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33 Things To Do In Florida: The Ultimate Bucket List

Looking for some of the best things to do in Florida? We’ve got you covered!

Florida is full of adventure and unique places. From theme parks to sunken gardens, our famous beaches, historical cities, and hole-in-the-wall surprises, this state is great for any tourist or resident to explore!

Here we have put together 33 cool things to do in Florida. But be warned: they are spread across the state, so be prepared to travel a bit!

And don’t forget you don’t have to visit all these stops, we just love them so much that we wanted to make sure you had a Florida bucket list to help navigate this wild, Sunshine State.

Here are some ideas of what to do in Florida!

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Girl stands on a platform in water underground at Devil

33 Things to do in Florida: The Ultimate Bucket List

Below we have included 30 of the most fun things to do in Florida as well as some of the most unique things to do in Florida. Visit where and when you can, and keep in mind that these are in no particular traveling order! Just go and have fun exploring the Sunshine State!

Devil’s Den

This underground spring is one of the U.S.’s most prehistoric places, so of course, we had to add it to your Florida bucket list! It is one of the best hidden gems in Florida!

The spring of Devil’s Den is 120 feet in diameter and averages 72 degrees year round. With a depth of 54 feet, many people come here to snorkel, scuba dive, and even rent a cabin or park their RV for some overnight adventure!

Recreationally, there are huge cabanas, charcoal grills, pavilions, lawn games, and a heated swimming pool, so this spring is full of things you can enjoy!

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Underwater shot of a girl swimming straight up in a ray of light.

Ginnie Springs

Ginnie Springs is a private park near High Springs, Florida, and is located near the Santa Fe River. Known for its clear and cold water, this is one of the best things to do in Florida during a hot summer day!

Make sure to check out our master post on the Best Time To Visit Florida including a breakdown by month, weather, events, and more!

There are accessible caverns with sand and limestone bottoms at this spring, and you can float your way around the springs on inner tubes, kayaks, paddle boards, and more.

If interested you can also scuba or snorkel in “Florida’s favorite freshwater dive” or camp by at the wooded acres for a full adventure!

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A woman with long hair uses a stand up paddle board in Ginnie Springs, one of the best things to do in Florida.

Ringling Museum

One of the coolest things to do in Florida includes the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. This museum is HUGE as it has a variety of different exhibits to explore. If you plan to visit, don’t forget to check out our Tips For Visiting The Ringling Museum!

From the John and Marble Ringling Museum of Art, which displays antiques and modern works, to the Circus Museum at the Ringling, which is an interactive American circus museum, you can spend hours exploring here.

The Bayfront gardens are also gorgeous, and you can visit the Ca’ d’ Zan mansion on the property! This is to say that this museum is massive (66 acres to be exact!) so give yourself time to marvel at everything!

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A woman standing in front of the Ringling museum in Sarasota wearing a blue dress.

Bok Towers

Florida is known for its nature and beautiful views on summer days, so it only makes sense to add gardens and sanctuaries to your Florida bucket list!

Bok Towers is a contemplative garden and bird sanctuary in Lake Wales, Florida. With 250 acres of vast plants, flowers, trees, and art, this place will leave you breathless.

It features a 205-foot tall Singing Tower with carillon bells, and you can also hike the Pine Ridge Trail or visit the Pinewood Estate if you’re feeling adventurous! Just check out the visitor center when you first stop here!

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The Bok Towers surrounded by trees in front of a pond.

Disney World

Would it really be a Florida bucket list without Disney? Walt Disney World is one of the most famous things about Florida, and we highly recommend checking out these theme parks!

The four parks– Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot– feature different rides and themes. With character meet and greets, fantastic food, shows, and rides around every corner, you’re bound to have fun here!

Disney is one of the best things to do in Florida with kids, but even adults can have a magical time! Can you really say you’ve been to Florida without the iconic photo in front of the Magic Kingdom castle?

There is also the surrounding area of Disney you can check out, such as the resorts and Disney Springs! Either way, there is so much to do here. If you want more information about Disney, check out our site: Disney Trippers.

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Woman in a red dress stands in front of the castle in Magic Kingdom.

Universal Studios

Often seen as Disney’s “competitor” Universal Studios is another theme park in Orlando that is a cool place to visit in Florida, especially for those who love Marvel and Harry Potter!

Featuring thrill rides, Universal has three parks: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split between two parks and you can take the Hogwarts Express between the two!

For movie lovers alike, this theme park is one of the best things to do in Florida, as there is so much history and love for classic films throughout each park. And you can enjoy Citywalk before or after your adventure inside the parks!

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Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios with the dragon breathing fire.

Dome Houses in Florida

Close to Cape Romano Island (which is close to Marco Island), the Dome Houses are one of the most unique things in Florida to visit!

The Cape Romano Dome Houses are only accessible via water, and their offshore location catches the attention of many. Six dome-shaped homes sit on stilts, surrounded by water.

These homes are abandoned. After being built in the 80s, the firm beach on which the domes were built eventually faded away, and now the domes are surrounded by water, making them the perfect setting for wildlife and tall tales. Make sure to check out the legends when you visit!

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The dome houses are abandoned and on stilts, surrounded by water.

Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center is one of ten National Aeronautics and Space Administration field centers. Located in Merritt Island, this is one of the coolest things you can do in Florida! It is a great day trip from Orlando.

At the space center, you can meet an astronaut, see the Space Shuttle Atlantis, go through the U.S. astronaut hall of fame, and visit the rocket garden.

This center lets visitors get an up-close and hands-on view of humans in space. From exploring NASA’s space shuttle program to discovering more about upcoming space exploration, the Kennedy Space Center is educational and fun.

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NASA sign in front of the Kennedy Space Center.

Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens

Located in Saint Petersburg, the Sunken Gardens is one of the most unique things to do in Florida, as there aren’t many gardens like it (they are literally sunken! Below sea level!).

The Sunken Gardens are 4-aces of botanical gardens that have existed for more than a century. They are one of the oldest attractions in the U.S., let alone in Florida.

This paradise located in the city is a great living museum that has a vast amount of tropical plants, meandering paths, waterfalls, and more. The gardens also offer tours, special events, and horticultural programs if it interests you!

A romantic stroll here is one of the things to do in Florida for couples. Take photos and admire the views together.

Where To Stay In Saint Petersburg!
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A woman in a dress walks a colorful path through the Sunken Gardens.

Clearwater Beach

Would you really have a Florida bucket list if you didn’t have a beach on it? Known for its stretch of soft, white sand, the calm waters of Clearwater draw tourists and residents in year round.

With a winding beachfront lined with restaurants, cafes, and Pier 60 (which has nightly festivals that feature street performers and craft vendors), this place is always busy!

From jet-skiing to parasailing and paddle boarding, many people love to spend hours on this beach and then retreat to the promenade for food, shopping, museums, and more.

This beach is one of the best free things to do in Florida.

Where To Stay In Clearwater!
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Clearwater Beach with a pier in the background.

Dry Tortugas National Park

It’s strange to think of a National Park in Florida, but Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most fun things to do in Florida!

Located along the Gulf of Mexico, east of Key West, the 7 islands of this park are surrounded by coral reefs ripe for exploration. Many beaches are popular, too!

Famously, Loggerhead Key has a lighthouse and is known for its sea turtles because Loggerhead Reef is nearby. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can check out Windjammer Wreck, which is the remains of an 1875 ship! It’s perfect for scuba and snorkeling!

Visiting this national park is one of the best activities to do in Florida!

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A woman in red swim suit and sun hat stands in the tide in front of the fort on Dry Tortugas, one of the best things to do in Florida.

Castillo De San Marcos in Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine is arguably one of the most historical cities in Florida, so of course, we are adding it to your Florida bucket list!

The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the United States. Located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay, it is now a national monument!

With Spanish stones, this monument was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World. While visiting you can explore rooms that once housed soldiers and prisoners, tour the courtyard and gun deck, and watch weaponry demonstrations while learning about its history!

Where To Stay In Saint Augustine!
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Sunset over the Castillo De San Marco and water.

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach is known for two things: the beach, and NASCAR! Of course, we had to add this to our list of things to do in Florida!

Daytona International Speedway is a racetrack that opened in 1959, where it has been home to the Daytona 500, which is arguably one of the most prestigious races in NASCAR history.

When you’re not witnessing a famous event, though, you can also participate in speedway tours and enter the world of racing!

Where To Stay In Daytona Beach!
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Cars race on the track at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Butterfly World

Located in Coconut Creek, Florida, Butterfly World is one of the most unique things to do in Florida because it is the largest butterfly park in the world!

Opening in 1988, this facility houses 20,000 live butterflies across 3 acres. But the best part is that it doesn’t solely feature butterflies: there are also botanical gardens, a working butterfly farm, and a research facility featured here!

Recently the park has expanded to include aviaries for tropical birds and a lorikeet center! The owners here are adamant about supporting the conservation of butterflies!

Where To Stay Near Butterfly World!
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Close up of a butterfly on a pink flower.

Duval Street in Key West

Duval Street is a downtown street in Key West, Florida, that runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of the coolest things to do in Florida, as it is full of adventure and iconic stops!

With its vibrant, hole-in-the-wall bars, historical haunts, shops, and galleries there is not a dull moment on this street! Exploring here is one of the things to do in Florida at night.

You can embark on bar crawls here, run with the bulls, go on a ghost tour, visit Hemingway’s house (which features 6-toed cats!), and eat famous Key lime pie all while enjoying the sun and nearby beaches!

Where To Stay Near Duval Street!
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A woman in a floral dress sits on the steps of a colorful house on Duval Street in Key West.


Legoland is another theme park in Florida that you can add to your Florida bucket list! This theme park is known for being family-friendly, as it focuses on the construction of Lego toys.

Here at Legoland, everything is designed to be like a Lego! The rides look like blocks and pieces, and the park is filled with displays of the famous bricks.

This is one of the best things to do in Florida for adults and kids alike! Everyone will have great childhood fun.

Better yet? There is an awesome hotel you can stay at to really immerse yourself with the brand! Staying here feels like you have shrunk down and are now a little Lego too! Just don’t step on any!

Where To Stay Near Legoland!
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Entrance to Legoland Florida, an immersive and family friendly theme park.

