While no one article could encompass everything that Florida has to offer for the serious vacationer, there are a handful of experience categories that pretty much round out the various things you can do while getting away to America’s Sunshine State. Here are my five favorite Florida tourist scenes.
For families planning a Florida getaway, it’s all about the theme parks. The Sunshine State has practically made an industry out of them. From Disney’s shrine of the mouse to animal parks like Tampa’s Busch Gardens and everything in between, no Florida family vacation is complete without including at least one. Other fun experiences include Universal Studios in Orlando and the world-famous Epcot Center.
Certainly for South Florida, the Everglades are the main attraction. Known around the world as a unique ecosystem accessible for the average tourist, pontoon tours and photo ops are the name of the game here. If you have more time to spend however, the state has much more to offer the avid nature traveler. After all, we have an entire stretch of waterfront known as the Nature Coast. Kayaking, shelling, diving and kite surfing are just a few of the options at your disposal. One of the most life-changing nature experiences on the Nature Coast is the chance to swim with those gentle ocean giants known as the manatees. While several tour companies exist, the only place you can leisurely hop on a boat from the dock of your hotel is the Plantation on Crystal River.
The Spa Scene
From Miami’s famed spa week to the various Florida beach resorts offering world-class relaxation experiences, the Sunshine State has the spa scene down. Feel like celebrity spotting in between your facial and pedicure? Hit the Fontainebleau or the newest Canyon Ranch venue, both located on the sexy and sophisticated Miami Beach. It doesn’t get much glitzier than that. Feel like something a little more low key? Check out NSpa at Delray beach where they serve thick, dark Belgian sipping chocolate along with organic teas and a few of the crashing surf. In short, there are numerous Florida spas to suit travelers of every budget and vacation preference.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
No doubt about it, shopping in Florida is at the top of most travelers’ lists when they visit. From the expected Mouse souvenirs to high-end designer duds destined for a return trip to Europe, there’s much to choose from. Several sensational Florida shopping venues rise above, however. Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas and Miami’s Lincoln Road are just two of the experiences you won’t want to miss.
The Florida Foodie Circuit
Nobody can fault the Sunshine State for falling short on great dining opportunities. From Harry’s on Longboat Key to the restaurant strip in Delray Beach (love that Buddha Sky Bar), the restaurant selection is extensive. Fun picks include Red Steakhouse in Miami, Orlando’s Tu-Tu Tango, and Mulligan’s Beach House in Jensen Beach.
Clearly the state of Florida has much to offer travelers of any type. Whether your passion is food, nature, shopping, entertainment theme parks or simply relaxing at the spa, you’ll find something here to suit your vacation needs.
|Myscha Theriault is a syndicated columnist for McClatchy-Tribune, best-selling author, and professional blogger whose work has been featured by Forbes, MSN, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, AOL, and others. Print interviews include Better Homes and Gardens, Women’s World, and All You Magazines. She is the founder of Trekhound.com, a web site for independent travelers. You can also catch up with her on Twitter.|
Originally Published on September 10th, 2012