25 Things Florida is Famous For: Sunshine State Highlights

Many things put Florida on the map: sun-kissed beaches, exhilarating theme parks, and the iconic presence of alligators.

Yet, this southeastern jewel has layers far beyond these familiar scenes.

Spanning from the vibrant energy of Miami to the serene ambiance of the Panhandle towns, Florida’s diversity is its true charm.

Let’s dive into some of the unique and perhaps unexpected aspects that Florida is known for. Here are 25 things Florida is famous for.

1. Key Lime Pie

Originating in the Florida Keys, the Key Lime Pie has become a symbol of the Sunshine State’s culinary delights.

Made with Key Limes, which are smaller and more tart than regular limes, this tangy dessert is perfect after a seafood dinner or a hot summer day.

There are three crucial components to a Key Lime Pie: the crust, the pie filling, and the topping. Different variations of the pie include graham cracker or pastry crust, homemade or store-bought filling, and whipped cream or meringue topping.

You’ll find the best Key Lime Pies all across Florida—in the Keys, of course, but also throughout the state. Noteworthy stops include Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe and The Square Grouper in Cudjoe Key.

Feeling inspired? Try your hand at making your own Key Lime Pie with this Authentic Florida recipe, and revel in the uniquely Floridian flavor that’ll make your taste buds dance!

2. Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban sandwich, or Cubano, is a delicious and iconic Florida treat. Originating in the Sunshine State, this sandwich has gained popularity across the nation.

Cuban Sandwich
Cuban Sandwich” by Sirsnapsalot is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

The classic ingredients of a Cuban sandwich include smoked ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and Cuban bread, with a variation in Tampa adding salami.

You’ll find many places boasting their take on the perfect Cuban sandwich. Locals and travelers alike rave about the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, Tampa, believed to be the birthplace of this delightful creation.

Another favorite spot is 1928 Cuban Bistro in Jacksonville, renowned for excellent service and scrumptious sandwiches.

When visiting Florida, make sure to indulge in this mouthwatering masterpiece that will make your taste buds dance!

3. Florida Oranges and Orange Juice

Florida is famous for its delicious oranges and orange juice, thanks to the state’s sub-tropical weather, abundant rainfall, and perfect sandy soil. As you stroll along the highways, you’ll encounter numerous orange juice stands offering freshly squeezed citrus goodness.

Florida Oranges and Orange Juice
k7237-8” by USDAgov is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

During your visit, don’t miss the opportunity to try some of the sweetest, juiciest oranges in the world! Florida’s climate and soil allow for the thriving of iconic orange groves, which form an integral part of the state’s agricultural heritage.

You might also find some interesting citrus-based products such as honey, marmalade, and candies, making your Florida trip a fruity delight!

While enjoying the refreshing orange juice, remember to take in the beauty of the landscapes, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Florida.

4. Florida Stone Crab

The Florida stone crab is a popular delicacy, famous for its unique, sweet flavor. These crabs are mainly found along Florida’s Gulf Coast, and their harvesting season runs from mid-October to mid-May.

Florida Stone Crab
Fresh Florida Stone Crab” by larryjh1234 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

When you try some, you’ll notice that most restaurants serve their claws cold, usually with a mustard sauce. If you’re a fan of seafood, you may want to visit some of the best stone crab restaurants in Florida.

Have a memorable experience at the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach or check out Johnnie’s Hideaway, which offers all-you-can-eat stone crab specials on Monday nights.

One fascinating fact about Florida stone crabs is their ability to regrow claws. Give yourself the chance to learn more about these amazing crustaceans by visiting Florida and enjoying some of the tastiest stone crabs you’ll ever come across.

5. Walt Disney World Resort

As you enter the Walt Disney World Resort, prepare to experience the magic that only Disney can create. With four theme parks, two water parks, and a myriad of other attractions, your adventure is truly endless.

Walt Disney World Resort
Fresh Florida Stone Crab” by larryjh1234 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

Each park offers its own unique experiences. From classics like “it’s a small world” at the Magic Kingdom, to the futuristic Soarin’ Around the World at EPCOT, you are guaranteed to make lasting memories.

