Sun, sea, sand, and year-round warm, balmy weather, Florida is a popular go-to destination for visitors wanting to escape colder climes or taking a break. Spring Break draws a young, party-ready crowd to the shores of Florida looking for fun in the sun, and cities all along the coast vibrate with an energetic and dynamic vibe. But it's not only the great weather and beautiful beaches that attract thousands of tourists every month - the state offers a plethora of attractions, activities, and adventures for all tastes.
More ideas: Best Beaches, Best Weekend Getaways, Best Day Trips
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Located off the southwest coast of Florida, Sanibel Island features exquisite sandy beaches filled with shells, a quaint fishing pier and boardwalk through the marshes on the island, and a beautiful lighthouse dating back to the early 19th century. The J. N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge covers nearly half of the island and is home to a diverse range of fauna and flora, and the Causeway Beaches are a picnicking and water sports haven. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a unique natural history museum dedicated to showcasing shells and the soft-bodied mollusks that make them and offers an informative and inspiring experience. Things to Do on Sanibel Island
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The largest of Florida's Ten Thousand Islands and located close to Naples and the Florida Everglades, Marco Island is a beautiful Gulf Coast retreat that features luxury resorts, stunning sandy beaches, and unspoiled nature reserves and parks. Attractions on Marco Island include the Briggs Nature Center, which boasts a half-mile boardwalk where visitors can observe the island's unique fauna and flora and offers activities such as self-guided canoe trips and shelling excursions. The nearby Collier Seminole State Park is located a few miles from Marco Island and offers basic camping, picnicking, boating, canoeing, fishing, and a mile-long nature walk. Things to Do in Marco Island
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Set at the mouth of the St. John's River in northeastern Florida, Jacksonville is a large city and regional business center as well as a natural paradise for vacationers wanting an escape. Known as "River City by the Sea," Jacksonville boasts over 20 miles of sandy, uncrowded beaches, almost 40 miles of the meandering Intracoastal Waterway canal, and a vast stretch of the tranquil St. Johns River. The city is also home to the most extensive urban park system in the nation, with no less than ten state and national parks and preserves, along with a burgeoning foodie scene with award-winning restaurants, buzzing bars, and a vibrant nightlife. Activities and attractions in and around the city include art galleries, museums, and other cultural offerings, surfing and swimming at the barrier island beaches of Neptune and Jacksonville Beaches, and world-class golf at the Ponte Vedra Beach's TPC Sawgrass. Things to Do in Jacksonville
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Set on Florida's Atlantic coast, Daytona Beach offers a variety of fun in the sun, from beautiful white sandy beaches to NASCAR racing. Home of the Daytona International Speedway, which hosts the iconic Daytona 500 NASCAR race, Daytona Beach sees thousands flock to the sunny state to experience the thrill of NASCAR as well as to enjoy the beaches and vibrant nightlife. The beach has boardwalk that is lined with themed rides and arcades, and free summer concerts are staged at the Daytona Beach Bandshell. The hard-packed sand on the beach is ideal for 4x4 beach driving, and just a few meters back from the beach, Daytona Lagoon water park offers a variety of entertainment, including water slides, laser tags, and go-karting. Things to do in Daytona Beach
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Forming part of the Florida Keys archipelago and Florida's southernmost point, Key West lies approximately 90 miles north of Cuba and is renowned for its conch-style, pastel-hued homes and lavish lifestyle. A popular cruise-stop for travelers, Key West is home to an array of pristine coral reefs, which attract snorkelers and scuba divers from around the world. Key West is also famed for its beautiful beaches, historic sites, plethora of watersports, and lively nightlife, with top attractions like the dynamic and energetic Duval Street, which is packed with restaurants, bars, cafés, and nightclub, the world-renowned Sloppy Joe's bar, and the Key West City Cemetery, with its offbeat sense of humor. Things to Do in Key West
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South Beach in Miami is famous for its glittering nightlife, stylish restaurants and bars, and a beautiful waterfront lined with art deco buildings. Boasting miles of white sandy beaches that are packed with sun-goddesses, winding walkways filled with joggers, roller skaters, and people watchers, and buzzing restaurants serving award-winning cuisine and cocktails, South Beach is a must for glamor-seekers and celebrity fans. Ocean Drive boasts beautifully preserved art deco architecture and chic sidewalk cafés, while the pedestrian shopping strip Lincoln Road Mall features a plethora of indie fashion shops and major chain stores. Haulover Park is excellent for cycling, tennis, golf, and fishing and the Wolfsonian-FIU has an outstanding collection of modern art.
