The Top 25 Tourist Attractions & Things To Do In Florida

Florida is one of the largest states in America so it’s probably no surprise that there are dozens of top attractions across the state for tourists.

The Top 25 Tourist Attractions In Florida

Known as the Sunshine State, Florida is a popular tourist destination for both Americans and international tourists and it’s because of the state’s great variety and range of attractions. 

Florida is known worldwide for its amusement parks and beaches, but that is only scratching the surface of what Florida has to offer.

Florida also has several top museums, national parks, art features, and cultural attractions that can also keep tourists interested and busy for weeks!

When you plan your visit to Florida, you will find yourself struggling to decide which tourist attractions to visit! With so many options available and only limited time during your vacation, choosing the best options can be confusing.

That’s why we’ve listed the top 25 tourist attractions in Florida. No matter what type of tourist attraction interests you, there is sure to be something on this list for you.

The following attractions are listed in alphabetical order so let’s get started!

1. Amelia Island

This island is located off the northeastern coast of Florida. It’s one of a chain of barrier islands that can be found off the East coast of Florida but is the one we would recommend visiting the most. 

The island used to be a hiding place for pirates but in modern times it’s become more known for its beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes.

You can learn all about the history of the island in the Amelia Island Historic District and the island is well-suited for tourists despite its small size.

There are several festivals and events held throughout the year, with the most popular being the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. While there, you can enjoy delicious food, quiet charm, and the idyllic nature of Amelia Island State Park.

2. Big Cypress National Preserve

Many people that visit Florida make sure to schedule a trip to the Everglades National Park (more on that later in the list.) However, if you prefer a quieter option that still has plenty to see, then Big Cypress National Preserve is a good choice.

It’s one of the first national preserves established in the United States and is home to miles of swamps, wetlands, and wet cypress forests.

These ecosystems are home to a variety of diverse animals such as alligators, crocodiles, cougars, snakes, black bears, and a large number of different birds.

For the adventurous, you can stay in the preserve overnight at designated campgrounds. There are several hiking trails available and you can also go canoeing, hunting, or for a swamp walk.

3. Busch Gardens

There are many things to do at Busch Gardens! It’s probably most well-known for the animals at the park as it has over 200 different animal species, including several critically endangered species. 

You can take a Serengeti Safari over a 65-acre section of the park, become a keeper for a day, or take an insider tour which will give you a behind-the-scenes view of your favorite animals.

If you’re not interested in animals or need another reason to visit Busch Gardens, then you can enjoy some of the best roller coaster rides in the country.

Thrillseekers will love to experience the speeds of drops of coasters such as SheiKra but there are also kid-friendly rides and water rides.

4. Castillo De San Marcos

The history of Castillo de San Marcos dates back more than 450 years when Florida was still under Spanish rule. It’s the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States and has seen many battles throughout its long history. 

Park rangers and volunteers are located around the site in period dress to help you learn more about the fort and are always available for photos!

There are formal presentations and exhibits to see as well but you’re free to enjoy the attraction in any manner you want.

If you head to the fort during the weekend, you can even see some demonstrations of the historical muskets and cannons that are on site.

5. Clearwater

The city of Clearwater is famous for its beautiful beaches. It has a three-mile stretch of some of the most stunning beaches you’ll find in all of Florida and these are framed by beautifully clear waters.

If you love beaches, you’re sure to love Clearwater. It has a long but narrow barrier reef that is popular with divers and Pier 60 is a great place for performances and to watch the sunset over the horizon.

Other attractions in Clearwater include the Marine Aquarium and Moccasin Lake Nature Park. The park covers a section of native forest and is full of trails and boardwalks as well as a lot of native wildlife.

6. Coral Castle

Originally known as Rock Gate Park, Coral Castle means that you don’t need to leave Florida or head to Disney World to see a castle!

It was built in 1920 by Edward Leedskalnin and is a little mysterious as people aren’t entirely sure how such a small man could build the castle in the ‘20s with the technology that was available to him at the time. 

