11 Things You Need To Do On A Florida Vacation

to do in florida universal studios

When it comes to planning your next vacation, Florida is a top destination that offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences. With its beautiful beaches, exciting theme parks, and diverse outdoor activities, Florida has something for everyone.

One of the main reasons to choose Florida for your vacation is its warm climate. Whether you want to soak up the sun on the sandy beaches or explore the lush nature reserves, Florida’s weather allows for year-round outdoor enjoyment. The Sunshine State lives up to its name, with an average of 230 sunny days a year, making it the perfect destination for those seeking a tropical getaway.

Florida’s world-class attractions are another reason to visit. From the iconic Disney World to the awe-inspiring Kennedy Space Center, there are plenty of must-visit destinations that will leave you spellbound. Disney World is a dream come true for families, with its enchanting theme parks, thrilling rides, and opportunities to meet beloved characters. The Kennedy Space Center, on the other hand, offers a chance to learn about NASA’s missions, explore the history of space exploration, and even witness a rocket launch if you’re lucky.

Top Tourist Attractions in Florida

Florida is home to some of the most famous tourist attractions in the United States. These attractions offer unique experiences and endless entertainment for visitors of all ages. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the must-visit destinations in the Sunshine State:

  1. Disney World: A visit to Florida is not complete without experiencing the magic of Disney World. With four main theme parks, including the iconic Magic Kingdom, Disney World offers a world of enchantment, adventure, and imagination. From meeting your favorite Disney characters to enjoying thrilling rides and spectacular shows, Disney World is a place where dreams come true.
  2. Aquatica: A unique blend of water rides, slides, and animal exhibits. The park is characterized by its vibrant, tropical theme, featuring lush landscaping and colorful designs that create an inviting atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a variety of water activities such as: wave pools, lazy rivers, tube slides and adrenaline-pumping slides. The iconic “Dolphin Plunge,” where guests slide through clear tubes amidst a habitat of playful dolphins is a fav. Aquatica Orlando provides an enjoyable experience for guests of all ages, making it a must-visit destination for water lovers and families seeking a day of fun in the heart of Florida.
  3. Kennedy Space Center: For those fascinated by space exploration, the Kennedy Space Center is a must-visit destination. Located on Florida’s east coast, this NASA facility offers a behind-the-scenes look at the history and future of space travel. Explore the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, visit the Rocket Garden, and even meet real astronauts. If you time your visit right, you may even witness a rocket launch into space.

Beaches and Water Activities

Florida is blessed with some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Whether you’re looking for a lively beach scene or a quiet paradise, Florida has it all. From the vibrant Miami Beach to the perfect Clearwater Beach and the powdery white sands of Siesta Key Beach, there is a beach to suit every preference.

Aside from sunbathing and swimming, Florida’s beaches also offer a wide range of water activities. Snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Florida Keys allows you to explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Scuba diving enthusiasts can venture deeper into the underwater world to discover hidden treasures and encounter fascinating creatures. Fishing is another popular activity along the coast, with opportunities to catch a variety of fish species.

For those seeking a more adventurous water experience, Florida’s rivers and springs provide opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. The Ichetucknee Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs are popular spots for these activities, offering a chance to explore scenic waterways and encounter wildlife in their natural habitat.

Theme Parks and Amusement Parks

No visit to Florida would be complete without exploring its world-famous theme parks and amusement parks. These parks offer a combination of thrilling rides, live entertainment and great experiences that will leave you wanting more. Let’s take a closer look at some of the must-visit theme parks in Florida:

1. Disney World:

As mentioned earlier, Disney World is a must-visit place for families. Disney World, is a famous entertainment complex and theme park located in Orlando, Florida. It stands as one of the most iconic and expansive amusement destinations globally, having four major theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom, with its iconic Cinderella Castle, is the classic Disney experience, with beloved characters, thrilling rides, and amazing attractions. EPCOT has a celebration of human achievement, technology and diversity. Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a peek into the world of movies, television, and entertainment, with attractions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. Lastly, Disney’s Animal Kingdom combines a theme park experience with a focus on the natural world and conservation efforts. Disney World is a beloved destination for families, friends and enthusiasts seeking a magical experience filled with adventure and nostalgia.

