South Florida is a great place to visit if you’re looking for sun, fun, and outdoor adventures. With its year-round tropical climate, marine life, and national parks, this area of the country is home to world-famous sandy white beaches, as well as plenty of attractions and tours that will keep you entertained for days on end.
In this post, we’ll take you through twenty fun things to do in South Florida, whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with family. Let’s get started!
How's it going? I'm James, a lover of travel and languages. So much so that I blog about them on this site. I hope you find this information useful! 😊
1. Go to the Beach
South Florida is known for its world-famous beaches, so make sure to spend some time relaxing in the sand and enjoying the sunshine.
There are plenty of beaches to choose from, but some of our favorites include Hollywood Beach, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Delray Beach, South Beach, and – of course – Miami Beach.
If you’re looking for South Florida activities that are a little more active, then you can also try your hand at surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, or kayaking. The Atlantic Ocean is the perfect place to get your adrenaline fix!
Miami Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the world, so it definitely makes our list of fun things to do in South Florida.
This vibrant city has something for everyone, from amazing restaurants and nightclubs to beautiful beaches and parks. It even has an art deco district with an art deco welcome center.
The Most Popular Beaches in South Florida
🏖️ South Beach: Neighborhood in Miami Beach. Known for its glamorous scene, nightspots and celebrity-chef eateries.
🏄♂️Delray Beach: Small city on Florida’s southeast coast. The Pineapple Grove Arts District is dotted with public art and galleries.
🏖️ Fort Myers Beach: A long, sandy beach that faces the Gulf of Mexico. The Ostego Bay Marine Science Center showcases local marine life.
🏄♂️ Siesta Key Beach: Siesta Beach’s sand is 99% quartz, most of which comes from the Appalachian Mountains.
🏖️ Hollywood Beach: Atlantic Ocean-facing beaches and “Old Florida” feel. Popular for skaters and seafood lovers.
2. Take a cruise along Florida’s Gulf Coast
One of many fun things to do in South Florida, and the best way to see it, is to take a cruise on the open water. Florida presents spectacular coastline views for miles on end.
There are plenty of cruise companies that offer tours of the area.
Whether you choose a day trip or an overnight cruise, you’ll get to see all the best sights while enjoying the comfort of your own cabin.
Some of the most popular cruise companies that operate in South Florida include Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian.
If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, then you can also try one of the many private charter companies.
No matter what your budget is, there’s a cruise that’s suitable for any type of traveler.
3. Visit the Everglades
The Everglades is a must-visit for any nature lover.
This vast wetland is home to an incredible array of plant and animal life, including alligators, Florida panthers, manatees, and over 350 species of birds.
Furthermore, the Everglades is the only place in the world where you can find alligators and crocodiles, as well as many other exotic animals, living side by side.
There are plenty of ways to explore the Everglades, from airboat tours to hiking and biking trails. If you want to get up close and personal with some of the resident wildlife, then you can also take a guided tour.
There are plenty of companies that offer airboat tours, which is the best way to see this unique ecosystem.
If you’re feeling brave, you can even go on an alligator safari!
The Everglades is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Florida, so make sure to add it to your list of things to do in Florida when you visit this part of the country.
4. Explore the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys is a string of islands that stretches from the south of Florida all the way to Key West. Is it a popular choice for families, couples, and solo travelers alike.
This destination is famous for its stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and laid-back vibe. There’s plenty to see and do in the Florida Keys, from snorkeling and diving to fishing and kayaking.
You can even take a glass-bottom boat tour to see the incredible coral reefs or visit one of the many museums and art galleries.
If you want to stay on dry land, then you can explore the island by bike or on foot. There are also plenty of hiking trails that wind through the lush vegetation, and you might even spot a few of the resident Key deer.
Be sure to check out the Sea Lion Facility on Islamorada, which is one of the major islands in Southern Florida, next to Key Largo.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, then you can spend your days exploring the island, going for walks or bike rides, and taking in the stunning views.
The Florida Keys is also a great place to try some of the local seafood. Located along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys area is renowned for its lobster, conch fritters, and key lime pie.
5. Take a day trip to Orlando
Orlando is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s located just a short drive from South Florida.
This city is home to some of the most famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld.