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Located on Caladesi Island in the Gulf of Mexico, across St. Joseph Sound, Caladesi Island State Park is a Florida State Park and one of America's most beautiful beaches. Boasting miles of beautiful beaches, which are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and beach combing, and lush mangrove forests, the variety of nature and kayaking trails draw both nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike to enjoy its pristine natural beauty. The park is also home to a 108-slip marina, a casual café with a snack bar and gift shop, and a ferry service to and from nearby Honeymoon Island State Park.
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8.Fort De Soto Park
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Located south-southwest of St. Petersburg in Florida lies Fort De Soto Park, which spans 1,136 acres on the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay and covers five islands, namely Bonne Fortune Key, Madelaine Key, St. Christopher Key, St. Jean Key, and the main island of Mullet Key. Part of the boating community of Tierra Verde, Fort De Soto Park offers a variety of activities to enjoy, from hiking and mountain biking to canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and visiting historical sites. The park is home to the Fort De Soto Park's Historic Fort and Museum, which documents the history of the region and features old artillery holds, firing galleys, and spectacular views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
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Located on the natural barrier island of the same name, across St. Joseph's Sound from Palm Harbor in Ozona, Honeymoon Island is a state park that boasts 4 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, several nature trails, and an abundance of diverse wildlife, including endangered gopher tortoises and ospreys. The Pinellas Trail runs the length of the Dunedin Causeway and offers a lovely way to experience the beauty of the island on foot or by bicycle, and other activities that can be enjoyed on the island include boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and fly-fishing.
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Boasting breathtaking white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and an inviting small-town atmosphere, Clearwater Beach has been a favorite vacation destination for decades. Located in Pinellas County on the west central coast of Florida and overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater Beach features miles of beautiful beaches, family-friendly lodgings, excellent restaurants, and a plethora of activities, including the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is home to Winter the Dolphin, star of the movie Dolphin Tale. The palm-lined Beach Walk Promenade is a perfect place to stroll and soak up the gorgeous views, and the Clearwater Marina and Pier 60 offer a bustling scene of boating, fishing, and other activities. There are also plenty of options for good food and entertainment, including Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar, and Shepard's Tiki Beach Bar and Grill.
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Located on Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay, Egmont Key State Park is a state park that is only accessible by boat or ferry. Lying southwest of Fort De Soto Park, Egmont Key has a unique cultural and natural history with several historic sites and trails worth visiting, such as a lighthouse dating back to 1858. The island served as a camp for captured Seminoles at the end of the Third Seminole War during the 19th century and was later occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War. Other activities on the island include picnicking, fishing, shelling, swimming, and wildlife watching - the island is home to a population of nesting turtles and a diverse variety of migratory nesting birds.
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Located south of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, along Florida's Space Coast, Cocoa Beach is a friendly beachside city that known for its beautiful beach and excellent surf breaks as well as the gateway to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The town offers a variety of fun attractions and activities, including strolling along the world-famous pier, hiking through several beautiful preserves, visiting the world's largest surf shop, and exploring the Kennedy Space Center. Don't miss seeing a launch from the center and trying one of the spaceflight simulators at the Kennedy Space Center or visit the historical and nostalgic riverside community of Cocoa Village of Cocoa Beach, which features an array of artist studios, galleries, restaurants, and shops.
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Located along Florida's Atlantic coast between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, Flagler Beach is friendly seaside city that boasts miles of beautiful sandy beaches, elegant waterfront restaurants, chic rooftop cafés, and eclectic beachside shops. Named after Florida railroad developer and oil tycoon Henry Flagler, Flagler Beach is also home to several well-maintained natural reserves and parks and offers an array of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as swimming, surfing, beachcombing, and fishing. Hailed as a "retro town with salty style," Flagler Beach has a warm and welcoming community and has been attracting visitors to enjoy the sun, sea, and relaxing beach vibe for years. Things to Do in Flagler Beach
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14.New Smyrna Beach
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Located on Florida's Central Atlantic coast just south of Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach is a charming beach town and renowned surfing hub with spectacular beaches, great surfing waves, alluring coastal architecture, and oodles of charm. Downtown's palm-lined Canal Street Historic District boasts eclectic art galleries and museums, quaint shops and boutique stores, and plenty of restaurants, cafés, and bars. Steeped in an intriguing history, the beach community offers plenty of things to see and do, ranging from Smyrna Dunes Park with its historic lighthouse and stunning views of the Ponce Inlet to the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum and New Smyrna Museum of History, which document the history of the region with excellent exhibits and displays.
