You’ve probably heard by now that Florida is called the Sunshine State and much of that can be attributed to the fact that it has more than 1,800 miles of coastline, more than 1,200 miles of beaches, more than 5,000 islands, and more than 8,000 lakes. No other state rivals that level of paradise, except perhaps California.
Florida is a beach lover’s paradise, with white sandy beaches and the clear warm waters of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. No matter how you spend your time in this state, you’ll have some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere.
If you’re looking to enjoy some of those awesome features in Florida, you can get a great start by checking out one of these great cities to visit in Florida.
Looking for more Florida travel planning resources? Check out our guide to the best cities to visit in Florida and unique attractions you can only find in Florida. Here are our top tips for Disney World.
Cities to Visit in Florida
Miami is the idyllic vacation destination because of its balanced blend of urban and tropical appeal. It’s a resort locale with all the big city offerings. Small cafes and art deco bars of Miami Beach exist alongside megaclubs and skyrise hotels in downtown’s Financial District.
South Beach is one of the most popular areas. Being a great draw to Americans and European tourists alike, South Beach is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants and oceanfront hotels. Farther north into main Miami Beach along Ocean Avenue offers the luxurious beach club hotels that Miami is famous for.
Things to do in Miami
- Miami Beach Botanical Garden
- Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve
- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
- See and be seen in South Beach
» Try this tour: Little Havana Food and Walking Tour in Miami
Clearwater is a beautiful city located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. It’s known for it’s sunny white sand beaches, and plenty of entertaining activities, especially gorgeous beaches, baseball, boardwalks, and its aquarium.
Things to do in Clearwater
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- Walk along Pier 60
- Go dolphin watching
» Try this tour: Clearwater Dolphin-Watching Tour
Destin, Florida is well known for it’s many beautiful beaches and golf courses. Being located on the Gulf of Mexico does this city lots of favors, as the warm weather is enjoyable year round.
Take a boat onto the emerald waters off the coast and revel in the magnificence. Try any number of the restaurants and bars located along the waterside.
Things to do in Destin
- Destin Harbor Boardwalk
- Henderson Beach State park
- Take a sunset tiki bar cruise
» Try this tour: Walton Beach 3 Hours Dolphin and Snorkeling Tour
Along the southeastern coast of Florida lies the city of Fort Lauderdale. Known for it’s art scene and vibrant culture, this city is great for exploring theatres, museums, and restaurants, especially along the lively stretch of Olas Boulevard.
Fort Lauderdale is also home to the International Swimming Hall of Fame, with pools and a museum of memorabilia, and the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, featuring trails and a lagoon.
Things to do in Fort Lauderdale
- Bonnet House Museum and Gardens
- Las Olas Boulevard
- Intracoastal Waterway
» Try this tour: Everglades Airboat Tour from Fort Lauderdale
Key West is the place for any type of person. Whether you are visiting to have a wild time, family vacation, a romantic getaway or just going to relax, Key West fits it all. It might be a small place, but it has a lot to offer, from fishing to great sunsets.
Key West has diving and snorkeling to view the wonderful underwater creatures, or you can stay above water and visit Mallory Square for shopping and dining. It’s also the best place to catch the sunset. After dark, do a little bar hopping on Duval street.
Things to do in Key West
- Dry Tortugas National Park
- The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
- Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
- Mallory Square
- Duval Street
- Visit the Southernmost point of the Continental US
» Try this tour: Key West Mangrove Kayak Eco Tour
The first, and arguably best, or the Florida Keys is the wonderland of Key Largo. Proclaimed to be the “dive capital of the world”, it’s home to one of the world’s largest artificial reefs which makes for great snorkeling.
Besides snorkeling you can enjoy scenic beaches, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, shopping, and great food at this unique vacation spot.
Things to do in Key Largo
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef Stat Park
- African Queen Canal Cruise
- Island Dolphin Care
» Try this tour: Half Day Snorkel Trip on Reefs in the Florida Keys
Perhaps the most famous city in Florida- besides Miami that is- Orlando has a lot to offer for tourists and visitors. Of course Disney World is a large draw for people, but that’s not all this buzzing hub has in store.
There are several gorgeous gardens to explore, beaches to sit at, and places to shop. Not to mention the amazing restaurants and dining experiences you can find in Orlando.
Things to do in Orlando
- Harry P. Leu Gardens
- Paddleboard Orlando
- The World Chocolate Museum
» Try this tour: Kennedy Space Center and Everglades Airboat Safari from Orlando
Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach is a waterfront town and popular destination in Florida. It’s known for its white-sand beaches on the calm, clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
St. Andrews State Park, one of 2 protected nature preserves nearby, is bordered by the Gulf and has hiking trails and fishing piers. Pier Park is the main shopping hub and a venue for major events.
Things to do in Panama City Beach
- St. Andrews State Park
- Shell Island
- Russel Fields Pier
» Try this tour: Panama City Beach Water Activity Adventure Catamaran Sail
On the northeast coast of Florida, the city of St. Augustine is a treat to visit. It lays claim to being the oldest city in the U.S., founded in September 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles of Spain, and is known for its Spanish colonial architecture.
It’s also known for Atlantic Ocean beaches like sandy St. Augustine Beach and tranquil Crescent Beach. Anastasia State Park, located in St. Augustine, is a protected wildlife sanctuary that is beautiful to explore.