To ensure the best vacation, check out visitor reviews and plan your days accordingly. Marvel at the vastness of the property – the resort spans over 40 square miles, equivalent to the size of San Francisco!

Don’t forget to explore the Disney Springs and BoardWalk entertainment districts. You’ll surely be enchanted by the vibrant atmosphere as you indulge in world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment.

6. Miami’s South Beach

Miami’s South Beach is a vibrant and lively neighborhood that offers the best of Florida both day and night.

Miami's South Beach
South Beach, Miami, FL” by James Willamor is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

You can experience the beautiful white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters while indulging yourself in various water sports and beach activities.

During the daytime, your family can have fun exploring the famous Art Deco District and local art scene. One visitor says,

Cool walking area with interesting architecture and history! Day time and night walk both are relaxing and picture worthy.

As the sun sets, South Beach transforms into a buzzing hub filled with trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants. There’s never a dull moment, and your night out will be a memorable one.

Finally, you can’t forget about Miami’s diverse and delicious food scene, especially the many Cuban and Latin-American inspired dishes. This fusion of flavors will satisfy your taste buds and leave you craving more.

7. The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys, a stunning island chain, stretches around 120 miles off Florida’s southern coast.

The Florida Keys

Sick of the daily grind? Treat yourself to the pleasure of strolling the sun-soaked beaches at Bahia Honda State Park. It’s one of Florida’s most beautiful beaches and a must-visit destination in the Keys.

History buffs, don’t miss out on Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, a National Historic Landmark that played a significant role in American history.

The marine park and family attraction Theater of the Sea promise an experience unlike any other, perfect for a day out with the whole family.

Looking for a quick adventure? Explore the mangroves by paddling through them or take a scenic drive on the famous Overseas Highway. Your next vacation might just be the unforgettable trip you’ve been dreaming of.

8. St. Augustine’s Historic District

As you stroll through the St. Augustine’s Historic District, you’ll be immersed in a rich history that takes you back to the 1500s. Marvel at well-preserved colonial structures and feel the vibrant energy of the past.

St. Augustine's Historic District

A must-see spot is the 44 Spanish Street Inn, a charming bed & breakfast nestled in the heart of the district. Just steps away, treat your taste buds to farm-to-table cuisine with a southern flair at The Floridian.

You’ll also adore the fascinating house museum, impeccably restored to offer insights into the lesser-known periods of Florida’s history.

In between historic explorations, don’t miss out on the Alligator Farm Zoological Park. You’ll get an amazing chance to learn about ancient reptiles and observe these magnificent creatures.

9. Everglades National Park

A visit to Florida isn’t complete without exploring the wonders of Everglades National Park, known as the largest subtropical wilderness within the United States.

Everglades National park
Everglades National Park” by US Department of State is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

With over 1.5 million acres of diverse ecosystems, you can experience sawgrass prairies, mangroves, and freshwater marshes all in one trip.

This vibrant park is teeming with life, including 350 species of birds, and many endangered species like the Florida panther and the American crocodile. Your days will be filled with awe as you embark on a journey through this unique wilderness.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here what a TripAdvisor visitor says,

Our first National Park experience and it didn’t disappoint!!! So much wildlife and beauty to see, you could spend days coming back and see something different each time!!!

Grab your camera, slip on your hiking shoes, and immerse yourself in the untamed beauty of Everglades National Park.

10. Gulf Coast Beaches

Florida is famous for its stunning Gulf Coast beaches, known for soft sand and clear waters.

Gulf Coast Beaches

Imagine sinking your toes into the sand as gentle waves roll in. Clearwater Beach, a popular choice, offers beautiful azure waters and a vibrant atmosphere for you to enjoy.

Discover family-friendly options like St. George Island with its large playground and covered pavilions, perfect for a picnic.

Finally, don’t miss experiencing Florida’s famous Gulf Coast sunsets. The warm year-round water temperatures complement the breathtaking views, making it a must-visit destination on your trip.

