Florida is an exciting state that you can visit again and again. Even locals will have a lengthy wish list of places they want to see and experience. While Florida is absolutely famous for its white sandy beaches, beautiful blue green waters and theme parks, there is much more to explore. But here are 5 things you can see in Florida that you won’t see anywhere else.
What is Florida famous for?
- The Florida Keys
- The country’s oldest city, Saint Augustine
- The Florida Everglades
- Unpredictable Weather
- Rocket Launches
The Florida Keys and Key West
While Alaska has a string of islands known as the Aleutians, it’s cold and you need a boat or plane to see them. In Florida, you can drive all the way to Key West. As a point of interest, several movies have been filmed in Key West, including License to Kill, Reap the Wild Wind and PT 109. Pan American Airline’s first international flight took off from Key West in 1927 and landed in Havana, Cuba. American author Ernest Hemingway made his home here and most of the 40 cats living at Hemingway House have six or seven toes because they’re all descendants of his original cat, one with extra toes. Key West boasts more bars and churches per capita than any other city and is also the only city in the continental United States that never gets frost.
Ready to drive? Visit our Quick Guide to the Florida Keys.
The United State’s Oldest City: Saint Augustine
Ask any Floridian and they’ll tell you that Plymouth Rock has nothing on us. 42 years before Jamestown, Ponce de Leon was searching for the Fountain of Youth and settled in beautiful and historic Saint Augustine, Florida. While the city is only 12 square miles, there is so much to see and do in the country’s oldest city.
From historic tours and trolley rides to an exciting nightlife, there’s something for every traveler. The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is the country’s oldest masonry fort and only takes about an hour to see. Kids will love the Pirate & Treasure Museum while beach-goers can check out nearby Saint Augustine Beach. The Saint Augustine Lighthouse and Museum is always a crowd-pleaser, or you can opt for the more touristy fun at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum or the kitschy Fountain of Youth.
Planning a road trip? Check out our Guide to Saint Augustine.
The Florida Everglades
Known as the largest subtropical wetland ecosystem in North America, the Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres and is home to numerous endangered and threatened species. As a Biosphere Reserve, many areas are protected but there are still ample opportunities for sightseeing with miles of paddling trails. Photographers love the everglades for the beautiful shots of wildlife, flora and fauna.
The unique ecosystem includes a mix of salt water and freshwater, making it home to an exciting mix of wildlife. Did you know that the Florida Everglades is the only place that crocodiles and alligators coexist? We suggest taking an airboat tour to give you an up-close (but safe) look at the excitement.
Want to see all three of Florida’s national parks? Check out our guide: Florida’s National Parks Road Trip.
Besides beaches, gorgeous hotels and theme parks, Florida is best known for its weather. Very common in Florida regardless of season is a warm sunny morning followed by a build-up of dark angry storm clouds. By mid-afternoon or early evening, a full thunderstorm complete with lightning flashes and loud cannon like booms are in full force, only to clear away suddenly and leave you with sunshine, blue sky and another couple of hours to enjoy the day before sunset. Floridians expect this and aren’t surprised in the least. They simply take precaution against lightning but otherwise don’t let weather ruin any plans.
Pro-tip: If all of a sudden a strong wind picks up, then you need to head inside – before you know it, you’ll be caught in a downpour!
Planning on spending some time in the Florida sun? Learn everything you need to know about sunscreen!
We aren’t sending space shuttles up anymore but we do launch rockets into space from time to time and the Kennedy Space Center is the place to learn about all things rockets and space. If you want to meet an actual astronaut, you can dine with one on typical weekdays and even join in a question and answer session.
While you’re in the area, learn what else there is to do on Merritt Island & Canaveral National Seashore.
Florida is more than sandy beaches and theme parks so if you veer off the beaten path and find yourself wandering aimlessly, simply look around. Something unique will jump out at you, most likely from a billboard. Also, it’s been said that Florida is home to huge numbers of a certain species called the Retiree. Retirees can be seen in many places taking early morning walks in pairs or with little fluffy dogs and eating dinner around 3:30 to 4:00 in the afternoon at family style restaurants. Some will even pose for photos if asked kindly.