Looking for travel tips when you are in the sunshine state? Know for the largest coastline in the United States, unlimited sunshine, miles of white-sand beaches and being family-friendly, Florida has something for everyone. Florida was the top destination state in 2011, and continues to attract visitors from all over the world. Here are 5 things you must do while exploring Florida!
1.) Explore the flora and fauna. Florida is home to the American alligator, crocodile, Florida panther and manatee. Florida is also populated with marine life like dolphins and whales, birds, mink, otter and reptiles. Check out the Florida mascot: alligators live at GatorLand. 3,000 types of wildflowers grow in Florida, and Everglades National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can be a great place to explore, with thousands of acres of swampland and endangered animals. Biscayne National Park is also the largest marine park in the country, and offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the country.
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2.) Take in the history. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon named Florida "La Florida" in 1513. Florida culture is made up of influences by Native Americans, Europeans, Hispanic and African-American and can be seen in everything from the food to the architecture. Explore history with a trip to Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas, the nation's oldest settlement. Also check out St. Augustine, founded by the Spanish in 1565 and featuring a large fort, museum and shops. Popular museums include the Salvador Dali Museum, in downtown St. Petersburg, which displays the largest collection of Dali artwork outside of Europe. Also check out The Holocaust museum in St. Petersburg, Florida Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science and Industry, National Navel Air Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art.
3.) Be adventurous. Adventure can be had both on and off of the water. On land, tennis, golf and auto racing rule, with the Daytona International Speedway bringing in race fans from all over the world. Water sports are also very popular, with boating, swimming, snorkeling, diving, surfing, tubing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding taking charge on the waters.
4.) Eat, drink and be merry. Florida's chefs have access to fresh seafood and native fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, mangos, strawberries, passion fruit, grapefruit and avocados. Popular Florida foods include barbecue, Southern food, Cuban food, key lime pie and alligator. Any type of cuisine can be found, from high-end steakhouses to old fashioned diners.
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5.) Be amused. Florida is known for it's amusement parks, and is home to the Walt Disney World Resort, which is the largest vacation resort in the world. Walt Disney World resort is made up of four theme parks and more than 20 hotels. The four theme parks are The Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Other parks in Florida include SeaWorld, Wet and Wild, Aquatica, Islands of Adventure, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens, Cypress Gardens, Pleasure Island, LegoLand and GatorLand.
Hope your trip to the sunshine state is fabulous!