The castle is full of interesting and intriguing aspects such as a 9-ton gate that can be opened with only a light touch.

As far as people can tell, the heavy stones that built the castle were not moved or carried with any obvious machinery which only adds to the mystery of the castle.

With so many unanswered questions about how Edward Leedskalnin built the castle, is it any wonder that so many think magic was involved?

7. Daytona International Speedway

The Daytona 500 is the most important and prestigious race in Nascar. Held every February, the race sees drivers complete 200 laps to complete 500 miles.

Getting tickets for the actual Indy 500 can be expensive and hard to track down but the track is still worth a visit outside of the Indy 500.

The track regularly holds other events throughout the year. There are other car and motorbike races that you can see but the venue also hosts festivals throughout the year. Summer sees several music festivals and other fun activities.

You can also take a tour of the track and facilities that take part on an open-air tram. You’ll see the start and finish line and even the pit road if it’s not a race day.

8. Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove is a must for any visitor to Florida that loves marine animals. It’s a sister park to SeaWorld and is most famous for its opportunities to get close and personal with dolphins. 

At Discovery Cove you’ll be able to have personal experiences with dolphins where you can interact with the bottlenose dolphins.

You can swim, touch and play with the dolphins in controlled encounters. Similar encounters are available with other animals such as tropical fish, sharks, rays, and flamingoes.

You can also enjoy the SeaVenture, which is an underwater walking tour. You wear a dive helmet as you walk through the park’s grand reef. There are also several non-water animals at the park and plenty of places to eat and relax.

9. Dry Tortugas National Park

This national park covers the Las Tortugas islands and has plenty for tourists to enjoy. You will need to plan your trip as the island chain is remote and can only be reached by either a seaplane or a boat.

This means that the park never gets too busy but it’s worth the trip if you can make it!

The park contains Fort Jefferson which is one of the largest 19th-century forts in the entire United States.

The islands are surrounded by beautiful clear blue waters and stunning coral reefs, making the national park a must-visit for anyone who loves to dive or snorkel.

The islands were named after the sea turtles that are native to them and you may be lucky enough to see five different species.

There are several different fish species in the waters around the islands and they’re also a popular location for watching bird migrations.

10. Duval Street

Located in Key West, if you head to this city then you must make a trip to Duval Street. Technically Key West is an island and Duval Street is the most famous street there.

It runs for more than a mile and stretches coast to coast across the southern part of the island.

As you walk down the street, you will see a wide variety of different buildings and attractions. At one end are historic mansions but the majority of the street is lined with businesses and souvenir shops. 

Duval Street is the perfect location for finding unique gifts. There are many art galleries and boutique shops to be found as well as exciting nightlife.

If you want a delicious meal, a relaxing drink, or to hear some live music, Duval Street is for you.

11. Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum

From one Key West location to another, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is also located on the island and is only a short walk away from Duval Street.

Hemingway lived at the house after moving there in the 1920s. The house has been kept in perfect condition and is a great example of the Spanish-style architecture that covers the island.

Several of Hemingway’s classic novels were written at the house and it’s a must-visit for any fans of the author.

You can see memorabilia relating to Hemingway’s writing and his life. You may also be lucky enough to see one of the approximately 60 cats that call the house home.

They’re all polydactyl cats, which means they have more toes than normal, and are said to be descended from Hemingway’s pet polydactyl cat.

12. Everglades National Park

This is the third largest national park in the United States and covers a huge 1.5 million acres. It’s located in the southernmost part of Florida and is even a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

The majority of the park is a swamp, wetland, and subtropical marshes. There are hundreds of different animal spaces in the park that call the various rivers, flatwoods, and mangroves of the park home.

Many of these animals are endangered, such as the American crocodile, the swallowtail butterfly, and the West Indian manatee.

You can explore the park by boat with a professional guide, go boating, take part in an educational program, or go fishing. You can camp within the park but you will need a permit.