11. Scuba Diving in the Florida Reef

Florida is well-known for its amazing scuba diving locations, such as Rainbow River with its 200 feet visibility.

Florida Reef

It’s home to an 8.5 feet tall bronze statue of Jesus Christ called the Christ of the Abyss, located at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. With such diverse underwater landscapes, you’ll find something new and exciting at every dive.

Here’s a list of interesting dive sites in Florida:

  • Rainbow River Drift
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
  • Christ of the Abyss

Diving enthusiasts on TripAdvisor often mention the plethora of marine life and friendly guides. So, pack your gear and get ready for the underwater adventure of a lifetime in the Florida Reef!

12. Biscayne National Park

Dive into the underwater world at Biscayne National Park, where you’ll find a watery wonderland just a stone’s throw from Miami.

Biscayne National Park

This park uniquely consists of 95% water, and within its boundaries, you’ll discover a vibrant blend of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and colorful coral reefs.

As you explore, be sure to take in the four distinct ecosystems – coral limestone keys, shoreline mangrove swamps, the offshore Florida reef, and the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay. Don’t miss the chance to encounter manatees, sea turtles, and a variety of interesting bird species.

With so much to do, it’s no wonder visitors rave about their experiences. One TripAdvisor reviewer raves,

It was a lovely, relaxing, multifaceted experience. Snorkeling in the reef, exploring Boca Chita Key, and paddling in the mangrove tunnels.

Remember to pack your camera, as Biscayne offers a breathtaking backdrop for all your adventures.

13. Alligator Wrestling

Florida is home to the thrilling sport of alligator wrestling, which originated from Native American hunting techniques.

Alligator Wrestling
Alligator Wrestling” by Kačka a Ondra is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

If you’re feeling daring, imagine visiting popular tourist destinations like Everglades Holiday Park to witness this adrenaline-pumping activity firsthand.

While watching skilled performers handle these powerful reptiles, you’ll learn about the rich history of the sport – and how it became an essential Seminole tradition.

As you dive into this unique aspect of Florida’s culture, you’ll see an entirely new side of the iconic American alligator, showcasing sporting skills and bravery.

Not only is alligator wrestling an unforgettable experience, but it’s also an opportunity to admire Florida’s vibrant ecosystem up-close. As stories unfold before your eyes, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for both the sport and the alligators themselves.

14. Manatees in Crystal River

In Crystal River, Florida, you’ll find a one-of-a-kind experience—swimming with manatees!

Crystal River
Endangered Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus), Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida” by USFWS Endangered Species is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

These gentle, graceful creatures are a true delight to encounter. From November to March, you can spot West Indian manatees seeking refuge in the warm, 72-degree spring waters.

Visiting the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge offers an added bonus of witnessing and learning about these endangered mammals in their natural habitat.

Plus, when embarking on a manatee snorkeling tour, you’ll receive local insights and contribute to their conservation efforts.

Be sure to capture memorable photos of your encounters, but remember to act responsibly around these sensitive animals. One visitor on Yelp remarked how the manatees were “amazing to see up close” and appreciated the staff’s dedication to preserving their habitat.

15. Florida Panthers

Florida is not only famous for its beaches and theme parks, but also for its fascinating wildlife.

Florida Panthers
Florida Panther (2), NPSPhoto” by evergladesnps is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

One of the most iconic animals found in the state is the Florida panther, a symbol of reverence and revulsion.

These elusive cats are considered an endangered species and can mostly be spotted in South Florida’s national parks. When visiting the area, you may catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures roaming the wilderness.

On a separate note, Florida also has a professional ice hockey team named Florida Panthers. Established in 1993, they’ve won two conference titles and have some of the greatest players in their history.

While exploring the Sunshine State, don’t forget the unique opportunity to appreciate its diverse wildlife and cheer for its dynamic ice hockey team.

16. NASCAR Daytona 500

A trip to Florida is incomplete without experiencing the thrill of the Daytona 500, one of the most iconic racing events.

