FLORIDA DAYTRIPS BY THEME

You may be a person who likes to plan your Florida day trip around a particular theme. 

Most websites and books focus on locations when discussing day trips.  There is another way to find something to do.

Whitehall, Former Flagler Mansion in Palm BeachWhitehall, Former Flagler Mansion in Palm Beach

You may be interested in outdoor adventure, history, museums, nature centers, historic buildings, or any number of other themes.  We can think of at least 20 themes that might interest you.

If the theme and type of experience on the day trip is more important to you than the location, then this page is for you.  Here are the day trip themes we tell you about on this website and in much more detail in our soon to be published book "Florida Day Trips"


THEME PARKS AND SMALLER AMUSEMENT PARKS

Mermaids at Weeki Wachee SpringsMermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs

Florida has hundreds of theme parks and smaller attractions.  Whatever you like, you can find it in Florida.  Here are a few ideas.

Busch Gardens, Tampa
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona
Dinosaur World, Plant City
Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista
Epcot, Walt Disney World
Fun Spot America, Orlando
Legoland Florida Resort, Winter Haven
ICON Orlando, Orlando
SeaWorld, Orlando
Spook Hill, Lake Wales
Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando
Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


BEACHES FOR SWIMMING OR SHELLING

Sanibel Island Sea Shell BeachSanibel Island Sea Shell Beach

No matter what your interest is in Florida beaches and shells, the state's long shoreline means you can find it.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Bailey-Matthew National Shell Museum, Sanibel
Beaches, All Over Florida's Thousand Mile Shoreline
Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna and Titusville
Destin Sand Castle Lessons
Fort Desoto Park, Tierra Verde
Little Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville
Tigertail Beach, Marco Island
Sanibel and Captiva Islands
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


MANATEES, BIRDS, DOLPHINS, HORSES, AND MORE

Manatees Gathering at Blue Spring State ParkManatees Gathering at Blue Spring State Park

Florida has a mild to tropical climate that makes a good home for millions of animals.  Birds, dolphins, manatee, alligators, turtles, and other creatures can be observed in their natural settings.  Here are some places:

Manatee Watching at Blue Spring State Park, Orange City
Crystal River Swim With Manatees, Crystal River
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel
Florida Aquarium, Tampa
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Fort Walton Beach
Farm Tours of Ocala, Ocala
Jungle Island, Miami
Marineland, St. Augustine
Miami Seaquarium, Miami
Mill Creek Farm Retirement Home for Horses, Alachua
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sarasota
Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota
Seacrest Wolf Preserve, Chipley
Butterfly World, Coconut Creek
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


ADVENTURES AND ACTIVITIES ON THE WATER

Schooner Freedom, St. AugustineSchooner Freedom, St. Augustine

Adventure on the water is a favorite way to enjoy Florida.  From boating to snorkeling, it is all here.  Here's a few examples.

A. J.'s Water Adventures, Destin
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, Kissimmee
CatBoat Adventures, Mount Dora
Everglades and Keys Kayak Tours, Key Largo
Fort Gates Ferry, Ocala National Forest
Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi, Fort Lauderdale
Highway A1A Ferry, Mayport to Fort George Island
Jungle Queen Riverboat, Fort Lauderdale
Key West Express, Ft Myers Beach, Marco Island, Key West
Naples Princess Cruises, Naples
Old Florida Boat Tour, Bokeelia
River Safaris, Homosassa
Schooner Freedom, St. Augustine
St. Johns Rivership Company, Sanford
Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour, Winter Park
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


FLORIDA EVERGLADES SIGHTS AND ADVENTURES 

Everglades National Park Tour BoatEverglades National Park Tour Boat

The Florida Everglades is a world famous system of wetlands with many different ecosystems that encompasses all or part of 16 Florida counties.  You will see swamps, forests, and animal life.  Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy this unique place.

