As the decidedly most popular peninsula in the contiguous United States, the State of Florida guarantees that its natives and visitors will never be more than sixty miles from a body of saltwater. Second only to Alaska in miles of shoreline, Florida boasts 825 miles of accessible beaches.
Only Michiganders remain unimpressed with Florida’s 8,436 miles of shoreline, championing their own impressive 3,288 miles of freshwater shoreline, including 1,056 miles of shoreline on their many islands.
If it is sun and saltwater you seek, the Florida Coast is the destination of choice and will not disappoint. The nation’s preeminent coastline subtly reveals its depths and shallows as you venture around the peninsula, slowly unveiling its mysteries and masterpieces as you explore the bays and keys. So grab your suntan lotion and board shorts – we are going to explore popular coastal destinations that keep even the Michiganders returning year after year.
Best Places to Visit on Florida’s West Coast
The shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico extends along the west coast of Florida, providing a front-row seat to some of the most mesmerizing sunsets you will ever experience. Surrounded mainly by the North American continent, the waters are calmer along the shore, creating the perfect playground for water sports and splash zones in the shallows.
Tampa is not just a great place to live; it is welcoming, diverse, and flourishes on the banks of the great estuary, Tampa Bay. Known for its world-class beaches and three pro sports teams, Tampa Bay is the perfect choice for a Florida vacation destination. The Tampa Bay area has endless trails, stunning nature preserves, and diverse water activities, offering the perfect get-away from the hustle of big city life.
One of the draws to the Tampa Bay area is the district of Ybor City. Primarily sought after for its nightlife and breweries, Ybor City is also known as one of the most haunted places on the planet.
Traveling along the west coast, you will discover the bustling beach town of Ft. Myers. Home to seven miles of pristine white sand beaches, this sugar sand brings natives and tourists alike to the shores to explore all the area has to offer – seafood, recreational sports, and shopping.
Known for historic estates and nature, Ft. Myers also serves as the gateway to the beautiful Sanibel Island area, world-renown for its shelling beaches. The waters of Ft. Myers and Sanibel are captured in wood maps, perfectly commemorating trips to these memorable waters.
Best Place to Find Famous People on Your Florida Vacation
Naples is a coastal town popular for its white sugar sand beaches, arts, and culture. The Naples Pier, first erected in 1888, is the city’s symbol and a popular fishing and dolphin-spotting destination. Also topping the list of reasons to spend a few days of your Florida vacation in Naples—amazing golfing, international cuisine, and luxury shopping.
Other notable celebrities who call Naples home include:
- Mike Ditka
- Larry Bird
- Bob Seger
- Jane Seymour
Best Place to Retire in Florida
Any list of the best places to retire is dominated by locations in Florida. With high ratings for desirability and happiness, Florida remains a top destination due to its mild winters and affordable lifestyle. Sarasota has remained the number one retirement destination for many years, allowing retirees on a budget to enjoy beach life activities such as:
Activities to Enjoy in Retirement in Florida
- relaxing on the beach
Every day, Florida’s population grows by about one thousand people, most of whom are seniors looking to retire to a temperate climate with abundant activities and programs for an active aging population. Retirees make up almost twenty-one percent of the state’s population, proving that Florida is the destination of choice at any age.
Best Unique Vacation Spot in Florida
If you are looking for the best tiny time in Florida, look no further than the beautiful Siesta Key. If you have been fascinated by the tiny house movement that has gained popularity over the past few years, you can get an unforgettable first-hand experience by staying in a tiny house resort just a few blocks from the ocean.
As seen in the details of a wood map, Siesta Key is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. The local beaches are known for brilliant quartz sand, stunning turquoise waters, tidal pools, and coral reefs. Siesta Key offers a little something for everyone, whether you are looking for a romantic, family-friendly, or sports-centric vacation destination.
You can spend your afternoons exploring the quaint shops in the beach town and raise your glass in a toast to the sunset each night. Lose yourself in the beauty of the Gulf waters and commemorate your time with a wood map, detailing the depths of the waters and reminding you of the special time you spent in Siesta Key.
Best Place to Lose Yourself on a Florida Vacation
If you are looking for the perfect place to let loose on your Florida vacation, the Florida Keys are waiting for you. With perfect sunny days and evenings lost in the music of the streets, the southern-most point of the United States is the place to be. Where else can you get lost in a crowd celebrating the sunset each night or wander the beach, ankle-deep in the surf, surrendering your mind to the lull of the ocean?
Just ninety miles north of Cuba, Key West has given refuge to pirates, smugglers, writers, artists, and musicians, all of whom have contributed to the eclectic, creative vibe of the island. Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet both found their inspiration on this enchanting key, making it both their muse and their home.
Best seen on a wood map, the Keys are surrounded by the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef. This reef covers more than 2,900 nautical miles of protected water and is the primary reason the Keys are better known for snorkeling, diving, and fishing rather than its beaches.