disney world resort to do in Florida

2. Universal Orlando:

Universal Orlando is another top destination for thrill-seekers and movie lovers. With its two theme parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, visitors can step into the wizarding world of Harry Potter, embark on an adventure with Spider-Man, and journey through the prehistoric era in Jurassic Park. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must-see, with its recreated Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

to do in florida universal studios

3. SeaWorld Orlando:

If you’re fascinated by marine life, SeaWorld Orlando is the perfect place to visit. This marine park offers a unique combination of thrilling rides, live shows with dolphins and killer whales and chances to learn about marine conservation. Don’t miss the chance to experience up-close encounters with dolphins, sea turtles, and even sharks.

dolphins at sea world florida
dolphins at sea world florida

When visiting these theme parks, it’s important to plan ahead. Purchasing tickets in advance and using fast pass options can help you make the most of your time and avoid long queues. Additionally, staying informed about special events and special attractions will ensure that you don’t miss out on any unforgettable experiences.

Outdoor Adventures

For nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, Florida’s diverse landscape provides endless chances for exploration. The state is home to numerous state parks, nature reserves and national parks that offer a range of outdoor activities. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these outdoor adventures:

1. Biscayne National Park:

Located just a few miles from downtown Miami, Biscayne National Park offers a different kind of outdoor adventure. Explore the park’s underwater wonders through snorkeling or scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters of Biscayne Bay. Paddleboarding and kayaking are also popular activities, allowing you to navigate through mangrove forests and discover hidden coves.

biscayne park to do in florida

2. Ocala National Forest:

If you’re looking for a forest adventure, Ocala National Forest is the place to be. With over 600 lakes, rivers, and springs, this forest is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking trails, camping grounds, and opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming make it an ideal destination for those seeking a back-to-nature experience.

These are just a few examples of the outdoor adventures that await in Florida. Whether you’re exploring the unique ecosystem of the Everglades, diving into the vibrant coral reefs of the Florida Keys, or kayaking through the winding rivers and springs, you’re sure to create great memories.

Wildlife Encounters

Florida is home to a rich variety of wildlife, making it a haven for nature lovers. From the iconic manatees and alligators to dolphins and migratory bird species, there’s no shortage of unique encounters to be had. Let’s explore some of the best wildlife experiences in Florida:

wildlife in florida
  1. Everglades National Park: The Everglades is not only a natural wonder, but it’s also a sanctuary for a diverse range of wildlife. Take a guided tour or explore the park’s hiking trails to spot alligators, manatees, and a variety of bird species, including the colorful roseate spoonbill and the majestic bald eagle.
  2. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: Located near the Kennedy Space Center, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge offers opportunities to observe a variety of bird species, including migratory birds that visit the refuge during their annual migration. The refuge is also home to alligators, river otters, and the elusive Florida scrub jay.
  3. Dry Tortugas National Park: For a truly unique wildlife experience, consider visiting Dry Tortugas National Park, located 70 miles west of Key West. This remote park is home to an abundance of marine life, including sea turtles, vibrant coral reefs, and tropical fish. You can also spot a variety of bird species, such as the magnificent frigatebird and the masked booby.

When encountering wildlife in their natural habitats, it’s important to practice responsible tourism. Keep a safe distance, avoid feeding or touching the animals, and follow any guidelines provided by park rangers or tour guides. By respecting the wildlife and their habitats, you can help preserve these precious ecosystems for future generations.

Cultural and Historical Sites

Florida’s cultural and historical sites offer a glimpse into its rich heritage. From art museums to historical landmarks, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the state’s history and culture. Let’s explore a few of these cultural and historical gems:

st augustine florida
  1. Salvador Dali Museum: Located in St. Petersburg, the Salvador Dali Museum houses the largest collection of works by the renowned Spanish artist outside of Europe. Explore the museum’s extensive collection of surrealist art and learn about Dali’s life and artistic vision.
  2. Ringling Museum of Art: Situated in Sarasota, the Ringling Museum of Art is a must-visit for art lovers. This museum has an impressive collection of European paintings, art and circus memorabilia. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the stunning Ca’ d’Zan, the former home of John and Mable Ringling.
  3. Castillo de San Marcos: Located in St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. Explore the well-preserved fort and learn about its role in protecting the Spanish colony of St. Augustine. The fort offers breathtaking views of the city and the Matanzas River.
  4. Edison and Ford Winter Estates: In Fort Myers, you can visit the winter homes of two American innovators, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Explore the beautifully preserved estates, wander through the botanical gardens, and learn about the contributions of these visionaries.

