Florida is comprised of a wide array of coastal regions dotted with sparkling beaches with white sands, historic landmarks, world-famous theme parks, fine museums and plenty of opportunities for some outdoor fun in the sun-kissed skies. Each coastal region offers a unique personality of the area, and travelers will find that each region is packed with cultural treasures and fun activities.
Florida's Space Coast is centered around the Kennedy Space Center and includes the popular cities of Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Palm Bay, Titusville, Melbourne and Merritt Island. A tour of the Kennedy Space Center is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Visitors can get experience interactive simulators, enjoy life shows and have spectacular encounters with huge rockets. Guests can even meet a veteran NASA astronaut.
The Canaveral National Seashore Park stretches for 24 miles along the coastline and is ideal for picnicking. At the park, visitors can hike the many picturesque nature trails, paddle through lagoons and go horseback riding. Turtle Mound is an archaeological site at the park featuring a 35-foot mound of oyster shells built by Native Americans between 800 and 1400 A.D. Cocoa Beach and Sebastian Inlet State Park offer a great day of hunting for seashells, basking in the sun or riding killer waves.
Florida's First Coast is located on the Atlantic coastline in northern Florida and is steeped with Spanish history. The Fort Matanzas Monument Park in St. Augustine features reminders of the battles fought with the early Spanish empire for power in the new world. There are cannon-ball reenactments and fortresses to be explored. There are many museums in the St. Augustine and Jacksonville area, including the Amelia Island Museum of History, Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens, Lightner Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. For a walk on the wild side, the Jacksonville Zoo features exhibits of exotic animals like lions, zebras, bears, giraffes and antelope. There are also animal shows and plenty of fun rides for all ages.
Nestled on the Atlantic coast, Florida's Treasure Coast is a place where tranquil sands and rich history await. The region includes the cities of St. Lucie, Stuart, Hobe Sound and Jensen Beach. Named after the shipwrecked Jamaican merchant Jonathan Dickinson, the Jonathan Dickinson State Park is an 11000 acre preserve with pristine sands, swimming lakes, fishing lagoons and boating rivers. The Indian River runs through the park and is popular for sailing, water skiing and fishing. Stuart is an historic town with a neoclassical style and is well-known for its Lyric Theater. The theater hosts a wide array of performances, including Ricci Martin and Jack Owen.
Known for its ritzy lifestyle, the Gold Coast encompasses the cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Some of the favorite destinations in Miami are South Beach, the Miami Zoo, Seaquarium and the Everglades. The Everglades National Park is one of the most unusual public parks in the nation. The park is home to over 10 endangered species, including the west Indian manatee and the Florida panther. Visitors can canoe or walk the park and camp overnight. The Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne is one of the most beautiful beach areas in Miami. It is home to the famed Cape Florida Lighthouse, and anglers can fish from the seawall.
The Florida Keys are a coral archipelago connected by causeways to the lowest key of Key West. Key West has panache of its own, and visitors can climb the lighthouse steps, stroll the shops or take a peek at Ernest Hemmingway’s home. The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo is well-known for its glass-bottom boat tours for an underwater view of the amazing coral reefs and colorful fish. The Florida Keys are renowned for beautiful beaches, crystal clear snorkeling for shipwrecks, sea fishing and great sunsets.
The Lee Island Coast includes the islands of Captiva and Sanibel, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and more than 100 coastal islands off the mainland. The area has over 50 miles of beaches, wildlife preserves and award-winning state parks. The barrier islands that dot the coastline are popular for beaching, boating, waterskiing and windsurfing. From the Calusa Indian’s shell mounds on Mound Key to the South Seas Resort on Captiva Island, the islands offer a world of discovery.
Florida's Cultural Coast includes Sarasota, Ana Maria Island, Lido Key and Siesta Key. Sarasota is teeming with cultural venues, and the renowned Ringling Museum of Art is one of the most popular destinations. It is an area lush with tropical foliage, white sandy beaches and golfing, shell collecting and boating are just a few of the outdoor adventures. The Myakka River State Park is great for canoeing, bird watching and long walks on the beach. Siesta Key has been named as one of United States best beaches and has some of the softest sands in Florida.
The Sun Coast in Florida is a stretch of barrier islands that includes St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Long Key, Sand Key and Treasure Island. Sand Key is one of the longest barrier islands and is home to the famous Madeira Beach, Redington Beach and Indian Rocks Beach. The island is well-known for the John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk with a quaint shopping district overlooking the beautiful waters. Famous Tampa as well as the Tampa Bay provides many opportunities to spend the day on the water and in the Florida sun.
Florida’s Nature Coast is part of the state's greenway and trail system and includes Wakulla, Taylor, Levy, Pasco, Jefferson, Hernando and Dixie Counties. The region has a deep southern culture and is best known for its beautiful preserves and wildlife parks. The most favorite parks include Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Withlacoochee State Trail Park and the Yulee Sugar Mills Historic State Park.
The Forgotten Coast of Florida lies along the panhandle and is bordered by Port St. Joe, St. Joe Beach and Mexico Beach. In addition to miles of pristine beaches, the area offers popular parks like Lafayette Park, Battery Park, Orman House State Park and the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. Visitors can paddle the network waterways for a great vista of the wildlife and flora and fauna enjoy the outer island of St. George.
Florida’s Emerald Coast offers over 24 miles of talcum-powdered beaches that stretch along the Gulf of Mexico. Beasley Park, Marler Memorial Park and James Lee Park offers hours of sun bronzing, sand castle building and dips in the warm waters. There's no shortage of things to see and do in the Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach and Destin areas. There are many museums ranging from military to marine. The Baker Block Museum is a fun day of stepping back into pioneer history and culture. Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park offers a day of splashing fun with thrilling water rides.
No matter which region you decide to visit in Florida, days of fun and adventure are a guarantee.