In addition to these parks, the city also boasts several family-friendly resorts including Sandals. The best time to go to Sandals might just coincide with your trip.
These options are perfect activities for kids particularly when it’s raining.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing day out, then you can visit one of the many museums or take a leisurely stroll around one of the city’s beautiful gardens.
Orlando is also home to a number of world-class golf courses, so it’s the perfect place to tee off if you’re a fan of the sport.
There are plenty of other activities on offer in Orlando, including zip-lining, kayaking, and even hot-air ballooning.
No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something to do in Orlando, and visiting it is one of the many fun things to do in South Florida.
If you’re visiting South Florida, then make sure to add a day trip to Orlando to your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed!
6. Visit Jungle Island (Miami)
Jungle Island is one of Miami’s most popular tourist attractions.
This unique park is home to a variety of animals, including tigers, flamingos, and parrots.
There are also plenty of shows and demonstrations to enjoy, such as the bird show and the tiger show.
If you want to get up close and personal with some of the animals, then you can take a walk through the jungle trail or feed the lorikeets.
Jungle Island is a great place to visit if you’re traveling with kids, as they’ll be sure to love seeing all the different animals.
This is definitely one of the best things to do with kids in South Florida.
7. Visit a National Park
South Florida is home to stunning natural parks, such as the aforementioned Everglades National Park, the Biscayne Bay National Park, and Tortugas National Park.
Tortugas National Park is located on a group of islands known as the Dry Tortugas and is only accessible by boat or seaplane.
The Dry Tortugas National Park is famous for its crystal clear waters, coral reefs, and shipwrecks. It is a must-visit in South Florida.
You can also take a ferry to Fort Jefferson, which is located on one of the islands. This fort was used as a prison during the Civil War and is now a popular tourist attraction.
Biscayne National Park is located on an island just off the coast of Miami. This park is home to a variety of plant and animal species, as well as some stunning coral reefs.
There are also plenty of hiking trails that wind through the mangroves, and you might even spot a few alligators.
8. Go to West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is a beautiful city located on the east coast of Florida. This city is known for its stunning beaches, as well as its vibrant nightlife.
There are plenty of things to do in West Palm Beach, such as – (you guessed it) – going to the beach, shopping, and dining. The area is also known for its fishing charters (commonly referred to as sport fishing).
If you’re looking for something to do with kids, then you can take them to one of the city’s many museums, the Lion Country Safari, or to the Palm Beach Zoo.
The Lion Country Safari is a short drive from the coast and opens year-round.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, then you can choose from a variety of luxury to budget hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals.
Visiting West Palm Beach is one of the many fun things to do in South Florida. It is located just a short drive from both Fort Lauderdale (home to Fort Lauderdale Beach) and Miami, so it’s the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to explore more of South Florida.
9. Take a trip to Key West
Key West is the southernmost city in the continental United States and is located just off the coast of Florida.
This island city is known for its laid-back atmosphere, rare and exotic fruits, and stunning beaches.
There are plenty of things to do in Key West, such as going snorkeling or scuba diving, exploring the city’s history, and taking a sunset cruise.
Key West is also home to a number of different restaurants and bars, so you can definitely find something to your taste, particularly along with its famous Duval Street, home to quaint shops and sidewalk cafes.
Some of the best tours and attractions include the Key West Historic District, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the Key West Lighthouse, and the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum.
In order to get to Key West from Miami, you can either take a plane or a ferry. If you’re driving from Tampa, it will take you about four hours to reach Key West.
Key West is definitely one of the best places to visit when you’re in this part of Florida and one of the best things to do in South Florida.
11. Take a Trip to Sanibel Island
This one is for nature lovers. Sanibel Island is one of the best places to visit in Southern Florida. It is a beautiful barrier island located off the coast of Florida. This island is known for its stunning beaches and its wildlife.
If you’re looking for things to do on Sanibel Island, then you can go shelling, take a nature walk, or visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You can also just spend a day relaxing on the beach.
Some of the best tours and attractions on Sanibel Island include the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, the Sanibel Lighthouse, and the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife.
In order to get to Sanibel Island from Miami, you can take a plane or a ferry. If you’re driving from Tampa, it will take you about three hours to reach the island.
Sanibel Island is definitely one of the best places to visit on the east coast and one of the many fun things to do in South Florida.
