Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Florida

North America

By Meagan Drillinger

Florida is a state in the southeastern United States that is known for its beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and vibrant culture. With its diverse natural landscapes, exciting theme parks, and rich history, Florida offers a wide range of attractions for tourists to explore.

One of the top-rated attractions in Florida is the Walt Disney World Resort, located in Orlando. This world-famous theme park is home to four separate theme parks, including the iconic Magic Kingdom, as well as two water parks. With its thrilling rides, live entertainment, and beloved Disney characters, Walt Disney World is a must-visit for families and Disney enthusiasts.

Another popular attraction in Florida is the Everglades National Park. This unique ecosystem is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and is home to a diverse array of plants and animals. Visitors can explore the park by taking an airboat tour, hiking along the trails, or kayaking through the mangrove forests. The Everglades also offer opportunities for camping, fishing, and birdwatching.

For those interested in history and culture, St. Augustine is a must-see destination in Florida. As the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States, St. Augustine boasts a rich history that can be explored through its historic sites and museums. Visitors can explore the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century fortress, or take a stroll along St. George Street, a pedestrian-only street lined with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.

These are just a few examples of the top-rated tourist attractions in Florida. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a taste of history, Florida has something to offer every type of traveler. From its stunning beaches to its thrilling theme parks, Florida is a state that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Walt Disney World

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Florida, Walt Disney World is a must-visit destination for families, Disney fans, and thrill-seekers. Located in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, near Orlando, Walt Disney World is an entertainment complex that offers a wide range of attractions and experiences.

Opened on October 1, 1971, Walt Disney World covers an area of over 25,000 acres and consists of four main theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Each park offers a unique and immersive experience, showcasing Disney’s iconic characters, thrilling rides, and enchanting worlds.

Magic Kingdom, the first theme park to open in Walt Disney World, is known for its iconic Cinderella Castle and classic Disney attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise. Epcot, on the other hand, takes visitors on a journey around the world with its World Showcase and futuristic innovations in its Future World section.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of movies, featuring attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Toy Story Land. Disney’s Animal Kingdom combines wildlife conservation with thrilling rides and shows, including the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.

In addition to the theme parks, Walt Disney World also includes two water parks: Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach. These water parks offer a refreshing escape from the Florida heat, with numerous water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers.

Furthermore, Walt Disney World features several resort hotels, dining options, and entertainment venues. Visitors can choose to stay at a themed resort hotel, dine at world-class restaurants, or enjoy live shows and fireworks at night.

Overall, Walt Disney World offers a magical and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. With its iconic attractions, immersive environments, and top-notch entertainment, it is no wonder that Walt Disney World is considered one of the top tourist attractions in Florida.

Park Location Main Attractions
Magic Kingdom Bay Lake Cinderella Castle, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise
Epcot Lake Buena Vista World Showcase, Future World
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Bay Lake Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Toy Story Land
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Bay Lake Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest

Universal Orlando Resort

The Universal Orlando Resort is a world-renowned theme park and entertainment resort located in Orlando, Florida. It is one of the top tourist attractions in the state and offers a wide range of exciting experiences for visitors of all ages.

The resort is made up of two main theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios Florida is a movie-themed park where visitors can go behind the scenes of their favorite films and TV shows. It features thrilling rides, live shows, and immersive attractions based on popular movies such as Harry Potter, Transformers, and The Simpsons.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is a theme park that takes guests on a journey through various themed islands, each with its own unique attractions and experiences. Visitors can explore the magical world of Harry Potter in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, go on thrilling adventures with superheroes in Marvel Super Hero Island, and encounter dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

In addition to the theme parks, the Universal Orlando Resort also includes Universal CityWalk, a vibrant entertainment district with a variety of restaurants, shops, and live entertainment venues. Visitors can enjoy delicious meals, shop for souvenirs, and experience live music and performances.

One of the highlights of visiting the Universal Orlando Resort is the opportunity to stay at one of the on-site hotels. The resort offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly to luxury hotels, all conveniently located near the theme parks. Staying at an on-site hotel also provides guests with benefits such as early park admission and free transportation to the parks.

Whether you’re a fan of movies, thrill rides, or immersive experiences, the Universal Orlando Resort has something for everyone. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Florida and is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-visit attraction for space enthusiasts and anyone interested in science and technology. Located on Merritt Island, Florida, it is the primary visitor center and museum for NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center.

The complex offers a wide range of interactive exhibits and displays that allow visitors to learn about the history of space exploration and NASA’s important role in it. One of the main highlights is the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, where visitors can see the actual space shuttle and learn about its missions and the astronauts who flew on it.

