This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase. Read Disclosure.
The Sunshine State of Florida is a destination that offers so much. From world-class theme parks to gorgeous scenes of nature and pristine beaches, there are so many enchanting destinations you can add to your Florida bucket list.
But with so much to see and do, it can be hard to put that list together. That’s why we prepared this guide on the best places to visit in Florida and attractions to visit so you can create your own bucket list for Florida.
From cool cities to unique outdoor adventures, there’s something on this list for everyone.
- The Ultimate Florida Bucket List
- 1. Airboat around Everglades National Park
- 2. Swim with Manatees on Crystal River
- 3. Florida Keys
- 4. Walt Disney World Resort
- 5. College Football Game at the Swamp
- 6. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios
- 7. Kayak Wacissa River
- 8. Miami, Florida
- 9. Okefenokee Swamp
- 10. Saint Petersburg
- 11. Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
- 12. Rocket Launch at the Kennedy Space Center
- 13. Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay
- 14. Watch a NASCAR Race at Daytona Beach
- 15. Hear the Bells of Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
- 16. Fort Lauderdale
- 17. Panama City Beach
- Save Money on Florida Travel with a Sightseeing Pass
- Final Thoughts
- Undiscovered Florida Travel Tips
The Ultimate Florida Bucket List
1. Airboat around Everglades National Park
No trip to Florida would be complete without exploring the enchanting Everglades National Park aboard an airboat. It’s the quintessential Florida experience!
The national park extends for over100 miles (160 km) and spans from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. It’s made up of a diverse natural landscape, including mangroves, sawgrass marshes and forests.
As you glide through the waterways and tributaries, you will witness the breathtaking nature of this wetlands, and also be in with a chance of seeing Florida’s most famous native wildlife; the alligator.
As well as alligators, you can also see salt water crocodiles, snapping turtles, and West Indian manatees. If you’re lucky, you may spot a rare leatherback turtle.
2. Swim with Manatees on Crystal River
One of the most unique experiences you can add to your Florida bucket list is a chance to swim with the gentle manatees on Crystal River.
This is a rare opportunity to connect with nature in an intimate and sustainable manner.
Crystal River, located in Florida’s Citrus County, is said to be home to anywhere between 500-1000 manatees who migrate to the naturally warm waters in the winter.
So if you’re looking for exciting things to add to your Florida bucket list for the winter, this should be top of the list.
3. Florida Keys
If you’re looking for an idyllic vacation spot in Florida to relax in, then Florida Keys is the place to be.
For diving enthusiasts, there is a plethora of underwater adventures awaiting you. You can dive at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, an aquatic oasis ripe with thriving marine life.
For culture vultures, head to Key West, where you’ll find pastel-hued, conch-style houses and fascinating attractions like the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and Truman Little White House.
For pristine beaches, head to Bahia Honda State Par or the secluded Dry Tortugas National Park.
With so much to see and explore in Florida Keys, it’s a worthy addition to anyone’s bucket list.
4. Walt Disney World Resort
If you’re looking to step into the enchanting world of Walt Disney, then a trip to the iconic Walt Disney World Resort should be high on your bucket list.
Walt Disney World Resort is perhaps the most famous theme park in Orlando, and is one of the main reasons why people visit this neck of the woods.
Snap a selfie with the iconic Cinderella Castle or ride the exhilarating ride of Space Mountain, or sail along with the Pirates of the Caribbean and witness dazzling parades and fireworks on the daily.
There is a reason that Walt Disney World is named the Happiest Place On Earth, it weaves dreams into reality and leaves everyone leaving with a feeling of joy and nostalgia.
Not many people are aware that Walt Disney World Resort is not just one theme park, but a collection of five: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks.
If you have time, they are all worth a visit.
5. College Football Game at the Swamp
For something a little bit more unique, head to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, otherwise known as The Swamp, to experience the electrifying fervor of college football.
Stand in pit of orange and blue as the Gators command the field and feel the energy of every touch down!
What makes college football different is the sense of camaraderie and community spirit.
There is no greater sound than the thunderous roars from the crowd reverberating through the stadium. It’s not just a football game, it’s an experience.
6. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios
Step into the enchanting world of Harry Potter at the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios.
