Another guide to 12 wonderful Florida vacation destinations and a brief into about them. Florida is a perfect vacation choice, no matter what time of the year, for beaches, outdoor activities, camping, boating, cruising, theme parks, nature, cultural events, art, gambling, amazing food, festivals, and sporting events. You name it, we’ve got it. Here are ones that I recommend, including a few that you may not be so familiar with.
Jupiter– Jupiter is located north of Miami and is a great destination for ecotourism. Visit the Jonathan Dickinson or Riverbend State Parks and tour the 1860 dated inlet lighthouse. Baseball enthusiasts will enjoy the Roger Dean Stadium who hosts the spring training for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Florida Marlins.
Naples– A rich little enclave of about 20,000 residents, Naples has the second highest number of millionaires per capita in the United States. You will find very high end shopping, first rate golf courses, pristine sandy beaches and waters sports in Naples, with an emphasis on fishing. The neighboring beach of picturesque Marco Island is popular for family vacations.
St. Augustine– Here lies the oldest city in Florida. St. Augustine is a fun-filled city featuring the Fountain of Youth Discovery Park. There are tons of cool things to see and do including the Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Augustine Lighthouse, Pirate & Treasure Museum, and haunted pub tours. I love strolling the pedestrian only streets.
Boca Raton– Boca Raton (pronounced Ra-Tone) is an affluent city with many zoning laws protecting its beauty and charm located in South Florida. Forbes named Boca as having 3 of the top 10 most expensive gated communities in the United States. Media states that it is a place highly associated with the Mafia. The Boca Raton Resort and Club is a gorgeous and historic place to stay, plus one of my favorites in all of Florida.
Tallahassee– Tallahassee claims the throne to Florida’s state capitol building, which is classic revival in style and oozing with southern charm. Tallahassee has a large selection of museums to visit and many choices for enjoying the performing arts. It also has dozens of choices for outdoor fun including state and national parks and forests.
Jacksonville– Jacksonville is definitely the biggest city in Florida with the craziest traffic outside of the speed demons in Miami. If you are traveling I-95 and make it past this point, consider yourself a good driver. Avondale is my favorite Jacksonville neighborhood, busting at the seams with cool and trendy hip establishments.
St. Lucie– St. Lucie is a city along Florida’s Treasure Coast that is comprised of historic Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, and the beaches of Hutchinson Island, showcasing 21 miles of uncommercialized coastline. During baseball Spring training season, you can watch the NY Mets baseball games at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie. Sport-fishing is a popular activity with kingfish, cobia, and wahoo being the most desired catch. The glamorous Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce is my go-to concert venue and they have a huge variety of concerts and shows to choose from.
Delray Beach– Delray Beach is a fast growing artsy city which was named “America’s Most Fun Small Town” by Rand McNally. Historic Atlantic Avenue shares its home with the posh Colony Hotel. The Pineapple Grove Arts District is a great area to stroll around and have a meal. Salt7 is my top pick. Delray’s beaches are beautiful.
Sarasota– Sarasota is bustling with activities. Stroll down the impressive streets of St. Armand’s Circle, bursting with shopping and eateries and chock full of history. Animal loves will prefer the Aquarium, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and the Big Cat Habitat. Sarasota also has an impressive art scene. As if there was not enough to do already, you will be bewitched by their neighboring beach beauties such as Lido Key, Siesta Key. Lastly, a visit to Sarasota would not be the same without seeing The Ringling–John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Gainesville– Besides supporting the awesome sports teams at University of Florida, Gainesville hosts the most amazing Hoggetowne Medieval Festival each year in January, a must see. The Butterfly Rainforest is another popular tourist attraction as well as numerous art museums.
Deland– Nestled a little north of Orlando, and located in more of a country setting is Deland, a quaint little town with panache. Deland is the setting for the opulent Stetson Mansion, a private historic estate that now offers first class tours and even features a special Christmas tour. The mansion was built by famed hat-maker John B. Stetson over 150 years ago and at its time, was Florida’s most impressive before the 20th century. Stetson University is located in Deland and is the oldest private college in Florida.
Mount Dora– Another great find located in close proximity to Orlando is this jewel, Mount Dora. Mt. Dora is a 100+ year old historic village with streets lined with charming eateries, shops, and handicrafts. The town is host to many great festivals and the downtown area features the iconic Lakeside Inn on the shores of Lake Dora. Mt. Dora has frequently been named “Best Small Town Downtown In America”.
Florida is full of fun cities to visit and this Florida vacation destination guide only includes 12 of the 100’s of options. I would recommend almost anywhere in the Sunshine State.
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