breakers still stands). Today, its beautiful beaches are backed of some of the most expensive real estate in the US (featuring the Mediterranean-influenced “Palm Beach Style”), but there are also plenty of attractions. Flagler’s “Whitehall”, his lavish former residence, is now the Flagler Museum, while the Society of the Four Arts hosts concerts, films, and art exhibitions. Lined with palm trees, the main drag of Worth Avenue is filled with designer stores and upscale art galleries ideal for exploration on foot. The city’s culinary scene is highlighted at the annual Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival each winter.

23. Naples

One of Southern Florida’s most affluent cities also boasts a beautiful 10-mile strand of white sand lined with palms and anchored by the 19th-century Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier. The real highlights here are the sunsets, some of the most spectacular in the state. Away from the beach, the main attraction is Naples Botanical Garden, a 170-acre preserve that features plants from around the world. Downtown Naples features boutiques and restaurants on Naples Bay (including the Tin City Waterfront Shops), while the Naples Depot Museum chronicles the history of transportation in the city. Other highlights include the vintage cars at the Revs Institute and Naples Zoo.

24. Daytona Beach

The quintessential Florida beach town, Daytona Beach is a superb family-friendly destination, with a huge beach, plenty of accommodations, beach activities, and lots to do inland. There are sections of the beach open to cars (meaning people can drive right up to their own spots). The best attractions off the beach include Daytona Lagoon waterpark, Daytona Boardwalk Amusements, the Marine Science Center, Museum of Arts & Sciences, and Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. The city is also synonymous with car racing, with the world-famous Daytona 500 held (in mid-February) at the Daytona International Speedway since 1959. Today, it’s possible to take tours of the stadium and even drive cars on the celebrated circuit.

25. Johnson Beach National Seashore, Perdido Key

One of our all-time favorite Florida beaches is on Perdido Key, in the far western corner of Florida’s Panhandle – the island is shared with Alabama. The Johnson Beach National Seashore encompasses the eastern part of the island, a stunning strand of bone-white beach that goes on for miles. Protected as part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, there are restrooms, outdoor showers, and picnic pavilions but little else here, and no shade. Lifeguards are typically on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and it’s an excellent place to swim.

26. Tallahassee

The state capital of Florida has more in common with the Deep South than South Beach, but it’s crammed with historic attractions and boasts a youthful population thanks to Florida State University (FSU) and Florida A&M University (FAMU). Get to grips with Florida history at the Knott House Museum, Museum of Florida History, and the John G. Riley Center & Museum. Just outside the city stands one of the most impressive reconstructions of a Native American village in the country, the Mission San Luis as well as the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, Tallahassee Automobile Museum, and the Tallahassee Museum, which showcases everything from a small zoo to a re-creation of a rural Floridian farm.

27. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

One of the country’s best beaches lies in St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, another Gulf coast favorite (though the park suffered significant damage from Hurricane Michael in October 2018). Because there’s little development here, the 20 miles of pristine, white sand beaches and dunes are often empty, with stretches encompassing the whole peninsula, beyond the park down to the Cape San Blas lighthouse. Sea turtles nest here from May to October.

28. Amelia Island

Right on Florida’s northeastern border with Georgia, Amelia Island boasts 13 miles of stunning beaches and a beautiful 19th-century main town, Fernandina Beach. The historic downtown is crammed with eclectic and independent shops that stretch from the harborfront to Centre Street, as well as the Amelia Island Museum of History and The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island. Other attractions include Fort Clinch State Park and American Beach Museum, which commemorates one of the only non-segregated beaches in the South.

29. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach, some 25 miles west of Downtown Tampa, is the Tampa Bay region’s most lively seaside community, and another justly popular choice with families. In addition to a wide range of accommodations, there’s volleyball, parasailing, and jet-skiing, as well as the nightly Pier 60 sunset celebration. For all-round entertainment – and a beautiful white-sand beach – it’s hard to beat. Just to the south, Sand Key Park offers a less developed seaside experience, while Clearwater Marine Aquarium is noted especially for its dolphin program (featuring Winter, star of a Dolphin’s Tale).

30. Siesta Key

One of our favorite family-friendly beaches lies on Siesta Key, some 7 miles south of Downtown Sarasota. The main Gulf-facing strands here – Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach, and Turtle Beach – offer calm, clear, and warm water perfect for swimming, as well as that fine, white quartz sand that stays cool in the hot sun. It’s also known for its mesmerizing sunsets. There are plenty of accommodations near the beach (Siesta Key Village) as well as eating options. Kids love the Siesta Key Drum Circle (with music and dancers) held at sunset every Sunday. Another bonus is the Siesta Key trolley bus, which shuttles up and down the island for free (there’s also Johnny’s Original Free Ride and Siesta Key Frog Hop).

