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Top 10 Florida Vacation Destinations

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Everyone is familiar with Florida's top vacation destination — Disney World. However, there are several other destinations that draw millions of visitors to the Sunshine State each year. If you're looking for a can't-miss place to go on vacation, you should consider one of these tried-and-true Florida vacation destinations.

1. Disney World

Disney World
scottrsmith/Flickr
Who can resist the fairy tale? Not many. Disney World is Florida's most popular vacation destination. Why shouldn't it be? Where else can you vacation at a magical and happy place? Where else can you exchange your simple life for a few magical days of castles, princesses and characters taken out of story books and your favorite Disney movies?

Unfortunately, Disney World can easily be the most expensive vacation you'll ever take too, but it doesn't have to be. Disney provides hotel resort accommodations for every budget — including value, moderate and deluxe — as well as a wide range of ticket choices.

2. Orlando

Universal Orlando
Compliments of Universal Studios Orlando
There is more to Orlando than just Disney World. Universal Orlando is a popular destination resort with its own hotels and theme parks. Nearby, SeaWorld Orlando anchors the popular International Drive area that plays host to over 100 hotels and 150 spectacular restaurants.

The fun in Orlando doesn't stop there. Plenty of options abound for both the budget minded traveler as well as the discriminating vacationer. Additional resort opportunities, golf, themed and dinner theater experiences and plenty more attractions are conveniently located within a few miles of the major theme parks.

3. St. Augustine

Couple relaxes on porch of bed and breakfast in St. Augustine, Florida.
Compliments of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches CVB
Whether you're looking for romance or a family destination, you'll find in St. Augustine what you are seeking. Its Old-World charm, historical monuments, unique attractions, world-class shopping, and beaches just minutes away make it an ideal vacation destination for couples and families alike.

4. The Keys

Keys Coral Reef
© Photographer Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau
Although they are becoming increasingly touristy, Florida's Keys still draw over a million visitors a year. This string of islands bound together by the Overseas Highway have become a diving and sport fishing mecca. Each island has its own ambience – from Key Largo's suburbia, that serves as a bedroom community to Homestead and Miami, to Key West's Old Town that oozes with peculiar Key West charm that has made the town famous.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a wealth of things to do and see – world-class snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and camping. Others will enjoy the history and endless entertainment.

5. Amelia Island

Downtown Fernandina Beach
© Amelia Island Tourist Development Council
Florida's northernmost barrier island, Amelia Island, boasts 26 square miles of rich history and natural beauty. Whether you're looking for all-inclusive resorts or a quaint oceanfront cottage, a sea-side villa or an ocean-view hotel... you'll find all that and more - dining, shopping, golf and tennis.

Although the all-inclusive resorts can be a bit pricey, there are alternative accommodations for the budget-minded — from camping at area state parks to affordable hotels. While this may mean you might not enjoy oceanfront views, there is plenty of public beach access for a sand-sational vacation.

6. Miami

South Beach
© Greater Miami CVB
While the mention of Miami may conjure up visions of a tropical paradise — beaches, palm trees and ocean surf — it is also one of the world's centers of commerce, fashion and entertainment. Greater Miami offers visitors the cutting edge of urban chic. Miami has evolved into an international destination and the world's most famous fun-in-the-sun playground. Visitors are lured to the area year round with perfect weather, award-winning beaches and a celebrity-driven, sizzling nightlife scene that grooves to an only-in-Miami beat.

7. Daytona Beach

Sun Splash Park
© Daytona Beach Area CVB
Twenty-three miles of sparkling white sandy beaches and beautiful blue-green waters make Daytona Beach an irresistible playground for kids of all ages. This popular family vacation spot pretty much makes child's play out of having fun.

If you and your family can manage to tear yourselves away from the beach, you'll discover the Daytona Beach area is full of fun activities and attractions.

8. Panama City Beach

Couple pauses while biking in Panama City, Florida.
Compliments of Panama City CVB
The hub of what's often called the Redneck Riviera, Panama City Beach is not just a spring break hot spot, but a top beach destination for families. Rated the #1 beach in 1995 by world-renowned geologist, Dr. Stephen Leatherman (Dr. Beach), Panama City has over 27 miles of beach, emerald green waters and sugary white sands along the Gulf of Mexico.

9. Ft. Myers/Sanibel Island

Sanibel Shelling
© Lee County CVB
While Fort Myers and Sanibel Island were hard hit in 2004 by Hurricane Charley, they seem to be well on their way to a full recovery. The area is known for its nice beaches and great shelling, but also holds a few surprises — the J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge and some unique shopping and dining experiences among them.

10. Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater

Clearwater Beach Sunset
© Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater
This tri-city area, better known as Tampa Bay, is a favorite among those that prefer the white sand and gentle surf of the Gulf of Mexico. While Clearwater Beach is seemingly in transition — losing many of its quaint mom-and-pop motels to the queenliness of condo towers — it still boasts one of the best beaches in the area.

St. Petersburg not only offers a great beach, but a downtown waterfront wonderland featuring The Pier.

While Tampa can't brag about its beach, it has a busy cruise port and attractions like Busch Gardens and The Florida Aquarium, as well as Raymond James Stadium, home to the Tampa Bay Bucs.

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