NASCAR Daytona 500

Taking place annually at the Daytona International Speedway, this exciting race marks the beginning of the NASCAR Cup Series.

You’ll be amazed to learn that Daytona Beach is considered the birthplace of NASCAR racing since the 1920s. Known for fast-paced action, this event attracts both racing enthusiasts and tourists alike who come to soak in the unique atmosphere.

While you enjoy the NASCAR Daytona 500, don’t forget to explore 23 miles of shoreline that Daytona Beach has to offer. Daytona offers not only thrilling races but also an opportunity to unwind and relax on some of Florida’s finest beaches.

Many travelers have raved about their Daytona 500 experience. One TripAdvisor review states, “Absolutely the most amazing experience of my life! Bucket list item checked off!”.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a professional football team that represents the city of Tampa, Florida, in the NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp” by Photos By The Bay is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

As a fan, you can feel the excitement and energy in the air when attending a game at the Raymond James Stadium.

Known for their iconic pirate ship, the Buccaneers have a rich history filled with ups and downs. In February 2021, they hosted and won the Super Bowl, creating memories that you will never forget.

Fans from all walks of life come together to support the Buccaneers, showcasing the diverse population and unique culture that Florida is famous for. Your game day experience will be filled with thrilling moments and heart-racing plays.

Don’t miss out on this quintessential Florida experience while in Tampa. And who knows, maybe you‘ll become a lifelong fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers too!

18. Orlando Magic

Orlando is not just about theme parks; it’s also home to the Orlando Magic, an NBA team that captures the hearts of basketball fans. Established in 1989, this team brings excitement and entertainment to the Amway Center.

When you attend a game, you’ll feel the energy and camaraderie among the fans. One TripAdvisor review mentions,

I am a huge basketball fan especially of the Orlando Magic and the Amway is a great place to watch games/concerts. ALL seats are great, there are lots of food options as well as drink venues. Also Terrace Jack’s is a great place to hit up before or during a game/event for a cocktail as well as a view of the city.

Apart from the games, immerse yourself in the world of the Orlando Magic by visiting the team’s Hall of Fame, showcasing the team’s history and memorable moments.

So, while in Florida, be sure to catch an Orlando Magic game and join in the fun, becoming a part of Orlando’s sports legacy.

19. Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center is an out-of-this-world experience for visitors on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Kennedy Space Center

Located on 140,000 acres at Merritt Island, it is a must-visit attraction for the space enthusiast in you.

Here, you can embark on the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour for an in-depth look at NASA’s facilities. You may even have the chance to meet a real astronaut or enjoy the thrilling Shuttle Launch Experience.

From the historic Apollo/Saturn V Center to the awe-inspiring Space Shuttle Atlantis, there are numerous attractions that cater to all ages. Don’t miss out on the interactive exhibits either, such as the Journey to Mars Explorers Wanted or learning from the entertaining S.T.E.A.M Team.

Visitors rave about their experiences at this iconic location, like this TripAdvisor review, which captures the enthusiasm and excitement you’re sure to feel during your visit.

20. Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Spanning the Lower Tampa Bay, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge connects St. Petersburg to Terra Ceia.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Opened in 1987, this engineering marvel is both a symbol of Florida and a testament to resilience, as it replaced a previous bridge that had a tragic accident.

As you drive across its impressive 21,877 feet length, take time to marvel at its cable-stayed design, a hallmark of modern bridge construction. This elegant structure has captured the hearts of Floridians and visitors alike.

Here’s what a travel enthusiasts says about this iconic landmark,

A great place to see the sunset and the constant sights of pelicans diving between the old highway bridges. If you were lucky, you could see the interactions between the sea birds and the fishermen. The view of the Sunshine Skyway bridge would be an added bonus.

With its undeniable beauty, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge should be on your list of must-see places in Florida.

21. Miami Art Deco District

Visiting Florida, you’ll find the vibrant Miami Art Deco District on Miami Beach, which boasts over 800 stunning Art Deco buildings within just one square mile. This district is a must-see for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Miami Art Deco District
Miami Beach: Ocean Drive at dusk – the Art Deco District” by Traveller-Reini is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

While exploring, take note of The Celino South Beach hotel that was a favorite spot of iconic Hollywood stars like Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth.

