Florida is a state in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd most extensive, the 3rd most populous and the 8th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state capital is Tallahassee, the largest city is Jacksonville, and the largest metropolitan area is the Miami Metropolitan area.
Florida is also known as “The Sunshine State”, Florida is heavily focused on the tourist trade. The beaches are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Florida, along with some of the world’s best known theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. However some of the state’s best secrets are in secluded locations away from tourist areas and well worth seeing. Regardless of preference Florida has something to offer for any kind of traveler.
- Beaches, Beaches, Beaches! – By far, the number one reason for scheduling a Florida vacation is to sit on The Sunshine State's incredible beaches and enjoy the soft sand, warm water, and beautiful sunsets you'll find there. With thousands of miles of coastline, the beaches in Florida are many and quite varied. Choose your favorite – from tony South Beach in Miami, the place to see and be seen; to the white-sanded family-oriented beaches of Siesta Key, near Sarasota. There are also the Panhandle beaches like popular Destin or the beaches of the northeast, including Fernandina and Ponte Vedra, as well as the beaches of the Keys and those in the southwest, like Sanibel and Marco Islands. Wherever you go, you'll find a Florida beach where you can sun, swim, and enjoy the view.
- Theme Parks – Many individuals would dub this their number one reason for vacationing in here. Theme park fanatics, most especially Disney fans, often head to The Sunshine State every year to get their dose of magic. Orlando, of course, is at the center of the theme park kingdom, with the four parks of the Walt Disney World complex, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld Orlando. But don't forget about Tampa's Busch Gardens Africa, which is also an excellent amusement park, almost always landing on annual top-10 lists for theme park enthusiasts.
- Water sports – Visit a state surrounded by water and you'll no doubt want to take advantage of the myriad water sports available there. Take your pick – from calm water-related pursuits like fishing or sailing to more exciting adventures, such as jet skiing, SCUBA diving, kite or wind surfing, wake boarding, parasailing, and more. With 8,500 miles of shoreline, 7,800 lakes, 320 springs and 35 rivers, the possibilities are endless!
- National Parks/Natural Sites – Florida is home to about a dozen national parks, monuments, and seashores, all of which are a joy for the visitor to explore. A must-see is expansive Everglades National Park, which occupies much of the southwest portion of the state. The largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., the Everglades is home to many rare species of animals, birds, and plants, and an airboat ride to view them is a must. State Parks are excellent as well, like Sarasota's Myakka River Park where guests can experience a diverse natural area of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands; or the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, where visitors can take a prairie buggy ride.
- Nightlife – Nightlife sizzles in many areas. On the east coast, the most popular nightlife spots are Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale (especially during Spring Break), West Palm Beach, and the other towns in that vicinity. In central region, the Walt Disney World complex has its Pleasure Island area, where adults can party like its New Year's Eve each and every night. Universal's City Walk appeals to nighttime revelers as well, with its many restaurants and bars. On the west coast, Tampa's lively Ybor City area is a favorite with the under-30 crowd, but the remainder of Gulf Coast beach towns also offer a good collection of nightclubs and other popular party spots geared towards various age groups.
While most people tend to visit here for the recreation, the region's interesting history is one of those side perks guests experience while exploring the region. From the Spanish-style architecture of St. Augustine - the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the U.S., to Tampa and its ties to the cigar industry, to the rich military history of the Panhandle, Florida excites and educates visitors who enjoy gaining a little knowledge while on vacation.