Florida is tailor-made for family vacations. It's a natural playground, offering more than 180 beaches, 175 state parks and trails, at least 80 miniature golf courses, and 10 major theme parks where there’s always a new attraction to explore.
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Fun for all ages i adventure i CULTURE i romance
The Sunshine State is where you want to be this winter. Beach spots where your only worry is which hammock to enjoy. Bustling cities where culture, shopping and food intersect. The great Florida outdoors where you can find yourself one-on-one with native wildlife. Endless activities to get the heart pumping, and quiet islands for romantic escapes.
Take your pick – Florida has it all.
Florida's cities have become just as renowned for their vibrant, diverse communities as they are for their lively beaches. In Miami Beach, screenings of family-friendly movies and classical music concerts are projected on a 650-square metre wall at SoundScape Park. And Latin and Caribbean influences turn Miami into a living museum of culture. Along Calle Ocho (Eighth Street) in Little Havana, locals catch up over dominos at Máximo Gómez Park, live bands fill the streets with salsa music and the strong aroma of café con leche wafts from every corner.
Architectural Digest recently singled out Lakeland as one of the best places in the U.S. to see world-class architecture. Florida Southern College is the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright's structures in the country. Then there's the Dali Museum, an extraterrestrial-like dome made of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass. It's home to an unparalleled collection of over 2,400 Salvador Dali works, and runs a free workshop, “DillyDally with Dali” for kids on select Saturdays.
With 580 kilometres of shoreline, Florida has all the beach fun a family could desire. Clearwater Beach is a family favourite, with calm, shallow waters. An hour’s drive east of Orlando, Cocoa Beach is perfect for kids looking to hang ten for the first time, thanks to its consistent waves and sandy bottoms. Ron Jon Surf Shop offers lessons – and is also great for picking up tools that will elevate your sandcastle-making to another level!
Rated Fodor’s “Best Beach for Families,” Hollywood Beach, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, has a FlowRider Surf Machine for honing your skills, while the four-kilometre boardwalk includes a children’s waterpark.
A number of beaches are fully accessible, with free beach wheelchair rentals. VISIT FLORIDA’s Accessible Travel Hub for a rundown of accessible beaches, parks, attractions and events.
Get a bird’s eye view of the Sunshine State’s most picturesque terrain, including winding rivers, lush forests and awesome canyons, on high-flying adventures. Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park in Ocala takes you 50 metres off the ground and whizzes you past rocky cliffs, green-blue lakes, old growth oak trees and steep ravines. Glide across nine zip lines in total, brave the two rope bridges and rappel down a canyon for the most memorable outing ever.
Also in north Florida, check out St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, where zip lines glide you over gators and crocodiles and put you at tree-level with tropical birds. To get even higher, head to Tavares, the Seaplane Capital of the World, and take off from one of the area’s 1,400 lakes. It's the ultimate window-seat view.
From November to April, you'll find excellent conditions for kitesurfing, a high-octane thrill. Take a lesson from a certified instructor around St. Petersburg, where kiteboarders launch from Sunshine Skyway (one of the world’s most spectacular bridges) and Fort de Soto Park.
December through March is peak season for sailfishing. Head to Stuart, the official Sailfish Capital of the World, just a 45-minute drive from West Palm Beach. Thanks to its catch-and-release ethic, the populations of these beautiful, acrobatic fish are at record numbers, ensuring you’ll have a tale to tell afterwards.
Northern Florida’s South Walton County's dune-fringed lakes feature waters with a tea-like patina, thanks to the tannins from nearby trees – a stark contrast to the emerald waters in other nearby Gulf Coast sites. Visit Grayton Beach State Park or Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to see this phenomenon at first hand.
From fish shacks to farm-to-table restaurants, Florida pleasures the tastebuds. In 2022, Michelin published their first guide to the state, giving its global stamp of approval to 118 restaurants and bestowing an impressive 15 of them with stars. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Miami’s Design District earned a rare two stars (which designates “excellent cooking, worth a detour”) – and melds the interactive sushi counters of Japan with the tapas style of service found in Spain.
