Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by locals who love the state of Florida
Why We Love Florida: The Sunshine State is best known for its beaches and theme parks. You shouldn’t forget the luxury hotels, widespread natural areas, international cuisine, and laid-back energy. Lots of destinations claim to have something for everyone, but Florida truly means it. At over 65,000 square miles, Florida is a big state that contains several large metropolitan areas. There are four major airports, numerous regional airports, and plenty of highways crossing the entire state. This makes traveling to and through Florida easy and accessible.
Best of Florida
The larger cities and the prettiest beaches are the most popular destinations in Florida. Hotels, attractions, and restaurants are plentiful in these areas.
- Miami – The perfect mix of tropical weather, luxury hotels, nightlife, and tasty restaurants
- Orlando – Theme parks are the main draw to this family-friendly destination
- Florida Keys – Find a piece of Caribbean paradise without leaving the United States
- Panhandle Beaches – A spring break and family vacation destination that is a short drive or flight from the Southeast
- Fort Lauderdale – Miami’s northern neighborhood offers gorgeous beaches and a relaxed atmosphere
👉 Explore all places to visit in Florida.
Whether you want to parasail over the Gulf of Mexico, meet Mickey Mouse, or visit historical sites, Florida has something exciting for you to do.
- Snorkel in the Florida Keys – See the reefs, wrecks, and statues that are located along both sides of the Keys
- Walt Disney World – This is the most visited vacation resort in the world, does it need an introduction?
- Kennedy Space Center – Meet an astronaut, see a shuttle that has been to space, or watch a rocket launch
- Visit the Beach – A majority of the coastline of Florida is sandy beaches and the great weather makes them a year-round attraction
- Explore St. Augustine – Founded in 1565, this city has centuries of history for you to discover
👉 Explore all the things to do in Florida.
🗺️ Where to Stay
Where you stay will depend on what you want to do during your vacation, but the major cities offer the most options for attractions and activities.
- Orlando – There is no shortage of resorts, rental properties, and theme park hotels to fit your needs
- Miami – Stay in a luxury hotel downtown, a boutique hotel by the beach, or a one-of-a-kind Airbnb
- Tampa Bay – The Tampa Bay area blends the best of two worlds: carefree beach towns and bustling downtowns
- Fort Lauderdale – You can find high-end resorts and old Florida charm in this east coast town
- Jacksonville – Plenty of options for young adults who enjoy sports, nightlife, and access to the beach
🛎️ Best Hotels
Florida is home to some of the top luxury hotels and most unique accommodations in the country.
- Four Seasons Resort Orlando – Enjoy watching the nightly fireworks shows from this five-star property located at Walt Disney World
- Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach – The ocean views make this a great hotel, but the modern finishes and attention to detail make it near perfect
- The Ritz-Carlton, Naples – You know the level of quality to expect when staying at a Ritz-Carlton, and the Naples property is no exception
- Ponte Vedra Inn – Nestled amongst private mansions, you can enjoy quiet relaxation and unspoiled beach access
- The Miami Beach EDITION – This hotel is a mix of a unique boutique experience and a high-end hotel
🚗 Best Road Trips
The major cities and attractions in Florida are all located a couple of hours away from one another, making a road trip the perfect way to see all the best things.
- Miami to Key West – The most beautiful road trip in Florida takes you over turquoise water as you cross the many bridges of the Overseas Highway
- A1A – A1A runs along the east coast of Florida, giving you an endless number of beach towns to stop at
- Everglades – The southern part of the state has multiple small towns and plenty of swampland to explore
- I-10 – This highway crosses the northern part of Florida, from Pensacola to Jacksonville
⛱️ Best Beaches
Every Floridian will tell you a different “best beach” because there are so many fantastic ones to choose from and we all have our favorites.
- Miami Beach – This is the beach to see and be seen, complete with beach clubs and luxury resorts
- Jupiter Island – In addition to the long stretch of Atlantic sand, Blowing Rocks Beach offers unique limestone formations
- Clearwater Beach – White, sugar sand and a warm Gulf breeze help make this beach one of the best in the country
- Sanibel Island – Sanibel is a shell-lovers paradise, but there’s plenty of beachfront to sit and relax also
- Lido Key – As the less-touristy neighbor of popular Siesta Key, you can enjoy the same beautiful water without all the crowds
👉 Explore all the best Florida beaches.
🤿 Best Natural Springs
Florida isn’t just the Sunshine State, to locals it is also the Spring State. The freshwater springs provide cool, clear water and gorgeous areas to hang out.
