The Ultimate Guide to the Best Things to Do in Florida During the Summer

Nick Polutchko
Posted by Nick Polutchko
Updated on
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Published in Things To Do

For some people, summertime in Florida is hot and humid enough to drive them back up north. But for those of us who call Florida home all year round, summer is a good time to take advantage of the lack of snowbirds. Things that are normally overcrowded or overpriced can be more pleasant and more accessible. For instance, reservations at some of the best restaurants will be easier to get. So will tee times. Or a spot on a charter boat. There's a slew of good off-peak-season deals, Florida-resident incentives, and more. So, whether you’re just looking to cool off by the water, pick up a new hobby, or plan a weekend trip, here’s your ultimate guide to the best things to do in Florida during the summer.

1. Explore the Beaches You've Overlooked

Sitting outside in the sun might not be the most obvious choice, since South Florida's summers can be incredibly hot, however, temperatures by the ocean are usually a couple of degrees cooler than further inland, and taking the occasional dip in the water, along with some helping breezes can make it feel much more tolerable.  Shade and sun protection are absolutely necessary, of course.  Get a good beach umbrella, tent, or some kind of shade, and be sure to lather up that SPF 50. Wearing a sun shirt for at least part of the day isn't a bad idea either; you'll see that many seasoned Floridians are taking this approach. With over 1,300 miles of coastline, there’s a beach for every preference, so if you tend to stick to wherever is closest to you, try shaking things up and exploring someplace new to you. The Palm Beaches are famous for our outstanding stretches of sand and brilliant blue water. But if you haven't spent much time on the Gulf Coast, then visit Clearwater Beach for its soft white sand and vibrant atmosphere, or head to Siesta Key Beach, consistently ranked among the best beaches in the U.S. For a more serene experience, explore the secluded shores of Caladesi Island State Park. The warm Gulf waters are perfect for swimming, paddleboarding, or simply lounging under the sun.

2. Orlando: Take the family to the Parks

Even though it's hot, the world-famous theme parks in Orlando stay lively in the summer months when school's out. So, if you know how to handle the heat, then taking the family to Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, or Busch Gardens can still be a great time. Many of the parks have made renovations or upgrades in recent months or years, and Florida residents can often find pretty good discounts. It's no surprise that the sales of frozen drinks, ice cream, and novelty items to help keep cool are up in the summer. This isn't their first rodeo, they know how to get people to enjoy their experiences even when the weather isn't ideal.

3. Discover and appreciate wildlife and Nature

Florida's natural beauty extends well beyond its beaches.  For instance, the natural springs in central and north Florida can be a much better experience in the summer, since they can actually get pretty cold (well, relatively) during South Florida's "peak" season of January to April. If you've still never made it down to the Everglades to take an airboat tour to see alligators, manatees, and a variety of bird species, then now's a great time. For a unique experience, visit Crystal River to swim with the gentle manatees in their natural habitat. 

4. Try a New Activity

Summer in South Florida generally means people tend to avoid spending a lot of time outside during the middle of the day if they can help it. However, if you're looking to pick up something new, then the mornings or evenings during the summer still provide excellent opportunities. For instance, if you've been wanting to learn to golf or improve your game, then evening summer sessions are great for multiple reasons. First, some of the best private golf clubs and courses will offer summer preview memberships. Second, public golf is much cheaper here in the summertime, and there is much more availability when it comes to tee times, range space, or lesson bookings. Similarly, if you've been looking to get into kayaking, paddleboarding, or anything that requires a rental or lesson, then the rates (and lack of crowds) in the summer can make it much more accessible. 

5. Museums, Aquariums, Zoos, and More

From Key West to Pensacola, Florida has some of the country's best zoos and aquariums. There are too many to list, but even right here in our own backyard, the Palm Beach Zoo, Lion Country Safari, Manatee Lagoon, and Loggerhead Marine Life Center are great summertime activities if you have kids or just love learning about animals.

Love history? Well, if you haven't been to the oldest city in the United States, then add it to the summertime list. Take a trip to St. Augustine tp explore its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture, the historic Castillo de San Marcos, and the charming cobblestone streets.

Museums, art galleries, and exhibits can also offer a good way to stay out of the heat.

6. Relish Florida’s Culinary Delights

As we mentioned before, fewer crowds mean that some of the best restaurants in the state will have more availability, and many will even offer specific summer menus or specials. Florida's cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors influenced by its diverse cultures. Savor fresh seafood at one of the many coastal restaurants, indulge in Cuban dishes in Miami’s Little Havana, or try the famous key lime pie in the Florida Keys. Farmers' markets and food festivals across the state offer a chance to taste local produce and specialties.

7. Relax and Rejuvenate

Sometimes the best part of a summer vacation is simply relaxing. Since summer is Florida's "off-season" for tourism (in most places), a lot of the hotels and resorts will have better rates. So, if you're looking to score a deal on a weekend getaway, golf trip, or spa package, then summer is a good time to go! Florida’s world-famous resorts and spas provide the perfect setting for a time to unwind. Enjoy a luxurious stay at a beachfront resort in Destin or treat yourself to a spa day in Palm Beach. The tranquil surroundings and high-quality services ensure a rejuvenating experience.

Make the Most of Your Florida Summer

More people have moved to Florida over the past few years than ever before. So, as many people are still getting acclimated to the heat and humidity, we hope that this list of things to do in Florida during the summertime can help you really appreciate this state you're lucky enough to call home. 

Did you find this article because you're curious about moving here, but wanted to make sure the summers aren't too bad first? Great! Talk with one of our expert local agents who can tell you all about the various areas and what they offer.

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