Florida’s Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try

Venetian-Pool

Shutterstock/Marco Borghini

By Crystal Harlan

April 28, 2023

Looking for activities to cool off during Florida’s hot summer months? We’ve got you covered with some of the best water and indoor activities around the state.

Let’s be honest. Florida summers can be unbearably hot and humid. That’s why we choose to stay indoors as much as possible—unless it involves water.

Taking those realistic preferences into consideration, we’ve come up with a list of fun and fascinating bucket-list activities around the Sunshine State to keep you cool and entertained in the summer heat.

Dalí Museum, St. Pete

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
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Once you pass through the doors of the impressive structure that houses the Dalí Museum—a work of art itself—you’ll find an unparalleled collection of over 2,400 works by the renowned Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí. In addition, the museum’s robust calendar of temporary exhibits and programs makes it the hub of fine arts and culture in downtown St. Pete.

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Merritt Island

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
Shutterstock/Linda Moon

Curious about space? This 70-acre facility, one of Central Florida’s most popular tourist destinations, includes Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, the Shuttle Launch Experience, astronaut encounters, larger-than-life space films, live shows, hands-on activities, and behind-the-scenes tours. 

Discovery Cove, Orlando

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
Shutterstock/Joni Hanebutt

This theme park really feels more like a luxurious island resort. When you’re not cooling off in the tropical lagoons and lazy river, which winds past waterfalls and through an aviary, you can swim with dolphins or snorkel with tropical fish and rays. The all-inclusive package includes breakfast, gourmet lunch, snacks, and beverages (including beer and wine).

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
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If you love books (or cats!) this is one place you can’t miss. Hemingway, one of America’s most celebrated writers and a Nobel Prize winner, lived and wrote here from 1931-1939, and kept the home in his name until his death. More than 60 cats—descendants of the writer’s famous six-toed cat—roam the home’s tropical gardens.

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Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
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Located on the University of Florida’s campus, the museum offers an exploration of Florida’s unique habitats, biological richness, and cultural history. Here you’ll find over 40 million specimens and artifacts, as well as the largest collection of butterflies and moths in the world.  

Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
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Inside this underground limestone cave system, the temperature naturally stays at about 65 degrees. During the 45-minute guided tour, you can see incredible geological formations, including stalagmites, stalactites, rimstone pools, and flowstones.

Visit a Spring

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
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Florida sits atop an aquifer, which feeds over 700 natural springs across the state, attracting kayakers, bathers, and nature enthusiasts. And what’s really great about the springs—especially in the hot summer months—is that they stay at a refreshing average temperature of 72 degrees. Among the most popular springs are Ginnie Springs, Devil’s Den, Three Sisters (pictured), and Gilchrist Blue.

Venetian Pool, Coral Gables

This isn’t just any pool, but a historic oasis fed by an aquifer and refilled with fresh spring water daily. Originally a limestone quarry, it first opened in 1924 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The pool has waterfalls and grottoes, and is open to the public.Z

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Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
Shutterstock/Songquan Deng

The former villa and estate was built in 1916 and used as the winter residence of James Deering, of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune. Inside the lavish villa you’ll find much of the original artwork and furnishings. Outside, Italian Renaissance gardens surround the estate, overlooking the Biscayne Bay.

Plan a Beach Day

Florida's Ultimate Summer Bucket List: 10 Fun Activities You Need to Try
Shutterstock/Mia2you

The quintessential Florida activity is a day at the beach, and with 825 miles of sandy shores, there are plenty of options—from the Gulf’s tranquil turquoise waters to Miami’s lively South Beach (pictured) to the surfers’ haven that is Cocoa Beach. The water might be extra warm this time of year, but the cool breeze coming off the waves make it the perfect summer-day plan.

Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

CATEGORIES: COMMUNITY | THINGS TO DO
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