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15.St. Pete Beach
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Set on a barrier island west of Saint Petersburg, St. Pete Beach is a Florida resort city with beautiful white sandy beaches and a variety of attractions and activities. Overseen by the pink Moorish-style Don Cesar Hotel, or "Pink Palace," a 1928 landmark and icon of the island, St. Pete Beach is sprinkled with nostalgic Old Florida hotels and inns and features the longest undeveloped stretch of public beach in the county ¬- Pass-a-Grille Beach. Outdoor activities range from swimming, beachcombing, and paddleboarding to surfing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing, and cultural attractions include the lively Corey Avenue district, which is packed with museums, art galleries, trendy specialty shops, restaurants, cafés, and bars. Things to Do in Saint Petersburg
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Located on the island of Key Largo in the upper Florida Keys, Key Largo is a slice of island paradise. Named from the Spanish word cayo largo, or "long key," the magical island is the self-proclaimed "Dive Capital of the World" and home to a variety of spectacular underwater attractions, including John Pennekamp Coral Reef Underwater State Park, the 510-foot USS Spiegel Grove, and the world's largest artificial reef. Must-see and do attractions and activities on Key Largo include diving, snorkeling and glass-bottom boating, fishing, kayaking and swimming with dolphins, visiting the Everglades National Park, which is just a short trip away, and watch breathtaking sunsets with colorful cocktails. Things to Do in Key Largo
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Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida, Naples is a stylish city that is renowned for its world-class shopping, high-end culture, award-winning dining, and championship golf courses. Elegant and sophisticated, Naples also boasts beautiful beaches, spectacular natural beauty, rich history and culture, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. The city's historic downtown area is packed with numerous art galleries and museums, chic clothing boutiques, and trendy home décor stores, along with award-winning restaurants and swanky bars. The Naples Pier dates back to 1888 and is a favorite spot for fishing and dolphin spotting, and the miles of white sandy beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Things to Do in Naples
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Famous for its network of shipping canals lined with expensive homes, beautiful beaches, and year-round arts and cultural events, Ft Lauderdale is a charming city on Florida's southeastern coast that promises to delight. A perfectly landscaped beachfront promenade with signature white wave walls and brick paved pathways runs along the coastline and is lined with boutique and luxury hotels and upscale outdoor restaurants and bars overlooking the ocean. Other attractions include world-class shopping on Las Olas Boulevard, the International Swimming Hall of Fame, gondola rides on the canals, and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Things to Do in Ft Lauderdale
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19.Fort Walton Beach
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Located between Pensacola and Panama City along North Florida's shimmering Gulf Coast, Fort Walton Beach is a small city in the Florida Panhandle that boasts powdery-white sandy beaches, glistening emerald waters, world-class golf courses, and an array of outdoor recreation. The friendly seaside city is home to family-friendly resorts and attractions such as Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, the Indian Temple Mound Museum, the Air Force Armament Museum, and the adjacent Okaloosa Island. A quaint seaside downtown area is packed with interesting shops and museums and an array of restaurants and bars that come alive when the sun goes down.
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Siesta Key is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico and a short drive from downtown Sarasota, offering a beautiful paradise-like escape from the city. The quaint 8-mile-long island is renowned for its gin-clear waters of varying blue hues, pristine white sandy beaches, fantastic restaurants and bars, and a plethora of sporting activities. Siesta Key Village is home to various shops and boutiques selling island-style clothing and home décor, charming sidewalk cafés, and elegant restaurants, and Siesta Beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The nearby Crescent Beach and the Point of Rocks boast colorful coral reefs and tidal pools for snorkelers and divers to explore, while Turtle Beach has several pretty picnic areas and boat ramps.
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21.Fort Myers Beach
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Located on Estero Island off the southwest Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Beach is a small seaside with a long white sandy and gently sloping beach and clear waters, which are renowned for an array of watersports such as kayaking and parasailing. Other popular water-based activities include wave-running, eco-dolphin watching tours, deep-sea fishing charters, and excursions to the nearby islands of Captiva and Sanibel. Attractions in and around Fort Myers Beach include the Ostego Bay Marine Science Center, which displays local marine life, and the Matanzas Pass Preserve nature sanctuary. Also worth visiting is the 1900s Mound House, which is built on an ancient Calusa Indian shell mound and boasts many archaeological exhibits.