Big Cypress National Preserve, Ochopee
Clyde Butcher's Big Cypress Gallery, Ochopee
Everglades Rod and Gun Club, Everglades City
Everglades National Park, Everglades City, Homestead
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, Okeechobee
Miccosukee Indian Village, Miami
Museum of the Everglades, Everglades City
Shark Valley Tram Tours, Everglades National Park
Smallwood Store, Chokoloskee
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


FLORIDA HISTORY:  PLACES TO VISIT

Fort Christmas Historical ParkFort Christmas Historical Park

Florida's recorded history extends from Native Americans 12,000 years ago to the Space Age.  The state has lived under the flags of Spain, Britain, Confederate States of American, and several independent republics.  Here are some of places that will help you enjoy the history.

Barnacle Historic State Park, Miami
Castillo San Marcos, St. Augustine
Cracker Country Rural History Museum, Tampa
Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville
Fort Christmas Historical Park, Christmas
Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach
Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial, Ellenton
Kingsley Plantation, Jacksonville
Koreshan State Park, Estero
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, Olustee
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

Hemingway Home, Key West

The Florida Keys are a chain of small islands called coral cays.  The chain stretches from south of Miami all the way westerly to Key West. Until 1912 when a short lived railroad connected the Keys, the people lived isolated lives.  Here are some things and places you will enjoy.

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key
Hemingway Home, Key West
Key West Aquarium, Key West
Mallory Square, Key West
Theater of the Sea, Islamorada
Truman Little White House, Key West
The Dolphin Connection, Duck Key
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


BOTANICAL GARDENS, FLOWERS, ARBORETUMS

Naples Botanical GardenNaples Botanical Garden

Florida’s climate makes for an ideal area for a large variety of plants throughout the state.  Here are some places, large and small, that you will enjoy if you are a plant lover.

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, Fort Lauderdale
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables
Leu Gardens, Orlando
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach
Naples Botanical Garden, Naples
Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


SOME GREAT FLORIDA RESTAURANTS AND BARS 

Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, TampaColumbia Restaurant in Ybor City, Tampa

There are probably 50,000 restaurants, wineries, bars, diners, and other places to enjoy good food and drinks.  Here are some samples of ones we like.  There are certainly more.

Alabama Jack's, Card Sound Road, Key Largo
Bern's Steakhouse, Tampa
Cap's Place Island Restaurant, Lighthouse Point
Chattaway, St. Petersburg
Clark's Fish Camp, Mandarin
Columbia Restaurant, Ybor City, Tampa
Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery, Lake Placid
High Tides at Snack Jack, Flagler Beach
Joe's Stone Crab, Miami Beach
Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards, Clermont
Mai Kai Restaurant, Fort Lauderdale
San Sebastian Winery, St. Augustine
Schnebly Redlands Winery, Homestead
Sloppy Joe's, Key West
Read About These at Florida Restaurants
Read About The Florida Wineries


HISTORIC BUILDINGS AND ARCHITECTURAL SITES

Castillo de San Marcos, St. AugustineCastillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine

Florida buildings date back to Spanish structures built in 1565 in St. Augustine.  Other architecturally beautiful buildings were constructed during Florida's tourist development in the 1880s and the real estate boom of the 1920s.  Here are some we enjoy.

Ancient Spanish Monastery, North Miami Beach
Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables
Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach
Ca'da'Zan (John Ringling Home), Sarasota
Cassadaga Spiritual Camp, Cassadaga
Coral Castle, Miami
DeFuniak Springs Historic District, DeFuniak Springs
Flagler Museum (Whitehall Mansion), Palm Beach
Ponce de Leon Hotel (Now Flagler College), St. Augustine
Florida Citrus Tower, Clermont
Florida State Capitol Buildings, Tallahassee
Frank Lloyd Wright Child of the Sun, Lakeland
Miami Marine Stadium, Miami
Ocean Drive Art Deco District, Miami Beach
Oldest House Museum Complex, St. Augustine
Pensacola Historic Village, Pensacola
Seaside Planned Community, Seaside
Tampa Bay Hotel (Now University of Tampa), Tampa
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami
Ybor City Historic District, Tampa
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


FLORIDA HISTORIC HOTELS

Biltmore Hotel, Coral GablesBiltmore Hotel, Coral Gables

Some historic Florida hotels were built in the 1880s.  Others sprung up during the frantic real estate boom of the 1920s.  Many of them are architectural treasures where you can still find elegant lodging.  Here are some on the National Register of Historic Places.

Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables
Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach
Casa Marina Hotel, Jacksonville Beach
Casa Marina Resort, Key West
Casa Monica Hotel, St. Augustine
Cadillac Hotel, Miami Beach
The Chesterfield, Palm Beach
Don Cesar Hotel, St. Petersburg Beach
Driftwood Inn, Vero Beach
Florida House Inn, Fernandina Beach
Floridan Hotel, Tampa
Fontainebleau, Miami Beach
Gasparilla Inn, Boca Grande
Gulf Stream Hotel, Lake Worth
Island Hotel, Cedar Key
Hotel Jacaranda, Avon Park
Lakeside Inn, Mount Dora
Ocean Spray Hotel, Miami Beach
Seminole Inn, Indiantown
Tarpon Lodge and Restaurant, Pine Island
Tween Waters Inn, Captiva Island
Vinoy Park Hotel, St. Petersburg
The Terrace Hotel, Lakeland
More Information at Florida Historic Hotels.


LIGHTHOUSES YOU CAN VISIT AND CLIMB

St Mark's LighthouseSt Mark's Lighthouse

Many of Florida's oldest structures are lighthouses.  Some of them can be visited by tourist.  Six of the lighthouses are open to the public.  Here are some of them you can visit or look at.

Pensacola Lighthouse, U.S. Naval Station Pensacola
Crooked River Lighthouse, Carrabelle
Gasparilla Island Lighthouse, Boca Grande
Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, Boca Grande
Cape Florida Lighthouse, Key Biscayne
Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse, Pompano Beach
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Jupiter
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Ponce Inlet
St. Augustine Lighthouse, St. Augustine
St. Johns Light, Mayport
Amelia Island Lighthouse, Fernandina Beach
Mount Dora Lighthouse, Mount Dora
More information at Florida Lighthouses


VISIT HISTORIC CARPENTER GOTHIC CHURCHES

Holy Trinity Church, Fruitland Park

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Florida had large virgin forests.  Lumber was used for most building construction back then.  Carpenter Gothic was an architectural design created so a carpenter could build a church that had some of the features of other churches made in stone.  Only 39 of the original 80 churches remain in the state.  More info at Florida Historic Carpenter Gothic Churches.


MUSEUMS

Dali Museum, St. PetersburgDali Museum, St. Petersburg

For a relatively young state, Florida has museums for many different interests. There are some that are whimsical such as Ripley's Believe or Not Museum.  Others celebrate fine art, and there are also natural history, cultural, and treasure museums.  Here are some of them. 

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, Winter Park
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Ocala
Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville
Jacksonville Museum of Science and History, Jacksonville
John Gorrie State Museum, Apalachicola
McLarty Treasure Museum, Vero Beach
Morse Museum, Winter Park
Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee
National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, Fort Pierce
Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando
Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum, St. Augustine
The Lightner Museum, St. Augustine
The Revs Institute, Naples
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


OUTDOOR ADVENTURES 

Horseback Riding on Amelia IslandHorseback Riding on Amelia Island

Florida's mild to tropical climate makes it ideal for adventures in the great outdoors. With more than one thousand miles of saltwater coast, dozens or rivers, and more than thirty thousand lakes, you can't go wrong.  Here are some of our favorite things to do.

Horseback Riding on the Beach, Amelia Island
Babcock Ranch Ecotours, Punta Gorda
Bob's River Place, Branford
Florida Fish Camps, Various Locations
Ginnie Springs Outdoors, High Springs
Ichetucknee Inner Tube Trip, Fort White
Kayaking at Topsail Hill, Santa Rosa Beach
Scalloping in the Gulf of Mexico, Various Locations
Sea Turtle Nesting Season, Indialantic
Withlacoochee State Trail, Inverness
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions
Read About Florida Fish Camps


NATIONAL, STATE, AND LOCAL PARKS

Topsail Hill Preserve State ParkTopsail Hill Preserve State Park

Florida Parks preserve natural resources and protect them from the constant development of the state.  Parks are great for camping, hiking, observing nature, or just relaxing.  Here are a few we like.