Naples Botanical Garden

Of course, we are adding more botanical gardens to your best things to do in Florida itinerary! Florida has so many of them, and they’re beautiful– especially the Naples Botanical Garden!

Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre paradise. Stepping in here, you can see plants from all around the world with beautiful horticultural design and attention to sustainability!

Today, the garden welcomes over 220,000 guests per year to experience the education centers, shops, halls, themed gardens, and flora that continue to grow.

The is one of the prettiest places to visit in Florida!

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A path under a flower arch at the Napels Botanical Garden.

The Dali Museum

The Dali Museum is one of the most unique things to do in Florida, and probably because Dali himself was so unique!

This museum houses the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s work outside of Europe. Set on a waterfront setting, the architecture and exhibits of this museum call people to St. Pete for this gorgeous experience.

Make sure to also check out the Avant garden for a sense of tranquility and do not miss out on the building itself– the cafe is also cute, and the gift shop has so many unique souvenirs!

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The exterior of the Dali Museum with a surreal bench.

Wynwood Walls

The Wynwood Walls in Miami are some of the best things to do in Florida! This unique outdoor destination features HUGE street murals from artists across the globe.

The walls are now considered a museum as they feature some of the greatest artists that have worked in graffiti and street art. People come from all over to experience this art.

You can take official tours here or just navigate the murals by yourself! You can also stop by the Kitchen and Bar to support locals!

Where To Stay Near Wynwood Walls!
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The entrance to Wynwood Walls where there are great artistic murals in Miami.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is a 1.5 mullion acre preserve that features wetlands on the southern tip of Florida! This is one of the must-do Florida activities!

Made up of coastal mangroves, marshes, flat woods, and a variety of animal species, this is a fantastic thing to do in Florida, as you can drive through the everglades or take a boat out to enjoy the natural beauty. Don’t forget to book an airboat tour!

Lots of hiking trails also help you navigate this beautiful park, and if you’re lucky, you can see some endangered Florida animals such as the Florida Panther and West Indian manatee! It is one of the best places to see alligators in Florida.

This is a great place to stop on your Florida bucket list.

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Aerial view of Everglades National Park swamps.

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens is a great addition to your Florida bucket list as it is a perfect combination of a zoo and theme park! This is one of the best things to do in Florida with kids!

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is an African-themed theme park that is over 335-acres and features a variety of animals such as hippos, elephants, otters, and more. You can even see some surgeries take place in the watch center of the animal hospital!

Aside from the animals, there are also shows and SO many thrill rides. Known for its high-speed coasters, you will love the adventure this park brings! It is easily one of the most fun places in Florida!

Where To Stay Near Busch Gardens!
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Close up of a roller coaster at Busch Gardens, one of the best things to do in Florida.

Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.A.

We’ve already talked about some things to do in Florida in regard to Key West, but we are adding more to your Florida bucket list because there is so much to do here!

In particular, make sure to check out the Southernmost Point of the Continental United States. This is the lowest latitude in the North American States and is anchored by a concrete buoy.

Eighteen feet above sea level, this is a popular destination and tourist attraction off of Whitehead Street. It is one of the most visited and photographed attractions in Florida!

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The southernmost point of the US is in Key West!

Anna Maria Island

We are adding another beach to your list of best things to do in Florida! Anna Maria Island is a barrier island located on the Gulf Coast offering many Florida vacation activities.

It is well known for its broad beaches, such as Manatee Beach Park, and its small city is like a resort, lined with shops, galleries, and restaurants.

With a wooden pier and cute markets, lots of tourists love to explore the area that sells food, art, and jewelry in between their time on the sand and in the water!

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Anna Maria Island is known for its wonderful sands and broad beaches.

Venetian Pool

The Venetian Pool is another cool thing to do in Florida. It is a historical swimming pool located in Coral Gables and was completed in 1924!

Created across 4-acres, the pool has gone through several phases over the years, and has become a National Historical Place.

Occupying over 820,000 gallons of fresh water from artesian wells, this is the largest freshwater pool in the United States. It varies in depth (4-feet from 8 feet), features a waterfall, and has a kiddy pool, bridges, grottos, cafes, and sandy areas!

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The Venetian Pool is the largest freshwater pool in America.

Manatee Springs

Manatee Springs State Park is one of the few Florida state parks that have a spring (Manatee Spring) flowing directly into the Suwannee River.

This spring features boardwalks beneath cypress forests and in the cooler months, you can spot manatees in the clear water. One of the best activities in Florida is kayaking with manatees. Other birds, mammals, and fish are spotted year round.

From camping to tubing to walking the 32-mile Nature Coast State Trail, this park is full of adventurous things to do and explore, so therefore it is one of the most fun things to do in Florida!

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Aerial view of Manatee Spring Park, a great place to see manatees in the cooler months.

Weeki Wachee: City of Live Mermaids

The 12,000-acre Weeki-Wachee preserve is one of the most unique things in Florida because they have mermaids! Yes, live mermaids!

The Weeki Wachee Springs Park is one of the most commonly visited areas in Florida, as the springs feature cool, clear waters, slides, diving platforms, areas to sit and eat, and more.

Better yet, though, this city is known for its legend of mermaids: every day there is a live mermaid show, but if you’re not feeling the fictional wildlife, you can go down the springs and onto the river to kayak and see more wildlife.