Best Place for Hot Night Life and Cool Local Art
Miami Beach is the place to see and be seen. You can strap on your highest heels and dance the night away in sexy South Beach or play it cool, exploring the Wynwood Walls and other art venues. A mecca for the rich and famous, this city has long been a center for the arts, trendsetting culture, and nightlife.
Miami Beach is a Popular Florida Vacation Destination
- gorgeous beaches
- Cuban coffee
- art deco architecture
- Latin-American cultural influences
Offering miles of ocean views and wandering waterways, the crystal-clear Atlantic Ocean keeps locals and visitors cool during the hot Florida summers. The shallows and depths of the waters along the shoreline host many recreational sports and activities.
You will lose yourself in the ocean waves and sunshine. Bring those memories home in a wood map, commemorating your vacation in the coolest, hot city on the Atlantic Ocean.
Best Place to Golf on a Florida Vacation
Palm Beach is the best place to visit in Florida for golfing. Known for having more golf courses than anywhere else in the country, Palm Beach is the destination of choice for luxurious resorts and upscale boutiques. Palm Beach is separated from Southern Florida by the Intracoastal Waterway and is known to be irresistibly serene.
The breeze blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean and seasonable temperatures make this the first choice for the avid golfer looking for the perfect Florida vacation destination. There are over 160 golf courses in Palm Beach, guaranteeing you will be teeing off where legends have played and will likely be treated like a golf icon yourself.
Best Place to Find Treasure on a Florida Vacation
About eighty miles north of Palm Beach lies the Treasure Coast, named for the sites of Spanish galleons that wrecked along the coast, spilling their gold into the ocean’s depths. Easily seen on a wood map, treacherous reefs lie just offshore, causing many ships to lose their cargo and luring many a modern-day treasure hunter to dig for buried gold.
One such modern-day treasure hunter, Mel Fisher of Sebastian, Florida, led a sixteen-year search for the lost treasure of the Atocha and the Santa Margarita, which wrecked in 1622 in the waters off the Treasure Coast. Both ships were carrying a cargo of more than forty tons of gold, copper, and silver bullion. After nearly 370 years on the seafloor, this salvage team pulled the treasure from the depths, recording the incredible find on July 20, 1985.
A Florida vacation sounds like the perfect way to relax and work on your tan, but who says you can’t keep an eye out for golden coins and return home with a treasure or two? Looking for loot and dreaming of buried booty can keep you energized. After all, the goal of any vacation is to return refreshed, glowing, and completely relaxed.
Best Place to Visit in Florida with a Fountain of Youth
St. Augustine, the Nation’s Oldest City, sits on the northeast coast of Florida looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. When Ponce de Leon landed in Florida in 1513 during his search for the Fountain of Youth, he found the spring of eternal hope alive and well amidst the stately oaks of what is now an archaeological park. Anastasia State Park is a protected wildlife sanctuary and borders St. Augustine with its bustling cobblestone streets and historic homes.
As the Ancient City, St. Augustine is home to many of our nation’s oldest buildings and traditions, including:
- oldest wooden schoolhouse
- Cathedral Basilica, the first Catholic congregation in North America
- Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the U.S.
Haunted History of St. Augustine
Built between 1871 and 1874, the St. Augustine Lighthouse remains an active, working lighthouse. Though it still spends its nights illuminating the waters of the Matanzas Bay, it is well known for contributing to the haunted history of the Old City. It is said to be the most haunted lighthouse in America. In its storied history, many have lost their lives there which begs the question: did they ever truly leave? If not, they are not the only spirits wandering the streets of St. Augustine.
Ghost stories dating back more than four-and-a-half centuries are common in the Old City. Ancient graveyards, a haunted fort, and the city jail may commonly set the stage for a twisted story steeped in the drama of love and betrayal. However, in this mysterious and historic city, beautiful sites like the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the Spanish Military Hospital are also hotbeds of paranormal activity.
Ghost hunting is not for the faint of heart, and St. Augustine has many tour guides ready to show you a ghoulishly good time. Some ghosts are pranksters – be sure your guide can prove they are not a spirit before you follow them down any dark alleys!
Commemorate the Best Places to Visit in Florida
A Florida vacation starts and ends in delight. With the magical waterways and one-of-a-kind experiences in every Florida coastal town, this vacation destination is sure to be a family favorite. From coast to coast, the best places to visit in Florida include the views of a magnificent body of water and the depths and shallows teeming with life, mystery, and historic treasures.
Whether it is your first time traveling to the Sunshine State or a return trip to the perfect peninsula, you will want to commemorate your travels with high-quality wood maps you can enjoy for years to come.
Your home will vibrate with the excitement of your travels, reflected in these wood maps and the tales of your adventures. The Florida Coast will call you back, time and again, to experience its magic and beauty. Your wood maps will keep your memories top of mind until you answer the call to return to all the best places to visit and fall in love with the Florida Coast all over again.