13. Gatorland

If you prefer the opportunity to see alligators and crocodiles in a more controlled environment than the large expanse of the Everglades, then Gatorland might be more your speed.

As the name of the park suggests, the headline attraction is the alligators and the park has over 2,000 of them within its boundaries. This includes the very rare white alligators as well as several other more common species.

The park has many other types of animals, however, such as wild cats, reptiles, birds, and even capybaras. There are several shows you can attend and you can have face-to-face experiences with some of the safer animals in the park.

14. Kennedy Space Center

Located near Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center is essential for anyone that has an interest in space.

If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to catch a launch, but even if the space center isn’t sending any rockets into space there is still plenty to see at the visitor complex. 

You can explore the history of space exploration through the different mission zones in the center that each focus on a different chronological era.

The Bus Tour allows visitors to see launch sites and operational spaceflight facilities and there are several full-sized shuttles to view.

The on-site IMAX theater plays several movies daily and they’re not only educational, but possibly the closest you can get to going into space without leaving the Earth. 

15. Key West

We’ve already touched on Key West a couple of times in this list with the inclusion of Duval Street and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.

If you haven’t already made up your mind to visit the island, then let’s take the time to explain what else is waiting for you there.

We highly recommend visiting the Key West Historic District as this is a wonderful opportunity to explore the history of the city and island. One of the highlights is the armory, but you can also visit the aquarium and tropical gardens while you’re there.

At the southernmost point of the island is the Southernmost Point Buoy. Other than Hawaii, this is the most southern point in the United States and it’s become a focal point for a variety of activities, restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops.

16. National Naval Aviation Museum

This museum is found in Pensacola and focuses on naval aviation. You will be able to learn about the past, present, and future of naval aviation and the museum has a wide range of different aircraft on display.

See planes from the early days of aviation and their first uses in combat during World War through to examples of life on an aircraft carrier.

You can test your skills in state-of-the-art flight simulators and relive the Apollo 11 moon landing in VR.

There are several model cockpits to sit in and experience and a large 4K theater will also allow you to experience what it feels like to be in the cockpit as a plane flies.

The museum is also a place of learning so take advantage of the library and knowledgeable guides to learn more about the planes on display.

17. Salvador Dali Museum

The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg features the second-largest collection of Dali artworks in the world and the largest outside of Europe. In all, it includes over 2,400 different works and has seven of his 18 masterworks.

From the design of the building to the included exhibits, everything is designed to celebrate the great artist Salvador Dali and his sense of the surreal.

The permanent exhibitions include Dali’s paintings, illustrations, photographs, prints, and sculptures.

The museum has shorter-term exhibitions that only run for several months so you will need to see what is available during the period of your visit.

Guided tours are available for groups and those studying art can gain access to the numerous research materials held by the museum.

18. Seaworld Orlando

Seaworld is one of several blockbuster attractions in Orlando and may already be on your list of attractions to visit. It’s a park focused on marine life and aims to both entertain and educate about the aquatic animals in the park. 

The most famous residents of the park are the killer whales and there are daily presentations where guests can learn more about these amazing creatures while seeing them in action.

Similar presentations are also available for other animals such as dolphins, sea lions, and otters. There are also tours and encounters available to get closer to some of the animals.

There are several roller coasters in the park from the thrilling Ice Breaker to the more kid-friendly Big Bird’s Twirl ‘N’ Whirl. Kids will love Sesame Street Land and they’ll be able to meet all of their favorite characters.

19. South Beach/Miami Beach

Miami Beach is one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in all of Florida and the South Beach section is a particular highlight.

As well as being a stunning beach with clear blue waters in its own right, South Beach is also the oldest part of Miami so there are plenty of attractions located nearby.

The streets are lined with Streamline Moderne art deco architecture and you will find a large number of cultural destinations, parks, restaurants, and bars only a short walk away.

The Miami Holocaust Museum is a somber but must-visit museum and it is located in South Beach. 

