South Florida is a popular vacation destination — and for many good reasons. This part of the state offers plenty of outdoor activities, museums, and entertainment opportunities. Don’t believe us? Check out the best things to do in South Florida below.
You might also want to know that as more visitors flock South FL, there are more investment opportunities for property owners in the area. Short- and long-term rentals are booming, with the help of reputable property management companies in the area, too.
The Best Things to Do in South Florida
South Florida is arguably one of the best regions in the United States, if only because of its abundance of attractions. This portion of the state offers no shortage of parks, beaches, and museums, making it a wildly popular destination for tourists. Many Americans also own vacation homes in South Florida, either for personal use or to rent out to travelers on holiday.
But, what exactly is it that makes South Florida such a draw? Here, we list down 15 of the best things to do in this part of the state.
1. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
There is so much to do at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Visitors can go bicycling, hiking, and picnicking as well as participate in a number of water activities such as swimming, fishing, paddling, and boating.
The park even allows you to go camping on a boat. The sandy beach at Bill Baggs is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
Apart from that, a historic lighthouse built in 1825 also sits at the park. And the top of this lighthouse offers spectacular views of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. With so many things to do, it’s not hard to fill a day or two with activities at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. It’s no wonder the park is one of the best South Florida attractions.
For information on hours and fees, visit the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park website.
2. Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park is known for housing the third-largest coral reef in the world, allowing visitors the exciting opportunity to get up close and personal with the marine life that swims beneath the water. Apart from guided snorkeling tours at a shipwreck, visitors can also take part in other activities like kayaking, canoeing, and boating. Catching fish and lobsters is another popular activity at Biscayne National Park.
Learn more about Biscayne National Park’s operating hours and fees through its website.
3. Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium
Of all the things to do in South Florida, visiting a planetarium probably doesn’t come to mind. But, the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium offer more than just magical views and sounds of the world beyond. This South Florida attraction also boasts a butterfly house, a raptor aviary, and a live animal presentation.
You can also learn about the Southwest Florida environment at the Natural History Living Museum. If you’re feeling active, go through one of two nature trails on the premises — or walk them both!
Plan your visit to the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium here.
4. Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
Interestingly, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park wasn’t initially planned as a park. It was first intended as the site of a condominium development.
Today, the park houses 84 protected animal and plant species such as the American crocodile, the mahogany mistletoe, and the wild cotton. Visitors can go hiking and bicycling on one of the many nature trails. Other than that, you can observe wildlife in the area or go for a picnic at the pavilion.
For information on operating hours and fees, visit the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park website.
5. Edison and Ford Winter Estates
As the site of Thomas Edison’s and Henry Ford’s winter homes, this 20-acre property boasts historical buildings and botanical gardens for visitors to see. Wander through the many historic houses before admiring the ficus trees planted by Edison and Ford themselves. The botanical garden is home to some 400 species of plants, coming from six continents. Apart from that, you can also visit the 1928 Edison Botanical Research Laboratory and the Edison Ford Museum.
To learn about operating hours, tickets, and tours, visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates website.
6. Everglades National Park
Billed as the largest subtropical wilderness in the country, it’s easy to see why Everglades National Park is one of the best things to do in South FL. This park is home to several endangered species such as the Florida panther and the American crocodile. There are also numerous outdoor activities you can take part in, including bicycling, hiking, camping, and bird watching. For water sports, try kayaking, canoeing, or boating. With 2,400 square miles worth of land, there is always something to do here.
For information on hours and fees, visit the Everglades National Park website.
7. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
If you ask any resident what to do in South Florida, visiting John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park will definitely come up. Covering about 70 nautical square miles, this park is the first undersea park in the United States. Its main draw is its coral reefs filled with countless species of marine life.
If you don’t want to get wet, you can enjoy the view of the reef from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat. Though, snorkeling and scuba diving are understandably more popular since they give you an up-close look at underwater life. Other than that, you can also go kayaking and canoeing, and there are even designated areas for fishing. On land, there are picnic areas and trails for leisurely walks.
Book your tours today through the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park website.
8. Lion Country Safari
For a safari experience right in the United States, Lion Country Safari is the place to go. This South Florida attraction offers the unique experience of slowly driving through the park while wild animals roam freely outside your door. In addition to the safari, you can also enjoy Safari World, a theme park that features water rides, exhibits, a petting zoo, and mini-golf. Lion Country Safari is definitely one of the most fun things to do in South Florida.
