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Fun in the sun, Florida’s summers are all about keeping cool and outdoor activities. With endless beach day weather, Florida is the perfect place for sun-seeking vacationers. From lazy beach days to snorkeling through colorful marine life, while white-sand beaches and water sports reign supreme, Florida also has an abundance of family-friendly attractions such as theme parks, museums and natural wonders that will quickly fill up your itinerary. While Florida has an abundance of vacation destinations to choose from, here is a snapshot of some of the best Florida summer getaways.
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An award-winning beach less than an hour drive from both St. Petersburg and Tampa, Clearwater Beach offers an abundance of summer activities. Boasting the perfect blend of white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, Clearwater is a vibrant area that is ideal for a summer getaway for both couples and families alike. Head to Sunset Pier 60 for a free nightly event, indulge in the area’s water adventures like deep-sea fishing and scuba diving or find seclusion in Honeymoon Island State Park just a short drive away.
Boating laid-back tropical vibes and an abundance of water activities, the Florida Keys are a must stop on a summer itinerary in Florida. Whether you drive over the stunning Seven Mile Bridge or fly over the Keys in a seaplane, the Florida Keys offers a variety of paradise-like landscapes. From the lively streets and famous key lime pie in the southernmost point in Key West to the colorful reefs and snorkeling opportunities at Dry Tortugas National Park, the crystal clear waters and salty ocean breeze of the Florida Keys are perfect for summer adventures. History enthusiasts can head to the Hemingway Home or Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park, while kids of all ages can be entertained at the Key West Shipwreck Museum and Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
Perfect for travelers looking to soak in a tranquil ambiance, Sanibel Island is ideal for a laid-back family vacation. Known for their world-class shelling opportunities, kids and adults alike come here to scour the beach for unique treasures washed up by the ocean. Visitors will find warm, calm waters that are great for the little ones, and nature lovers will appreciate the nearby JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Boasting a small-town vibe you’ll be hard pressed to find chain restaurants, and the area’s sister barrier island Captiva Island and the nearby Lovers Key State Park offers a wealth of must-see natural landscapes.
It doesn’t matter if you come to Miami for the nightlife, sun-kissed beaches or family-friendly activities, you’re sure to find a variety of summer activities that cater a range of travelers, from solo to couples and families with kids. Mixing big city vibes with top restaurants and clubs, Miami is known for its pristine beaches and countless water-based adventures. Head to South Beach to get the party started in Miami’s sunshine, shop along Miracle Mile, or head to the Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park for unique views only Florida can provide. You’re spoiled for choice with summer activities for the kids, including the Miami Seaquarium and Zoo Miami, while art enthusiasts can explore the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.
Catering to kids and kids at heart, Orlando is the theme park capital of the world. Other than Disney World and Universal Orlando and its long list of other theme parks, the city brings an abundance of family-friendly attractions that cater to kids of all ages. Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Aquatica by SeaWorld and Legoland all offer a variety of thrilling water slides and attractions that were created for those looking to beat the Florida heat. Vacationers looking to explore the city’s more natural side will find Wekiwa Springs perfect for a day of tubing and swimming through the leafy centuries-old trees.
Located on Florida’s picturesque Emerald Coast, Destin is a family-friendly city with an endless list of fun-filled summer activities. Once considered a sleepy fishing village, other than soaking in the breathtaking views of sugar-white beaches and postcard-worthy green waters, vacationers can also walk along the action-packed boardwalk or visit one of the many nearby attractions. Big Kahuna’s in Destin is a water park perfect for thrill-seekers, Crab Island Water Park is fun for a day out with the kids, while fishing remains the number one activity in the area. Henderson State Park is also nearby with complimentary bikes perfect for a breezy cruise.
America’s oldest city is also one of Florida’s most charming, as St. Augustine impresses the old and young alike with its historic district and unique ambiance. Stroll along the 450-year-old cobblestone streets for an exploration through quaint cafes, watch one of the famous re-enactments in the historic Colonial Quarter or take the kids to the Oldest Schoolhouse in the United States. Soak in the sunshine at the nearby beaches at Anastasia Island or climb the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the city.
Situated in Florida’s Panhandle, Pensacola is a historic area with stunning emerald-green waters and sugar-white sands. History lovers can explore the National Naval Aviation Museum, while nature enthusiasts will enjoy the idyllic ocean views at nearby big Lagoon State Park and Perdido Key State Park. Pensacola’s Fishing Pier offers a glimpse of the fisherman reeling in their catch, while adventurous water-based activities and fresh seafood are the area’s most attractive qualities. Explore marine aquatic life, indulge in the local cuisine and find a kaleidoscope of colors highlight the city come sunset.
Boasting a landscape filled with Spanish moss, quaint B&B’s and pristine beaches, Amelia Island has 13 miles of laid-back vibes and southern charm. From its historic downtown area with its delightful array of shops and restaurants to the popular Fernandina Beach area, visitors are sure to find a wealth of activities to keep them busy. Kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing and spotting dolphins are popular activities here, while guided horseback rides along the picturesque shoreline of the golden sand beach is a unique activity to Amelia Island.
Boasting 27 miles of pristine coastline, Panama City is dotted with white quartz sand beaches on “Florida’s Forgotten Coast.” An underrated gem with crystal clear waters from the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City is perfect for outdoor activities such as fishing and surfing. Take a boat out on the water and spot pods of dolphins, hop on a sunset tour or take a water taxi to the nearby Shell Island, Mexico Beach and St. Andrews State Park for diverse wildlife viewing and natural landscapes. Thrill-seekers can also head to Shipwreck Island Waterpark for a hair-raising ride down a 65-foot tall free fall platform slide.