- Devil’s Den – Like a cenote in Mexico, this is an underwater spring for snorkelers and divers to explore
- Rock Springs – Arguably the most beautiful spring in the state, you can tube or kayak down the run
- Gilchrist Blue Springs – This north Florida spring offers cave diving and vibrant blue water
- Silver Glen Springs – Located just off the St. Johns River, Silver Glen can be accessed by car or boat
- Weeki Wachee Springs – This is a great place for families to enjoy the natural beauty, a water park, and mermaid shows
🎢 Best Theme Parks
For many families, this is the reason they visit Florida. Central Florida is home to all the major theme parks, but smaller attractions can be found throughout the state.
- Magic Kingdom – From Cinderella’s Castle to Mickey Mouse, this park is a classic
- Islands of Adventure – Universal’s thrill-ride park has attractions and themed lands for all ages
- Hollywood Studios – With the addition of Star Wars and Toy Story areas, this park is more exciting than ever
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – Roller coaster lovers and animal lovers can enjoy the best of both worlds at this park
- LEGOLAND – Kids and families find themselves immersed in the land of Legos
Florida Travel Advice
🗓️ Best Time to Visit
There are pros and cons to every season in Florida, but no matter when you visit there are fun activities to do. Plus, a Floridian’s idea of “cold” weather is usually pretty mild compared to other people.
- 🌼 Spring – Gorgeous weather and (other than spring break) fewer crowds than summer
- 🍂 Fall – Theme park festivals, Halloween events, and cooler weather
- ❄️ Winter – Holiday events, fewer crowds (excluding holidays), and “Florida cold” weather
- 🌞 Summer – Hot weather, afternoon thunderstorms, and plenty of crowds
🚌 Getting In & Around
Many visitors use public transportation if they’re staying in one area, but a car is preferred when visiting most of the state.
- ✈️ Airports – Major airports are located in Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa, there are plenty of smaller regional airports also
- 🚗 Driving – This is the main form of transportation for locals and visitors alike, airports and major cities have dozens of rental companies
- 🚇 Public Transit – Inter- and intra-city buses are available throughout the state, Jacksonville and Miami have people mover systems, there are a couple of commuter trains, and many smaller towns have trolley services
- 📲 Ride Share – Popular rideshare companies operate throughout the state, but surge pricing is common in major cities
- 🚴♀️ Biking – Depending on the area, biking may be safe and accessible for transportation, major cities have bike share businesses
- 🛴 Scooters – Some major cities offer scooter rentals, but they are not very popular throughout the state
- 🚶♀️ Walking – Walkability varies greatly based on where you are visiting in Florida
👉 Tips & Things to Know
- 🗺 – Florida is Huge – Plan to only visit one or two cities during your visit unless you’ll be in Florida for more than a week.
- ☀️ – Be Sun Aware – It’s called the Sunshine State for a reason. Pack and use sun protection, even in winter.
- 🌳 – Get in Nature – Florida has beautiful wild places, including underwater reefs, untouched beaches, expansive forests, and scrubland. Get out and explore them.
- 🏰 – Expect Crowds at the Theme Parks – These days, there is very little low season for the theme parks. You’ll have a better time if you expect crowds and long waits during your visit.
🧳 What to Pack
- ⛱ – Sun Protection – Protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are all must-haves for a visit to the Sunshine State.
- 👙 – Swimsuit – There are plenty of opportunities to get in the water, thanks to all the pools, hot tubs, beaches, and springs.
- 💧 – Water Bottle – Thanks to the warm weather and humidity, you’ll most likely be sweating during your visit. A reusable water bottle helps you stay hydrated while keeping trash out of landfills.
- 👟 – Sneakers – There are so many activities and places to explore that you’ll be on your feet a lot. Bring supportive shoes to keep your feet comfortable.
- 📸 – Camera – Even if it’s just your phone camera, you’ll want to be able to capture the memories and sites during your visit.
🤓 Facts & Info
- Population – 21.5 million
- Capital – Tallahassee
- Largest Metro Areas – Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando
- Time Zone – Eastern Time (UTC-05:00 / UTC-04:00 during daylight savings) (The Panhandle west of the Apalachicola River is Central Time)
- Airports – Orlando (MCO), Miami (MIA), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Tampa (TPA), Fort Myers (RSW), West Palm Beach (PBI), Jacksonville (JAX)
- Colleges & Universities – University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, University of Miami
- Nickname – The Sunshine State
- Demonym – Floridians
- USPS Abbreviation – FL
- Governor – Ron DeSantis (Republican)
- Country – United States of America
💵 Costs & Budgeting
- MERIC Cost of Living State Rank – 32nd most affordable
- 3 Star Hotel Room – $100-300+/night
- 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $75-200+/night
- Rental Car – $50-100/day
- Public Transit Ticket – ~$2-5
- Take Out Meal for Two – $20-50
- Sit Down Dinner for Two – $50-120
- Draft Beer – $7-12
FAQs About Visiting Florida
Is Florida safe for tourists?
Yes, Florida is generally safe for tourists. Use the same precautions you would at home to remain safe.
What is the best month to visit Florida?
