13 Must-Visit Stops on a Florida Road Trip for Latino Travelers — From a Local
The Florida peninsula has it all for families who want to create unforgettable memories. And if this year’s plan is to all go to Walt Disney World Resort, why not make a list of must-see places along the way that will make the experience even more incredible?
Growing up in Florida, road trips were always a must.
I still remember my family packing the car, blasting Willy Chirino, Celia Cruz, and Luis Miguel on our way to Walt Disney World Resort or the Kennedy Space Center to make our childhood dreams come true.
For my Cuban family, Florida‘s peninsula had it all. From seashell-lined beaches to theme parks, what’s not to love?
Later, when I moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I drove countless times up and down the state. I learned its best spots for a quick visit, leaning into pieces of history, nightlife, beaches, and more. Here are my top 13 must-visit spots for Latino travelers in Florida.
1. Walt Disney World Resort
Our first stop is none other than Florida’s must-go destination: Walt Disney World Resort.
From dining experiences, theme parks and hotels, the resort has a place to make dreams come true for anyone at any age. Choose from one or visit all their theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
If you’re looking to make a splash, head over to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach where you’ll find aquatic experiences, thrill rides, relaxation and more. As you’re ready to wind down for the day, you can choose from one of Disney’s deluxe villas or hotels, we promise you’ll never have more fun than in one of their themed rooms.
2. Kennedy Space Center
For a cosmic experience without leaving Earth, head over to Cape Canaveral, home to the Kennedy Space Center. The NASA complex is home to the launchpad for many U.S. space programs and exhibitions. You can watch rockets launch into space from one of their viewing locations, tour the center and discover the ins and outs of space travel.
3. Ginnie Springs
Cool off from the summer heat at Ginnie Springs. Seven crystal clear springs are perfect for relaxing or adventuring as you kayak, paddleboard, or tube through their 72-degree waters. While some people prefer to bring a tent or their RV to camp out, others enjoy the freshwater dive for its proximity to nature and beautiful underwater scenery.
4. The Dalí Museum
If you are on Florida’s west coast, head to The Salvador Dalí Museum. The whimsical art museum in St. Petersburg has 96 oil paintings, thousands of graphics, photographs, sculptures, and objects. Designed by Yann Weymouth, the surrealism-inspired structure has memorable features, including a sculpture garden, glass ceiling, and spiral staircase.
5. Sanibel and Captiva Island
A few miles off the coast of Fort Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva islands are dreamy beach destinations perfect for unwinding. Best known for its seashell-lined shores, both islands are great for solo, couples, and family travel. There are plenty of incredible resorts, restaurants, and local hotels to make your stay as relaxing as possible. The islands are easy to explore by kayak and bicycle. You might also get lucky enough to catch native wildlife as you explore.
6. Downtown Naples
Only have a short amount of time to explore? Downtown Naples is a good place for a quick yet fulfilling stop. The historic area is known for its sophisticated architecture, fine dining, cafes, shops, and boutiques. There’s also the stunning Naples City Dock by Crayton Cove and the Naples Pier, where you can stop for a drink while watching the sunset.
7. Little Havana
If you’re hanging out in Florida, there’s no way you can miss Miami. The Ciudad del Sol is home to one of the country’s largest conglomerations of Latino immigrants, evident in its colorful streets. One historic spot you can’t miss is Little Havana. If you’re looking for a taste of Cuban flair, head over to 8th Street, where you’ll catch elders playing dominoes, get your salsa moves going at Ball & Chain, and eat some of the city’s best Cuban food.
9. Wynwood Art District
While you’re in the Miami area, Wynwood Art District is also a must. Visit one of their breweries and walk through blocks of murals. This area feels like walking through an outdoor museum, perfect for taking pictures and getting a sense of Miami’s younger crowd. If you’re looking for places to eat, this is also the perfect spot for finding some of the city’s most chic restaurants and bars.
8. Perez Art Museum
Step into Miami’s museum world by visiting the newly-installed Museum Park in Downtown Miami, where you’ll find the waterfront beauty of the Perez Art Museum (PAMM). The contemporary art collection features 20th and 21st-century international art, with many Latin American artist pieces on display. You can also have lunch at Verde, where you’ll have one of the best bay views as you eat or enjoy a coffee.
9. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Travel back in time to the early days of Miami to James Deering’s Villa Vizcaya. The former home and estate of the businessman is located in the Coconut Grove neighborhood with oceanfront views. Spend the day strolling through ornate Italian Renaissance gardens, historic village, and the home’s Mediterranean Revival architecture style.
10. Key West
Florida’s southernmost point is some of the best fun in the state. The charming island city, part of the Florida Keys archipelago, is known for being a historic hot spot for writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Jose Martí, and the early tobacco makers of the state. Key West’s natural landscapes are also worth the trip, with coral reef spots great for snorkeling, diving, and scuba diving.
12. Las Olas Boulevard
Lining a crystal clear waterfront, Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard is an excellent place for dining, shopping, and nightlife. Whether you’re looking to have a delicious meal at one of more than 30 restaurants in the area or want to stroll along the Riverwalk, the boulevard has it all. You can also visit the historic Stranahan House Museum or take a gondola ride (Yes! A gondola ride!).
13. Everglades National Park
Did you really visit Florida if you didn’t see a gator? I certainly don’t think so. Everglades National Park is a World Heritage Site, a Wetland of International Importance, protected by the Cartagena Treaty as a habitat for endangered species such as the manatee, American crocodile, Florida Panther, and more. Explore the park with a guided tour, go on an airboat ride, and hike through swamps as you enjoy nature.
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