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10 Things to Love About Florida

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I love Florida and it isn't a surprise to me that the Sunshine State is one of the nation's top vacation destinations. Millions of visitors to Florida every year can't be wrong, right? Here are 10 things to love about Florida. You decide.

1. Florida's Weather

Florida Coastal Highway
Compliments of FlaUSA.com

One of Florida's most important natural resources has always been its climate. After all, it is nicknamed the "Sunshine State." Its mild winters have drawn visitors seeking relief from the chilly north; and, warm summers lure visitors to Florida's coastal communities and beaches. I love Florida's weather! After all, it beats shoveling snow in the winter.

2. Florida's Sunsets

Bright sun setting in the Florida Keys.
©Brigitte Nelson

There are nothing as beautiful, magnificent and spectacular as Florida's sunsets! In two Florida communities, every sunset is reason to celebrate — Key West and Clearwater Beach. Night after night, crowds gather in a festive atmosphere a couple of hours before sunset... then, as twilight approaches everyone seems to pause to enjoy Mother Nature's show-stopping spectacle. Best of all, these sunset celebrations are free!

3. Florida's Beaches

Caladesi Island Beach
© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com

Some of the best Florida beach destinations for vacationers aren't necessarily those that earn national recognition as the best beaches. They may not have the best sand or the biggest waves, but what they do is cater to specific crowds that love them just the way they are.

4. Disney World

Mickey welcomes guests to Magic Kingdom
Compliments of Walt Disney Company

There isn't much not to love about Disney World. When Disney World opened in 1971, it changed Central Florida forever. Now, as Florida's number one vacation destination, its four theme parks and numerous themed resort hotels provide hundreds of thousands of vacationing visitors a truly magical and memorable experience.

5. Florida's State Parks

Hillsborough River Rapids
© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com

Florida's State Park system offers sites of historical significance and recreational opportunities that reflect the natural beauty of Florida; and, they are some of the best state parks in the nation. I love Florida's state parks because they provide visitors a respite from the concrete jungle of crowded roadways and the everyday stresses of life.

6. Florida's Ancient City

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com

Saint Augustine stands today as a tribute to its past. It has survived five centuries of history to stand as this nation's oldest city. Florida's ancient city was founded 42 years before the English colonized Jamestown and 55 years before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. While its history began with exploration, it's your turn to explore its history — from the narrow brick streets of Old Town to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

7. Florida's Camping

Oceanfront tent campsite at Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys.
©Brigitte Nelson

If you are an experienced camper, you may already know that Florida is a camping paradise. The Sunshine State's mild climate allows for year round camping and nearly unlimited outdoor activities. And, whether you consider yourself a "trees and trails" type or one that prefers "sand and surf," Florida's diverse offering of campgrounds can deliver. In addition, for those that have never camped, Florida presents some unique camping experiences that are sure to result in hooking you on camping for the rest of your life.

8. Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower, Lake Wales, Florida
© Dawn Henthorn

Bok Tower Gardens is one of the most beautiful places in Florida, and one of the few places that has been left untouched by the march of time and the unchecked growth of Central Florida. Set atop Central Florida's highest point, the singing bell tower and surrounding gardens were a gift to the people by Edward Bok, an accomplished and successful man that was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and the editor of the Ladies Home Journal for over 30 years. I love that the gardens provide a much-needed respite from a too-busy life!

9. Florida's Small Towns

Noon Rotary Park Lake Placid
© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com

Whether you live in Florida, or are a visitor, you may not know that many of Florida's smaller towns are really interesting places. While most lay claim to some pretty notable history, others are home to out-of-the-way-but-worth-the-drive attractions and even more of them actually host some well-attended-but-not-widely-known annual festivals. I love exploring Florida's small towns... and I think you will too!

10. Florida's Keys

Key Largo
© Florida Keys CVB

Although the Florida Keys are increasingly touristy and overdeveloped they remain a popular vacation destination for many. Outdoor enthusiasts and those interested in water sports — especially fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling — will find in the Keys a water wonderland. After all, the chain of islands is home to the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef.

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