April is the best time to visit Florida. The temperatures are comfortable for spending time outside and the rainy season has not started yet.
Where is the nicest place in Florida to vacation?
The nicest places to visit in Florida are the quaint beach towns. Depending on where you end up, you can find luxurious resorts, boutique hotels, and rental properties to enjoy your vacation however you prefer.
What is the most visited city in Florida?
Orlando is the most visited city in Florida thanks to the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.
📰 Florida Travel Guides
There are so many great places to visit and things to do throughout Florida that planning a vacation can seem daunting. Check out our travel guides with recommendations from locals to make your planning a little easier.
- 17 Best Day Trips from Jacksonville in 2023 (By a Local)
- Where to Stay in Jacksonville (9 Best Places, by a Local)
- Disney World Honeymoon (An Insider’s Perfect Planner)
- 35 Things to Do at Disney World in 2023 (By a Local Expert)
- 41 Best Things to Do in Tampa in 2023 (By a Local)
- 29 Best Tampa Restaurants in 2023 (Where to Eat, By a Local)
- Animal Kingdom Itinerary (The Perfect One Day Planner)
- Hollywood Studios Itinerary (A Perfect 1 Day Touring Plan)
- 33 Best Places to Visit in Florida in 2023 (By Locals)
- 21 Best Things to Do in Disney Springs (in 2023)
- Epcot Itinerary (A Local’s Perfect 1 Day Touring Planner)
- Disney Packing List (25 Things You Might Forget to Bring)
- 13 Best Beaches in Fort Lauderdale (By a Local)
- 23 Best Beaches in Florida for 2023 (Picked By Locals)
- 33 Best Things to Do in Florida in 2023 (By Locals)
- 21 Things to Do In Orlando for Kids (By a Local Mom)
- 23 Free Things to Do in Orlando (By a Local)
- Where To Stay in Orlando, By an Area Local 
- 34 Best Things to Do in Orlando in 2023 (By a Local)
- 25 Best Orlando Restaurants (Where to Eat, By a Local)
- The Best Time to Visit Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2023
- The Best Time to Visit Orlando? When to Go, By a Local
- 27 Fun Things to Do in South Florida (By a Local)
- 33 Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale in 2023 (By a Local)
- 21 Fun Things to Do in Jupiter, FL (in 2023)
- 47 Best Things to Do in Miami, Florida (in 2023)
- 22 Best Fort Lauderdale Boat Tours (By a Local Captain)
- 14 Best Beaches in Cocoa Beach (in 2023)
- 15 Epic Day Trips from Fort Lauderdale (in 2023)
- Where to Stay in Cocoa Beach (Best Places & Areas in 2023)
- 23 Best Things to Do in Cocoa Beach (in 2023)
- 17 Best Tampa Bay Beaches for 2023 (By a Local)
- 17 Best Parks in Tampa in 2023 (A Local’s Guide)
- Best Time to Visit Tampa in 2023 (By a Local)
- 17 Best Tampa Neighborhoods in 2023 (By a Local)
- Where to Stay in Tampa (Best Places By a Local)
- 17 Best Day Trips from Tampa in 2023 (By a Local)
- Kennedy Space Center (Ultimate Visitor’s Guide for 2023)
- Disney World With Toddlers (A Local Mom’s Essential Guide)
- Parking at Disney World | Insider Guide (for 2023)
- Where to Stay at Disney World (Best Places + Local Tips)
- 18 Best Walt Disney World Hotels in 2023 (By a Local)
- 23 Best South Florida Beaches for 2023 (By a Local)
- 15 Epic Day Trips from Orlando for 2023 (By a Local!)
- Where to Stay in Miami (Best Areas & Places for 2023)
- 49 Disney World Tips (An Orlando Local’s Insider Secrets)
- Disney World on a Budget (How to Play, Stay & Eat Cheaply)
- Is Orlando Safe to Travel in 2023? (A Local’s Perspective)
- Magic Kingdom Itinerary (A Perfect 1 Day Touring Planner)
- Disney World Itinerary (6 Days Planned By an Orlando Local)
- Best Time to Visit Disney World (By an Orlando Local)
- 24 Things to Do in Central Florida (A Local’s Picks)
- 15 Fun Day Trips from Miami to Take Now
- Orlando on a Budget – How to Eat, Stay, & Do It Cheaply
- Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale in 2023 (By a Local!)
Meet Our Florida Travel Experts
Katie Neufeld grew up in the Florida sunshine and currently lives in the Orlando area. Now Katie is on a mission to explore the state with her husband and infant son. Katie loves finding farm-to-table food and exploring an area through local cuisine and the great outdoors.
Andrew Bloem is an adventure travel writer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A pirate at heart, Andrew’s travels usually don’t stray too far from a palm tree and an ocean view. When he’s not writing guides for Travel Lemming, you can find him typing away at the local tiki bar for his site OceanWide Explorers.