Florida is one of the most visited places in the U.S. Beautiful beaches, sunny weather and world attractions make this state perfect for families looking to have a fun vacation.
We all know a certain mouse gets the house crowded but, even though Walt Disney World is a must-visit in Florida, there are other things to do and enjoy. From water sports to educational activities, there truly is something for everyone.
Next time you're in the Sunshine State, work some or all of these 10 amazing stops into your itinerary.
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This island on the northern coast of Florida has impressive views and gorgeous beaches. The OMNI Plantation is one of the biggest properties, with acres of land to enjoy. Close by is the house where the 1988 movie "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking" was filmed. Watch this family-friendly pic and head to the downtown area to see many of the quaint spots that appear in it.
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The oldest city in the U.S. has one of the most beautiful forts, the Castillo de San Marcos, and views of Matanzas Bay. Filled with history and a tumultuous past, St. Augustine is great for couples looking for a romantic place to enjoy good food and superb local wine.
The historical architecture makes St. Petersburg one of the most interesting cities in Florida. A totally unexpected experience awaits you at the Vinoy Renaissance, where you can go horseback riding while overlooking the water and visit the Salvador Dali Museum. Housing more than 100 oil paintings, the building honors Dali's unique vision and artistic style.
Secluded in The Keys, which are the most southern point of Florida, is a great spot to enjoy a relaxing time at the beach without the noise of Miami. That is why author Ernest Hemingway chose this place to write some of his best work, including "A Farewell to Arms." The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum still holds treasures, including the European furniture, décor and descendants of his six-toed cat, Snow White.
This is possibly one of the best experiences for outdoorsy types. Canoeing in Orlando's Shingle Creek begins from the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes and goes all the way to the edge of the Everglades. For about an hour, you can ride on a canoe or a single kayak and be mesmerized by the immensity of the mangroves and lush tress. Be ready to see all kinds of birds, fish, snakes and even alligators.
The design and décor at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida is eye candy for any fan of the books or movies. Even the train that takes you from park to park is really cool. When the sun goes down, go to Lombard's Grill and enjoy a spectacular view of the "100 Years of Movie Memories" show and the fireworks. And no need to drink and drive: Take a free water taxi from CityWalk to the Hard Rock Hotel or the casino for an after-hour play.
There is no way around it—the obsession with this movie is strong. Needless to say, the "Frozen" sing-along at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando should not be missed for many reasons. Everyone gets a chance to sing the songs, the characters actually appear and sprinkle snow flurries on the crowd, the set looks just like Arandelle, and it has some of the funniest lines you will ever hear in a Disney show. Jazz Hans!
Named one of the best beaches in Florida, this tranquil, warm and sandy place has breathtaking views and clear waters that would make any Caribbean island jealous. The cool water sports at Siesta Key Beach allow you to enjoy the ocean and views at your own pace. After sunset, you can rent one of the LED boards and enjoy a night ride.
What could be better than going snorkeling in turquoise waters while surrounded by underwater caves? A unique gift from Mother Nature, Ginnie Springs is on the south side of the Santa Fe River in High Springs and is home to turtles, birds and all kinds of fish. It is an ideal spot for camping and scuba diving.
Sometimes you just need to have everything close to you and not worry about driving. The World Center, a Marriott hotel, is like a city within Orlando. You do not have to leave to enjoy awesome pools with water slides, nature-surrounded golf, a spa retreat and one of the best sushi restaurants in Orlando. Shop anything from Swarovski figurines to Roxy bathing suits, and leave indoor swimming or arcade playing for those rainy days.
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