This is one of the best springs near Tampa for a relaxing day trip from the city.

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View of the blue water of Weeki Wachee Springs, one of the best things to do in Florida.


Cassadaga is one of those things in Florida that is so strange but so wonderful. This small town in Voluisa County, Florida, is known for its psychics and mediums.

Known as the “Psychic Capital of the World,” many travel far and wide just to experience the vibe and spiritualness of this area. The streets and small homes are quaint but provide a specific energy.

Between its medium, psychics, healers, haunted hotels, and healing energy, this city is really a village that feels a world away from everything else. We recommend stopping by for a tour and a reading!

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Street of old houses in Cassadaga, a spiritual town known for its healers and energy.

Miami Marine Stadium

Located in Virginia Key, Miami, the Miami Marine Stadium was once one of the best things to do in Florida. Even though it hasn’t been used in years, it is still a unique stop on your Florida bucket list!

Once used to host water sports and famous for its scenic views of Downtown Miami, this stadium is now abandoned. However, it is still worth a stop!

Today the entire concrete stadium still stands tall, slanting down toward the water with a folded plate roof, and every inch of it is covered in graffiti. There are claims for it to be haunted as a speed boat driver was killed on opening day, but you might just have to check it out for yourself when stopping to explore and take photos!

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Aerial view of the Miami Marine Stadium, one of the best things to do in Florida.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Previously known as Villa Vizcaya, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is the former villa and estate of James Deering and was built in 1916. This is one of the best activities in Florida for both history and architecture lovers.

This National Historic Landmark is an experience and therefore we are adding it to your things to do in Florida itinerary as it is a unique cultural gem.

This Gilded Age estate on Biscane Bay is surrounded by 10 acres of gardens, mangroves, and rocky lands. During your tours here you can do a food lab, discover what is in bloom near the Fountain Garden, and explore the estate’s stunning architecture.

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View of Vizcaya across a pond and surrounded by trees.

Florida’s Volkswagen Graveyard

One of the most unique things to do in Florida includes going to Florida’s Volkswagen graveyard. Although this isn’t an expected stop on any Florida bucket list, it is strange and fun!

Referred to as the “Disney World for Volkswagen enthusiasts,” this junkyard features vintage VWs and you can wander through a field of aging VWs, parts, and more.

With over 300,000 cars here, this graveyard is unique, cool for photo ops, and perfect for any car enthusiast!

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An old Volkswagen Beetle surrounded by decaying leaves in a forest.

Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs is another of the best springs in Florida and is perfect for a day of relaxation. Found in the Ocala National Forest, this is the place to go for swimming, kayaking, and hiking. It is also a great place for wildlife viewing, including otters, American eels, and even albino gray squirrels.

The beautiful blue water is super clear making it ideal for snorkeling. With a year-round temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, it is refreshing in the heat of a Florida summer.

You can also camp at this spring. The dense canopy provides plenty of shade, picnic tables, and restrooms. This is considered one of the best places for camping in Florida.

Where To Stay Near Juniper Springs!

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A woman in a red dress and sun hat sits on a wooden fence overlooking the blue water of Juniper Springs in Florida.

Bahia Honda State Park

As one of the best state parks in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda State Park is truly a slice of paradise! There are three beaches in Bahia Honda, both with beautiful, clear water. This is one of the best places in Florida to scuba dive.

You can also have fun swimming, kayaking, playing in the white sand, or relaxing in the shade of a swaying palm tree. Make sure to walk the trail up to the Old Bahia Honda Bridge too so you can find amazing views of the beaches and ocean.

If you chose to camp here, you will be rewarded with gorgeous stars overhead. Since Bahia Honda Key is so remote, the sky is dark, making it one of the best places for stargazing in Florida. There are even stargazing programs led here so you can learn more about the night sky.

Make sure to check out some of our other favorite things to do in the Lower Keys in addition to Bahia Honda!

Where To Stay Near Bahia Honda!

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High angle view looking down at the beach in Bahia Honda State Park in Florida.

Crab Island

You’ll find Crab Island off the shore of Destin on the panhandle. This huge sandbar is a great place to anchor your boat and enjoy some classic Florida vibes.

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The calm water makes it perfect for swimming, and you can even order some food at one of the floating restaurants. Grab a drink and float on a raft as you soak up the sun.

You can also play water volleyball, jump on water trampolines, or play on water slides. Ley your inner child out! This is a family-friendly attraction too, so bring the kids!

To get here, you can charter a boat, ride the Crab Island Shuttle Boat, or kayak. This is easily one of the best things to do in Destin.

Where To Stay in Destin!

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Aerial view of boats dotting the sand bar called Crab Island, one of the best things to do in Florida.

And there you have it: a Florida bucket list that is full of stops that are perfect for any tourist or resident alike. From unique places to highly anticipated beaches or theme parks and all the natural beauty in between, Florida is not a dull state.

You can spend forever exploring all Florida has to offer, but these 33 stops are where we recommend starting! And if you’re worried about what to pack on these adventures, check out our Florida Packing List, or even our Florida Road Trip Itinerary to help with this bucket list!

Go on and explore the Sunshine State– we promise you won’t be disappointed!

