If you’ve got a family trip to Florida on your radar for this summer, chances are you’re already starting the planning process. When most people think of Florida vacations, they jump straight to Disney World or the sweeping beaches. These are certainly worth your visit, but there are plenty of other hidden gems you don’t want to miss!
From quaint historic towns to bustling beachside cities to all-inclusive resorts, Florida has something for everyone. Here are five cities you won’t want to miss on your next trip to the Sunshine State:
- Fort Lauderdale- Located along the Atlantic seaboard of Florida’s southeastern coast, Fort Lauderdale is a city that is best known for its boating canals and beaches. It isn’t yet a huge tourist attraction – not like you’ll find in cities like Orlando – so you can still get that authentic, local feel while avoiding hiked-up tourist prices.
Fort Lauderdale offers visitors a big city feel with the luxury small-town comforts, like minimal traffic and lots of local businesses. You can find everything from exclusive designer boutiques to home restoration companies for humidity-related issues like mold in Fort Lauderdale.
Of course, its beaches are to die for. They are easy to access, well maintained, and the water is crystal clear – you really couldn’t ask for more!
- Orlando- Located in the center of the state, Orlando is probably best known for its amusement parks. Everyone has heard about Universal Studios and Disney World, but there are actually over a dozen more parks in the area to choose from, making it the perfect destination for families and adults.
The bigger parks have their own hotels and restaurants inside them – most actually have multiple resorts that visitors can choose from. There really is a theme park for everyone!
- Key West- If you’re up for going way down south, try visiting Key West. It is part of the Florida Keys island chain that shoots off the southernmost tip of Florida into the Gulf. Key West is well known for its fishing and snorkeling – it boasts some of the largest reefs in the county.
Key West also features the Southernmost point in the country, marked by a large buoy that visitors can touch. It was home to the famous author, Ernest Hemingway, and visitors can still tour his old house.
Bottom line: Key West offers a scenic, quiet island getaway that you just can’t get anywhere else.
- Miami- If you’re looking for great beaches and bustling nightlife, Miami is for you! Its Cuban influences can be felt everywhere in the city, from its restaurants to its food, music, art – you don’t have to leave the country to get an authentic taste of Cuban life.
The nightlife is another major attraction – there’s no shortage of things to do. Miami also boasts the Miami Seaquarium, which features a wide variety of marine life and special shows. It’s great for both adults and families with children!
- Miami Beach- Contrary to what the name suggests, the town of Miami Beach is actually separate from Miami’s city – they lie on opposite sides of the Bay of Biscayne. While Miami is more of a metropolis, Miami Beach is more of a beach resort town.
Miami Beach has a slightly slower pace than the busy city of Miami, but it is still a sizable city in and of itself. Thanks to its multitude of pristine beaches and luxury resorts, it is a popular vacation spot for the rich and famous. Its nightlife has more to offer than any other Florida destination!