The 10 Most Beautiful Places in Florida
You haven’t truly experienced Florida’s beauty until you’ve visited these 10 destinations. From the northern part of the Sunshine State all the way down to the Keys, these downright gorgeous locations deserve a spot on your travel bucket list.
Editor’s note: Please remember to practice social distancing and adhere to all local health and safety guidelines.
1. Sanibel Island
Just off the state’s peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, Sanibel is heaven on a beach. Beyond the miles of crystal-clear waters, there are thousands of patterned seashells waiting to be collected up and down the shoreline. If that isn’t quintessential Florida beauty, we don’t know what is.
2. St. Pete
Connecting lower Tampa with St. Pete, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a breathtaking introduction to this area of Florida. Once you’re in St. Pete, you’ll have the best of both worlds: beach and city—all in one place. In fact, downtown St. Petersburg is less than ten miles from St. Pete Beach. And since there’s virtually no traffic in the area, the drive is less than 15 minutes.
3. Amelia Island
Amelia Island is everything you could ever wish for in an upscale beach town. It’s home to a Ritz-Carlton hotel (if you’re into that kind of vacation), but there’s also more than 13 miles of super-quiet beaches, adorable bed-and-breakfasts, next-level golf courses and a quirky historic district (with ghost tours!).
4. St. Augustine
To explore Florida’s rich history, you must make the trip to St. Augustine. Dating back 450 years, this northern Florida town is as charming as it is old (we mean that as a compliment). Situated on the Matanzas River, this European-inspired city marries cobblestone-lined streets and Spanish forts with bright palm trees and sparkling shorelines. If you’ve been pushing off your trip to Rome or Spain, this Florida spot may be the next best thing (within driving distance, of course).
5. Key West
Colorful pastel-painted beach houses, swaying palms, Ernest Hemingway’s historic home and the rowdy bars of Duval Street—there’s just nothing like Key West (and the seven-mile bridge you must take to get there).
6. Art Deco District Miami
We know it seems counterintuitive to ask you to turn your back away from the beach and toward the buildings, but in this case it makes total sense. The Art Deco District in South Beach is one of the most incredible sights in the state. After all, the neighborhood is home to the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the world (!!!).
Can’t swing a trip to the Maldives this year? The four islands of Islamorada are a close Florida equivalent. With a beachy, small-town vibe, there’s nothing like watching this kind of sunset every evening on vacation. (Pro tip: If you want to pair a view like this with the most delicious seafood in Florida, head to Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar. You’ll literally eat dinner on the sand facing the water. Ugh.)
One of the world’s most diverse ecosystems is hidden in plain sight inside Florida’s swamplands. Scope out alligators, manatees and panthers on an hour-long airboat ride, which begins and ends at Everglades National Park. You’ll journey deep inside the area’s tree-canopied landscapes, stopping every few minutes to spot wildlife and get some history from your local tour guide.
About a mile south of Cape Florida, you’ll find a cluster of seven pastel-colored wood-frame houses. Dating back to the 1930s, the now-vacant houses were known to host wild parties during Prohibition. Nowadays, the houses sit quietly in the middle of the open waters—it’s truly a sight to be seen. If you’re nearby, embark on a fascinating guided tour from Deering Estate.
At just over a mile long, Micanopy is Florida’s self-proclaimed antiques capital. It’s known as a rural, sleepy town just south of Gainesville, which is why it earned the nickname of “the little town that time forgot.” With a population of about 600, the busiest road (Cholokka Boulevard) is lined with typical Florida architecture, old oak trees covered in Spanish moss and antique storefronts.
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