But some of Florida’s best treasures aren’t even well-known treasures. It’s home to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. it has a Native American heritage, and it’s home to the famous Kennedy Space Center. Even Ernest Hemingway has roots in Florida. And with a nickname like “The Sunshine State,” it’s no wonder Florida has 90 million annual visitors!
Places to Visit in Florida
- Miami Beach
- Key West
- The Everglades
Unique Things to See and Do in Florida
- Visit Orlando’s theme parks, and spend time at Walt Disney World
- Explore the 800+ islands and their stunning beaches in Key West
- Revel in the madness at South Beach (and go shopping!)
- Explore Miami’s Little Havana
- Visit the Kennedy Space Center
- Try your hand at sports fishing in the Florida Keys
- Take an airboat ride through the Everglades
- Hunt for seashells on Sanibel Island
Florida was discovered in 1513 by a Spanish explorer named Ponce de Leon, who was apparently looking for the “Fountain of Youth.” He claimed Florida for his homeland and named it for Spain’s Easter celebration known as “Pascua Florida” (the Feast of Flowers).
Spain ruled until 1763 when Great Britain took control. Britain remained there until the end of the American Revolution, and then the territory went back to Spanish control. When Spain sold Florida to the United States for good in the 1800s, American troops went to war with the Native American population there. And then, during the Civil War, Florida seceded from the union.
By the 20th century, Florida’s main industry had become tourism, and it still is today. Many residents of the Northern states (and Canada) started heading to Florida each year to soak up the sun, and the tradition continues. Florida is also known for its fantastic citrus fruits, mostly oranges and grapefruits. Nearly 80 percent of America’s citrus comes from Florida!
Getting Around Florida
Florida is a very sprawled out destination. Even its cities (like Orlando) tend to cover an enormous amount of territory and so a rental car is always the best option. There is also a shuttle service known as the Florida Shuttle Transportation to take you between most major cities. Amtrak also has a comfortable rail service.
Within the cities themselves, public transportation usually includes a bus or trolley.
Did you know…?
Florida is about the same size as England and Wales combined.
Did you ALSO know…?
No matter where you are in Florida, you’re never more than 66 kilometres from the ocean!
Best Time of Year to Travel to Florida
It’s called the Sunshine State for a reason! May to September is the hottest time of year with temperatures soaring and the humidity unbearable. Things cool down from March to May, and then October to late November, but the temperatures are still warm enough to enjoy yourself.
Things at the theme parks in Orlando get incredibly busy between March and April, and then again from June to August. Christmas and New Year’s is the busiest time of all. No matter the time of year, though, you’ll still have long line-ups in the parks.
Ready to plan your visit to Florida? Check out these popular guides and trips.