South Florida is where you can find stunning beaches, top-notch shopping, and outdoor restaurants serving up delicious seafood fare. It is also where Florida’s most popular vacation locations are located.
From the energetic party scene in Miami to the relaxed atmosphere of Sanibel Island, South Florida is a vibrant mix of opposites where compelling attractions blend perfectly with picture-perfect scenery, various neighborhoods, and a variety of outdoor excursions.
Best Places to Visit South Florida
Continue reading to learn about the top cities in South Florida to find out which one best meets your trip requirements.
1. The Keys of Florida
The 1,700 islands that make up the Florida Keys provide the ideal setting for engaging in water-based experiences. You can spend your days here snorkeling and scuba diving through the vibrant reefs surrounding Dry Tortugas National Park, and your evenings here matching the salty ocean wind with freshly caught seafood by the water. This area is well known for its laid-back attitudes and outdoor activities.
One of the area’s hotspots is Miami Key West, just south of where you can visit the vibrant eateries and bars along Duval Street, have a slice (or a few) of key lime pie, and take in one of Florida’s stunning sunset vistas in Mallory Square.
Miami is known for its exciting nightlife, but it also has beautiful beaches and activities that are fun for the whole family. Florida’s top cosmopolitan city offers a big city ambiance along with a variety of contemporary eateries, world-class shopping, and countless aquatic activities, allowing you to design your own itinerary based on your interests.
Explore the artwork at the Institute of Contemporary Art, take in the ever-evolving Wynwood Walls, and savor some real Cuban food in Little Havana for a cultural fix. Make sure to visit the adjacent Everglades National Park, which is only a short drive away, or bring the kids to the Miami Seaquarium and Zoo Miami to see the local wildlife.
3. Island of Sanibel
Sanibel Island, one of Florida’s most popular beach getaways, provides tourists with a mix of stunning natural settings and unhurried attractions. Its lack of chain stores and traffic lights allows tourists to get away from the stresses of daily life while still retaining a small-town charm and unpretentious nature.
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The most popular pastime on Sanibel is to comb through its shoreline to find special gems washed up on the beach. The shoreline runs east to west in a banana-like form. The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for nature enthusiasts, and island hopping to nearby Captiva Island and enthusiasts Key State Park will make you feel as though you’ve found your own little piece of heaven.
4. Fort Myers
Fort Myers, a picturesque city with sandy beaches and historical sites, is the place to go if you’re looking for the ideal balance of outdoor activities and family-friendly attractions.
Here, which is well-known for its fishing and shopping options, you can also visit historical sites like the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Put your toes in the fine sands at Lover’s Key State Park or spend the day at Bonita Beach splashing about with your favorite canine companion in the waves of the Gulf of Mexico.
Sarasota, one of Florida’s underappreciated vacation spots, draws visitors in with its variety of exciting attractions.
The lush displays of plants and animals at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden will excite both young and old alike, while those in need of some genuine rest and relaxation can pack their sunscreen for a day of sunbathing at Siesta Key Beach and the adjoining Lido Key.
Stuart, located on the Treasure Coast on the Atlantic Coast and dubbed the “Sailfish Capital of the World,” is a well-liked fishing resort. Wide waterways surround this area, where you can rent fishing and charter boat fleets.
While fishing trips are the main attraction in this city, tourists may also take in the downtown’s welcoming atmosphere and fascinating history. Take a picture of the well-known sailfish fountain, indulge your artistic side at a nearby gallery, or spend a sunny afternoon in a charming cafe.
7. South Florida
Fort Lauderdale is a terrific area to enjoy beach activities and is also home to a number of important arts and cultural landmarks. For a day of relaxing in the coastal breeze, visit the well-liked beachside promenade. Alternatively, cross the street to some of the top restaurants and retail destinations.
While you may learn about the city’s history at the Stranahan House, which was built in the 1900s, head to Millionaires Row to take a peek at the opulent boats and homes. A series of canals here is known as the “Venice of America,” and anglers love the opportunities it offers.
Naples, which has pristine white sand beaches and turquoise water, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. On Florida’s Gulf Coast, like Lowdermilk Beach or the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, visitors can enjoy the warm weather and wildlife sightings.
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Kids and adults alike will enjoy the exhilarating slides at Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, while Naples Beach Brewery offers a relaxing refreshing beer.
9. Beach, Deerfield
Deerfield Beach has an award-winning shoreline and is ideal for visiting South Florida’s beaches without the crowds of tourists. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy this region because it is close to the Intracoastal and the ocean.
North of Fort Lauderdale, on Deerfield Beach, is Quiet Waters Park, where you can go camping, fishing, and enjoy one of the longest “cable ski” courses, which combines wakeboarding, skiing, and surfing.
10. Palm Beach, West
West Palm Beach, which is situated along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, is a wonderful place to visit if you love culture. Visit the Norton Museum of Art to view the artwork, take in a performance at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, or enjoy the nightlife on Clematis Street.
While nearby Palm Beach highlights some of Florida’s most luxurious parts of its laid-back lifestyle, visitors will delight in the city’s array of upscale restaurants, high-end shops, and vibrant arts venues.
South Florida is a holiday destination unlike any other, offering stunning beaches, unending sunshine, top-notch shopping, and delectable seafood. South Florida is home to some of the most picturesque vacation spots on the East Coast, so it’s not surprising that millions of people go here each year.