Biscayne National Park, Homestead and Miami
Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville
Dry Tortugas National Park, Homestead
Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna
Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead
Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Cross Creek
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


RAILROADS, AIRPLANES, ROCKETS AND SPACE AGE

The Orange Blossom SpecialThe Orange Blossom Special

Florida's history can be traced from its waterways through its railroad era and today's aviation and aerospace activities.  Private individuals, along with local, state, and federal governments, have preserved these artifacts and memories of yesteryear.  Here are a few.

Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin AFB, Ft. Walton Beach
Air Force Space & Missile Museum, Cape Canaveral AFB
Central Florida Railroad Museum, Winter Garden
Fantasy of Flight, Polk City
Florida Air Museum, Lakeland
Florida Railroad Museum, Parrish
Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex
Murder Mystery Dinner Train
National Naval Aviation Museum, Naval Air Station Pensacola
Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, Titusville
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


NATURE CENTERS AND SCIENCE MUSEUMS 

Key West AquariumKey West Aquarium

Nature centers, science museums, and environmentally sensitive land preserves have been created by state and local governments - as well as some private parties - to protect natural resources from the constant population growth of the state.  They also educate the public about environmental issues.  Here are a few of them.

Blowing Rocks Preserve, Hobe Sound
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples
Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton
Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Center, Fort Pierce
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville
Ocala National forest, Silver Springs
Orlando Science Center, Orlando
Princess Place Preserve, Palm Coast
Tampa Museum of Science & Industry, Tampa
Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, Pensacola
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


CULTURE AND HISTORY OF SEMINOLE INDIANS

Three Generations of a Seminole Indian FamilyThree Generations of a Seminole Indian Family

The Seminoles arrived in Florida in the 1700s.  They were a combination of various Native American tribes including the northern Muscogee Creeks from Georgia and Alabama. Many Seminoles intermarried with free and escaped black slaves.  The Seminoles fought three wars against the United States. Here are a few places you can learn about their history.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservations
Billy Swamp Safari, Clewiston
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, Bushnell
Florida Seminole Wars Heritage Trail, Various Locations
Miccosukee Resort and Gaming, Miami
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


FLORIDA FRESHWATER SPRINGS

Fanning SpringsFanning Springs

Florida has more freshwater springs than any other state.  There are about 1,000 of them, and 27 are first magnitude springs discharging more than 100 cubic feet of water per second.  The cool, clear waters of these springs have attracted visitors and Floridians for centuries.  Here are some of them. 

Alexander Springs Recreational Area, Altoona
Blue Spring State Park, Orange City
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, De Leon Springs
Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Fort White
Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon
Silver Springs State Park, Ocala
Wakulla Springs State Park, Wakulla Springs
Warm Mineral Springs, North Port
Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


THE ARTS IN FLORIDA

Dali Museum, St. PetersburgDali Museum, St. Petersburg

Florida has hundreds of private art galleries reflecting the diversity of the state's culture. There are also many museums that feature art, and performing arts centers for theater and music.  Here are a few.

Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala
Asolo Repertory Theater, Sarasota
Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale
Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville
Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando
Florida Theatre, Jacksonville
Lake Placid Murals, Lake Placid
Menello Museum of American Art, Orlando
Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples
Raymond E. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, W. Palm Beach
Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota
Wynwood Walls, Miami
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions


FLORIDA ZOOS  

Giraffe at Brevard Zoo, Melbourne, FloridaGiraffe at Brevard Zoo, Melbourne, Florida

Florida zoos feature not only species native to the state, but animals from all over the world. These zoos give visitors the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate wild animals.  Most zoos have the mission of helping animal species survive by helping people love and understand them. Here are a few good zoos.

Brevard Zoo, Melbourne
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, Jacksonville
Gatorland, Orlando
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Jacksonville
Lion Country Safari, Loxahatchee
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park, Tampa
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, Naples
St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, St. Augustine
Zoo World, Panama City Beach
Read About These at Florida Tourist Attractions



Detailed information on most of these attractions is included in our book "Florida Day Trips," to be published in October 2019 and available at Amazon and most book stores.

Click on the cover for details.



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