10 Best Christmas Towns in Florida You Must Visit

Did you know that there are Christmas towns in Florida?

Looking for a festive getaway this winter that doesn’t include cold weather and snowstorms? Look no further than Christmas in Florida!

While Florida may not be your first instinct as far as Christmas trips go, the state actually has a handful of lovely Christmas towns among sandy shores, and we’re here to break down the best ones!

It is the perfect place for a warm holiday season!

So grab some hot chocolate, put on your favorite sweater and whip out the festive tunes; Christmas in Florida is starting now!

A mini Christmas tree on a sandy beach with a blue sky and waves

10 Festive Christmas Towns in Florida


The epicenter of many popular Christmas activities, Orlando has no festive shortage, making it one of the best Christmas towns in Florida! Christmas starts on November 1st in the theme parks, so if you’re wanting to get the earliest start possible, this may be your ideal Christmas town in Florida.

Orlando has no shortage of festive activities, so whether you’re looking to check out Give Kids The World’s Night of a Million Lights, explore Gaylord Palm’s offerings or check out Universal Studio’s Grinchmas, your itinerary will be stacked. This is truly one of the best places to spend Christmas in Florida.

Disney World is an obvious pick for festive findings, with all 4 theme parks getting decked out in decor and treat offers. Make sure to check out our master post on the Best Time To Visit Florida including a breakdown by month, weather, events, and more!

Hollywood Studios usually hosts a holiday edition of their Frozen Sing-A-Long show and cast projections onto the Hollywood Tower Hotel, while Magic Kingdom has an after-hours, separately ticketed event called Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, with all you can eat Christmas treats and drinks, and special shows and parades.

However, if you’re not looking to whip out the cash for a theme park day, Disney Springs, the outdoor shopping center offers a Christmas Tree Trail scavenger hunt, a free game where you search for themed trees around the area to win a commemorative button.

Orlando is one of the best Christmas towns in Central Florida and it should top your list. Nobody does Christmas like Orlando.

Where to stay in Orlando:

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Christmas light-covered palm trees in front of a city skyline in orlando one of the best central florida christmas towns

Saint Augustine

Named as one of the top ten holiday light displays in the world, Saint Augustine is the home of Nights of Lights, a nightly festival of beautiful light displays. You can’t go wrong visiting Florida during Christmas and going to this town.

An art festival is also hosted within the event, where you can explore offerings from The St. Augustine Art Association.

This Christmas town in Florida even has its very own Christmas parade, with displays, floats, and even Santa Claus himself! A classic and cozy town to spend Christmas in. This is one of our favorite places to see Christmas Lights In Florida!

Where to stay in Saint Augustine:

Marker 8 Hotel and Marina: Check rates on

A park lit up for Christmas within a Christmas town in Florida with a blue sky


While Miami is quite far from being a town, it has its fair share of festivities, making it, in our book, one of the best honorary Christmas towns in Florida!

Considered to be the world’s largest holiday theme park, you can explore Santa’s Enchanted Forest, which runs from November to January. Located here is the biggest Christmas tree in south Florida, a light show, carnival rides and more. Or, for another family-fun-filled option, Zoo Miami hosts its own Christmas spectacle with 3D light displays and seasonal lights.

You won’t regret visiting Miami for your Christmas getaway in Florida, there is always something interesting going on! Make sure to check out all the best things to do in Miami!

Where to stay in Miami:

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Sanibel and Captiva

On Sanibel Island, locals are known to deck out their boats with elaborate Christmas decor, and in traditional Florida fashion, their palm trees as well! If you want a true Christmas town in Florida, Sanibel and Captiva have all of the offerings.

There are truly so many activities in Sanibel And Captiva all year round!

This is also a great place to find smaller Christmas villages in Florida because of the displays.

If you’re looking to explore a bit of national history on your trip, enjoy Edison and Ford Holiday Nights at their respective winter estates, using Edison bulbs! You can attend tours, or just admire the showcase on your own.

With the array of beaches from Fort Myers to Captiva, these closely located isles offer charming musical spectacles, Christmas cheer, and overall a quaint and classic vibe, sure to satisfy your need for some holly jolly.

They are truly some of the cutest Christmas towns in Florida!

Where to stay in Sanibel and Captiva:

An elaborate Christmas display outside a house on a dark road


This riverside Christmas town in Florida has some great offerings! In the middle of Tampa’s beautiful downtown area is Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park, the home of a popular outdoor ice rink overlooking the riverwalk.

Curtis Hixon tops our list of the top things to do in Tampa!

This space also hosts special events, a mini Christmas train and of course food and drink offerings, perfect for a chilly night.

However, if chills combined with thrills are more your style, you can check out Busch Gardens theme park and their Christmas Town event, where along with checking out roller coasters and animal exhibits you can explore the tree maze and meet Santa among festive decorations and lights!

Christmas Town has a lovely Christmas village in Florida to check out and the food and fun is one of our favorite things every year!

Tampa is one of the more unexpected Florida Christmas towns and you shouldn’t miss it.

Where to stay in Tampa:

The Barrymore Hotel: Check rates on

Boats in a lake covered in Christmas lights for a boat parade in tampa florida

Key West

The home of the key lime pie, Key West is a cozy and quaint option for the holidays. From the annual parade to meet and greets with Santa Claus himself, festive cheer won’t be hard to find within this Christmas town in Florida.