Traverse the cobbled streets of Hogsmeade, where the tantalizing scents of Butterbeer and magical curiosities abound, or embark on an exhilarating adventure through Hogwarts Castle, where cutting-edge technology and captivating storytelling converge.
You can ride heart-pounding rollercoasters or choose your wand at Ollivanders.
If you’re a fan of J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding universe, then don’t miss this one off your Florida bucket list.
Don’t miss our tips to help you plan:
- How to Do 1 Day at Universal Orlando Resort (and love it)
- Your Guide to Family Fun at Universal Studios Orlando
- 18 Universal Orlando Tips for a Great time
- How to Have Fun at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- 25 Tips for Universal’s Volcano Bay Orlando Water Park
- Rent a Vacation Home Near Disney World, Orlando with friends
Undercover Tourist is an authorized seller of discount tickets and vacation packages to the Orlando Theme Parks. Straight to the gate privileges and free shipping of tickets.
7. Kayak Wacissa River
Nestled in the heart of Florida’s Big Bend region, the Wacissa River is an area of untamed natural beauty.
The best way to experience it is to rent a kayak and paddle through crystal-clear waters teeming with wildlife, from playful manatees to vibrant bird species.
If you’re lucky, you may spot some allusive alligators, water snakes or snapping turtles.
This unspoiled haven is somewhat of a hidden gem in Florida and is the perfect place to visit when you need a lush, rugged landscape to escape to.
8. Miami, Florida
Miami has a magnetic charm that you simply cannot resist. This sun-kissed city is known for its pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters backed by high rise condos and resorts.
It’s a place where you can find relaxation during the day, and thriving nightlife after the sun goes down.
It’s also a foodie’s delight, with everything from delectable Cuban cuisine to innovative gastronomic experiences on offer.
For something off the beaten path, take a day trip to Miami Coral Gables and Coral Gables swim in the former rock quarry and now 1920s Venetian Pool, or get cultured at the Lowe Art Museum and see Latin American and Caribbean artwork.
9. Okefenokee Swamp
Another nature spot not to miss is the Okefenokee Swamp – on the Florida-Georgia line- which is an untamed wilderness known for its biodiversity.
Take a boat tour through the labyrinthine of waterways, where ancient cypress trees and floating peat mats form a breathtaking natural landscape.
If you’re a wildlife lover, this is the place to be. The swamp’s shallow, peat-filled wetland sprawls across 438,000 acres, serving as the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers and harboring threatened and endangered species.
Keep an eye out for alligators and bird species such as cranes, swallow-tailed kites, sparrows, warblers, hawks and owls.
10. Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is another cool city along Florida’s Gulf Coast to visit if you love art, culture, and beautiful coastlines.
It’s nickname is the Sunshine City because of its year-round weather and stunning beaches.
The city is also famous for the The Salvador Dali Museum, which features works by the surrealist painter, as well as the Mahaffey Theater, home of the Florida Orchestra
For the nature lover, don’t miss the Sunken Gardens, a 100-year-old botanical gardens and one of the oldest roadside attractions in the U.S.
11. Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
Nestled in Williston, is Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring. If you’re a scuba diver, this is a unique underwater adventure to have.
This karst cavern is filled with crystal clear waters, allowing you to marvel at the unique geological formations as well as see evidence of human habitation that dates back thousands of years, including artifacts and fossils.
The combination of natural beauty and historical significance makes it one of the most unique attractions in Florida.
12. Rocket Launch at the Kennedy Space Center
Embrace the inner astronaut in you by watching a rocket launch at Kennedy Space Center, an awe-inspiring, one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll talk about for years to come.
The palpable excitement and anticipation of witnessing a rocket launch into space is a feeling unlike anything else.
What’s more is that The Kennedy Space Center is the place where Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong set off from before walking on the moon for the first time.
Not only is it an exciting experience, but it’s a historically significant launch site that will be forever preserved as the birthplace of space travel.
13. Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay
Tampa is well known for its vibrant culture, white sand beaches and thriving nightlife. Unlike Miami on the Atlantic Ocean, Tampa Bay looks over the Florida Gulf Coast and is warm and sunny all year round.
