Best Places in Florida To Travel 2024

Updated: February 19, 2024

Premium Trip Itinerary inspired by Island Hopper TV

Get ready to embark on a sun-soaked journey through Florida’s most enchanting destinations! Your adventure will take you from the powdery white sands of Clearwater Beach to the thrill-packed theme parks of Orlando, where magic and memories are around every corner. Dive into the emerald waters of Destin or immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Miami. Whether you’re seeking romance in the historic streets of St. Augustine, the colorful reefs of Key West, or craving the sophisticated allure of Palm Beach, every moment promises to dazzle your senses. With this guide in hand, you’ll uncover hidden gems in Sarasota, relish in the bustling nightlife of Fort Lauderdale, and indulge in coastal serenity on Marco Island. From the grandeur of Naples to the laid-back vibes of Siesta Key, and up to the historic charm of Pensacola, Florida awaits you with endless excitement and relaxation. So, let the sunshine state beckon you to a paradise where every traveler finds their bliss. Prepare to be captivated, because Florida’s treasures are just a scroll away!

Trip Highlights: 1. Tampa 2.  Clearwater Beach 3. St. Petersburg 4. Sarasota 5. Siesta Key 6. Naples 7. Marco Island 8. Miami 9. Key West 10. Fort Lauderdale 11. Palm Beach 12. Orlando 13. Daytona Beach 14. St. Augustine 15. Jacksonville 16. Panama City Beach 17. Destin 18. Pensacola

Travel Tips: Be mindful of the weather; afternoon thunderstorms are common in summer. Sunscreen is a must, and stay hydrated. Renting a car can be very convenient for exploring. Check the hurricane forecast before traveling during hurricane season (June through November). Booking in advance is advisable for theme parks and popular attractions. Also, consider the local wildlife and swim in designated areas to avoid encounters with alligators or sharks.

Tampa Bay's Alluring Mix: Beaches, Wildlife, and Urban Excitement

Now we’re headed to Tampa in the Tampa Bay Metro area. It sits along a river tributary that they call the riverfront downtown, and then when you want to go out at night or for some culture, you would go to a place like Ybor City, which is a Cuban-inspired old town.

Tampa is considered one of the top three best places to go in Florida. If I was to make a list, here, I would say Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, but also you would have places like Key West. I’m just putting that out there because I’m sure you’re thinking about all these options. Where’s the best place to go?

The Columbia Restaurant is a 117-year-old Spanish-Cuban Cuisine restaurant that’s located right here in Ybor City in Tampa. There’s also a Busch Gardens here in Tampa that I would recommend checking out. I would say three to four days in Tampa should be just enough.

Clearwater Beach, Florida - Geovea

Emerald Waters and Silky Sands: Your Ultimate Coastal Getaway Awaits

Clearwater is known for its emerald-colored waters. Also, visitors from northern climates tend to say the water feels great, so the temperature of the water is nice. The sand is silky white, and the coastline is full of resorts for you to stay at while you’re enjoying the beach along Pier 60. Now, it is about an hour away from Tampa and Saint Pete if you want to visit either one of those, they are very close. The best months to visit Clearwater are going to be from October, November, and December; temperatures are going to be a little bit cooler, and the good news is less humidity and tourists. Along with relaxing on the beach, you can expect to do several different tours that take you out into the Gulf, like dolphin watching, as well as a pirate ship, as you can see here, and also great seafood, lots of crabs right here in one of the best towns for beaches in all of the country.

Experience Florida's Coastal Charm in the Heart of Sunshine City

St. Petersburg. This is in the Tampa Bay metro area. St. Petersburg has many beaches and parks. To the northwest of here, you have Clearwater, about 35 minutes away, and then about an hour away over the bridge in Tampa Bay is the city of Tampa. If I had to pick between Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg, I would take St. Petersburg, and that’s because they also have St. Petersburg Beach, which is comparable to Clearwater. St. Petersburg has more of a dense inner city known as the Sunshine City. Along the waterfront which faces the bay, people walk around on the pier where there are restaurants – a relaxing vibe to be had.