Visitors can also take a bus tour of the Kennedy Space Center, which includes stops at historic launch sites, the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the Apollo/Saturn V Center. At the Apollo/Saturn V Center, visitors can see the largest rocket ever flown and touch a moon rock.

In addition to the exhibits and tours, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex also offers various educational programs and interactive experiences. Visitors can try out simulators, explore a Mars rover, and participate in astronaut training activities.

For those interested in the future of space exploration, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex also has exhibits on NASA’s current projects and plans for future missions, including the Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the Moon.

Address: Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Admission: $57 for adults, $47 for children (3-11)
Website: www.kennedyspacecenter.com

Visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a unique opportunity to get an up-close look at the history, present, and future of space exploration. It is a place where visitors can find inspiration and learn about the incredible achievements and challenges of the space program.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is one of Florida’s most iconic natural attractions. Spanning over 1.5 million acres, it is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. The park is home to a unique ecosystem consisting of mangrove forests, sawgrass marshes, and freshwater sloughs.

Visitors to Everglades National Park have the opportunity to explore this diverse environment through a variety of activities. Guided boat tours and kayak excursions allow visitors to navigate the park’s waterways and observe the abundant wildlife, including alligators, manatees, and numerous species of birds.

One of the most popular attractions in the park is the Anhinga Trail, a wheelchair-accessible path that offers a close-up view of the park’s wildlife. Visitors can spot herons, turtles, and, of course, the namesake anhinga birds.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, the park offers hiking trails that wind through its unique landscapes. These trails offer opportunities to see rare plants, such as the ghost orchid, as well as stunning views of the surrounding wilderness.

Everglades National Park is also a great place for camping and picnicking. The park offers several developed campsites and picnic areas, allowing visitors to stay overnight or enjoy a meal while surrounded by the park’s natural beauty.

Whether exploring by boat, hiking through the wilderness, or simply enjoying a peaceful picnic, Everglades National Park offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience of Florida’s natural wonders.

Miami Beach

Miami Beach is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife. Located on an island connected to mainland Miami by a series of bridges, Miami Beach offers visitors a unique experience with its beautiful sandy shores and crystal-clear waters.

One of the most iconic attractions in Miami Beach is the Art Deco Historic District. This neighborhood is home to over 800 preserved buildings that showcase the distinctive 1920s and 1930s architectural style. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along Ocean Drive and admire the colorful pastel buildings, which now house trendy hotels, bars, and restaurants.

For those looking for relaxation, Miami Beach offers plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun and enjoy the warm weather. Visitors can relax on the sandy shores of South Beach, known for its lively atmosphere and vibrant beach scene. The beach is lined with palm trees and beach clubs, making it the perfect spot for sunbathing, people-watching, and enjoying water sports.

In addition to its beaches, Miami Beach is home to world-class shopping and dining options. Lincoln Road Mall is a popular outdoor shopping area that offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Visitors can stroll along the pedestrian-only street and explore the unique boutiques and eateries.

For art enthusiasts, the Bass Museum of Art is a must-visit. This contemporary art museum features a diverse collection of artwork from around the world, including sculptures, paintings, and installations. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and educational programs for visitors of all ages.

Overall, Miami Beach is a vibrant and dynamic destination that offers a variety of attractions for every type of traveler. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the Art Deco architecture, or indulge in world-class dining and shopping, Miami Beach has it all.

Key West

Key West is a popular tourist destination located at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture, Key West offers a unique experience for visitors.

One of the top attractions in Key West is the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. This historic house was the residence of the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway and is now a museum showcasing his life and work. Visitors can explore the rooms of the house, see Hemingway’s personal belongings, and even meet some of the descendants of his cats, which are known for having six toes.

The Key West lighthouse is another must-visit attraction. Built in 1848, it offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding waters. Visitors can climb the 88 steps to the top for a magnificent 360-degree view of the area. Don’t forget your camera!

Mallory Square is a vibrant waterfront plaza in Key West. It is famous for its nightly Sunset Celebration, where locals and tourists gather to watch the beautiful sunset while enjoying live entertainment, street performers, and local food vendors. The atmosphere is lively and the views are breathtaking.

For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the Dry Tortugas National Park is a must. Located about 70 miles west of Key West, this remote national park is only accessible by boat or seaplane. It is home to stunning coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and the historic Fort Jefferson. Visitors can snorkel, swim, and explore the marine life, as well as learn about the history of the fort.

Key West is also known for its vibrant nightlife. Duval Street is the main strip in the city, lined with bars, restaurants, and shops. It comes alive at night with live music, bustling crowds, and a lively party atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or a vibrant nightlife experience, Key West has something for everyone.