31. Ocala National Forest

Known for its crystalline lakes, natural springs, canoeing opportunities and a 66-mile section of the Florida National Scenic Trail, the sand pine scrub woodlands of the Ocala National Forest remain surprisingly off the radar for most visitors to Florida. The real highlights here are the reserve’s 4 beautiful freshwater spring recreation areas, all featuring natural swimming pools of clear, blue waters – especially refreshing in the hot summer months. Our favorite is rustic Juniper Springs, which features a relatively compact swimming hole beneath a canopy of live oaks. A larger, lake-like spot for a swim or snorkel is Alexander Springs, where the swimming area has a fine sandy bottom; Silver Glen Springs gets the most sun, while at Salt Springs, the springs are clearly visible bubbling up under the surface amidst a semitropical landscape.

32. Caladesi Island State Park

Another Gulf coast favorite, the chalky-white beach at Caladesi Island State Park is a blissfully wild strand only accessible by boat (the 15-minute ferry departs Dunedin’s Honeymoon Island State Park, which also has fabulous beaches). The whole barrier island remains undeveloped, much of it smothered in mangrove, old-growth slash pines, and live oaks forest. The soft white sands of the 3-mile Caladesi beach are rarely crowded, though there are restrooms, picnic tables, and snacks at Café Caladesi, which rents beach chairs and umbrellas.

33. Juno Beach

Sleepy Juno Beach, 12 miles north of Downtown West Palm Beach, is best known for its long stretch of (usually empty) sand, protected dunes, and family-friendly attractions. Juno Beach Park (which has plenty of free parking) features the 990-foot Juno Beach Pier, a popular spot for strolls, sunrise viewing, and fishing. The pier is managed by the nearby Loggerhead Marinelife Center, a sea turtle conservation center and sea life hospital open to the public.

34. Micanopy

Northern Florida is peppered with small towns reminiscent of the Deep South, but our favorite is Micanopy, just off I-75. Its sleepy downtown – along Cholokka Boulevard – features moss-draped live oaks and 19th-century brick buildings converted into antique and craft shops, hotels, and places to eat. Highlights include the Gallery Under the Oaks, set in a historic log cabin from the 1930s, the enlightening Micanopy Historical Society Museum, and 10 miles east in Cross Creek, the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. The latter commemorates beloved local writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896–1953), author of the best selling novel The Yearling (1937). The nearby Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is also worth checking out, with 8 hiking trails, a 50-foot high observation tower, and plenty of wildlife – including wild-roaming bison and horses.

35. Blackwater River State Forest

Known as the “the canoe capital of Florida”, Blackwater River State Forest covers a large chunk of the Panhandle. It encompasses land along the Blackwater River, which meanders 30 miles south from Alabama to Blackwater Bay. It also includes Blackwater River State Park, with canoeing and kayaking and 30 beautiful sand beaches spanning the length of the river.

Florida Travel Itinerary

Florida is not huge by North American standards, but it is very long, meaning that driving from Miami to Pensacola (675 miles) can take a couple of days. With limited time, it’s best to focus on either the south/center or north/Panhandle sections of the state, which are in any case very different.

  • Florida Itinerary for 7 days: 3 days in Miami, 1 day in the Everglades, and 4 days in the Florida Keys and Key West, OR, 3 days in Miami, 1 day in the Everglades, and 4 days in Orlando.
  • Florida Itinerary for 10 days: 3 days in Miami, 2 days in the Everglades, 3 days on the Gold Coast, 2 days in Florida Keys; OR 3 days in Miami, 3 days on the Gold Coast, 2 days in Orlando, 2 days in Tampa Bay.
  • Florida Itinerary for 14 days: 3 days in Miami, 3 days in the Florida Keys, 1 day in the Everglades, 2 days on the Gold Coast, 2 days in Orlando, 3 days in Tampa Bay OR 3 days in Tampa, 2 days Orlando, 3 days South Walton Beaches, 1 day Tallahassee, 1 day Blackwater State River Park, 4 days Pensacola.

About Santorini Dave

Santorini Dave Santorini Dave was started in 2011 by a guy who loves Greece and Europe, travel and great hotels. We're now a small team of writers and researchers dedicated to providing the best travel content on the internet. We focus on Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Greece, offering recommendations for top hotels, neighborhoods, and family-friendly hotels worldwide. Dave can be contacted at dave@santorinidave.com.