A TripAdvisor review highlights the beauty and history of the Art Deco buildings,

Cool walking area with interesting architecture and history! Day time and night walk both are relaxing and picture worthy.

You’ll also encounter fascinating buildings such as the neon-accented Beacon South Beach Hotel and the Colony Hotel, which showcases the elegant and glamorous charm of the area.

If you’re looking for more activities to explore, Free Tours by Foot offers a self-guided walking tour to help you uncover the richness of Miami’s Art Deco District.

22. The Hemingway Home in Key West

Located on the beautiful island of Key West, the Ernest Hemingway House was once the residence of the iconic American writer in the 1930s. You’ll find it at 907 Whitehead Street, just across from the Key West Lighthouse.

The Spanish colonial style home offers a glimpse into Hemingway’s life as you explore the tropical gardens, imagining him sitting near the sea grape, reading a manuscript.

And don’t forget to meet the six-toed cats, descendants of Snow White, a white six-toed cat given to Hemingway by a ship’s captain, which now roam the museum grounds.

As a literary enthusiast, your visit will be enhanced by YouTube commenter John Doe, who stated, “This place has so much history and the tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable, definitely worth a visit!”.

While you stroll through the property, marvel at the largest pool in Key West, originally built in 1937 with solid coral. From history to serene surroundings, the Hemingway Home in Key West is a must-visit for any Florida adventurer.

23. Calle Ocho Festival in Miami

Visiting Miami in mid-March? You’re in luck! Experience the vibrant Calle Ocho Festival, showcasing the best of Latin and Caribbean cultures.

With 28 blocks closed off for dancing, food, and live entertainment, it’s a sight not to miss. Listen to genres ranging from merengue to pop music across 30 stages in Little Havana.

As you stroll along Calle Ocho, admire the Walk of Fame, which is home to stars of Gloria Estefan, Thalía, and other Hispanic icons. Feel the authentic Cuban vibe at the numerous eateries, bakeries, and ventanitas.

Celebrate Miami-style by joining in on Carnaval Miami from mid-February to early-April. The Calle Ocho Music Festival is the main event, attracting visitors from all around the world, making Miami a hotspot for lively festivities.

While you’re there, make sure to explore the historic Little Havana neighborhood, packed with cultural treasures, and immerse yourself in the truly unique atmosphere.

24. The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

In St. Petersburg, Florida, you’ll find the enchanting Salvador Dali Museum, housing one of the most impressive collections of the legendary Spanish artist’s works.

Salvador Dali Museum

The quirky building design is a tribute to Dali’s unique style, with the mesmerizing, glass-encased Enigma as its centerpiece.

Not only will your eyes be treated to Dali’s exceptional paintings and sculptures, but you’ll also get a glimpse into his life and creative process. One excited visitor states that “the audio tour was very informative and well-paced.”

This museum experience may even inspire your own artistic endeavours with its blend of art, architecture, and innovation.

25. Fishing in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys offer a plethora of fishing opportunities, catering to all kinds of fishing enthusiasts. Explore flats fishing in Key West or try your hand at wreck fishing off Key Largo.

Florida Keys

The diverse fishing spots available, like Marathon Humps, are perfect for deep-sea adventures. Of course, backcountry fishing near Sugarloaf Key Islands also provides great fun.

You’ll be amazed by the variety of fish species in the area, such as tarpon, snapper, and grouper.

25 Things Florida is Famous For: A Recap

In this article, we explored what makes Florida such a remarkable state. From its stunning beaches and mesmerizing natural wonders to its rich history and diverse culture, Florida has much to offer.

You discovered the beauty of the Everglades, traversed the pristine shores of The Florida Keys, and immersed yourself in Cuban culture in Little Havana.

We hope you enjoyed the journey through Florida’s wonders, and we encourage you to explore these captivating spots in person. Happy exploring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *