Find travel information on everything to do with tourism and vacations in the Sunshine State, from destinations and places, to events and festivals, attractions and activities.
Florida Free Fun Guide covers all Florida regions including the most popular central and southwest Florida areas, and showcases feature articles about Florida’s beaches, national parks, theme parks, activities and all the attractions that draw over 80-million visitors a year to The Sunshine State.
From the miles of sugar white beaches overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in the northwest region to the chic and culture of Miami in the southeast, the attractions of the Sunshine state are diverse and plentiful.
The north central region, also known as the “historic gulf coast”, is rich with intriguing historical sites alongside a wealth of natural refuges and wilderness sites. At the other end of the state, southwest Florida also has something for every taste, from colonial settlements to canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, sailing, fishing and boating.
“The Nation’s Oldest City”, St Augustine, in the northeast region is one of Florida’s top vacation destinations, as is the Space Coast and the Kennedy Space Center in central east Florida.
Central Florida is recognized as the ultimate center for the world’s major family destination theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and Cypress Gardens. And with the wealth of educational, entertaining and cultural attractions of Tampa, and the unique charm of the 26 communities of St Petersburg and Clearwater, the central west region claims its own share of fame.
Five of the top six most hospitable cities in the nation are in Florida, according to Verizon superpages.com, and those cities are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando (perfect too for Walt Disney World and Universal Studios), Clearwater and Saint Petersburg.
But all of the cities and towns of the Sunshine State have their own flavors and eccentricities, from varied cultures and neighborhoods, to upscale nightlife and world-class museums.
Florida Attractions and Activities
Visitors to Florida are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to attractions and activities. Each is as different as the next one – from swanky shopping, golf courses, fishing, national landmarks, beautiful beaches, historical highlights or wildlife at its best, to any one of hundreds of theme parks across the state.
Several of the themeparks are centered in the Greater Orlando Area which is known as the home of Disney World and the EPCOT Center, Universal Orlando Resort and Seaworld Orlando. Other theme parks like Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, and Adventure Island in Key West, and water parks and zoos are scattered across Florida with access from any of the major cities.
Museums too can be fun in Florida, and there are a number of them in all corners of the state covering everything from Spanish-colonial gold and silver, to astronauts walking through space.
Heading outdoors, parks include the only subtropical preserve in North America, Everglades National Park, and with more than 1,200 kinds of animals, Florida ranks third in the nation in wildlife diversity, and with a record number of parks, preserves, and refuges.
Beaches of course are one of Florida’s most marketed attractions. In fact, sandy beaches account for 1,350 miles of The Sunshine State’s varied coastline. Vegetation, population, dunes formation, sand composition, wave action, and other natural and social influences serve up Florida’s beaches in many flavors.
Florida is also a mecca for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world – no surprise since, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida boasts more than 700 world record fish catches. And there is plenty to chose from including fly fishing on the world famous waters of Southwest Florida, bass fishing in Orlando, and deep sea fishing trips.
With more golf courses than any other state, Florida is the perfect destination of golf addicts. Indeed, Golf Digest magazine ranks Punta Gorda 3rd for the “Best in America” for quality of life and golf options. Naples claims to be the “Golf Capitol of the World” with more holes per capita than any other community, and with more than 160 golf courses, Palm Beach County has more golf courses than any other county in the US Florida is also home to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the Tournament Player Course, which is the site of the annual PGA Player Championship.
One of the top attractions of the state Florida, however, is the wealth of enticing stores, from high-end boutiques and design shops such as those on Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive in South Beach to factory outlets and vibrant flea markets.
For a state that is almost synonymous with vacation it may come as a surprise to some that Florida has quite the history of war.
Discovered in 1513, Ponce de Leon landed around St. Augustine, and claimed “La Florida” for Spain. When he returned a with settlers between 1516 and 1542 he was greeted by the natives with poisoned tipped arrows.
Rene de Laudoniere, a french explorer came in 1564 and started the settlement Fort Caroline right around the St. Augustine area. This made the Spanish very nervous so they sent Pedro Menendez de Aviles a year later to rid Florida of the French and he officially establishes St. Augustine making it the first official European settlement in America. Spain settled Pensicola in 1698 and from now until 1723, Pensicola’s ownership gets flip-flopped between France and Spain.
Timeshares were introduced in the US in 1984. With all that history a Florida timeshare might be the only way to see it all and sleep comfortably at night.
Florida’s Annual Events and Festivals
From 4th July Fireworks to cultural and ethnic festivals, from sports events to teen parties, from moonlight concerts to Christmas parades, from spring break to Fall getaways, Florida has a packed year of events to suit every taste and age.