One of the most famous attractions in Tampa Bay is Busch Gardens, an African-themed amusement park with a zoo and adrenaline-fuelled rides.
Ride exhilarating rides like Falcon’s Fury or enjoy storied coasters such as Montu and Cheetah Hunt, or embark on a safari experience and get a close encounter with majestic animals.
Feed giraffes or watch seasonal fireworks extravaganzas. Busch Gardens is a must-see destination for all ages! This year, sees the opening of the new ride Phoenix rising. Check out what else is new in Florida for 2024 travel.
14. Watch a NASCAR Race at Daytona Beach
Enjoy the heart-pounding action of a NASCAR race at the iconic Daytona International Speedway.
The thunderous roar of powerful engines, the electric atmosphere, and the sight of stock cars hurtling around the famed tri-oval track are a bucket list experience like no other.
Feel the anticipation of the green flag signaling the start of the race, and be exhilarated from the last wave of the checkered flag; every moment is drenched in adrenaline. Get your Daytona 500 NASCAR Race Ticket here.
15. Hear the Bells of Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Another bucket list experience to have is to hear the bells ring at Bok Tower Gardens.
The bell tower, known as The Singing Tower, has 23 bells made from bronze and then specially tuned.
It’s a fully mechanical instrument and connected to a keyboard. Four times a week, a unique tune composed by Belgian-American composer Geert D’hollander is played.
The bells play every Friday at 3.00pm, Saturday at 1.00pm and 3.00pm, and Sunday at 1.00pm.
We visited the Bok Tower Gardens on our trip to Central Florida and Legoland.
16. Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is another beach destination on Florida’s southeastern coast.
It has a laid-back and sophisticated charm which attracts travelers from far and wide.
Stroll along the trendy Las Olas Boulevard, indulge in delectable cuisine, or take one of the enchanting gondola rides through picturesque canals.
If you think the bustling scenes of Miami are too much for you, then Fort Lauderdale is the best alternative. Craig and I did a canal tour of the multi-millionaire (and I mean multi) homes years ago and was astounded! Some of the mega yachts parked out the front were worth $20 million!!! It was a memorable experience! You can get tickets here.
17. Panama City Beach
Nestled along Florida’s Emerald Coast is Panama City Beach, which also has pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife, and plenty of outdoor adventures to discover.
The city’s famous for its sugar-white sands and turquoise waters, where you can embark on snorkeling, parasailing, or deep-sea fishing adventures.
It’s also known for its dining scene, punctuated by renowned eateries like Pineapple Willy’s and Captain Anderson’s, as well as stunning state parks and a lively shopping district.
Nearby St Andrew’s Beach State Park still remains one of our favorite beaches in the USA. Hello dolphins galore and unspoilt natural beauty!
If you’re looking for a mix of coastal beauty and bustling things to do, this is a great place to visit.
Save Money on Florida Travel with a Sightseeing Pass
Discount tourist cards are a great way to save money on popular attractions. With their skip-the-line tickets they can also save you a lot of time.
The Sightseeing Pass is our favorite discount attraction pass as it often includes quirky local attractions, walking tours, discounted food and shopping, and has a huge range of attractions and flexibility.
Check out the Florida Sightseeing Passes:
- Key West Flex Card
- Fort Lauderdale Flex or Day Pass
- Orlando Flex Pass
- Miami Flex or Day Pass
- The USA Pass – great if you are visiting a few US, or Florida, destinations.
Florida is a state with so much diversity that it makes it difficult to narrow down the choices for your bucket list, but we hope this guide gave you some inspiration for what to add to yours.
From the coral cays to the bustling cities to the thrill of swimming with manatees in Crystal River, there’s so much to see and explore.
Undiscovered Florida Travel Tips
We’ve shared with you those bucket list Florida experiences. Here are a few lessor known ones to fall in love with!
- Your Guide to Wow Experiences on a South Florida Road Trip
- The perfect winter family vacation in Martin County, Florida
- Best things to do in Sebring, FL in 2 days
- Mansota Key: A family vacation ona little known tropical island
- 18 Fantastic things to do in North Florida (escape the crowds)
We want to know your local favorites and the hidden gems in your backyard? Can you suggest other places to add to your Florida bucket list? Let us know in the comments!