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22.Panama City Beach
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Renowned for its miles of palm-lined white sandy beaches lapped by the calm, clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City Beach is a famous seafront town and vacation spot in northwest Florida. Panama City Beach is home to two protected state parks, namely St. Andrews State Park and Pier Park, which are bordered by the Gulf and offer a variety of activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. The beach is also home to many excellent waterfront restaurants that serve fresh local seafood, and plenty of attractions and the waters off the coast feature dozens of artificial reefs, which are ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing. Things to do in Panama City Beach
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Located on Florida's largest island, Merritt Island is actually a town by the same name that is home to NASA's Kennedy Space Center. While manned rockets are no longer launched from the island, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a major tourist attraction and offers visitors the opportunity to meet astronauts, experience the thrills of a simulated Shuttle Launch Experience, and learn more about the space program. Merritt Island is also home to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, a 140,000-acre nature sanctuary, which is home to a diverse range of fauna and flora.
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24.Bahia Honda State Park
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One of Florida's southernmost state parks, Bahia Honda State Park is a large park on the island of Bahia Honda Key, which was transformed from a remote island into a tropical paradise by railroad mogul and oil tycoon Henry Flagler. Bahia Honda State Park features terrific white sandy beaches gently lapped by the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, year-round balmy sea breezes, and excellent snorkeling. Other activities to enjoy in the park include kayaking, canoeing, fishing, boating, and scuba-diving as well as birdwatching for both wading and seabirds. The Sand and Sea Nature Center explore some of the island's most diverse fauna and flora with an array of interactive exhibits and displays.
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Nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Hollywood Beach is one of the region's most spectacular stretches of sand. Bordering the classic beach town of Hollywood, which has been attracting visitors since 1920, Hollywood Beach boasts a one-of-a-kind oceanfront promenade known as the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, which stretches nearly 2.5 miles along the Atlantic. The famous brick-paved promenade thoroughfare is a paradise for walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and people watchers, who gather at one of the many cafés and restaurants along the way to sip colorful cocktails when the sun goes down. Hollywood Beach also features the historic Garfield Street paddleball courts, a whimsical dolphin play fountain, three luxury oceanfront resorts, and free live music concerts every week.
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25 Best Florida Spring Break Destinations
- Sanibel Island, Photo: Courtesy of Chad McDermott - Fotolia.com
- Marco Island, Photo: Sebastian/adobe.stock.com
- Jacksonville, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Daytona Beach, Photo: Courtesy of jovannig - Fotolia.com
- Key West, Photo: Courtesy of Naeblys - Fotolia.com
- South Beach, Photo: Courtesy of miami2you - Fotolia.com
- Caladesi Island, Photo: Courtesy of Den - Fotolia.com
- Fort De Soto Park, Photo: Courtesy of Shakzu - Fotolia.com
- Honeymoon Island, Photo: Courtesy of Erin Cadigan - Fotolia.com
- Clearwater Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Peter - Fotolia.com
- Egmont Key, Photo: Courtesy of sbgoodwin - Fotolia.com
- Cocoa Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Photoman - Fotolia.com
- Flagler Beach, Photo: Courtesy of steffstarr - Fotolia.com
- New Smyrna Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Ana - Fotolia.com
- St. Pete Beach, Photo: Courtesy of geraldmarella - Fotolia.com
- Key Largo, Photo: Courtesy of Irina Schmidt - Fotolia.com
- Naples, Photo: Courtesy of jovannig - Fotolia.com
- Fort Lauderdale, Photo: Courtesy of Ruth P. Peterkin - Fotolia.com
- Fort Walton Beach, Photo: Courtesy of jovannig - Fotolia.com
- Siesta Key, Photo: Courtesy of FotoMak - Fotolia.com
- Fort Myers Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Fotoluminate LLC - Fotolia.com
- Panama City Beach, Photo: Courtesy of jovannig - Fotolia.com
- Merritt Island, Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Meese - Fotolia.com
- Bahia Honda State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Simon Dannhauer - Fotolia.com
- Hollywood Beach, Photo: Courtesy of kmiragaya - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of sborisov - Fotolia.com