Things to do in St. Augustine
- St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum
- Castillo de San Marcos
- Colonial Quarter
» Try this tour: Wine Tasting Cruise in St. Augustine
The city of Tampa, situated on the west coast of Florida, is the economic center of western Florida. It sits in the middle of Tampa Bay, is the largest city in the Tampa Bay area, and has year round warm weather.
Tampa is known for its tourist attractions, especially Busch Gardens, where families get the thrill of an amusement park and the fun of a zoo all in one place. It also has incredible Cuban and Mexican culture, art, and food.
Things to do in Tampa
- Busch Gardens
- Sunshine Skyway Bridge
- Tampa Riverwalk
» Try this tour: Historic Ybor City Food Walking Tour
Tallahassee, the capitol of Florida, is a beautiful and historic city full of things to do. It’s near the north center of Florida, in the “panhandle” and is the largest city in the area.
It’s also a fun place to visit. There’s plenty of art, culture, food, and many other things to do. Tallahassee also has a lot of unique historical sights such as the Mission San Luis de Apalachee which is an old mission from the 1600s.
Things to do in Tallahassee
- Mission San Luis de Apalachee
- Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
- Railroad Square Art District
- Florida State Capital Building
Daytona Beach is known widely for it’s beautiful beaches, that stretch over 500 feet from the entrance to the water at low-tide. It’s also known for the Daytona International Speedway, a large race track that is home to the Daytona 500 the most prestigious NASCAR race.
Other than that, it has a mixture of outdoor adventuring, food, art, and history.
Things to do in Daytona Beach
- Daytona International Speedway
- Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
- Daytona Lagoon
» Try this tour: Dolphin and Manatee Stand Up Paddleboard Tour in Daytona Beach
Nestled amid the wooded beauty and natural wetlands of Florida’s East coast, Palm Coast is a growing city of more than 50,000 residents. Palm Coast offers all the amenities of city life with a small town feel. Our welcoming community and careful city planning give you a sense of Old Florida without sacrificing convenience.
The golfing destination of the southeast, Palm Coast is home to eight championship golf courses, with seventeen championship courses within easy driving distance. LPGA headquarters is close by.
Things to do in Palm Coast
- Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
- Princess Place Preserve
- Waterfront Park
- Bing’s Landing
- Jungle Hut Park
Just south of Palm Beach and less than an hour’s drive north of Miami, Florida, you will find the resort city of Delray Beach, Florida, with it’s over two miles of clean well maintained sandy beaches, historic downtown shopping area, beautiful gardens and parks, world class tennis center, golf courses and it’s large variety of hotels and motels.
Things to do in Delray Beach
- Check out the Delray Beach Golf Club
- Go scuba diving or snorkeling in the clear warm Atlantic waters
- Cruise the calm protected waters of the Intercoastal Waterway
- Visit the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Palm Beach, Florida, a barrier island, is approximately one hour’s drive north of Miami, Florida. Palm Beach is a beautiful city, filled with lush colorful gardens, palm tree lined streets, large beautiful homes, clean well maintained beaches, luxury hotels, fine dining establishments, high end shopping and a safe, virtually crime free environment.
If you are searching for a safe, beautiful, luxurious, destination for a vacation or getaway, it’s hard to beat Palm Beach. Play on the beautiful beaches and swim in the clear warm Atlantic water. Dine in one of the many fine dining establishments like The Restaurant At The Four Seasons, the Cafe Boulud, L’escalier, the Leopard Lounge And Supper Club.
Things to do in Palm Beach
- Get close to sea life at nearby Marine Land
- Explore the many fresh and saltwater canals in Palm Coast
- Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
- Lion Country Safari
- Rapids Water Park
- Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Museum
» Try this tour: Parasailing Palm Beach
West Palm Beach
Just across the Lake Worth Lagoon from Palm Beach sits the city of West Palm Beach, Florida, a 55 square mile city with a population of more than 82,000, situated on the Intercoastal Waterway.
Staying in West Palm Beach puts you right in the middle of things but costs less than staying in Palm Beach. You are right next door to Palm Beach with it’s luxurious resorts and beaches, minutes from Boca Raton and just over a one and one half hour drive north of Miami Beach.
Things to do in West Palm Beach
- Play tennis on one of the 30+ tennis courts throughout the city
- Play golf at some of the best golf courses in the country
- Palm Beach Zoo
- Norton Museum of Art
- South Florida Science Museum
» Try this tour: 3-Hour Food Tour of Historic West Palm Beach Neighborhoods
There’s a reason this is the retirement capital of the U.S. Boca Raton has more than five miles of publicly owned beachfront property and it’s approximately 1,080 acres of parks. It offers a life of pure leisure. And it’s not just for retirees either!
Lie on the beach, go swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving, go freshwater or saltwater fishing, dine in one of the many fine restaurants, play tennis, or just lie around your hotel pool and relax.
Things to do in Boca Raton
- Town Center Mall
- Lake Okeechobee, the second-largest freshwater lake in the United States
- Boca Raton Resort And Club Resort Course
- Royal Palm Polo Sports Complex
With all of these choices for great cities to visit in Florida, you’ll be planning quite the road trip. We recommend choosing one or two and really digging into the laidback coastal lifestyle you’ll find there.
Be Prepared For Travel
Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries. Her work has been published in numerous guidebooks, websites, and magazines.