Relax in Style on the Intercoastal: A Sophisticated Beach Retreat Awaits

A very Cosmopolitan City. And here we are crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge coming in from St. Petersburg, which we will be showing you a little later on. But yes, we are approaching Sarasota; you will see it is very modern, and right here on an Intercoastal Waterway as well. And, if you go a little bit further, you will end up in a place called Siesta Key. But here we are walking along the Waterfront. They do have that kissing sailor statue. And of course, some very nice beaches around Sarasota. This is a place you go to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of big cities like Miami or even Tampa. So don’t expect much in terms of partying here, although they do have a nice street with bars and pubs, it’s just not going to be that kind of party scene that you would get in other parts of Florida. You can also visit the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum, which is here. This here is a look at O’Leary’s, which is a bar on the Sarasota Bay. Also, check out Bird Key and Saint Armands, which is a nice place to hang out.

Siesta Key Beach, Florida - Geovea

Unwind on an Enchanted Island with Pristine Sands and Seaside Eateries

Many of you might already know of Siesta Key because of a hit reality show that put this place on the map, but it is right next to Sarasota, so you could do Sarasota and Siesta Key on the same trip, even on the same day. It is a little bit smaller than Sarasota, it’s an island community, and it’s quite relaxed. If you like hanging out at the beach, this is the perfect place to be, hanging out at the beach, doing some shoreline fishing, doing some sunbathing, relaxing, and going to get some seafood for lunch. That’s the vibes out here.

Naples, Florida - Geovea

Explore Pristine Beaches and Intercoastal Splendors of the Sun Coast

Located along the Paradise Coast, this is considered the jewel of Southwest Florida; now, it is also considered one of the best places to retire in the United States, and you can see why when you get here. Here in Naples, they also have these intercoastal waterways; you can take your boats and park right there at your homefront or wherever you’re living. They have soft white sand and an abundance of beautiful beaches. It also sits at the edge of the Everglades, so if you go a little bit further Southeast, you’re right there in the Everglades, and then you would cross towards Miami.

Uncover the Gulf Coast's Gem: Marco Island's Alluring Charms Await You

Escape to Marco Island, where the Gulf of Mexico’s turquoise embrace welcomes you to its shores. Here, you can stroll along the sun-kissed sands of South Marco Beach, dive into an ecosystem teeming with fascinating wildlife at the Rookery Bay Reserve, or simply indulge in the laid-back luxury of this coastal retreat—each moment promising to etch a permanent place in your travel diaries.

Soak Up Sun, Art, and Culture: Beaches, Gardens, and Cuban Flavors Await

Walls, the sky, and the Museum, and Gardens, which is a beautiful garden on the bay, there Bay Front Park, Little Havana, Fairfield tropical Botanical Garden, sampling some of the Cuban Cuisine that they have across the city. You will find so much good Cuban food here. You can easily get around on a Hop On Hop off the bus. Many canals allow you to take a water taxi or even do a cruise of the bay, but just cruising down South Beach in a car is awesome. Walking around, also so much to do down there; South Beach offers many different restaurants and salsa dancing, with plenty of Hot Wheels and flashy cars. But like I said, Little Havana is one of the best places to hang out if you want to check out Kaye Ocho. Downtown Miami includes the Brickell Avenue area, Biscayne Boulevard as well and Bayfront Park, where they have the big Ferris wheel, after exploring the Vizcaya Museum, you can head over to the Everglades and do a tour over there. But yes, Miami is certainly the premier destination in South Florida, but it’s not the only one.

Smathers Beach, Key West, Florida - Geovea

Savor the Flavor of the Sea at the Caribbean's Lively Island Escape

Key West is the hotspot of the Florida Keys. If you go all the way to the end of the Western part of the Keys, you’re going to have Duval Street right there on Key West, and that’s where many parties take place. You can get some key lime pie, some tacos and oysters, and lots of seafood down here, including conch, so if you haven’t already tried that, definitely do that. You can see that Duval Street is where the parties happen. The Florida Keys are a Caribbean Island chain, and Key West is certainly going to live up to that vibe of being a Caribbean Island. Doing boat tours is popular out here, including going out to Dry Tortugas National Park. And in case I have not already mentioned, yes, seafood, seafood, seafood, including oysters, is very popular here. If you go down and party at night, the nightlife gets ruckus right here in Duval.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Geovea

Discover the Venice of America: Beaches, Art, and Boutique Shopping

Fort Lauderdale is known for its beaches, art scene, events, culture, and famous shopping Las Olas Boulevard; they also have Gondola rides around the canals, also Water Taxis. It is located about 30 miles north of Miami and about 209 miles from Orlando.

