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Orlando's theme parks? Hard to miss. Wildlife encounters? They're everywhere. But don't overlook Florida's colorful past via its historic homes-turned-museums (particularly from Palm Beach south) and coastal forts. For top-notch art collections, St. Petersburg surprises. Or, for even more things to do in Florida, hit Cape Canaveral, and catch a NASA-fueled science lesson that's out of this world.

Things to do in Florida

Biscayne National Park

Scuba enthusiasts should beeline for off-the-beaten path Biscayne National Park (not on Key Biscayne) to see first-rate coral formations without Keys-size crowds; boat trips with stops for snorkeling are offered daily (scuba diving takes place on the weekends only).

South Florida, 9700 S.W. 328th St., FL, 305-230-1100, www.nps.gov/bisc
Tags: editor pick | things to do | wildlife | adventure

Castillo de San Marcos

This massive 17th-century limestone fort – the oldest of its kind in North America – anchors St. Augustine, the nation's first city.

Northeast Florida, One S. Castillo Dr., FL, 904-829-6506, www.nps.gov/casa
Tags: editor pick | things to do | architecture | history | national park

Collins Avenue

South Beach's stylish Art Deco enclave still packs an evening wallop. Dress to impress and sashay among the high-end hotel bars (Delano, Shore Club) before hitting the clubs.

Miami Beach, Collins between 16th and 20th Sts., FL, www.shoreclub.com
Tags: nightlife | editor pick | trendy | things to do | architecture

Everglades National Park

Infiltrate the largest subtropical wilderness in the country via tram tour, airboat tour, canoe trail, or footpath for natural encounters with alligators, American crocodiles, and over 20 species of wading birds.

South Florida, FL, 305-242-7700, www.nps.gov/ever
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | wildlife | national park

Explore St. Petersburg

Over 50 museums and galleries – including a celebrated collection of Salvador Dali works – and frequent festivals give the sun-drenched bayside city center an artsy edge.

Tampa Bay Area, FL, www.floridasbeach.com
Tags: family | editor pick | art | things to do | museum

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Explore a kaleidoscope of tropical fish and coral in warm, protected waters. Dive Key West leads scuba trips to local wrecks and reefs; certification courses are also available.

FL, 800-426-0707, www.divekeywest.com
Tags: editor pick | things to do | wildlife | adventure

The Breakers

Follow in the footsteps of Vanderbilts and Rockefellers with dinner, a spa day, or an overnight stay at Florida's legendary century-old luxury resort, set on 140 acres of prime oceanfront.

South Florida, One S. Country Rd., FL, 888-273-2537, www.thebreakers.com
Tags: luxury | editor pick | smart splurge | things to do

The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass

The country's largest outlet mall now boasts this high-end, open-air shopping plaza with a growing number of designer discount houses; think Burberry, Kate Spade, and Neiman Marcus.

South Florida, 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd., FL, 954-846-2350, www.sawgrassmillsmall.com
Tags: shopping | editor pick | things to do | designer | clothing

Walt Disney World

Indulge in fantasy at Magic Kingdom, globetrotting flair at Epcot Center, wildlife encounters at Animal Kingdom, cinematic themes at Disney-MGM Studios, and aquatic thrills at WDW's two water parks.

Lake Buena Vista, FL, 407-939-6244, www.disneyworld.com
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do

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