Looking for the best vacation destinations in Florida? You’re in luck! At Real Florida Adventures, we are seriously passionate about the Sunshine State and all its amazing attractions and destinations. Sharing our favourite spots with visitors is our job, and we’re so lucky to call this “work”!
From our base here in Orlando, we get to take vacationers across much of Central Florida to some of the best vacation spots around.
Whether you’re coming for our world-famous white-sand beaches, our amazing theme parks, or our eclectic cities boasting fabulous food and plenty of parties… Florida has something for everyone.
If you’re keen to get to the good stuff, check out our awesome day trips from Orlando to book your adventure now! And if you’re not sure when to book, read our guide about the best time to visit Florida, weatherwise. Otherwise, read on for all the best destinations in Florida that you just can’t miss.
*Updated in 22/08/2023
You Must Visit Orlando!
Of course, we’re biased, but Orlando is the BEST vacation destination in Florida that you absolutely cannot miss. We’re not alone in this, though — with our plentiful amusement parks, Orlando is a huge draw for visitors from all over the world.
When you’ve had your fill of all of the Walt Disney World parks, the Universal Orlando parks, SeaWorld, LEGOLand, and Discovery Cove, then it’s time to experience more in and around Orlando.
Our tours in Orlando and from Orlando show off the best this area has to offer. Let us show you our favourite vacation destinations in Central Florida!
Cape Canaveral & Kennedy Space Center
You can’t visit Florida and not head to the Kennedy Space Center! This epic attraction is perfect for all ages. Maybe you remember the first moon landing or you’re a kid eager to be an astronaut someday.
KSC is a top vacation destination for anyone coming to the Sunshine State.
As a perfect day trip from Orlando, visiting KSC can include lunch with a real live astronaut, a visit to the Heroes & Legends center where you’ll find the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and an awesome IMAX experience you’ll always remember.
A perfect vacation destination for sports enthusiasts, city lovers, and beach seekers, Tampa offers something for everyone.
Ride the roller coasters at Busch Gardens and then finish your day with cocktails at a rooftop bar with a sunset view. Or enjoy a bit of history and culture as you explore the National Historic Landmark District of Ybor City.
St Petersburg (aka St Pete)
Part of the greater Tampa Bay area, St Pete has a lovely downtown area alongside beautiful beaches, so it’s a fantastic vacation destination in Florida!
There’s culture aplenty in St Pete, from the Salvador Dali Museum to the Pink Palace to an eclectic foodie scene you’ll definitely want to enjoy!
Around St Pete, you’ll find one of the best beaches in Florida: Clearwater Beach. This gorgeous stretch of sand is reason enough to spend the day in Clearwater. But there are so many fun things to do while you’re there!
Perfect for families, couples, or friends looking for adventure, Clearwater Beach is #1 for good reason. Check out our guide to Clearwater Beach or go straight to our Clearwater Beach Trip from Orlando (with lunch) and our Sea Screamer and Clearwater Beach Day Trip. Clearwater Beach really is one of the best days out in Florida!
Most famous for its Ringling Brothers Circus connections, Sarasota is certainly a family-fun vacation destination. Enrol the kids in circus classes while you grab a few hours of relaxation for yourself!
Looking for a little more nature and relaxation? Spend some time in Myakka River State Park instead, seeking out wildlife in Florida’s oldest and largest state park.
Ever wanted to swim with manatees? Crystal River is known as the Manatee Capital of the World.
We love taking visitors there to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. These gentle giants live in Crystal River and this is the only place in America where it is legal to swim with manatees.
This area is another perfect day trip from Orlando and boasts plenty of other fun attractions besides the manatees (as if they weren’t enough!). Take an airboat ride on the Withlacoochee River and explore the 210-acre Homosassa Springs State Park to look for wildlife.
It’s all included in our REAL Florida Manatee Adventure!
The Florida Keys
Florida is famous for loads of reasons, but the Keys are certainly up there near the top of the list.
This incredible stretch of coral cay islands at the southern tip of Florida is a top vacation destination for everyone from the rich and famous to the budget-conscious.
Driving along the Overseas Highway is an experience unto itself, but there is something for everyone along this 127-mile stretch.
Scuba diving, ecotourism, and dark sky parks attract nature lovers. Meanwhile, endless partying and sun-soaked fun await those seeking a good time.
Specifically: Key West!
Key West is undoubtedly one of the most famous of the keys. As the westernmost point in the Florida Keys and the southernmost city in the contiguous US, Key West holds its fair share of achievements.
It’s perhaps most famous as the home of Ernest Hemingway, a destination for cruise ship visitors, and a popular vacation destination in Florida for parties and celebrations.
While in Key West, take a trip to Dry Tortugas National Park to visit Fort Jefferson and spot diverse wildlife.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab a slice of key lime pie!
Key West isn’t a big enough party destination for you? Then Miami should fit the bill. Known around the world as a party city, Miami pulses with energy 24/7.
The incredible blend of cultures in Miami makes for a fantastic foodie destination, too. And the city is also known as a hub for creatives, with design and fashion being massive draws.
If you’re looking for a shopping destination in Florida, definitely go to Miami.
Everglades National Park
Florida is also known for its fascinating environment – especially its alligators! Everglades National Park is the largest tropical wilderness in the US and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Exploring the park by kayak or boat is best. You can see so much more of the intricate mangroves and hopefully spot much more wildlife.
Look for wading birds, crocodiles lying in wait, and even the elusive and critically endangered Florida panther.
Known as a top scuba diving destination, Marco Island is the southernmost barrier island along Florida’s eastern shore.
You can also look for pelicans at Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Also, visit the Marco Island Historical Museum to learn about the indigenous peoples of this region.
Beautiful Sanibel Island is also known as the Sea Shell Capital of the World! Collecting seashells along the shore suits the general laidback vibe of Sanibel Island. Here, time moves slowly and nature is the primary draw for visitors.
If you’re looking for vacation destinations in Florida where you can truly unwind, Sanibel Island might be the place for you!
Want to visit Europe while in Florida? Due to its extensive canal system spanning about 165 miles, head to the Venice of America: Fort Lauderdale!
Just about 30 minutes north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale offers culture and fun for all. What used to be primarily a spring break spot has evolved into a much more eclectic city with entertainment and natural beauty for all to enjoy.
You can’t visit Florida without visiting the state capital of Tallahassee. Located in the panhandle, the city offers excellent access to a diverse natural playground.
Head to Apalachicola National Forest for outdoor adventure activities like hiking, off-road biking, or canoeing.
Beautiful Amelia Island appeals to Florida visitors seeking a quiet seaside escape oozing charm and serenity. If you love history and nature, Amelia Island should be your vacation destination in Florida.
St Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited city built by European colonists in the US.
For the last 500 years, this coastal city has weathered time and storms, and it continues to attract visitors interested in history and architecture, especially.
Don’t forget to look for the Fountain of Youth!
We could go on and on about ALL the best vacation destinations in Florida that you should visit, but we’ll have to stop for now. We promise to keep updating this article and adding more local travel insights over time, so be sure to bookmark it for your future trip planning!