As a life-long traveler and professional in the travel industry, I have a passion for travel and encouraging others to explore and experience different cultures.
The Sunshine State has many destinations separated into five regions from Northwest Florida, First Coast, Central Florida, Suncoast, and South Florida. Florida is a big state of 66,000 square miles.
(1) Northwest Florida - The Gulf Communities: Pensacola. Tallahassee, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach, Seaside, etc. The emerald-green water and sugar-white sand has some of the country's best beaches for sunbathers. Also, enticing snorkelers and anglers to experience the Gulf of Mexico.
2) First Coast - Jacksonville: The Beaches, St. Augustine (The oldest continually occupied North American city of European origin, its rich history (since 1565) makes it a perennial draw), Gainesville (Life here centers around the University of Florida, but there's plenty more to see and do in this inland anchor of North Florida), Amelia Island, Flagler Beach, etc. The First Coast takes its name in part from its geography - as Florida's northernmost shoreline. The ocean is a way of life. Since the arrival of European explorers in the 1500s, the Atlantic Ocean has been an integral part of life along the First Coast. Jacksonville is located on the banks of the St. Johns River offering a range of natural and manmade entertainment. The St. Johns River is one of Florida's biggest rivers, there's plenty of room for anglers seeking trophy bass. For saltwater fishing, the jetties near Naval Station Mayport produce numbers of redfish, tarpon and other prized catches. The Maritime Heritage Center, Jacksonville, collects and displays artifacts and other objects related to the region's seafaring history, as well as scale models of naval vessels and interactive exhibits.
(3) Central Florida - Orlando: The Space Coast, Daytona Beach, Ocala, etc. Orlando calls itself "America's Playground." Some of the theme parks nearby are Walt Disney World Resort; Universal Orlando Resort; SeaWorld Orlando; etc. Shop until you drop at Orlando Premium Outlets; The Mall at Millenia, etc.
The Space Coast stretched along the Atlantic Ocean from Titusville to Melbourne - is paradise for those fascinated by surf, space...or both. One of the space site is Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center with giant rockets, tour launch areas, meet veteran astronauts, train in a space flight simulator and see launches. New to the center is the $100 million, six-story Atlantis facility, which enables guests to explore the retired space shuttle up close while learning about the space program via interactive experiences.
Also, nearby is Canaveral National Seashore; Cocoa Beach (East Coast surfing capital of the United States); Daytona Beach (Daytona International Speedway is sacred ground for racing fans, home to NASCAR). Also, Ocala is located about an hour north of Orland's theme parks and shopping centers is known as horse country - one of only four major Thoroughbred breeding and training grounds in the world. Lastly, Port Canaveral is cruise port to Carnival Cruise Lines; Disney Cruise Line; Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Victory Casino Cruises.
(4) Suncoast - Tampa Bay: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota/Bradenton; Lakeland/Polk County; Fort Myers/Naples, etc. "Tampa Bay" is not a city. It is a body of water around which a booming metropolitan area is centered. Three primary cities - Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater - and many surrounding communities make up a region known for commerce, culture and recreation. The Busch Gardens Tampa has brought elements of 19th-century Africa to visitors since 1959. The 335-acre theme park blends heart-pounding roller coasters and rides. Its newest thrill ride, Falcon's Fury, is a 335-foot drop tower that gives riders five seconds of free fall, simulating the rush to earth like a bird of prey. Other attractions are Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry; Tampa's Florida Aquarium; and Clearwater's Marine Aquarium, landmarks such as Fort De Soto Park set in a natural wilderness near St. Petersburg, Tampa's Columbia Restaurant serves up Spanish and Cuban Cuisine derived from family recipes since 1905. St. Petersburg's Salvador Dali Museum is the largest assemblage of the Spanish surrealist artist's work outside Europe, a world-class facility with nearly 100 oil paintings and dozens of original drawings, bookwork, prints, sculptures, photos, manuscripts and more. Also, St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts with 18,000 pieces in its collection of masterpieces from Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin and O'Keeffe, among others. In addition, Tampa is s melting pot with Ybor City Historic District. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, immigrants from Spain, Cuba, Italy and Germany worked in local cigar factories. Lastly, Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any U.S. city is alive with bustling sponge docks.
About an hour south of Tampa Bay, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota features an extensive collection of European, American and Asian master works. Also, about 45 minutes east of Tampa, Lakeland is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture; Legoland Florida in Winter Haven is where kids-young and old-go to build some fun and make a splash. Lastly, two fascinating cities make up the Southwest Florida region. Fort Myers is popular for its beaches, fishing and history. Naples is known for shopping and culture.
(5) South Florida: Miami/Fort Lauderdale - Palm Beach County, The Florida Keys, The Treasure Coast. Miami and Fort Lauderdale is bounded by geography - only a few miles apart on Florida's southeast coast-but distinguished by personality-the energetic brother, the refined sister-these sibling cities create a thoroughly cosmopolitan blend of endless beaches, sizzling nightlife, and towering palm trees and high rises. Miami Beach is famous for celebrity sightings, international tourists and art deco architecture district. Miami is heavily influenced by expatriates from the Caribbean and South America especially Cuban-influenced Little Havana neighborhood.
Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Boulevard is a lively destination for shopping and strolling. Also, Fort Lauderdale's roots, Historic Stranahan House Museum built in 1901 by early settler Frank Stranahan, the house and its residents played an important role in the city's history.
Palm Beach's stately Flagler Museum illustrates South Florida history through the perspective of oil magnate Henry M. Flagler, who ran railroad tracks down the east coast, as far south as Key West, and opened the state to tourism. This former mansion, built in 1902 as a gift to his wife, became a museum in 1960.
And, The Florida Keys is a great place for boating, fishing and diving-five main islands and dozens of smaller ones are a truly distinctive part of Florida. The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is America's first undersea park, attracting more than a million visitors a year. Also Key West was home to iconic writer Ernest Hemingway for a decade, starting in 1928, and The Hemingway Home & Museum reveals much about his life. Don't forget to pose for pictures at Southernmost Point Buoy at the end of Whitehead Street. About a million visitors each year smile for the camera a this spot, which marks the southern extreme of the continental United States. Lastly, following Interstate 95 from Vero Beach to Jupiter, this area offers great coastal beauty and a serene pace of living is the Treasure Coast.