12. Go to Coral Gables
Coral Gables is a beautiful city located just south of Miami. This city is known for its Mediterranean-style architecture, as well as its many parks and gardens.
If you’re looking for things to do in Coral Gables, then you can visit the Venetian Pool, take a walk through the Coral Gables Merrick House and Gardens, or go shopping on Miracle Mile.
You can also just spend a day relaxing in one of the city’s many parks.
Some of the best tours and attractions in Coral Gables include the Biltmore Hotel, the Coral Gables Museum, the former rock quarry turned Venetian Pool and the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
In order to get there from Miami, you can take a bus or a train. If you’re driving from Tampa, it will take you about two hours to reach the city.
Coral Gables is definitely one of the best places to visit in South Florida.
13. Visit Fort Myers
Fort Myers is a city located on the southwest coast of Florida. This city is known for its sugar-white sandy beaches, as well as its historic downtown area.
If you’re looking for things to do in Fort Myers, then you can visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, take a walk through the Manatee Park, or go shopping at the Bell Tower Shops.
You can also just spend a day relaxing on one of the city’s many beaches or visit the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium.
Some of the best tours and attractions in Fort Myers include the Imaginarium Science Center, the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, and the Southwest Florida Museum of History.
If you want to take a walking tour, then you can consider the Historic Downtown Fort Myers Walking Tour or the Ghost Walk of Fort Myers.
In order to get to Fort Myers from Miami, you can take a plane or a bus. If you’re driving from Tampa, it will take you about two and a half hours to reach the city.
Fort Myers is definitely one of the coolest places in South Florida.
14. Take a trip to Palm Bay
Palm Bay is a city located on the east coast of Florida, just south of Melbourne. Like pretty much every coastal city in South Florida, this city is known for its beautiful beaches and its many parks.
If you’re looking for things to do in Palm Bay, then you can visit the Turkey Creek Sanctuary, take a walk through the Palm Bay Heritage Trail, or go kayaking in the Indian River Lagoon.
You can also just spend a day relaxing on one of the city’s many beaches.
Some of the best tours and attractions in Palm Bay include the Brevard Zoo, the McLarty Treasure Museum, and kayaking with A Day Away Kayak Tours.
15. Visit Boca Raton
Boca Raton is a city located on the southeast coast of Florida. This city is known for its luxury resorts, golf courses, and beautiful beaches.
If you’re looking for things to do in Boca Raton, then you can visit the Mizner Park, take a walk through the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, or go shopping at the Town Center at Boca Raton.
Some of the best tours and attractions in Boca Raton include the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, the Funky Buddha Brewery, and the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
In order to get to Boca Raton from Miami, you can take a train or a bus. Boca Raton is definitely one of the best South Florida attractions.
16. Experience Sea Turtles Nesting
South Florida is known for exotic animals and the sea turtles are just one of them. If you visit South Florida between the months of March and October, you can experience turtle nesting, which is a truly incredible experience.
There are many different places where you can see turtles nesting in South Florida, but some of the best include the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, the Sea Turtle Oversight Protection site, and Juno Beach Park.
Juno Beach is a small town located on the east coast of Florida. This town is known for its beautiful beaches and its many sea turtle nesting sites.
If you’re looking for things to do in Juno Beach, then you can visit the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, take a walk on the Juno Beach Pier, or go turtle watching with the Sea Turtle Oversight Protection.
17. Visit Miami
Miami needs no introduction. This city, located on the southeast coast of Florida, is known for its beaches, unrivaled nightlife, and Hispanic culture.
There is no shortage of things to do in Miami, then you can visit South Beach, take a walk through Little Havana, or go shopping at Bayside Marketplace.
Some of the best tours and attractions in Miami include Miami Beach (our #1 choice on this list), the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and the Miami Seaquarium.
Museum-lovers can blend a trip to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens with a visit to the American Museum of Cuban Diaspora, which provides a valuable insight into the history behind Miami’s diversity.
18. Experience Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park is a large state park located in Sarasota, Florida. This state park is known for its hiking trails, bird watching, and canoeing.
If you’re looking for things to do here, then you can hike the Myakka Island Trail, take a walk through the Wildlife Education Center, or go canoeing down the Myakka River.