Exploring Key West at night is a great way to experience the city, especially during the holidays!

The Old Town Trolley Holiday Lights Tour is a local staple, with a 60-minute tour of the island and treats and cider to match. Or, if a historical venture is more your vibe, explore the holiday architecture with the Historic Inns.

Key West is truly one of the best places for Christmas in South Florida. Make sure to check out our tips for Visiting Key West In December!

Where to stay in Key West:

The Garden House: Check rates on

A snowman made out of sand with a Santa hat at sunset on a beach


Heading to the beach for your not-so-winter Christmas getaway in Florida? Naples, Florida has sun and sand for days, with a handful of must-do annual holiday traditions.

Victoria Park and Third Street offer free entertainment from local parades to live music, or check out the Naples Botanical Gardens for some luscious wandering. Illuminated with Christmas lights, the sculptures and plants have a holiday overlay, and you can round out your night by grabbing themed cocktails.

Naples may not instantly top your list of the best Christmas towns in Florida, but you would be wrong! There are so many things to do in Naples at any time of year.

Where to stay in Naples:

A historic building with a light-decked tree in one of the florida christmas towns


If a classic (as classic as you can get in the sunshine state) winter wonderland is more your style, check out Celebration Florida, and Celebration’s Winter Wonderland.

This Disney-built town has random “snowfalls,” horse-drawn carriage rides and other festivities to make you feel like you’ve been placed in a Hallmark film, like boutique shopping and the Christmas express train.

If you are looking for a quaint and classic Florida Christmas town, this is the place to be!

Where to stay in Celebration:

The Grand Orlando Resort: Check rates on

A large Christmas tree in a square of one of the best Christmas towns in Florida

West Palm Beach

The sandy shore of West Palm Beach is the home of Sandi, the 700-ton Christmas tree made entirely of sand, so if that’s not enough to make you want to visit this Christmas town in Florida, not sure what is!

Snow falls from the 32-foot tall banyan tree covered in twinkling lights, and you can take classes to craft wreaths and ornaments. This town is a beautiful sight if you skip the Ugly Sweater Brunch of course.

There are so many things to do in West Palm Beach year round making it one of the best places to spend Christmas in Florida!

Where to stay in West Palm Beach:

La Quinta Inn by Wyndham: Check rates on

delray beach in west palm beach on a sunny day with palm trees

Amelia Island

Amelia Island and the town of Fernandina Beach is truly one of the best Christmas towns in Florida!

For one weekend each December, downtown Fernandina is turned into a classic Victorian village with decorations and Christmas lights.

There is also caroling and street vendors selling food and Christmas goodies. This is truly a Christmas village in Florida comes to life.

The best part? The beach is right down the street and you won’t be cold. No snow in sight! Downtown Fernandina Beach was already one of our favorite things to do in Amelia Island, but it is even prettier during Christmas!

Ritz Carlton Amelia Island: Check Rates on

downtown amelia island decked out in lights one of the best Christmas towns in Florida

We hope you enjoyed learning about some of the cutest Christmas towns in Florida and that you have some new things to add to your bucket-list! There are so many options for spending Christmas in Florida, you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose.

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victoria yore and terrence drysdale in florida trippers about me sitting with blue water in the background

We are Victoria and Terrence, a Florida-based couple here to help you plan your dream vacation. Victoria is a born and raised Floridian for her whole life and Terrence has lived in Florida for over 15 years. We are here to show you the real Florida, from popular spots to the state’s many hidden gems!

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Florida in Winter: the Ultimate Guide to Winter in the Sun

Florida in the winter is, for the most part, true paradise.

Florida fun fact: the winter is the best time of the year to visit Florida, not the worst, and when the cold snaps do come, they leave just as fast as they rolled in.

In fact, Florida during the winter months doesn’t just attract short term visitors hoping to soak in some sunshine and hit up the theme parks, but it also attracts “snowbirds,” who are people from up north who choose to move down to Florida over the winter and escape the harshest weather.

palm trees and blue sky

If wandering around in shorts under palm trees in January is your idea of fun, dig into this guide to Florida in winter so you know exactly what to pack (hint: no parkas) and what to do to maximize your time here.


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How Cold Does it Get in Florida?

The coldest it’s ever gotten in Florida is -2 degrees F!

However, don’t expect those temperatures anytime soon.

We’ll chat more about Florida weather in the winter below, but rest assured that the coldest days are usually around 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and they don’t last very long!

coastline of Florida

In fact, you’ll know when Florida is getting a “cold snap” in the winter, as everyone will have their plants covered up with bedsheets to avoid them getting frostbitten – just Florida things!

This also impacts what to bring to Orlando, which you can learn more about in my Orlando packing list.

Florida Winter Temperatures

Florida is the warmest state in the continental US in the winter months, which is a huge bonus for everyone looking to escape grey skies and slushy streets elsewhere (top tip: if you want one of the most beautiful parts of Florida, head to Cape Coral!)

Because Florida covers so much land vertically, it stretches through a few different ranges of temperatures in the winter, with somewhere like Key West at the very tip of Florida’s south coast being the warmest (and also places like Marco Island) and places nearer Alabama and Georgia, like Gainesville, reaching colder temperatures.

