While destinations like Fort Lauderdale and Miami might be the most famous parts of the Sunshine State, the reality is that there are many amazing places to visit in North Florida, as well. While the weather might be a bit cooler in the winter, you can rest assured that you’ll still find beautiful beaches, warm water to swim in, and the unique mix of cultures that makes Florida famous.
In this article, we’re going to highlight five fun things to do in Florida – most of which are in the northern parts of the state. All of the places listed below are great for travelers of all types. Whether you’re traveling by yourself or with the whole family, you can’t go wrong with any of these destinations.
Keep reading to find out more!
Places to Visit in North Florida: 5 Amazing Destinations
Florida has over 360 miles of coastline, equating to 189 official beaches. While there are undoubtedly more, debates often arise as to which beach is the best. One that always ranks at the top (or near it) is Destin.
Destin borders the Gulf of Mexico and is in the northwestern part of the state, nestled in the Florida panhandle. Given its location away from the rough and wavy waters of the ocean, the sea around Destin is usually calm. Combined with its unique emerald hue and the bright-white color of the sand it borders, Destin offers one of the best places in the state to sit back, relax, and enjoy the views around you.
In between beach-bumming it, you can also find a host of other exciting activities to do in and around Destin. It offers world-class golf courses, a famous boardwalk, pine and oak trees along the coast, and the Big Kahuna water park, which is perfect for families.
All of those attractions make Destin one of the best places to visit in North Florida and the state in general.
Located on the very edge of the panhandle on the border with Alabama is Pensacola, another city offering a plethora of fun things to do in Florida. Known as the “City of Five Flags,” Pensacola has been under the control of the Spanish, the French, the British, the Confederates, and the modern United States flag. That sort of rich history has created interesting cultural dynamics that persist in the city to this day.
Pensacola Beach is smaller than other hotspots like Destin. And while it has fewer things to do, it’s still a beautiful destination in its own right, one that fewer tourists choose to visit. If you’re looking for a quieter vacation experience, you might find it at Pensacola.
Like many other places in Florida (and especially those along the coast), Pensacola also has huge levels of wildlife. From sea turtles to sea birds, the area is one of the best places in the state for animal lovers to go and see what they can find.
Like many state capitals across the United States, Tallahassee isn’t that well-known or famous of a city. However, it’s still one of the best places to visit in North Florida, especially if you’re traveling through the Florida panhandle.
Tallahassee is located inland, away from the coast, so you won’t find beaches or scenic seaside views. That said, you can find many cultural attractions that make the city worth visiting.
If you’re interested in history, you’ll want to stop by the Museum of Florida History. There, you’ll find exhibits on complex topics, such as European colonization in the Americas, the Civil War, and World War II. To see wildlife, stop by the Tallahassee Museum. It’s the perfect spot to hike through nature trails, see wildlife, and even go ziplining. Make sure to bring your camera, as you never know what sort of animals you might see.
Don’t overlook Tallahassee when planning your vacation through the Sunshine State. It’s definitely one of the best places to go in Florida!
4. St. Augustine
While the previous three destinations have been in the Florida panhandle, the fourth takes you across the state to the Atlantic side: St. Augustine. It, like many of the other places mentioned, is one of the best places to visit in North Florida on account of its natural beauty and unique cultural attractions.
Contrary to what you might think, the oldest city in the continental United States isn’t Jamestown or Plymouth – it’s St. Augustine. Founded by the Spanish in 1565, the city remains one of the best places to see traditional Spanish architecture almost 500 years later. You can also see historical sites, like the Castillo de San Marcos, which is a 17th-century stone fortress.
In addition to historical and cultural sites, you’ll also find an array of modern attractions scattered around the city. From concerts and live music events to famous restaurants, the city can cater to travelers of all varieties.
Of course, as with any destination in Florida, St. Augustine also offers some of the most beautiful natural sites in the country. St. Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach are two places where you can stick your toes in the sand, while Anastasia State Park is where you’ll want to go to see protected wildlife. After touring those sites, you’ll definitely consider St. Augustine to be one of the best places to go in Florida!
5. The Exumas Islands (Bahamas)
While this article has focused on places to visit in North Florida, remember that there are many great things to do in South Florida as well – one of which is taking a day trip to the Bahamas.
Traveling to another country while on vacation in a different country might seem crazy, but the Bahamas are right off the coast of Florida. They’re so close that you can even reach the nearest islands, Freeport and Bimini, by boat.
However, we recommend traveling by plane and skipping the ferry since it saves time and lets you reach more remote parts of the country, like the Exumas. This chain of 365 islands is world-famous for its stunning beaches, vivid turquoise water, and the unique Exuma pigs.
While the pigs are cute, friendly, and the highlight of any vacation, they are just one of many attractions you get to see on a Miami to Bahamas day trip. While on your tour, you can also expect to swim with nurse sharks, see the endangered Bahamian rock iguana, explore an underwater grotto, walk on pristine sandbars, and do so much more.
Although they’re technically outside of the Sunshine State, we still count a day trip to the Exumas as one of the best things to do in Florida. We’re confident that when you sign up for a trip, you will too!
Fun Things to Do in Florida for the Whole Family
If you’re trying to plan a destination for your next vacation, consider checking out some of the places to visit in North Florida mentioned above. From beaches to history to architecture and more, all of them exhibit some of the best sites that Florida has to offer.
However, if you’re looking for a vacation that you’ll always remember, consider making a trip to the south of Florida so that you can then travel to the Bahamas with Bahamas Air Tours and Day Trips. Once you’re there, you’ll get to see swimming pigs, sharks, iguanas, sandbars, and so much more.
Get your dream trip started by signing up for a Staniel Cay day tour today!
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