Luxurious Escapes by the Waterway: Sun, Sand, and Opulent Charm

Palm Beach is also where West Palm Beach is. If you look on a map, you’ve got West Palm Beach, which is where the town is, and then you have the main Palm Beach, which is actually where the beach is, and they’re simply separated by an Intercoastal Waterway. And here, you can hang out on the world-famous Worth Avenue, where they have the home of captains of industry. Palm Beach is considered an expensive destination, so keep that in mind as the average net worth here is quite high. They also have a nice waterway that you can walk around here, along the Waterfront, really a very peaceful place to be, much calmer than Miami.

Splash, Play & Explore: Five Parks, Endless Fun & Aquatic Spectacles

Orlando is the vacation capital of the United States. Around 60 million people visit Orlando every year. The top tourist attractions include Disney and its five parks, which include Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and the water park Typhoon Lagoon. Universal Studios includes Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay water park. You can also check out SeaWorld Orlando, where they have this restaurant and an aquarium, as well as the SeaWorld Shamu show. Seven days in Orlando is perfect.

Feel the Thrill of the Speedway and Sun on this Famous Beachfront

Daytona Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world, popular with tourists and race fans because this is where they do Daytona 500. The beach is interesting because the sand is very compact and you can drive along the beach here, so that’s what people do when they’re celebrating the Fourth of July or any sort of holiday; people cruise up and down this beach here. It has a vibrant and lively nightlife scene, but it’s also very famous with bikers. If you’re a biker, you can check out when they have all the biker fest, and you’ll go here and you’ll see lots of bikers hanging out and interesting vibes when you’re doing that.

Journey Through Time: Explore the Oldest City in North America

St Augustine is the oldest city in North America. The Spaniards founded this place in the early 1500s. It’s not the oldest in the Americas because that belongs to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, but in terms of North America, this is pretty much the original settlement. The Castillo de San Marcos is a 17th-century Spanish stone fortress with views of the St. Augustine Inlet.

Soak up the Sun on Pristine Beaches Near Bustling Urban Excitement

Jacksonville, also known as Jaxville. There is a beach here, and then the downtown area is about 25 to 30 minutes away from the beach. When you come here, you have to take into consideration Jacksonville Beach and then Downtown Jacksonville. The whole metropolitan area of Jacksonville is considered the largest metro area in the country in terms of the area.

Spring Break Bliss: Ultimate Family-Friendly Beaches with a Fishing Twist

In the Panhandle, we’re at Panama City Beach. There is a main large area called Panama City, and then you go across the bay a bit, and then you’re in Panama City Beach. Now what makes this place so special is its silica white sand; the sand is very soft here, and the emerald water makes it friendly, gentle waves right here in the Gulf of Mexico. Also, it is known as one of the country’s largest sport fishing fleets, so lots of fishing activity going on in and out of here. As you walk up and down the beach here, you can see the emerald-colored water, very flat, and people are enjoying sunbathing on this beautiful beach. Panama City has to be one of the premier destinations in Florida, and it keeps going up in ranking. It’s popular with college students on spring break; also, families come out here for spring break. Another thing to keep in mind about staying out here, it’s very easy to do five to seven days and feel relaxed and recharged.

Revel in Sun, Sand, and Sea: A Fishing Village with Top-Tier Resorts

Destin is known as the world’s luckiest fishing village. They say the best time to visit is in the fall if you want to avoid crowds and get better prices; also known for having some of the best beach sand in the world with this emerald-colored ocean water of the Gulf of Mexico and living up to its name; it is recommended that you do some fishing out of this port if that’s your thing. Destin is considered family-friendly, with many restaurant selections, and for those of you who want to enjoy a good time on the boardwalk as an adult, that’s also possible to do here. People like to also go out to Crab Island, and when it comes to accommodation, getting a hotel at one of these resorts along the beach here, you can also explore the sister city of Destin, known as Fort Walton Beach, which is actually where the Destin Fort Walton Beach airport is. Five days in Destin is perfect.

Indulge in a coastal paradise of relaxation, adventure, and culture

Right down the road, a bit is Pensacola, and they also have Pensacola Beach. They just redid the bridge, so it’s much easier to get across the bay nowadays. But as you’re noticing, these Florida cities all have these intercoastal waterways. Almost all these cities you notice have something like that; that’s what Florida is known for. It’s a very flat state with low elevation throughout. Pensacola Beach is a beautiful place to go. I would recommend Panama City and Pensacola if you can do both on the same trip. You can also squeeze in Destin; that’s just how the Florida Panhandle is set up, and it’s called The Emerald Coast, in case you were wondering.

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