Florida is perhaps one of the best locations to visit if you’re planning a vacation. You can visit this wonderful place with your family, friends, or even alone, and you can rest assured that it has something to offer for everyone. However, whenever the topic of planning a vacation to Florida comes up, most people think only of Miami. What they don’t know is that there are a lot of exciting things you can do in South Florida – and not just in Miami! South Florida is remarkably different from its northern counterpart and if you like the Caribbean influence and sandy beaches, it’s the perfect place for you to go. Since the only place that most people can think of visiting in Florida is Miami, they don’t get to have the comprehensive and amazing experience that this state has to offer.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best tips that any visitor to Florida should know. Even if you plan a month-long vacation, you still wouldn’t be able to check out everything that Florida has to offer. Since there’s so much to do in so little time, we’ll be talking about the things you must try and the places you have to visit while in Florida. These tips will help you get a general idea of the kind of activities you can be doing other than getting a tan. You’ll also discover some hidden gems that you wouldn’t have known otherwise. So without any further delay, let’s get into it and find out some really cool tips for your next vacation to South Florida.
1. Don’t Limit Yourself to Beaches
Whenever people think about Florida, the first thought that comes to their minds is usually related to beaches. Sure, the beaches of Florida are world-class and definitely worth a visit. However, there’s much more to this state than its sandy shores. Most visitors don’t even bother checking out what lies beyond these beaches and that’s the biggest mistake you don’t want to make. Florida has so much to offer especially when you travel to its interiors. The wildlife, state parks, various festivals, and museums are all a part of its rich cultural heritage that everyone should explore. And the scientifically inclined should know that they can also pay a visit to the Kennedy Space Center, and if you don’t visit it yourself, you’ll be missing out on a very unique experience.
2. Do Explore the Beaches
This might seem to contradict the previous tip but it’s all about keeping your vacation balanced by mixing in all sorts of experiences. Even though you shouldn’t limit your visit to the beaches only, they aren’t something you should exclude either. Everyone who goes to Florida for vacation should at least visit the major beaches. There’s a reason why the 600 mile long beaches of Florida are so renowned all over the world and if you’re planning a vacation then be sure to include them in your itinerary. Take a sunbath, try your hand at surfing, deep-dive, or enjoy some drinks. Whatever you do at the beach automatically becomes a thousand times better due to the sunny weather and the ambiance there.
3. Expect Varying Weather
Florida is famous for its sunny weather and calm seas, however, that’s the image that Hollywood has advertised. In reality, Florida is an actual place and just like any other geographical location, it has its own weather that you’ll have to be prepared for. Even though it’ll be bright and sunny for the majority of your stay, be prepared to experience chilly winters, thunderstorms, and maybe even hurricanes as well. Things like hurricanes might sound scary but they’re a common occurrence on coasts and Florida isn’t immune to them either. Everyone in Florida is usually prepared to deal with a hurricane as a worst-case scenario and there are proper evacuation protocols in place. Hurricanes usually occur from June to November, so if you want to experience only the sunny and calm weather then plan your trip accordingly. There’s no guarantee that there won’t be any hurricanes out of this period but planning ahead is the best that anyone can do. On the other hand, thunderstorms are quite common every afternoon due to the local weather conditions. However, they pass quite fast and you don’t have to worry about them interrupting your stay in Florida.
4. Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen
Perhaps, the one thing that Florida is most famous for is the eternal sunshine and hot weather. While this might not always be the case as we’ve already discussed how Florida faces quite a lot of thunderstorms and hurricanes, it’s still true most of the time. If you’re going to Florida and forget to pack your sunscreen with you, get ready to deal with sunburn. The close proximity this place has to the equator means that the sun rays will be much stronger than anywhere else and if you’re accustomed to living in a climate where there’s not much sun, your skin will be even more sensitive. A sunburn will not only be painful but it’ll also ruin the rest of your trip as you’ll be busy dealing with it. The easiest way to avoid this is to apply sunblock before you go out, regardless of the weather as you never know when the sun might come out again. If you’re planning to go to a beach without sunscreen then do yourself a favor and find an indoor activity to do instead.
5. Visit Theme Parks
Most people love theme parks and the things they have to offer. While you might think that only Orlando has good theme parks, a lot of them are located in other cities as well. You should pay a visit to the famous Busch Gardens roller coaster park in Tampa or Legoland in Winter Haven if you doubt it. And while you’re visiting the theme park, you can also include a number of other activities as well. There are a lot of exciting things to do in South Florida – not just in Miami! Don’t miss out on reviews that can help you list out your day and don’t forget to definitely include the theme parks as well. Not going to these theme parks, especially if you have children in your group, is a big mistake. You’re going to be missing out on an experience of a lifetime if you don’t see why people have hyped these places up so much. These parks are fun not only for children but also for adults, as your childhood nostalgia will come rushing back. If you still doubt it then just check out Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom located in Lake Buena Vista to understand what we’re talking about.