The Ringling Museum

The Ringling Museum, located in Sarasota, Florida, is a must-visit for art and culture enthusiasts. Established in 1927, the museum is dedicated to the legacy of John and Mable Ringling, who were prominent figures in the entertainment industry during the early 20th century.

The museum complex encompasses several distinct areas, including the Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, and the Bayfront Gardens. Each section offers a unique experience and showcases different aspects of the Ringlings’ passion and influence.

  • The Ringling Museum of Art features a vast collection of European and American art spanning centuries. Visitors can admire works by renowned artists such as Rubens, van Dyck, Titian, and Velázquez. The museum’s collection highlights various art movements, including Baroque, Renaissance, and contemporary art.
  • The Circus Museum pays homage to the Ringlings’ career in the circus industry. This museum houses an impressive collection of circus memorabilia, including elaborate costumes, intricately designed parade wagons, and vintage posters. Visitors can also learn about the history of the circus through interactive exhibits and displays.
  • The Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, the Ringlings’ former residence, is a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture. This opulent mansion features 56 rooms filled with luxurious furnishings and works of art. Guided tours allow visitors to explore the mansion and learn about the Ringlings’ extravagant lifestyle.
  • The Bayfront Gardens offer a serene and picturesque setting for visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The gardens feature lush vegetation, intricate sculptures, and stunning views of Sarasota Bay. It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll or have a picnic.

Whether you’re interested in art, history, or simply want to immerse yourself in the beauty of Sarasota, the Ringling Museum is a fascinating attraction that offers something for everyone. Plan your visit to this remarkable museum and discover the legacy and extraordinary achievements of the Ringling family.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine, located on the northeast coast of Florida, is the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, the city has a rich history and is filled with charming cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and beautiful architecture.

One of the top attractions in St. Augustine is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. This impressive fortress was built by the Spanish in the late 17th century to protect the city from pirates and enemy attacks. Visitors can explore the fort and learn about its history through exhibits and guided tours.

Another must-visit site in St. Augustine is the Lightner Museum. Housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, this museum showcases a diverse collection of art, decorative objects, and historic artifacts. Visitors can admire the breathtaking architecture of the building and explore the different exhibits on display.

For those interested in history, a visit to the Oldest House Museum Complex is highly recommended. This collection of historic buildings offers a glimpse into the daily life of St. Augustine’s early inhabitants. Visitors can tour the oldest surviving Spanish colonial home in Florida and learn about the city’s rich cultural heritage.

No trip to St. Augustine is complete without a stroll down St. George Street. This pedestrian-only street is lined with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. Visitors can browse the unique boutiques, sample delicious local cuisine, and soak in the charming atmosphere of the city.

St. Augustine is also known for its beautiful beaches. Visitors can relax on the pristine white sands of St. Augustine Beach or take part in water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing. The city’s beaches offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

Overall, St. Augustine is a charming and historic city that offers a wide range of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply soaking up the sun on the beach, St. Augustine has something for everyone.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is an exciting theme park located in Tampa, Florida. It is known for its thrilling rides, beautiful gardens, and incredible animal encounters. The park covers an area of 335 acres and offers a wide range of attractions for visitors of all ages.

One of the main highlights of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is its world-class roller coasters. With seven thrilling coasters to choose from, adrenaline junkies will have a blast here. From the heart-pounding twists and turns of SheiKra to the high-speed inversions of Montu, there’s something for everyone seeking an adrenaline rush.

In addition to the coasters, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is also home to a variety of animal exhibits and shows. The park has a dedicated area called Serengeti Plain where visitors can see different species of African animals, including giraffes, zebras, and antelopes, roaming freely in their natural habitat. There are also bird shows, live animal presentations, and behind-the-scenes tours where visitors can learn more about the park’s conservation efforts.

For those looking for a more relaxed experience, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers beautiful gardens and walking trails. The park is home to over 2,000 species of plants, making it a paradise for nature lovers. Visitors can stroll through lush landscapes, admire colorful flowers, and relax in peaceful surroundings.

As for dining and shopping options, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has plenty to offer. The park features a variety of restaurants and snack bars that serve a wide range of cuisines, from barbecue to pizza. There are also gift shops where visitors can buy souvenirs and memorabilia to remember their visit.

Overall, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers, animal lovers, and nature enthusiasts. With its thrilling rides, stunning gardens, and amazing animal encounters, it offers something for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to experience all that this incredible theme park has to offer!

Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is a barrier island located on the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern Florida. Known for its pristine beaches, diverse wildlife, and laid-back atmosphere, Sanibel Island is a popular destination for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts.