Some of the best tours and attractions at the park include the Myakka Canopy Walkway, the Heron Hideout Nature Trail, and the Myakka Gator Golf Adventure.
19. Visit Naples
Naples is a city located on the southwest coast of Florida. This city is known for its luxury resorts, golf courses, and beautiful beaches. It is also home to the only swimming pool on the National Register of Historic Places – the Venetial Pool.
You cannot visit this part of the country without a trip to Naples. Indeed it is one of the fun things to do in South Florida for any type of traveler, no matter your budget and group size.
If you’re looking for things to do in Naples, then you can visit the Naples Museum, and the Naples Beach Brewery, take a walk through the Naples Botanical Garden or go shopping at the Waterside Shops.
Some of the best tours and attractions in Naples include Naples Botanical Gardens, the Tiburon Golf Club, and the Naples Philharmonic.
If you like art, be sure to check out the Baker Museum, which shows modern American and Ancient Chinese art.
In order to get to Naples from Miami, you can take a train or a bus. Naples is definitely one of the best places to visit in South Florida.
20. Head to a Water Park
South Florida is home to some of the best water parks in the country. If you’re looking for things to do in South Florida with kids, then you should definitely head to one of the many water parks in the area.
Some of the best water parks in South Florida include Rapids Water Park, Hurricane Harbor, the Sun Splash Family Waterpark at Cape Coral, and Adventure Island, where there are mini slides for younger swimmers and those less comfortable with the water.
Cape Coral is known for its canals and kayaking tours, so there’s plenty to do outside of the park too.
The Best Waterparks in Florida
Visiting a water park is one of the many fun things to do in South Florida. Below, you will see a list of the best water parks in Florida.
Sun n Fun Lagoon
Located in North Naples. The kid-friendly park features waterslides, a lazy river, a kids’ water play area & diving pools.
Sun Splash Family Waterpark
Located in Cape Coral. Comprises 14+ acres of waterslides, a lazy river & kids’ water play area.
Tidal Cove Waterpark
Located in Hollywood, south of Fort Lauderdale. Aquatic center with a wave generator to surf on, plus water slides, swimming pools & cabana rentals.
Located in Palm Beach. The 12-acre outdoor venue boasts a range of waterslides, a wave pool & lazy river, plus casual eateries.
Located in Orlando. Marine life shows, thrill rides, aquariums & up-close encounters with dolphins, penguins & more.
South Florida 101: All Your Questions Answered
What is the number 1 attraction in Florida?
There is no definitive answer to this question as everyone’s preferences are different. However, some of the most popular attractions in Florida include the beaches, Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld.
What is the best time of year to visit Florida?
The best time to visit Florida depends on what you want to do while you’re in the state. If you’re looking to spend time on the beach, then the best time to visit is between March and May, or October and November.
If you want to visit Disney World, then the best time to visit is between January and February or September and October.
What is there to do in South Florida on a cold day?
Even though it doesn’t get too cold in South Florida, there are still plenty of things to do on a cold day.
You can visit one of the many museums or art galleries, go shopping at one of the many malls or outdoor markets, take a walk through one of the many parks, or just spend a day relaxing on the beach.
What is the prettiest place in Florida?
Whilst this is entirely dependent on personal preferences, some of the most beautiful places in Florida include the beaches along its Atlantic and Gulf Coastlines, the Everglades, and the Keys.
What city in Florida has the best nightlife?
The city with the best nightlife in Florida depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to go clubbing, then downtown Miami is the city for you.
If you’re looking for more of a laid-back atmosphere, then Key West is the place to be. Orlando is also a great city for nightlife, as it has a wide variety of bars and clubs to suit everyone’s taste.
No matter what your preferences are, there’s definitely a city in Florida that has the perfect nightlife scene for you.
Where should I go in Florida if I want to avoid crowds?
If you want to avoid crowds, then the best places to go in Florida are its many state and national parks.
Some of the most popular parks in Florida include Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Biscayne National Park.
These parks offer a wide variety of activities to keep you busy, and they’re usually much less crowded than the more popular tourist attractions.
Summing up: 20 fun things to do in South Florida
No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find fun things to do in South Florida. From the best beaches and water parks to cities and marine life, there is something for everyone in this beautiful destination.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!