Whether you want to relax on the beach, go fishing, head out to the water, or head further inland for some culture and delicious food, you will find it in South Beach.

20. St. Augustine

This is the oldest city in America so you can understand why it is so popular with tourists.

It has many buildings and structures that date back to times of Spanish colonization and rule and we introduced one of these earlier with Castillo de San Marcos.

However, there is more to St. Augustine than just that stunning fort. There is a big stretch of beautiful beach and the sea is important to the history of the city.

You can explore exactly how important it is by visiting the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.

There are several other museums and historical landmarks to see as well, such as the Lightner Museum and the Fort Matanzas National Monument. The latter of these requires a watercraft voyage to visit and it dates back to the mid-1700s.

21. Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios is one of the heavy-hitter attractions in Florida and is one of the top reasons why people travel to the state from all around the world.

It’s home to several attractions and areas based around your favorite TV shows and movies and no matter what you like, there is sure to be something for you.

One of the highlights of the park is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands where you can wander through Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade and enjoy themed coasters, stores, and restaurants.

If wizards aren’t your thing, then head to Jurassic Park to experience several dinosaur-themed attractions instead. 

Younger kids will enjoy seeing the Minions or the characters of Dr. Seuss and the entire family can cool down in the numerous water rides and slides in the park.

22. Venetian Pool

The Venetian Pool was first opened in 1924 and is the only swimming pool in America to be entered in the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s the largest freshwater swimming pool in the country, has two waterfalls, and several grottos for swimmers to explore and enjoy.

It’s the perfect place to relax during the hot Florida days and is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings with a Mediterranean flair.  

23. Vizcaya Museum And Gardens

Once the estate and villa of the famous socialite James Deering, the house and gardens were built in the early 20th century. Guests can now visit the estate by taking a guided tour or finding their own way.

Tours are available for the house, garden, and the nearby village as well.

The main house is now a museum and is home to a large collection of amazing art and furniture. It has one of the most complete and significant collections of fine Italian furniture in the entire country. 

The garden is also full of stunning art pieces and you will find an array of Italian busts, statues, vases, and urns on the grounds.

As well as these classic pieces, there are plenty of more modern artworks in the gardens such as the breakwater called the Barge. 

24. Walt Disney World

If you were to ask most tourists in Florida why they chose to visit the state over any other in America, the most common answer would probably be that they wanted to visit Walt Disney World.

There is so much to see and do at Disney World and its associated parks that they can fill up an entire vacation on their own.

There are several parks under the Disney umbrella and they will all appeal to different people. As well as the Magic Kingdom Park itself, you can visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney Springs, Disney Hollywood Studios, or the various water parks.

Whether you want to ride thrilling coasters, see amazing animals, enjoy live shows, or learn about the world, there is something for everyone at Walt Disney World.

Take advantage of the Fast Passes to skip the longer rides and plan your days well to ensure you get to enjoy every attraction you want to see.

Kids will love the chance to meet their favorite Disney characters and the entire family can enjoy the delicious food and drink on offer throughout the parks.

25. WonderWorks Orlando

With so many amusement parks in the Orlando area, it can be difficult to stand out but WonderWorks manages it by managing to combine fun with education.

The building along with its upside-down exterior appearance shows that this is different from other attractions in Orlando and that continues as you step inside. It has over 100 hands-on exhibits and is aimed at the younger members of the family.

The family can enjoy the Extreme Weather Zone where they’ll experience earthquakes and hurricanes, they can go through astronaut training in the Space Discovery Zone, and let their imagination run wild in the Imagination Lab.

There is so much for kids to enjoy as they learn about the world.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we listed the top 25 tourist attractions in Florida. We included several different types of attractions such as beaches, amusement parks, museums, cities, areas of cultural interest, and everything in between.

No matter what type of attraction interests you, you’re sure to find several options for you and your family on this list.

We hope that you enjoyed our selection of attractions and have fun on your Florida vacation.

Alex Kallen
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