6. Explore the Wilderness
Coming to one of the most underrated aspects of Florida, you should definitely explore its wilderness if you get the chance to do so. Florida wasn’t always glitz and glamour and the wildlife diversity is just phenomenal. People always assume that you’re going to Florida to enjoy the beaches and the theme parks but only the locals and the true wildlife enthusiasts know that it’s a great place to see different flora and fauna. If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure in the wild then you should definitely visit the Silver Springs, Rainbow River, Devil’s Den, Crystal River, Sanibel Island, Florida Keys, Rock Springs, and many other great locations. The number of activities that you can indulge in at these places is just mind-boggling. You can tube down the beautiful Rainbow River, you can engage in some diving or snorkeling at Devil’s Den, or you can take a kayak tour in a lot of rivers. The only thing you need to keep in mind is not to disturb the natural balance of the wildlife there in any manner.
The seemingly small things you can do in the wild or even at the beaches will have a drastic impact on the environment. The basics you should follow are to avoid disturbing the peaceful alligators, not feeding the seagulls, and not littering at the beaches. Florida is one of the few places on earth where such diverse flora and fauna exist, it’s your duty to safeguard this natural heritage while enjoying its scenic beauty.
7. Try Some Seafood
This one doesn’t even need to be mentioned but we’ll discuss it nonetheless so that those of you who’re unaware don’t miss out on it. You can find multiple varieties of cuisines from all over the world due to the huge influx of tourists to Florida, however, the seafood is what you have to try at least once. Due to the proximity to the coast, you can find a lot of fresh seafood in Florida and the taste of local cuisine is amplified due to the fresh catch. The most famous dishes served here are the mahi-mahi and the grouper which are quite accessible to those who haven’t tried seafood before. Make sure that the food you’re about to eat is caught on the same day as it’ll taste much better than the older and stale catch. The influence of the Caribbean is clearly visible when you eat anything as the ingredients used are very similar. Things like locally grown citrus are a remarkable addition to the seafood and you’ll be able to tell the difference. So if you have the choice to eat anything you want, always go for the seafood as it’s something that you won’t find anywhere else.
8. Enjoy the Sunsets
Life in the major cities is always very fast-paced and we don’t usually stop to take a look around us. Even while we’re on vacation, we tend to stay busy exploring the destination and trying out new experiences so that we don’t miss out on anything. Considering the number of things Florida has to offer, it’s even justifiable to do so. However, the sunsets of Florida are immensely beautiful and mesmerizing which is why you should slow down by the end of the day to witness the majestic orange sky. After engaging in different activities throughout the day, you’ll want to take a break from your hectic schedule and enjoy the sunset with your family or friends. All you need to do to enjoy a sunset is to grab a chilled glass of whatever beverage you like and witness the beauty of nature in all its glory.
9. Go Fishing
Fishing is one of the favorite pastimes of the local residents of Florida and it’s for a good reason. Fishing will help you relax and unwind from the hectic life that you came on this vacation to escape. Sitting for long periods of time and waiting for a catch is one of the most enjoyable and meditative parts of fishing. However, in Florida’s waters, you won’t have to wait for long as there’s plenty of fish for you to catch. The vast majority of people who visit Florida don’t even consider fishing because they prefer other activities like exploring the beaches and nightclubs first. However, it’s a very rewarding activity if you find some time in your itinerary to do so. Also, we’ve already discussed how the seafood in Florida is delicious and that’s all the more reason for you to try your hand at fishing.
We’re all eager to start planning for our next vacation, but it can be quite a difficult task if you don’t have a particular destination in mind. If this is the case, then you should definitely have South Florida at the top of your list. These are some of the most important tips that anyone traveling to the sunny state of Florida should remember. If you’re traveling there then make sure that you plan to stay there for at least a week as there’s so much to do in so little time. There are so many unique experiences for you to enjoy there that you’ll never want to leave. However, you’ll have to say your goodbyes sometime and this is why it’s advised that you enjoy your time there to the fullest. There are many other tips that you can follow but these ones are more than enough for one single trip. If you follow these tips then your vacation will be very memorable and you’ll create some lifelong memories as well.