Waterfront restaurants add beach views to the culinary experience. Some also have sections for al-fresco dining – a ritual among locals – so that you can feel the ocean breeze while the waves create a soothing soundtrack for the evening.
From November to April, manatees escape the cold temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and "winter” in the warm springs of Central Florida. Crystal River – often called the Manatee Capital of the World– in western Florida is home to more than 300 manatees, and having the gentle giants surface beside you is a once-in-a-lifetime delight.
This is the only place in North America where you can legally snorkel (with a guide) alongside these cousins of elephants in their natural habitat. You can touch them, if they touch you first – a probability, given they are highly curious, social creatures.
Another option? Canoe or kayak through Ichetucknee Springs State Park, a 2,699-acre wildlife haven in North Central Florida, where manatees also winter.
Culture and cuisine
Shopping is one of the adventures beckoning Canadians to Florida. Worth Avenue in Palm Beach – the “Rodeo Drive of the East” – includes high-end boutiques like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci intermingled with sculpture-laden courtyards.
In a swanky village just north of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour Shops is an open-air shopping mall tucked into a lush landscape of koi ponds, swaying palm trees and fountains, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice time in the sun to enjoy some retail therapy. With over 100 luxury retailers, including Prada and Stella McCartney, the mall is undergoing a $550-million expansion that will add 40 additional luxury shops.
Lovers Key State Park in Fort Myers Beach is another gem for couples. Once accessible only by boat, the park owes its name to the couples who travelled to the island for the oh-so-private beach. It’s also accessible today by tram, but the secret sands are still romantic. Grab a picnic lunch as you try to spot bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the water, then explore the stunning butterfly garden.
Dive into culture
Clearwater Beach,Pinellas County
Little Havana, Miami, Miami-Dade County
North Beach, Pinellas County
Ocala National Forest, Marion County
Crystal River, Citrus County
Miami, Miami-Dade County
Wynwood, Miami, Miami-Dade County
Isla Morada, Monroe County
Florida has everything under the sun
Florida has more than 2,000 kilometres of coastline, 1,700 rivers and creeks, 7,700 lakes and over 700 springs. It's one of the best places to go for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding – and one of the only places on Earth to experience coastal dune lakes. This terrain lays the groundwork for action-packed, adrenaline-pumping pursuits at every turn.
So many sights, sounds, smells and tastes – Florida provides the best kind of sensory overload. From sampling Michelin-starred cuisine or watching a movie screened on a 650-square metre wall, there’s no shortage of new things to try, no matter how often you visit.
Between the warmth and the stunning scenery, Florida is the go-to destination to heat up your romance. For the ultimate escape, leave the mainland behind; when it comes to islands, you're spoiled for choice. or visit the Kennedy Space Center for an out of this world experience.
The Florida Keys — a collection of subtropical islands off the southern tip of the state — are an ideal base for couples. Consider Little Palm Island Resort and Spa, an adults-only getaway accessible only by seaplane, for the ultimate in luxury and rejuvenation.
It’s an easy trip on the Yankee Freedom, a luxurious catamaran docked in the Florida Keys, to one of the country’s most remote and idyllic national parks, the Dry Tortugas. Cuddle on the island’s dreamy white-sand beaches and snorkel the living reef just off shore.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Monroe County
Keys to happiness
Gateway to romance
The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) near Orlando and Daytona isn’t just for children (though kids will love all the hands-on elements). Visitors can tour historic launch sites and inspect spacecraft including the huge Saturn V (used for moon flights) and the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
A new attraction, Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, opened in June 2022 and focuses on the future of interstellar travel. There’s a busy lineup of events at KSC all fall and winter, so you can plan your visit around an astronaut appearance or even a rocket launch.
Kennedy Space Center, Brevard county