Our Florida Bucket List Summer

We have lived in Florida since the first week of May. We’ve experienced so much of what the beautiful sunshine state has to offer. With the help of Presley and Sailor, I’ve put together a list of our top 20 places to visit in Florida. If you’ve never taken a road trip before, I can’t encourage them enough. We like to roughly map out the places we want to hit, and then hit what we can while still driving 2-3 hours a day to our next location. Certain locations require more time, and aren’t ideal locations to hit on a road trip. Some cities deserve blog posts all to themselves, but without further ado, here’s our summer Florida bucket list.

20. Jensen Beach Park – Jensen Beach, FL

This beach is close to where we have lived most of the summer in Port Saint Lucie. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to, but it’s clean, has tons of shells all over the beach, has a small quick service restaurant open all day, decent bathrooms, and has given us the opportunity to swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

19. Flying Panda Extreme Air Sports – Port Saint Lucie, FL

This is one of those trampoline parks. I know a ton of cities have them now, but I’m including this one because it’s by far the best one I’ve ever been. We love some of the extra features including aerial silks, regular swing over the foam pit, air mat to free fall on, warped wall, and other features that I haven’t seen at many trampoline parks.

18. Miami Beach – Miami, FL

This is another beach that I wouldn’t recommend to go to for a week, but a day out there on the Atlantic is too good to pass up. I wouldn’t call this a family friendly beach due to the more revealing clothing and activities, so we only spent a brief time out there. This is a great spot for couples and adults.

17. Clearwater Marine Aquarium – Clearwater, FL

This aquarium doesn’t rank higher on the list because of it’s lack of entertainment. We thoroughly enjoyed it because of the educational aspects. The aquarium showcases rescued sea life including Winter & Hope from the Dolphin Tale movies (which I highly recommend). The facility mostly focuses on the teaching aspects about rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sea life.

16. Gulf World – Panama City Beach, FL

This place has a blog post all of it’s own. We thought the dolphin shows, and other showcases were very well done. We spent almost a whole day here. Next time, we’d love to take advantage of their swimming with dolphins program.

15. Miami Water Cruise – Miami, FL

We chose to do a pirate adventure cruise. The kids didn’t enjoy this one near as much as the adults. It was about a two hour cruise showcasing celebrity mansions, city views, and great looks at the cruise ships docked.

14. Gator World – Wildwood, FL

Truthfully, this one may not be everybody, but it’s a really unique experience that the kids loved. We drove through the park first and saw tons of gators. Then we parked and got out where we were able to hold baby gators, feed them with a fishing pole (with a straight hook to hold the food), and hold chickens and rabbits.

13. Southern Most Point of the U.S. – Key West, FL

In my opinion, you have to see this at least once in your life. The whole island is incredible, but this spot is a must see for me.

12. Plantation Inn – Crystal River, FL

We decided to stay here last minute, and it was a treat. We had dinner by the pool, followed by an evening swim, and an incredible breakfast. The food was tasty, but it was the relaxing environment that we truly enjoyed. They also have over-sized outdoors checkers and chess pieces and shuffle board. You can also take a boat out to see and/or swim with the manatees.

11. Navarre Beach – Navarre, FL

The sign here reads “Florida’s best kept secret”. I wouldn’t call it a secret still, but it is beautiful. This beach is between Destin and Pensacola. It’s out of all of the tourist madness, but sports some incredible white sand and clear water. It’s no doubt a top spot for us. If you drive down the road a bit, you can hit the Gulf Islands National Seashore which I highly recommend also.

10. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park – Weeki Wachee, FL

If you have daughters, go here! This is where we went to the mermaid show. They have an underwater theater where they have mermaids perform. They use air hoses underwater to breathe. You can also enjoy the small water park in the springs and meet the mermaid performers.

9. Kennedy Space Center – Cape Canaveral, FL

If you’re interested in space, history, or learning in general, the space center is a great place to visit. We learned a lot, but they also offered a lot of activities for the kids to enjoy including an outdoor play area, space tunnels to climb through, a huge slide, and more.

8. Walt Disney World – Orlando, FL

We love WDW! I’m sure many of you are surprised that it’s not higher on the list. It’s magical all of the time, but Orlando summers are not for the weak. They are H-O-T!!! If you can, pick a different season to go visit. You’ll thank me later.

We went twice this summer because we lived so close and we loved it both times, but we were really hot. If it’s the only time you can go then go, but I personally prefer any other season.

7. Orlando World Center Marriott – Orlando, FL

This resort already holds a blog post all of it’s own. We really love this resort. You can stay here for a night or two and never leave the resort. The pool is exactly where you want to be during an Orlando summer.

6. Apalachicola – Apalachicola, FL

This is the cutest little town. It felt like stepping back in time. We enjoyed hitting all of the little shops in the small downtown area. We also had fun collecting oyster shells from the huge piles in areas around town (with permission, of course). If you cross the bridge, the beach at St. George’s Island is a great place to relax and unwind.

5. St. Andrews State Park – Panama City Beach, FL

For a few dollars, you can go out to this state park beach and enjoy some peaceful time by the water. There are wild deer roaming around, nice walking paths, and a jetty we enjoyed checking out. I didn’t even have cell phone service on the beach and it was heavenly.

4. Crab Island – Destin, FL

This is a sunken island out in the emerald coast waters in Destin. If you can get a boat or jet ski for the day, you can sit out here and relax. The water is only a couple feet deep. There are inflatables to play on, food and drinks, and even an ice cream boat that’ll bring you by ice cream. It’s also a great place for snorkeling.

3. Robbie’s Marina – Islamadora, FL

This is where we fed the tarpon fish in the keys on our way to Key West. We had so much fun doing this. It’s the perfect place to hit for an hour or two. We laid out on the dock and held little fish out waiting for the large tarpon fish to snatch them. There is also a restaurant and a little outdoor shopping market.

2. Key West Sunset Celebraion – Key West, FL

Street performers and vendors come out to Mallory Square two hours before and two hours after sunset every evening for a sunset celebration. We enjoyed this both nights we were in Key West. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sun go down, get some good laughs, and enjoy some snacks and shopping.

1. Destin Beach – Destin, FL

I’ve been to a lot of beaches and I can’t get enough of Destin. I also would include several beaches down the road including Seaside, but I didn’t hit that one this summer. We love these beaches. It has the most pure and wonderful sand and the clearest blue water (bonus: it’s warm).

We have one final trip planned before we leave Florida. It’s one of our most favorite places and it is girls only. We’re going to be HOT, but we can’t wait to have some of our besties in town and head to DISNEY WORLD!

Thanks for reading. I’m thankful for each and every one of you for your support.


The Gilmartin Girls

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