To learn more about ticket prices and operating hours, visit the Lion Country Safari website.
9. Museum of Discovery and Science
When in Fort Lauderdale, the Museum of Discovery and Science is a can’t-miss destination. This museum is home to an IMAX theater as well as several simulated rides. You can also view many animal species native to the region. If you want a closer look at the animals, the museum also holds meet-and-greets as well as animal demonstrations. But, there is more to this museum than just animals. Several prehistoric fish, fossils, dinosaur eggs, rocks, and minerals are also displayed for all to see.
For information on operating hours and ticket fees, visit the Museum of Discovery and Science website.
10. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
The NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale stands out among other museums because it focuses on 20th-century art. There are about 6,200 pieces on display, with ceramic works by Pablo Picasso and works from the Northern European CoBrA avant-garde movement. There are also pieces that are strongly influenced by the South Florida and Caribbean cultures. Apart from that, the museum also houses a collection of contemporary Cuban art from over 125 different artists.
Visit the official website to learn more about the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and its operating hours.
11. Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
In Naples lies a 40-acre property that is home to a zoo and botanical garden.
The zoo itself consists of approximately 70 species, including American alligators, African antelopes, clouded leopards, Malayan tigers, and even a Florida panther named Athena. The mile-long path will lead you through the main animal exhibits before landing at the tropical garden that dates all the way back to 1919.
For more information about the zoo’s operating hours and ticket prices, visit the Naples Zoo website.
12. Pérez Art Museum Miami
Located at the Museum Park, the Pérez Art Museum Miami mainly features contemporary art and collections that heavily focus on the cultures of the Atlantic Rim. Today, the museum houses over 2,000 art pieces by well-known and up-and-coming artists.
In addition to art, the Pérez Art Museum Miami is also famous for its hanging gardens designed by renowned artist Patrick Blanc. Visitors can also dine at Verde, the museum’s waterfront restaurant and bar, which offers panoramic views of Biscayne Bay. The restaurant’s dishes are mostly inspired by local cuisine.
Plan your visit to the Pérez Art Museum Miami here.
13. South Beach
It is hard to make a list of things to do in South Florida without mentioning South Beach. Located in Miami Beach, this neighborhood is famous for its beachfront views, commercial areas, and many cultural institutions.
South Beach hosts several events every year, including the Miami International Film Festival, Miami Fashion Week, Urban Beach Week, White Party, Art Basel Miami, and the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival. It is also home to a number of museums such as the Bass Museum and the Wolfsonian.
Perhaps its ultimate draw, though, is the eponymous beach itself, which runs from 23rd Street all the way to the southern tip of the island. As the only part of the continental United States that boasts a tropical climate, South Florida is definitely a beach lover’s paradise.
14. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
The Vizcaya Museum & Gardens sits on a sprawling 50-acre property and is home to a gorgeous villa, a lush garden, and a native forest.
Once the estate of businessman James Deering, this South Florida attraction is now a museum that highlights 15th- to early 19th-century European furnishings, antiques, and decorative art. The enormous 10-acre garden features an Italian Renaissance design.
To learn more about ticket prices and operating hours, visit the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens website.
15. Shop and Dine
Out of all the things to do in South Florida, you simply can’t leave out shopping and dining. There are countless restaurants in South Florida featuring local and ethnic cuisine. From steak and seafood at Ario to margaritas and tacos at Rocco’s, South Florida is oozing with dining options.
Make sure to stop by Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor for dessert before downing a pint of craft beer at Due South Brewing. Other notable restaurants include Jardin, Makoto, nine one five, Mandolin Aegean Bistro, Little Moir’s Food Shack, Casa Larios, and 4 Rivers Smokehouse.
For shopping, South Florida does not disappoint. This region is every shopaholic’s dream destination, with places like the Design District, Bal Harbour, the Shops at Sunset Place, and Lincoln Road Mall.
A Veritable Explosion of Attractions
From shopping and dining to outdoor activities and cultural experiences, there is no shortage of things to do in South Florida. This is exactly the reason many vacationers and tourists flock to this region of the United States. The same reason why leasing your property is a lucrative idea.
Do you have a rental home in South Florida but can’t find the time to manage it properly? Look for a property management company today with the help of our online directory.