Florida is a unique state. Its shape alone makes it a one-of-a-kind area. Destinations are found in both the southern part of the state, as well as the panhandle. However, for those seeking the true essence of Florida and all that it is, you must venture to the heart of the state. Central Florida offers some of the most world-renowned attractions that are uniquely Floridian in nature. Take a tour of central Florida with us and enjoy traveling in the very soul of this amazing southern state.
If you have never heard of Orlando, you have not been to Florida at all. This city has become known a true destination city. No other city around can you visit a variety of theme parks, water parks, and other family attractions without setting foot outside the city. Among the most notable attractions, especially for the young and young at heart, is Disneyworld.
Disneyworld offers an experience like no other and a variety of event packages are available to fit your exact family needs. This park is full of classic Disney magic as older attractions mix with new, technologically advanced rides.
For those a little older, venture to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. These parks are connected, and one pass allows you to go between each park as you choose to. Universal Studios emphasizes rides based on movies while Islands of Adventure is your classic, adrenaline filled theme park.
Other attractions such as Sea World, Gatorland, and for a little culture, Orlando Museum of Art are available as well, but at some point you need to eat. Orlando is a culinary treat for the soul with such restaurants as Bombay Street Kitchen, Dixie Belle’s Café, and Bar Harbor Seafood are some of the best dining options in the city. There is so much to do and see in Orlando, it is recommended that you stay at least a week.
If you choose not to contend with the crowds in Orlando, try Tampa. Tamp, Florida offers a variety of attractions for every taste and is located on the coast, so epic beach experiences are on the agenda as well. Some of the most notable attractions are fashioned around animals. Horse Power for Kids and Animal Sanctuary and Big Cat Rescue are some of the best attractions for those who cannot get enough animal interaction.
Adrenaline junkies can have a lot of fun in Tampa as well. Busch Gardens is one of the older theme parks in Florida, but it is regarded as one of the best. Even though Florida temperatures and humidity can be a lot to contend with during the summer, Busch Gardens is designed to emphasize shade on walking paths and throughout the park, so finding a little break from the sun is easy.
For those seeking a little break from crowds, turn to one of the most historic and cultural options Tampa has to offer, The SS American Victory offers tours of this impressive ship that saw action during the Korean War. You may also enjoy the Botanical Gardens or the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.
As for places to stay in Tampa, FL, you have an array of options from high end hotels to boutique establishments, a variety of AirBnbs, and plenty of budget minded hotels and motels to choose form. When it comes time to eat, travelers are treated to a wide range of food options from seafood to virtually every nationality known to man. Ulele, is actually among the more unique restaurants in the area featuring a mix of Native American and Florida Fusion food. You cannot go wrong with any restaurant in this eclectic city.
St. Petersburg is among the older cities in Florida. It was officially recognized as a city in 1903 and has since developed into the 5th most populous city in the state. St. Petersburg is known for its old world attractions including Fort De Soto Park, but it also has some uniquely modern attractions as well. Among the top modern attractions that has brought St. Petersburg into the modern era is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
History is everywhere in St. Petersburg. It is the ideal destination for those looking for more of a relaxed atmosphere. A stroll along the many beaches in the city is a great idea on days when it is sunny, but should a few clouds or storms wreck your beach experience, venture indoors to the Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Petersburg Museum of History, or the Museum of Fine Arts. For a little quirkier experience check out the Chihuly Collection or visit the Salvador Dali Museum.
When the sun is bright and shiny on your travels in St. Petersburg, venture over to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium or Egmont Key State Park. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve and Lettuce Lake Park are a few more outdoor attractions in St Petersburg. This city is all about nature and preserving history, so no matter where you find yourself, you will enjoy a natural and wholesome experience.
Naturally, after all the hiking and nature watching you will be doing in St. Petersburg, you will want to find somewhere great to eat. Thankfully, St. Petersburg, Florida is full of amazing eateries such as, Cassis St Pete or La V for a bit of Vietnamese Fusion food. If you are looking for some classic seafood, try Snapper’s Sea Grill or for a bit of excitement, venture to Wild Child Restaurant and Cocktail Bar.
Cocoa Beach is one of the more unique destinations in Florida. It is located on the Atlantic side of Florida. It is about 45 minutes east of the hustle and bustle of busy Orlando, but once you arrive, you begin to understand why so many people venture to this side of Florida. Cocoa Beach is known for being a haven for retirees and those looking to slow down a bit, but that does not mean this location does not have plenty of activities.
Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is among the largest piers in the area offering shopping and swimming. For those seeking a bit more tranquil beach experience, check out Lori Wilson Park. The area is loaded with both crowded, adventure driven beaches as well as more serene and off the beaten path experiences, so do not be afraid to explore all the impressive outdoor options Cocoa Beach has for you.
Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, the weather is not very friendly, so when these rare occasions come up, Cocoa Beach does not disappoint. The Cocoa Beach Surf Museum is a fun place to bring the kids to understand surf culture and the city also has an Air Force Space and Missile Museum for those looking to reach for the stars.
Cocoa Beach restaurants are among the best in the state. Jazzy’s Mainly Lobster and Seafood along with Coconuts on the Beach are two restaurants that should not be missed. Especially if you are a seafood aficionado. On those hot days when you are looking for a quick cold treat, try the Fat Donkey Ice Cream and Fine Desserts. Delectable sweet treats are a specialty here and you will not be disappointed.
Never neglect the chance to see where Florida began its life by visiting St. Augustine. As the oldest city in the state, this area is steeped in history and lore. The St Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum is just one example of how locals work to hold on to their unique heritage. A strong Spanish influence can be felt in architecture throughout the city and the Spanish Military Hospital Museum is where you can take in a lot of the history and Spanish influence throughout the area.
St. Augustine, Florida is a world away from big city life, but it does boast a lot of attractions to keep you busy for your entire trip. Attractions such as the Potter’s Wax Museum, Fort Matanzas National Monument, and Colonial Quarter are just a few of the many historic attractions you can enjoy here. However, St. Augustine is not just a place for history. They also have attractions for the children including Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
For the sophisticated diner, Hangar One Bistro and Eatery is one of the premier restaurants in the city offering seafood and classic American fair. The Floridian and Prohibition Kitchen are among the more casual options for an impressive dining experience. If you seek only the best local seafood in the areas, check out St. Augustine Fish Camp or Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille.
Central Florida has some of the best destination spots in the state. Whether you are looking to fly high on the many rollercoasters in Orlando and Tampa or looking to slow things down a bit at Cocoa Beach, St. Petersburg, or St. Augustine, central Florida has you covered. When you visit here, you become a part of Florida’s illustrious history so come stay a while and see what is waiting for you in this epic vacation destination.