Things to Do in Florida
Considered a marvel of engineering when it was first constructed, the Overseas Highway connects Miami and mainland Florida to the Florida Keys. Originally stretching a total of 113 miles (182 km) with 42 oversea bridges, the highway was constructed over the bed of the Overseas Railroad, which was constructed by Henry Flagler as part of the Florida East Coast Railway. When much of the railroad was destroyed in a hurricane in 1935, the roadbed and bridges were sold to the state of Florida; thus, the Overseas Highway was completed in 1938 and gave motorists access to the multitude of coral and limestone islands that make up the Florida Keys.
While most of the Overseas Highway runs to the right of the original railroad line, some of the old bridges can still be seen as you drive along through the Keys. The portions where pedestrians are allowed are now popular fishing spots; historic bridges like the Bahia Honda Bridge and Long Key Bridge are now fishing piers.
Orlando has a new immersive celebrity hotspot where one can walk down the red carpet and step into the world of fame for an afternoon. At Madame Tussauds, guests are able to find out exactly how tall those sports icons really are, strike a pose with a pop princess, shake hands with a smiling Barack Obama and take a selfie with Einstein. The museum poses TV and film celebrities next to pop icons, the most well-known faces from the arts and science and throws plenty of history and pop culture personalities into the mix as well.
The details of the wax replicas are on the usual Madame Tussauds level of incredible. Creating a wax statue requires taking hundreds of body and face measurements with calipers and measuring tapes, after which artists sculpt the perfect mold for the wax out of clay. Gluing on each hair individually, painstakingly painting facial features and recreating every last wrinkle ensures that the wax figures end up achieving a astonishing realism.
This iconic Florida bridge is a testament to humankind’s architectural prowess and mother nature’s sheer beauty. Officially known as the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge (named after the former Florida governor), it was built in 1954 and spans Tampa Bay with a 1,500-foot cable-stayed main span. The bridge’s height, expansive views of the surrounding bay and modern design landed it the No. 3 spot on the Travel Channel’s list of top bridges in the world. Those traveling to Tampa shouldn’t miss the chance to be impressed by this architectural wonder and the amazing views of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico it provides.
Jungle Island (formerly Parrot Jungle Island) is a glorious homage to tourism kitsch. This is one of those places kids beg to go, so just give up and prepare for some bright-feathered, bird-scented fun. Actually, the 18 acre (7 hectare) waterfront facility, lushly landscaped and using a minimum of pesticides, is pretty impressive, thanks in part to the parrots, macaws, flamingos, and cockatoos flying about in outdoor aviaries.
The Cape Penguin colony is especially cute, as is Crocosaurus, a 20 foot (6 meter) long saltwater crocodile that lives in Serpentarium. Other critters include snakes, crocodiles, gibbons and orangutans, not to mention tortoises, iguanas, and a rare albino alligator on exhibit. You can even see animals in action, as Jungle Island host a number of shows starring roller-skating cockatoos, card-playing macaws, and numerous stunt-happy parrots. Nearby is Pinecrest Gardens, which has a petting zoo, mini-water park, and a lake.
More Things to Do in Florida
The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, formerly known as the Miami Science Museum, is located in Miami, Florida. Their aim is to inspire people to enjoy science and technology in order to better understand themselves and the universe around them. The museum has expanded several times since its inception and currently receives over 250,000 annual visitors of all ages.
Exhibits include a sea lab where visitors can learn about coral reefs and the sea creatures that live in the reefs. You can even touch a sea horse or sea urchin. There are also exhibits about hurricanes and other aspects of weather. These exhibits show you how hurricanes work, how climates are changing, and how humans are affecting those changes. The museum also has exhibits that teach visitors about nano science, energy, movement, health, nature, wildlife, and much more. The planetarium has a 65-foot diameter domed projection screen with 231 seats. Check ahead for show schedules.
Encompassing 180 acres (73 hectares), Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is located near the Fort Lauderdale beachfront, although it holds a very tropical feel. Begin your day at the Terramar Visitor Center, which allows visitors to learn more about the park’s ecology and heritage through displays and exhibits. This will give you a good base of information so that when you’re exploring the park you can better understand the flora and fauna you’re looking at.
The major draw of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is its plethora of outdoor activities. While paved roads offer opportunities for cyclists and skaters, nature trails allow hikers to immerse themselves in organic beauty and see over 200 plant species. There’s also a freshwater lagoon for canoeing and kayaking. For those who enjoy fishing, the park features designated areas where this can be done. Also make sure to bring your camera to photograph the wildlife.
Since 2013 this stunning glass structure with Miami coastal views has been showcasing contemporary and modern art to the masses. With one of the most impressive collections south of the Mason Dixon Line, the Perez Art Museum (known as PAMM to locals) drives to display works created in the 20 and 21st century from artists around the world. With colorful exhibits that reign from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Australia, there’s a world of wonder inside PAMM’s doors. Museum educators host interesting talks and tours that unlock stories about the art and artists that line the halls of PAMM and a unique community-based program brings speakers, thinkers and creators to the community for informative lectures and roundtables.