Florida’s cultural diversity is also celebrated through various festivals and events. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa brings the spirit of swashbuckling pirates to the city, with a parade and lively festivities. The Calle Ocho Festival in Miami celebrates Latin American culture through music, dance, and delicious food.

Shopping and Dining Experiences

Florida is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide range of shopping experiences to suit every taste and budget. From luxury malls to charming local shops and markets, you’ll find it all here. Let’s explore some of the best shopping destinations in Florida:


Known for its vibrant fashion scene, Miami is a shopping mecca. Visit the luxury shops of the Design District or explore the trendy boutiques of South Beach. For a unique shopping experience, head to the Lincoln Road Mall, an open-air pedestrian mall that is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.


In addition to its world-class theme parks, Orlando is also a great destination for shopping. The Mall at Millenia offers a luxurious shopping experience with its high-end designer stores, while the Orlando International Premium Outlets provide a wide range of discounted brands. Don’t forget to visit Disney Springs for a unique shopping experience with a touch of Disney magic.

Disney springs to do in florida
disney springs


Tampa is another city with excellent shopping options. International Plaza and Bay Street is a premier shopping destination, featuring upscale retailers and a variety of dining options. For a more eclectic shopping experience, head to Ybor City, a historic neighborhood known for its unique shops, boutiques, and local artisans.

When it comes to dining, Florida’s food scene is as diverse as its population. Fresh seafood is a highlight, with dishes like stone crab claws, grouper, and Key West pink shrimp. International cuisine is also abundant, with a variety of restaurants offering flavors from around the world. For a taste of local flavors, don’t miss the opportunity to try Florida’s famous Key lime pie or a Cuban sandwich.

key lime in florida

Exploring local farmers markets is another great way to experience Florida’s agricultural heritage while sampling fresh produce. From the Winter Park Farmers Market in Orlando to the GreenMarket in West Palm Beach, these markets offer a wide range of fruits, vegetables, artisanal products, and more.

Tips for a Memorable Florida Vacation

To ensure a memorable and stress-free Florida vacation, here are some essential tips:

  1. Plan your vacation in advance to make the most of your time and ensure availability for popular attractions. Research the attractions and activities you want to experience and create an itinerary that allows for flexibility.
  2. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, as Florida’s climate can vary throughout the year. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent for outdoor activities.
  3. Consider renting a car for flexibility and convenience in exploring different parts of the state. Florida has a well-developed highway system, making it easy to navigate between cities and attractions.
  4. Research and take advantage of any discounts or special offers for attractions and accommodations. Many attractions offer discounted tickets for buying online in advance, and hotels may have special packages or promotions.
  5. Be mindful of peak tourist seasons and plan your visit accordingly to avoid crowds and higher prices. Winter and spring are popular times to visit Florida due to the pleasant weather, but also tend to be busier. Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of fall or summer for a quieter experience.
  6. Stay hydrated and take breaks from the sun. Florida’s warm climate can be intense, so it’s important to drink plenty of water and seek shade when needed. Don’t forget to stay hydrated even if you’re spending time by the water, as the sun and saltwater can be dehydrating.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on an unforgettable Florida vacation filled with adventure, relaxation and cultural experiences. So start planning today and get ready to make lifelong memories in the Sunshine State!



I started Social Kelli as more of a journal than a blog and realized that it could also speak to other women like me leading normal yet unique lives. Women like me, who are not celebrities but are creative, intentional, mature yet experimental, constantly evolving, (over)thoughtful, engaged where they want to be, decidedly disconnected from the noise and of course, purposely comfortable with who they are…