Florida is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the US, thanks to its beautiful beaches, amusement parks, and its rich culture among many other things. So with that in mind, here are 10 of the best attractions in Florida that you can look forward to if you’re planning to visit the Sunshine State this year.
You know a beach is good when an Australian beach lover who admits to being critical of foreign beaches recommends it to others. South Beach doesn’t just feature pristine blue waters, a sandy coastline, and palm trees reminiscent of tropical holidays, it also has an array of great restaurants and bars. There are even outdoor gyms that you can try out along the esplanade!
Clearwater Beach has been dubbed the most beautiful beach in Florida, which is hardly surprising because it features powder-white sands and crystal-clear waters. Caladesi Island State Park, which is found in the area, is a must-visit considering it’s consistently ranked as one of the best coastal parks in the state. You do need to take a boat from Honeymoon Island to reach Clearwater, but the breathtaking surroundings certainly make the trip worthwhile.
Sunset Islands Miami gets its name because of its stunning sunset views. Besides its beautiful beaches and a multitude of boutique shops, it also has lots of great restaurants as well as a vibrant nightlife. The famous Art Deco District of Miami Beach is just a stone’s throw away from here too.
ANNA MARIA ISLAND
If you prefer a quieter time at the beach, head on over to Anna Maria Island. Unlike other beaches in Florida that are usually packed with people sunbathing, Anna Maria Island is relatively quiet, which may be because it has limited facilities. While this might be a turn-off for some people, the tranquillity it offers more than makes up for the lack of things to do. The area is quaint, retaining the charm of Old Florida.
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK
Everglades National Park is the third biggest national park in the US, as well as the largest tropical wilderness east of the Mississippi River. Featuring nine different ecosystems, it was actually turned into a park to protect its flora and fauna. Outdoor adventurers should keep their eyes out for a variety of wildlife, including otters, turtles, manatees, and crocodiles.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
The Kennedy Space Center is worth visiting even for those who aren’t science enthusiasts. This institution has served as the launch pad of various important space missions, including the shuttles used for the Apollo program and the Skylab space station. If your visit coincides with the right schedule, you can even get a ticket to witness a rocket launch.
PANDORA: THE WORLD OF AVATAR AT DISNEY WORLD
Fans of James Cameron’s Avatar should not miss visiting Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, which features Pandora: The World of Avatar as its newest attraction. Guests have the opportunity to go on rides such as Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey while surrounded by surreal, otherworldly settings straight out of the movie. Even the food is on-theme, as the snacks served at Satu’li Canteen look as if they came straight off the set of the movie!
BUSCH GARDENS TAMPA BAY
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is essentially a zoo and an amusement park rolled into one. Besides its animal exhibits, complete with a safari-themed adventure, it features a handful of roller coasters such as the Cheetah Chase, a traditional form of the ride; Montu, one of the highest inverted roller coasters in the world; Sheikra, a floor-less roller coaster; and Kumba, which features a 135-foot drop.
SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM
Art lovers should not miss out visiting the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg. Housing 2,000 artworks from the surrealist painter, the museum holds the second largest collection from the artist, next only to the one in the Spanish town of Figueres, Dali’s hometown.
VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDENS
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is comprised of numerous attractions including artworks, gardens, woodlands, and historic buildings. Once the estate of businessman James Deering of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fame, the property is now owned by the Miami-Dade County, which transformed it into a museum that attracts over 150,000 daytime visitors every year.
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