Orlando may be known as the land of magic thanks to a mighty kingdom that offers up fun for the whole family. But just down the street there’s a massive Mecca for shoppers known as the Orlando International Premium Outlets. Home to more than 180 retail stores with designer names and high fashion items, this retail destination offers up some of the best deals in town with up to 65 percent off suggested retail prices. Travelers can comb through the stores in search of epic deals on designer duds. And more than a dozen snack shops and restaurants mean visitors can regroup and recharge between hitting the sales racks in the morning and returning to the shops in mid-afternoon.
In this amazing place you're in a living storybook on a breathtaking adventure, filled with creatures real and fantastic. Animal Kingdom blends theme park and zoo, carnival and African safari, while mixing in a healthy dose of Disney characters, storytelling, and magic. Board a rickety jeep and ride through the Sahara, past zebras and lions, in Africa, or take a raging river ride in Asia, with Mt. Everest looming on the horizon. Here you can see Bengal tigers, huge fruit bats, Komodo dragons, and other exotic critters.
DinoLand U.S.A. evokes a fun-filled small-town fair, with its carnival-style rides, games and a herky-jerky thrill ride that transports you back in time. Let your heart sing along in a moving musical celebration of the circle of life at Festival of the Lion King. Here, every path and trail invites you to explore the awesome surprises of nature, with all the enchantment of Disney.
Boats glide alongside actual swans on Lake Eola, at the heart of Lake Eola Park. The site isn’t big by many standards – a mile around – but it packs a big punch as an oasis in the middle of bustling, crowded Orlando. Locals and visitors flock here – like the geese they feed out of hand – to take in a little nature. The Orlando skyline rises in the distance, a stunning contrast to the peace and quiet of the park and a beautiful reminder of the nearby city.
There are countless things to do in Lake Eola Park, including a weekly farmers’ market to visit, complete with fresh produce and live entertainment. Children run amok on the Lake Eola playground, and the iconic swan boats are a favorite for all ages. The park also has its own performance space, the Walt Disney Amphitheatre, which hosts events throughout the year. There’s even a restaurant on the premises; the Relax Grill promises to live up to its name.
Fun Spot America is a theme park with locations in Orlando and nearby Kissimmee. It is the only family-owned theme park in the area and admission is free to the park - you just pay to ride and play!
The parks are fully equipped with activities to keep the fun going all day. Each location boasts unique, patented multilevel go-kart tracks, an arcade where visitors can play a variety of games and collect points to redeem for prizes, and several roller coasters. The Kissimmee park is home to the tallest SkyCoaster in the world, which stands at 300 ft (91 m), while the Orlando park is home to Orlando's only wooden roller coaster, White Lightening. There are also thrill rides, bumper cars, bumper boats, and load of other rides that are appropriate for kids and fun for the whole family.
Step back into old Florida and explore the prestigious estates of two of America’s most prominent men. The Edison and Ford Winter Estates are registered as national historic sites for the 20 acres of beautiful landscaped lawns and early Florida era buildings that tell the stories of not just the life and times of these inventors but about early Florida as well. Walk the award-winning Moonlight Garden or use the grounds to picnic or enjoy breeze form the cove. Also on site are the Edison Botanic Research Lab and the Edison Ford Museum. More than just a walk through museums, a visit to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates is an opportunity to enjoy the park-like environment.
Miami boasts an excellent zoo, thanks in part to a subtropical climate that allows for large swathes of natural habitat. Inside Zoo Miami (formerly Miami Metrozoo), more than 200 species roam the cageless surrounds; don’t worry, the animals are kept at bay by cleverly designed moats.
Residents at Zoo Miami include elephants, koalas, colobus monkeys, and black rhinoceroses. You’ll also see a pair of Komodo dragons and Bengal tigers, including a gorgeous white tiger. Over at the Tropical America exhibit, you can see anacondas, giant river otters, jaguars, and sting ray touch tanks. You can even feed giraffes at The Samburu Giraffe Feeding Station. Younger kids, especially, will find much to enjoy at Zoo Miami. There’s a first-class petting zoo and play area, and the zoo offers several programs designed to entertain and educate. For an overview of the park, hop on the Zoofari Monorail.
Right on the waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg, North Straub Park offers a quite respite from the city. The small 4.8-acre park features trails, picnic spots and a stage where community events are held. Locals recommend visiting the park during holidays, like Christmas, when it’s lit up with lights and decorations, or on the Fourth of July and New Years, when it offers a great vantage point for fireworks shows. At the southern end of the park, you’ll find the local Museum of Fine Arts and the St. Petersburg Museum of History, and nearby Wheel Fun Rentals is a good spot to rent a beach cruiser or surrey.
Things to do near Florida
- Things to do in Tampa
- Things to do in Orlando
- Things to do in Fort Myers
- Things to do in St Augustine
- Things to do in Fort Lauderdale
- Things to do in Miami
- Things to do in St Petersburg
- Things to do in Sarasota
- Things to do in Clearwater
- Things to do in Crystal River
- Things to do in Cocoa Beach
- Things to do in Cape Canaveral
- Things to do in Grand Bahama Island
- Things to do in Georgia
- Things to do in New Providence Island