15 Florida Tourist Traps You Actually Need To Visit

Escape the cliché and dive into the genuine allure of these Florida hotspots.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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The land of palm trees, sunshine, and oranges is also known for its endless entertainment. The truth is, no one does tourist traps like the state of Florida.

So, with all these options, you might have to step up your travel game and make sure you know what’s truly worth visiting.

If you’re worried about choosing the wrong thing and wasting your budget, here are 15 tourist traps worth your time and hard-earned money.

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Butterfly World: Coconut Creek

Courtesy of Butterfly World butterfly world in coconut creek

Imagine being surrounded by stunning butterflies floating above. At Butterfly World, you’ll be outnumbered by 5,000 butterflies adding color to the Florida landscape.

Of course, where there are butterflies, there are flowers, so this is a relaxing and gorgeous place. Plus, it’s the largest butterfly park in the world.

Adults are $32.50, and children are $22.50, but you can get an annual pass for just over twice that amount. If this is a spot you’ll visit more than once, that could be worth the splurge.

Marineland Dolphin Adventure: St. Augustine

Courtesy of Marineland Dolphin Adventure marineland dolphin adventure

Open since 1938, Marineland Dolphin Adventure is a favorite of kids and adults alike.

This attraction features shark feeding and dolphin shows, but there's one activity that's splurge-worthy: swimming with the dolphins.

The prices of the interactive experiences can add up, but the base-level encounter in the water is $145, which is definitely worth it for any budding marine biologist.

Devil’s Den: Williston

Courtesy of Devil's Den devils den in williston

This natural landmark is an underground spring that looks absolutely otherworldly.

The admission ticket to Devil’s Den is only $18 a person, but if you want to go snorkeling, you’ll need to rent or bring your equipment.

Also, make sure to make a reservation, or you may miss your chance.

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Sarasota Jungle Gardens: Sarasota

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Vibrant pink flamingos roaming, parrots that are eager to be held, alligators that could be deemed friendly, and animal shows are waiting for you at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Kids under three are free, adults are $24.99, and kids over three are $14.99. You can also spring for an annual family pass.

Gatorland: Orlando

Courtesy of Gatorland gatorland in orlando

This wildlife attraction has alligators, crocodiles, and snakes. If you’re feeling brave, splurge on the zipline over the gators.

At $34.99 for adults and $24.99 for kids, Gatorland isn’t a cheap spot to stop, but the decades-long history and the allure of the animals make it worth it.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing: Ocala

Courtesy of Don Garlits Museum don garlits museum

The adventure of drag racing goes hand-in-hand with Florida culture, and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits was iconic in the drag racing scene.

At this museum in Ocala, you can see many of Garlits’ cars and those belonging to other famous dragsters.

And, no, this isn’t a memorial — Don is still alive and well, showing up to lead tours on occasion – though that will cost you an extra fee over the $22 for adults.

Bioluminescent Kayaking: Brevard County

Courtesy of BK tours bioluminescent kayaking in brevard county

Want to feel as if you’ve been transported to an ethereal world?

Stop at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to experience lagoons full of bioluminescent organisms. Everything in the water glows, and you can experience it by kayaking through the water.

You can book an excursion through several companies but expect to pay between $75 and $99 to go kayaking. It’s worth it, though, for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Lion Country Safari: Loxahatchee

Courtesy of Lion Country Safari lion country safari in loxahatchee

Experience a cage-less zoo at this safari park, where lions, zebras, giraffes, and other animals roam freely around you.

You drive through the park, getting up close and personal with these wild animals, but this park also exists for good. They help threatened species through conservation and breeding efforts.

You’ll pay per person rather than by car, and it can get pricey at $49 per adult and $37 for children ages three to none, but how often do you get to drive up to a lion?

Dry Tortugas: Key West

Courtesy of Dry Tortugas dry tortugas near key west

Emerging out of the water is a seven-island area known as Dry Tortugas National Park. It’s home to Fort Jefferson, stunning blue waters, and lots of outdoor activities.

You can only reach it via boat or seaplane, so it’s not exactly a quick stop. Luckily, even though you’ll have to splurge to get there, admission is only $15, and the pass is good for seven days.

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Robbie’s of Islamorada: Islamorada

Courtesy of Robbie's of Islamorada robbies of islamorada in islamorada

Robbie’s Marina is a marina turned into a roadside attraction, drawing in fans from along the Overseas Highway.

Here, you can feed tarpons, which are big fish with impressive presence, particularly when in a feeding frenzy.

It only costs $1 to get access to the dock, then $3 to feed the fish, though the restaurants and the souvenirs are where you’ll be tempted to spend more.

Animal Kingdom: Bay Lake

Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort animal kingdom in bay lake

Disney is known for being pricey at $109 for a one-day, one-park pass. But Animal Kingdom is a favorite of animal lovers, and the magic never gets old for children and adults alike.

This particular park is the largest and offers a variety of things to see and do. From truly amazing shows to the Yeti’s roller coaster and the extremely high-rated Avatar rides.

You might pay a hefty price for the ticket and wait in line for a while, but it’s still worth the magic.

Kennedy Space Center: Merritt Island

Courtesy of Kennedy Space Center kennedy space center

Are you fascinated by space and technology?

Then, the $75 admission could be worth it to explore one of NASA’s most iconic space centers.

There are incredible space exhibits, as well as interactive opportunities.

Salvador Dali Museum: St. Petersburg

Courtesy of Salvador Dali Museum salvador dali museum

To switch things up from animals and space, the Salvador Dali Museum is a fascinating and architecturally stunning place to stop while you're making your way through Florida.

You'll learn about Dali's avant-garde, surrealist art, and you'll pay $29 for adult tickets, which seems reasonable for a well-done art museum.

Busch Gardens: Tampa

Courtesy of Busch Gardens busch gardens in tampa

While Busch Gardens tickets aren’t cheap at $138.99 for an adult all-day ticket, there’s no doubt that Busch Gardens is one of the most well-done amusement parks out there.

With entertainment, roller coasters, animals, and great food, it’s worth the price of admission.

Everglades Wonder Gardens: Bonita Springs

Courtesy of Wonder Gardens everglades wonder gardens

This nature refuge is a favorite of those who are smitten with Florida’s most iconic animals. Here, you can see these impressive creatures in a wild-ish habitat.

Compared to other attractions, this one is a steal, which makes it absolutely worth it. Adults are $12, children are $7, and there’s a military and first responder discount.

Bottom line

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Choosing your itinerary has a lot to do with who you’re traveling with and your personal preferences. But at least with these tourist traps, you know you’re getting your money’s worth.

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Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.