10 Things to do in Florida (besides hanging out with Mickey)

10 Things to do in Florida (besides hanging out with Mickey)

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I remember visiting the state of Florida when I was younger with my family. We drove down from New York, and although the ride was tough, we thoroughly enjoyed our time with Mickey. Since I haven’t been able to explore more of Florida, I asked Meg from “Where in the World is Megan Claire?! to fill me in on some of her favorite Florida experiences.  Currently living there, she is kind of the expert on the area now!



1. Theme Parks

It is often said that Disney is the happiest place on earth, so it’s understandable why so many vacationers head straight to Orlando when visiting Florida. Walt Disney World is the largest entertainment complex on earth, and houses four different theme parks which include Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Disney-MGM Studios. However don’t spend all of your time at Disney or you’ll miss out on Universal Studios, Sea World, Discovery Cove, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon!! Florida truly is the theme park capital of the world and is guaranteed to provide enjoyment for both kids and adults alike.

 
Disney – the Happiest Place on Earth!

2. Fossil Hunting

Florida is a fossil hunter’s paradise, with fossils dating back 50 million years; and all you need is a good eye! Fossilized remains including sharks teeth and parts of mammoth, camel, sloth and mastodon, can all be found in Florida’s caves, sinkholes, streams and rivers. If it once roamed or swam over Florida, fossilized remains will be here somewhere! You would be amazed at the variety of mammals which were roaming Florida millions of years ago.

The best places to find fossils are Gainesville, Jacksonville Beach, Venice Beach, Peace River, Gardner and Shell Creek. If visiting, there are many campgrounds and public areas where you can rent canoes and work your way down any of the rivers to get to secluded spots. Screening is a popular method for fossil hunting, which is essentially a floating sieve which will allow dirt and gravel to filter through, while catching any large fossils which you may have dug up!

 

3. Beaches

Honestly, if you can’t find a beach to your tasting in Florida you, traveller, are being extremely picky! Florida beaches are among some of the finest in the world, and there is something to suit everyone. Sandy beaches account for over 1,000 miles of the Florida coastline, you will find coral sand on the Atlantic side, and fine quartz sand in the panhandle, which, is so white that it was supposedly sold fraudulently as sugar during World War II!

Whether you want to spend your day relaxing, taking part in beach sports, snorkelling, or swimming with dolphins and other wildlife, Florida has a beach for you. Some of the best beaches in Florida include Delray Beach, Clearwater Beach, Naples, Sanibel Island, South Beach, Siesta Key, Atlantic Beach, Palm Beach and Captiva Island.

South Beach, Miami
4. Treasure Hunt 

Treasure hunters flock to Florida! Thousands of shipwrecks from the Spanish treasure fleet have accumulated over hundreds of years within the waters off Florida. Terrible weather conditions in the area, including frequent hurricanes and tropical storms, sunk many ships back in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and scattered their bounty along Florida’s shores. Many shipwrecks have been salvaged, and their cargo recovered, however treasure can still be found today! The best known Spanish wreck, the Alocha which sank in 1622, was uncovered in 1985 (after a 16 year search) by an ordinary citizen. The treasure uncovered was worth $300 MILLION and included coins, gold bars and jewellery!!

Today treasure, mostly gold coins, can still be found in the waters of the coast, and sometimes even along the beaches themselves!

 

5. Shelling
Treasure hunting of a different sort, shelling is a favourite pastime for tourists and locals alike. While you can find shells on nearly any beach, southwest Florida has some of the best shelling in the world. Approximately 400 species of multi-coloured seashells wash onto the shores of the Lee Island Coast every day – some as common as scallops, yet many as exotic as tulips, olives, Florida fighting conch’s and the brown speckled junonia! Some people even go as far as purchasing miner’s hats to head out before sunrise to start shelling before the best specimens wash away!

The beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Island are the best for shelling – however live shelling is a Federal offence on Sanibel and is restricted everywhere else, so make sure to only collect empty shells! It is best to head out early, and the best time of the year is winter or directly after a storm!

A Guide to Florida’s Shells
 
 

6. Fishing
From mangroves to salt marshes and over 3 million acres of freshwater lakes, ponds and reservoirs, Florida is the fishing capital of the world! There are no closed seasons, and the recreational fishery resources alone provide a source of entertainment for upwards of 1.4 million anglers annually…which isn’t hard to believe – I’ve been here now for 5 weeks, and always see people young and old lining the bridges and beaches with fishing rods in hand!

7. Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are referred to as America’s Caribbean. A chain of jewel like islands 112 miles long, the Keys are fossilized coral islands which are tiny and uninhabited. Once in the Keys there are plenty of places to shop, and you can access some of Florida’s finest parks, sanctuaries and beaches – and did I mention the phenomenal views?

The Florida Keys
 

8. Snorkel
There are some great snorkelling locations thorough Florida for snorkelling (off Tampa Bay or in the Panhandle) – however most people head straight for the Keys! The Florida Keys is the home to the only live coral reef system in the United States, and offers some of the most spectacular opportunities for diving and snorkelling in the world!

9. Florida Everglades
The Everglades are a natural region of tropical wetlands in South Florida, and provides an important habitat for a number of rare and endangered species like the manatee, Florida panther and the American crocodile! The Everglades are completely wild and unpopulated, dominated by grassland and swamp, dotted with tree islands, forests and rivers. The whole area has a very wild beauty about it, and is a perfect example of what “old Florida” used to look like.


The Florida Everglades

10. Kennedy Space Museum
A trip to Florida isn’t complete without a visit to the Kennedy Space Museum. Located quite close to Orlando, while NASA has stopped their space shuttle program and you can no longer view launches into space, you can still see the giant rockets, tour launch areas, meet veteran astronauts, and train in spaceflight simulators! This truly is a once in a lifetime experience!

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY:


Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure! Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Meg has recently launched “Where in the World is Megan Claire?!”, an up and coming travel blog which aims to give you the best tips and advice on travelling, volunteering, living, working and holidaying abroad. She hasn’t been everywhere, but it’s on her list!

You can follow her journey on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram also.

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One Comment

  • Disney Vacation Homes says:

    There are a lot of great attractions in Disney World Florida for kids and adults, as well as a great range of places to stay, from vacation homes to spacious villas.

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