Born and raised in the sunshine state, I can wholeheartedly say, I love Florida. Known for its sandy white beaches, fantastic, sunny weather, and beautiful wildlife preserves, there’s no place I’d rather call home.
There’s also no other place I’d rather build a “travel-inspired” bucket list for. From Destin, FL all the way down to the Florida Keys, I’ve handpicked 8 places that you HAVE to visit with the fam!
So pack up your sunscreen and camera, folks, and get ready to explore some of my favorite places in Florida.
8 Florida Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List
1. Bahia Honda State Park
Located in the Florida Keys (my favorite place on planet earth) is Bahia Honda State Park. Bahia Honda sits on mile marker 37 and covers over 500 acres of land. It’s the ideal beach destination to sunbathe, snorkel, or kayak and features a beautiful bridge and offshore island. The state park offers camping, cabins, 2 exceptional boat ramps, a certified “Clean Marina,” and a concession and gift shop.
Recommendations: Although my family loves to go to the Florida Keys during Lobster season, you can get a way better deal on accommodations if you go before the end of July!
2. Gasparilla Island
Oh Gasparilla, a lovely little piece of Florida! This Gulf Coast island is a great destination for any beach or nature lover. You can swim, fish snorkel or admire the nature of the island and its diverse wildlife. The island has been an important part of Florida folklore due to its connection to the pirate Gasparilla (José Gaspar), and has been a significant tourist destination since the early 20th century.
3. Pine Island
Pine Island is the largest island off the Gulf coast of Florida and located just 30 minutes from Fort Myers. Take a trip out here to appreciate the quiet, laid-back vibes and great fishing. Matlacha Pass waterways offer excellent canoeing and kayaking opportunities, or you can head off to explore the mangroves or palms that stretch for acres.
Recommendations: Visit the Lazy Flamingo for lunch and Captain Cons for Karaoke and dinner!
4. Cedar Key
About an hour south of Gainesville, you’ll find the small town of Cedar Key. Known as a quaint town, Cedar Key is the perfect getaway from the stress of big city life. Everything moves at a relaxed pace – the police even drive around in golf carts.
Recommendations: Stay at the Sea Horse Landing Condominiums- just a short walk to all of the restaurants and shopping!
5. Bok Tower Gardens
Located in Lake Wales, Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark encompassing more than 200 acres of lush garden. It’s open to the public year round, and is a great place for a day trip with the kids.
Fun Fact: Bok Tower was originally founded as a bird sanctuary and is now home to over 100 species of birds.
6. Rainbow Springs State Park
From wading in the crystalline headwaters to canoeing, kayaking, and even lazily floating a tube down river, Rainbow Springs is a priceless jewel in the Florida. It’s also the fourth largest spring in Florida! Reserve your spot at the campground in advance to make sure you have a place and enjoy the refreshing outdoors.
7. Florida Caverns State Park
Florida Caverns State Park is located three miles north of Marianna on State Road 166, and is a great camping and day trip destination. It is a true gem, boasting gorgeous hikes, a swimming hole, and campsites for those eager to stay overnight! Home to the only air-filled caves open to the public in Florida, be sure to explore and take a cave tour to see the stunning limestone formations, soda straws and draperies.
8. Henderson Beach
Imagine a majestic shoreline anchored by 30-foot, snow white sand dunes where basking in the Florida sun or wading into warm Gulf waters is the order of each and every day.
No need to daydream — Henderson Beach makes this a reality. This protected strip of the Emerald Coast isn’t just for relaxation. Fishing, a nature trail and 60 campsites connected to the beach via boardwalk are among this park’s featured areas.
Bonus Destination: Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Whether you’re looking for a vigorous adventure or a relaxing day on the water. Ichetucknee River is the perfect outing. Although well-known for its warm weather tubing, the 2,669-acre Ichetucknee Springs State Park is also a wildlife haven, where beaver, otter, gar, softshell turtle, wild turkey, wood duck and limpkin all find a home.
Did I miss one of your favorite Florida destinations? Let me know in the comments below and your recommendation could be added to the blog!
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