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10 Best Things to Do in Florida This Summer

With endless beach day weather, Florida is the perfect place for sun-seeking vacationers. There is no shortage of places to have fun in the sun, as summers in the Sunshine State are all about outdoor adventures, from lounging on white-sand beaches to cooling off at the natural springs. Read on to discover some of the best things to do in Florida this summer.

Explore Florida's "Emerald Coast" Destin, Florida
Credit: Destin, Florida by © Ruth Peterkin | Dreamstime.com

Explore Florida's "Emerald Coast"

What Is It: Stretching over 100 miles through five counties, beachside cities like Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Okaloosa Island lure travelers in with their sugar-white beaches and emerald green waters.

Why Do It: If you want to get away from the summertime tourist crowds, head to Florida’s “Emerald Coast.”

Good To Know: Consistently referred to as one of Florida’s best-kept secrets, the Emerald Coast is the place to indulge in water sports, go on a dolphin cruise and dine in local seafood restaurants.

Float on a Tube Down the Ichetucknee River Ichetucknee Springs
Credit: Ichetucknee Springs by © Michael Wood | Dreamstime.com

Float on a Tube Down the Ichetucknee River

What Is It: Water-loving families will delight in the endless outdoor activities at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Fort White.

Why Do It: Spend your day swimming in the crystal clear waters or floating leisurely on a tube along the six miles of Ichetucknee River. You’ll be rewarded with shade from the lush live oak trees and cypress trees.

Good To Know: You’ll see rock formations and wetland plants while spotting plenty of wildlife at the head spring, from white-tailed deer to great blue herons.

Explore Bok Tower Gardens Bok Tower Gardens
Credit: Bok Tower Gardens by © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Explore Bok Tower Gardens

What Is It: Set amongst the rolling hills of citrus trees in Lake Wales, this 250-acre National Historic Landmark boasts an ever-changing palette of over 150 varieties of camellias, azaleas, orchids, irises, and other blooming displays of color.

Why Do It: Florida’s combination of sunshine and rainfall means it is home to a variety of stunning landscapes, including a variety of lush, subtropical gardens scattered around the state, but one of the most stunning is Bok Tower Gardens.

Good To Know: Bok Tower is famous for its 205-foot singing bell tower and majestic 60-bell carillon and is one of the most beautiful gardens in Florida.

Swim in America's Public Freshwater Pool Venetian Pool Coral Gables
Credit: Venetian Pool Coral Gables by © Alexandre Fagundes De Fagundes | Dreamstime.com

Swim in America's Public Freshwater Pool

What Is It: One of Florida’s most unique spots to take a dip, the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables is America’s largest freshwater swimming pool.

Why Do It: An excellent place to cool off, this tropical oasis also features waterfalls and cave-like grottos, where both kids and kids at heart can delight in its splendor.

Good To Know: The only pool listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Venetian Pool, holds over 820,000 gallons of crystal clear freshwater that is pumped in from artesian wells daily.

Collect Unique Seashells on Sanibel Island Sanibel, Florida
Credit: Sanibel, Florida by © Sakkawokkie | Dreamstime.com

Collect Unique Seashells on Sanibel Island

What Is It: If you’re looking for a unique souvenir or just like easy-going beach vibes, head to Sanibel Island for a day of enjoying one of Florida’s best beaches for shelling.

Why Do It: Known as the “Shelling Capital of the World,” people travel here to scour the beaches for coquinas, conch shells, tulip shells, and sand dollar shells that have washed up ashore every morning.

Good To Know: A fun activity even for the littlest beachgoer, the island’s small-town vibes are a perfect escape from the big city life.

*Sanibel Island suffered significant damage due to Hurricane Ian. Check local sources before traveling for updates.

Cool Off at Blue Spring State Park Blue Spring State Park
Credit: Blue Spring State Park by floridastateparks.org/

Cool Off at Blue Spring State Park

What Is It: Covering more than 2,600 acres, Blue Spring State Park is the largest spring on the St. John’s River.

Why Do It: Here, you’ll find 72-degree temperatures ideal for summer activities. A quarter-mile of perfection, swim in its pale blue waters as you are surrounded by the lush, forested banks.

Good To Know: With more than 700 natural freshwater springs in Florida, more than anywhere on earth, nature enthusiasts are spoiled for choice with places to go kayaking, paddling, and kayaking in crystal clear waters.

Enjoy the Thrills at Rapids Water Park Rapids Water Park
Credit: Rapids Water Park by Rapids Water Park

Enjoy the Thrills at Rapids Water Park

What Is It: Home to more water parks than anywhere else in the United States, Florida’s outdoor water parks offer refuge from the sunshine and a fun day out for the entire family. While there are bigger water parks available throughout the state, head to Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach to avoid the Disney-sized crowds.

Why Do It:  You’ll find 35 thrilling slides to get your heart pumping, catering to kids of all ages.

Good To Know: Big Thunder is the park’s signature attraction, where you can have the feeling of weightlessness as you soar 20 miles per hour through a 45-degree tunnel in complete darkness.

Go Snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park Dry Tortugas
Credit: Dry Tortugas by Nps.gov

Go Snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park

What Is It: Head just 70 miles west of Key West, and you’ll find Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the state’s most alluring snorkeling spots.

Why Do It: Visit for the shallow and calm waters, which are perfect for a day of exploring underwater marine life. Lying on a carpet of white sand, you’ll find a vibrant array of tropical fish and living coral.

Good To Know: It’s an activity that both beginners and novice swimmers can enjoy. You only need a mask and fins to have an adventure of a lifetime.

Hang Ten at Sebastian Inlet Surfing Sebastian Inlet, Florida
Credit: Surfing Sebastian Inlet, Florida by © James Vallee - Dreamstime.com

Hang Ten at Sebastian Inlet

What Is It: A popular surfing spot in Florida, Sebastian Inlet offers East Coast surfing at its finest.

Why Do It: A great outdoor activity to beat the heat, this coastline offers plenty of opportunities to try your hand at surfing.

Good To Know:  Consistent swells and less intimidating waves provide the perfect combination for surf enthusiasts of all ages.

Indulge in a Sweet Treat at Jaxson's Jaxson's Ice Cream
Credit: Jaxson's Ice Cream by Jaxson's Ice Cream

Indulge in a Sweet Treat at Jaxson's

What Is It: When you need a break from the outdoors, head inside for a sweet treat at the old-fashioned Jaxson’s Ice Cream parlor in Dania Beach.

Why Do It: In addition to its 1950s-style decor and 45 unique flavors, you can live out your childhood dreams with its huge portions of ice cream. It’s one of the best places for dessert in Florida.

Good To Know: Serving handmade scoops of ice cream daily for over 60 years, they are known for their sharing menu, where you can order a Monster Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae, Super Jumbo Banana Split, or a colossal Kitchen Sink filled to the brim with sugary toppings.

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