Read Post  Is Cape Town Safe?

beach on sunny day

Florida Weather in December

December tends to be the second coldest month in Florida’s winter, with average highs ranging from 66 F to 76 F (increasing as you go further south) and average lows ranging from 45 F to 67 F.

Florida Weather in January

January is the coldest month in Florida, with temperatures ranging from 64 F to 74 F for the highs and 43 F to 65 F for the lows.

That being said, do not let this trick you into believing January in Florida is cold.

You can have some cold days, but it can also just as easily be shorts weather – that’s life on a peninsula for you!

Florida Weather in February

February is the warmest of Florida’s winter months, and my birthday month, which I always associated with nice weather and certainly not frost!

The temperatures range from highs of 64 F to 76 F and lows of 44 F to 66 F.

street in Florida in winter with palm trees

What to Pack for Florida in the Winter

Here’s the thing about visiting Florida in the winter.

Packing is probably more difficult than packing for somewhere that is categorically cold or categorically hot in those months because Florida can be either.

You don’t want to be caught in a multi-day cold spell in only shorts, but equally you don’t want to come in the snowboots and have a week of 80 degree days in January.

The key is layers, as well as checking the forecast right before you get in the car for your road trip or step on that plane.

Here are a few key essentials to get you through the winter months in Florida.

Keep in mind there are a couple things on here you absolutely will not need, like heavy boots, gloves, or a winter coat.

coastline of Florida

Short sleeve T-ShirtsCardigans
Flip flopsLight Hoodie
Tennis shoesBathing Suit

Short sleeve T-shirts

You don’t want to be caught out without short sleeve T-shirts (these are so cute) in Florida, even in the winter.

With the help of cardigans and light hoodies, these will mean that you can layer up if you need to if the weather turns cold, but mostly will be prepared for heat waves or normal Florida temperatures which can be 75 degrees in the winter (hot for most people…besides Floridians!)

You won’t need your tank tops or spaghetti straps, but some nice, lightweight short sleeve T-shirts are definitely on the packing list.


Cardigans like these not only mean that you can layer them on top of your short sleeve shirts if you get cold, but they’re also a great thing to carry around with you in Florida because the air conditioning is seemingly always on.

Especially in the evenings in the winter, as well, the weather can get cooler and you don’t want to be caught out.

Keep a cardigan (this one is so cute) in your purse or bag as you carry on with your day, and use as needed.


Jeans are the quintessential “everyperson’s” winter wear in Florida as they’re so versatile and can be worn in a variety of temperatures.

You’ll usually want to be wearing jeans in Florida in the summer, but you can leave the thermal underwear at home!

That being said, if you do get hot easily, make sure to follow my packing advice below because on an 80 degree January day, you might not want that denim on your skin.


Make sure to bring at least one pair of shorts (these are adorable) with you to Florida if you’re visiting during the winter months.

You really, really, have a great chance of it being shorts weather and especially if you’re from up north where 70 degrees seems practically balmy, you may be much more comfortable without long pants.

We always have a bet on whether we will be able to wear shorts on Christmas Day, and almost always we can.

girl running through sand with birds flying

Light Hoodie

You don’t need your parka or your heaviest coat for Florida winter, just a light hoodie or sweatshirt like this trendy one.

And not one with super heavy fleece lining!

Just a basic, lightweight hoodie that you can throw on over your shirt and you’ll instantly be rocking the Florida winter wardrobe.

Bathing Suit (location depending)

Yes, you can swim in Florida in the winter!

You may not be jumping into the ocean headfirst or swimming in the springs in Ocala, but plenty of places including Disney World have heated pools and you’ll always find people swimming in them even in January.

It’s one of the many perks of the sunshine state in the winter!

Bring a cute tankini like this one and you’re all set.

Flip Flops

Again, when it reaches 75 degrees in Orlando in December, those of you who find that to be a warm temperature will absolutely be reaching for your flip flops to free those toes.

Flip flops are super lightweight and can shove easily into the tiniest of sections in your suitcase, and if you’re out by the pool or at the beach, you’ll want them.

Tennis Shoes

If you’re really insistent on trying to feel like it’s cold, you can bring a pair of lightweight fashion boots to Florida in the winter, but most people keep it casual and are just in regular lightweight tennis shoes like these or other kinds of shoes like Keds.

You can wear regular socks, no need to worry too much about your feet freezing because the weather likely won’t be cold enough for it.

And if it is super cold for a few days while you’re in Florida, it will pass quickly and isn’t worth bringing all of your heaviest gear.

Things to Do in Florida in Winter

The absolute best part of Florida in winter is that it’s seriously the best time for almost everything.

The theme parks are open, the beaches are open, the weather is great to spend time outdoors.

Unlike other states that tend to open up in the summer and hunker down in the winter, Floridians tend to hunker down in the summer in their air conditioned houses and then emerge in the autumn and winter months!

Here’s a guide on what to do in Florida in the winter if you find yourself out of ideas, including what to do in Orlando in the winter.

Theme Parks

Whether you’re hoping to visit Magic Kingdom at Christmas or spend some time fighting the dark wizards at Universal Studios, the winter is a great time to visit Florida’s theme parks.