One of the main attractions of Sanibel Island is its beautiful beaches. The island is famous for its unique seashells, which are often found washed up on the shores. Many visitors enjoy collecting seashells and exploring the sandy shoreline.

In addition to its beaches, Sanibel Island is home to several nature reserves and wildlife refuges. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit for birdwatchers, as it is home to over 200 species of birds. Visitors can also explore the Baileys Tract, a 100-acre freshwater wetland area.

Attraction Description
Sanibel Lighthouse The historic Sanibel Lighthouse offers panoramic views of the island and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum This museum showcases a vast collection of seashells from around the world and provides educational exhibits.
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Home to numerous wildlife species and offering hiking, kayaking, and birdwatching opportunities.
Captiva Island Connected to Sanibel Island by a bridge, Captiva Island is a tranquil destination with beautiful beaches and charming shops and restaurants.

Sanibel Island also offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including biking, kayaking, and fishing. The island has a network of bike paths that make it easy to explore its natural beauty. Visitors can also rent kayaks and explore the island’s waterways, or try their luck at fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition to its natural beauty and outdoor activities, Sanibel Island is also known for its charming shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Visitors can browse unique boutiques for souvenirs, admire artwork by local artists, and savor delicious seafood dishes at waterfront restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an outdoor adventure, Sanibel Island has something for everyone. With its stunning beaches, diverse wildlife, and charming atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Sanibel Island is considered one of the top tourist attractions in Florida.

Naples

Naples, located on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida, is known for its stunning white sand beaches and luxurious resorts. It’s a popular vacation destination for those seeking sun, surf, and relaxation.

One of the top attractions in Naples is Naples Pier, a historic landmark that extends 1,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. It offers beautiful views of the ocean and is a great spot for fishing or watching the sunset. You can also take a leisurely stroll along the pier and enjoy the warm sea breeze.

Another must-visit site in Naples is the Naples Botanical Garden. Spanning 170 acres, this tropical paradise showcases a wide variety of plants and flowers from around the world. Stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, explore the water features, and marvel at the colorful blooms. The garden also offers educational programs and events for all ages.

If you’re a history buff, don’t miss a visit to the Naples Museum of Art. This contemporary art museum features an impressive collection of American modernist paintings and sculpture. It also hosts rotating exhibitions and offers art classes and workshops for aspiring artists.

For a fun and unique experience, take a ride on the Naples Trolley Tour. This narrated tour takes you through historic Naples, where you’ll learn about the city’s rich history and architecture. You’ll also see beautiful mansions, stunning beaches, and charming downtown shops and restaurants.

No trip to Naples is complete without a visit to the nearby Everglades National Park. Just a short drive from the city, this unique ecosystem is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including alligators, manatees, and panthers. Take an airboat tour or hike along one of the park’s many trails to fully experience the beauty and wonder of the Everglades.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or culture, Naples has something for everyone. With its beautiful beaches, world-class resorts, and top-rated attractions, it’s no wonder this city is a favorite among tourists.

FAQs

What are some of the top tourist attractions in Florida?

Florida boasts a number of incredible tourist attractions. Some of the top ones include Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Everglades National Park, and South Beach in Miami.

Is Walt Disney World Resort worth visiting?

Yes, Walt Disney World Resort is definitely worth a visit. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Florida and offers something for everyone, from magical theme parks like Magic Kingdom and Epcot to water parks and entertainment options.

What can I expect to see at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex?

At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you can expect to see interactive exhibits, meet astronauts, view space shuttle launch pads, explore the Rocket Garden, and even take a bus tour of the facility. It’s a fascinating experience for anyone interested in space exploration.

What makes Everglades National Park a top tourist attraction?

Everglades National Park is a unique and beautiful destination. It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and has diverse ecosystems, including marshes, mangroves, and sawgrass prairies. Visitors can enjoy wildlife spotting, kayaking, hiking, and airboat tours.

What makes South Beach in Miami a top-rated attraction?

South Beach in Miami is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, and iconic Art Deco architecture. It’s a famous destination for sunbathing, swimming, people-watching, and enjoying the trendy bars, restaurants, and clubs that line Ocean Drive.

What are the top tourist attractions in Florida?

Some of the top tourist attractions in Florida include Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Everglades National Park, and South Beach in Miami.

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07 Best Places To Visit In Florida | Florida Travel Guide

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Meagan Drillinger

Meagan Drillinger, an avid travel writer with a passion ignited in 2009. Having explored over 30 countries, Mexico holds a special place in her heart due to its captivating cultural tapestry, delectable cuisine, diverse landscapes, and warm-hearted people. A proud alumnus of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, when she isn’t uncovering the wonders of New York City, Meagan is eagerly planning her next exhilarating escapade.

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