Content Produced in Partnership with VISIT FLORIDA
Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world — and for good reason. With nearly always sunny skies and a summer season that lasts from May through September, there's plenty of time to spend exploring every inch of this tropical paradise. With gorgeous parks, funky festivals, succulent seafood and cool beaches and everything in between, the Sunshine State is the place to be this summer.
Summertime is the best time to see nesting Loggerhead sea turtles at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. The clear waters (at a near-constant 72-degrees) at Blue Springs State Park in Orange City or Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park offer the perfect vantage point to check out Florida's gentle giants, the manatees. Places like Everglades National Park and Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel act as wildlife refuges while simultaneously offering hiking and biking trails so that you can (safely) observe animals in their natural habitats.
Mmmm, Do You Smell That?
That’s the smell of all the amazing food that Florida has to offer. With more than 40,000 restaurants in the state (yes, we did do the math), if you were to try a new restaurant for each meal every day, it would still take your at least 36 years to experience them all. While we'd be happy to take on the challenge, there's more than one way for you to sample the highlights of the region. Items like stone crab, rock shrimp, oysters and even alligator frequently pop up on menus across the state, but you'd be remiss not to slip down to Little Havana in Miami for a killer Cuban sandwich or to Key West for a slice of key lime pie.
Soak Up the Sun
Who goes to Florida and doesn’t go to the beach? This peninsula state is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and prettiest coastlines in the world, especially in the summer. Find your own paradise at some of the state's lesser-known beaches, like Atlantic Beach in Jacksonville, Seaside near Destin and Panama City Beach in the Panhandle, and Amelia Island in northeast Florida.
You're Never Without a Paddle
And we mean that literally. Between its rivers and springs, its oceanfront and its bays, the best way to embrace the "go with the flow" mentality all Floridians seem to have is to join them out on the water. Summertime is prime time for paddle boarding, wakeboarding, kayaking, tubing and canoeing, but don't feel like those experiences have to be limited to daylight hours. You can just as easily chase down a sunset with a guided paddleboard tour, clear bottom kayak in Key West under a blanket of stars, or embark on a sunrise paddle on Sanibel Island.
Hit the Open Road
Road warriors, rejoice! Summertime is a mighty fine time to take a cruise across the Sunshine State. Whether you'd like to drive from natural spring to natural spring or simply explore from coast to coast, you'll find plenty of places that'll make you fall in love with Florida. Interested in giving it a go? Take a stab at driving down to Key West, the southernmost point of the United States, and drive across Seven Mile Bridge, or visit all three national parks the state has to offer and design an itinerary across the southern portion of the state to check out Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, and Dry Tortugas National Park. Click here to begin planning your summer adventure in Florida.