In Orlando you have the classics like Disney World, Universal, and SeaWorld, but don’t forget about gems like Busch Gardens in Tampa (a great day trip from Orlando) or the incredible LEGOLand Florida, perfect for the little ones in your family and located in Winter Haven which is about an hour south of Orlando.

It can be really hard in the summer months to sustain yourselves walking around at the theme parks all day, so a winter theme park visit is much more comfortable, and you are able to see plenty of decorations and festive things to do like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Grinchmas at Universal.

A Snow White Christmas tree decorated with Snow White decorations


Yes, you can hit the beaches in Florida’s winter!

From Melbourne‘s beautiful beaches to those of Clearwater, there’s plenty of options.

On some days, you’ll find it’s plenty warm enough to lie out in the sun and do all of your normal beach activities, though of course the water will be much colder than the summer so come prepared with a swim top or water shoes to keep yourself a bit warmer.

For many people, it’s the winter beachtime walks that are the reason for the season.

With the ocean breeze blowing, your feet squishing the sand between your toes and not a hint of snow in sight, it can be easy to forget that other parts of the world are plunged in darkness and frost!

beach hut on Florida beach


Florida’s wetlands and swamps are much more comfortable to explore in the winter months, with a significant decrease in the mosquito and other insect population while you’re out on the airboat rides.

While some of the wildlife like alligators do prefer warmer weather, you’ll still be able to spot plenty of birds, fish, and other creatures that come out and about in the winter months.

Historic Cities

From the ultimate historic city in Florida, St. Augustine, to the higher education history in places like Gainesville and citrus grove history in Orlando, Florida does have some history to explore and it’s really fun to do it in the winter when you aren’t feeling like you’re walking through a literal swamp because of the humidity.

St. Augustine always holds a fantastic lights display, while other cities also try to get in the festive spirit and put on outdoor caroling, farmer’s markets, and other activities for families to spend time learning about Florida’s heritage while enjoying the sunshine.

Outdoor Adventures

From paddleboarding to kayaking to spotting manatees at Blue Springs State Park, the great outdoors are calling your name in Florida’s winter months.

It’s the best time to go camping, the best time to go hiking in Florida, and overall the best time to get outdoors.

Almost nothing is off-limits or can’t be done in the winter that you can do in the summer, though you won’t find native Floridian’s doing too much swimming this time of year.

rack of kayaks in Florida


Want to tee off with great weather, beautiful golf courses, and awesome light levels?

Florida still has relatively long days in the winter so you can enjoy a full day of golf at one of the many golf courses around the state.

Rent a golf cart, grab a few friends, and enjoy lunch at the clubhouse and a full day putting around and playing until sunset.

Warmest Beaches in Florida in December

For the warmest beaches at Christmas in Florida, you’re going to want to stay towards South Florida.

I’ve compiled some of the best beaches in Florida in December if you want to have the best chance of laying out in the sun and feeling the warmth on your skin.

Miami Beach

There’s nothing like the activity around Miami Beach at any time of the year, but particularly when everyone is basking in the Florida December sun.

The art deco architecture makes this such a unique beach in Florida, and if you’re into celebrity spotting, this is the place to do it!

Marco Beach

Marco Island is the only developed island on Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, and it’s a great spot for a winter getaway.

Enjoy the pristine beaches, enjoy a self-guided canoe trip, or just sit on the balcony of your luxury resort and be glad you’re not scraping ice off of your car.

flip flops on beach

Pompano Beach

If you want to go diving, Pompano Beach is the best beach in December for some of the warmest ocean temperatures in Florida in the winter as well as an offshore coral reef and fantastic dive sites.

If you’re wanting to stay on land, the craft breweries and fishing pier are great options for sightseeing and socializing.

Best Winter Vacation Locations in Florida

If you’re looking for somewhere in particular to take a vacation in winter in Florida, here are the best 3 options.

I’ve concentrated on central and South Florida because North Florida can be much colder.


This fantastic city on the coast is filled with ritzy houses, beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants and plenty of things to do besides the beach.

Take the Naples Trolley Tour around town, which will take you to all of the best sites, check out the Naples Botanical Garden, or enjoy all of the golfing options nearby.

Naples is bustling with activity in the winter due to aforementioned snowbirds choosing places like Naples to spend their winters in, so the atmosphere will be upbeat!


You can’t beat Orlando in the winter.

Being situated in Central Florida means that it enjoys mild winter temperatures, and the theme parks go all out with festivities in the winter months.

This is an exciting place to be anytime of year, but in the winter you can look forward to attending an incredible ice sculpture experience at the Gaylord Palms, gorgeous light displays, and the same family-friendly entertainment that you’d expect all-year round like Wonderworks or the Crayola Experience.

Key West

If your trip to Florida in the winter is to get as much sunshine as possible, you need to head all the way south to Key West.

About four hours from Miami, this is the southernmost tip of Florida and thus has the warmest temperatures and most chance of forgetting it’s even winter at all!

There’s so much to do here, including the Ernest Hemingway House, Sunset Key, and Fort Zachary Taylor.

Key West doesn’t slow down in the winter and you can choose to have a relaxing winter retreat or do as many activities as you can fit into your time – they’re all open!




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