15 Things You Should Never Do In Florida

“Miami beach” by Fathzer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Planning a trip to Florida is easier than you think, even if you’re not a travel pro. Before you head to the Sunshine State, it’s good to know a few insider tips. Florida offers more than just beaches and theme parks, though those are great places to visit. However, there are also some things you should never do in Florida. Here are 15 things you should avoid doing there!

Only Hanging Out at the Beach

Coconut Trees
Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels

Florida’s beaches are amazing, but it’s a big mistake to stay only on the coast. Heading inland reveals a wealth of exciting things to do. Nature enthusiasts will be thrilled by the wildlife in the Everglades and state parks, and there’s even an underwater national park to explore. From museums to festivals, Florida offers unique experiences all across the state.

Missing Out on Beach Days

Beach Waterfront
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If you plan a trip to Florida without a beach day, you’re truly missing out. While there’s plenty to enjoy about the state beyond its beaches, they are one of Florida’s main attractions. Skipping the beach would make your vacation feel incomplete. Plus, with over 600 miles of coastline, you will surely find one that suits your tastes perfectly.

Thinking All Theme Parks Are in Orlando

Florida – Orlando: EPCOT – Spaceship EARTH, iconic building of the famous Theme Park” by Traveller-Reini is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

It might surprise you, but not all of the state’s theme parks are in Orlando. Many are located in nearby cities such as Kissimmee. Even Walt Disney World Resort and its famous parks are situated in Lake Buena Vista, not in proper Orlando. Other theme parks are scattered across different areas. For example, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is located in Tampa, and Legoland Florida Resort is found in Winter Haven.

Missing Charming Border Towns

“Florida – Palm Beach: Palm Beach Town Hall” by wallyg is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Many travelers heading south on I-95 to Florida from the north are usually fixed on reaching South Florida or Orlando’s theme parks. Yet, they often overlook one of the state’s most beautiful areas in North Florida, just below the Georgia border. You can bike along oak-lined paths for miles on Amelia Island, camp behind the dunes at Little Talbot Island State Park, and enjoy the surf culture and beach town atmosphere in Atlantic Beach.

Forgetting to Protect Sea Turtles

turtle swimming on body of water
Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

In Florida, we cherish our sea turtles—especially during nesting season from March to October for green, loggerhead, and leatherback turtles. If you stay on the beach during this period, keep outdoor lights off after dark and draw your curtains tightly. Interior lights can confuse nesting sea turtles, who rely on natural moonlight, potentially disrupting their vital breeding activities.

Expecting Always Sunny Weather

blue sky with white sun
Photo by Grooveland Designs on Unsplash

While Florida is known as the Sunshine State, the weather isn’t always sunny. Winters can be cool, and during summer, expect daily afternoon thunderstorms like clockwork. It’s a typical part of Florida summers, but it shouldn’t ruin your plans—these storms come and go swiftly and unexpectedly. Just remember to consider them when making plans and be ready to adjust accordingly.

Forgetting Sunscreen

Sun Drawing Sunscreen on Child s Back Photo
Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels

As we said earlier, Florida isn’t always sunny, but due to its subtropical location, the sun’s rays can be strong even on cloudy days. A sunburn can quickly spoil your trip, so remember to apply and reapply sunscreen while you’re here. Go for reef-safe sunscreen, especially if you’re headed to the beach. Also, pack bug spray to protect yourself from mosquitoes and love bugs that are common in Florida.

Driving Between Orlando and Tampa

Man Inside Vehicle
Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels

When you drive southwest from Orlando on Interstate-4 towards Tampa, you’re on the path many theme park visitors take to reach Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. But for those who travel this route often, Interstate-4 can be pretty scary. It’s known for heavy traffic around the theme parks, ongoing construction, and frequent accidents that can pop up unexpectedly.

Missing Magical Bioluminescence

“Some more photos of the bioluminescent tide at Dog Beach (Del Mar North Beach) in Del Mar.” by slworking2 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Guess what? You don’t have to travel all the way to Puerto Rico to witness a bioluminescent bay. Right here in Florida, we have this natural wonder. In the summer months, the Indian River Lagoon lights up with a bluish glow—thanks to tiny organisms called dinoflagellates in the water. Paddling a kayak through these waters feels magical, with streaking mullets resembling underwater rockets and the bioluminescent waters shimmering with sparkles all around you.

Missing Florida’s Wild Side

“Rainbow Springs State Park” by Darryl Kenyon is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Florida’s beaches and theme parks are amazing, but its natural world is truly unique. If you’re an adventurous traveler who loves wild plants and animals, consider tubing down Rainbow Springs State Park, exploring Silver Springs State Park with its famous glass-bottom boat tours, diving in Devil’s Den, an ancient spring, taking a clear kayak tour on Crystal River, or hiking at Rock Springs Run State Reserve. Venture off the usual paths, and you’ll discover incredible experiences.

Ignoring Hurricane Season

Black and white photo of a large wave crashing into the ocean
Photo by Chen Te on Pexels

Florida’s official hurricane season lasts from June to November. While it’s okay to visit during this period, we Floridians are used to weather changes, so you should be aware that your vacation might be affected. Hurricanes usually give plenty of warning, so you’ll have time to prepare. A useful tip? Stay calm until you see locals rushing to buy groceries and supplies. When that happens, it’s a sign to head home until the storm passes.

Disturbing Wildlife

A seagull flying in the sky with its wings spread
Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels

Florida’s alligators are pretty cool when they’re left alone in their natural habitats. It’s very important not to mess with Florida’s wildlife in any way. Even something as innocent as feeding seagulls at the beach can really mess up the state’s delicate balance of nature.  If you come across baby gators (chances are high), just stay calm and still like a statue, and they’ll safely walk on by.

Passing Up the Florida Keys

“The Southernmost House Grand Hotel and Museum – Key West, Florida” by Lee Edwin Coursey is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Looking for a tropical island escape without leaving the US? Visit the Florida Keys. This chain of islands extends about 120 miles from Key Largo to Key West—the southernmost point of the continental United States. Each Key is stunningly beautiful, offering a relaxed and scenic taste of the best of Florida in one package.

Not Trying Stone Crabs

“Stone crab” by MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

In Florida, grouper sandwiches and Key lime pie are famous dishes. However, for seafood lovers, the best time to visit is from October 15 to May 1, when stone crabs are legally harvested and served fresh at seafood restaurants statewide. Stone crabs are sustainable and renewable seafood because usually, only one claw is taken at a time. The meat inside is sweet and clean-tasting often served with a mustard dipping sauce.

Not Checking If Fish Is Fresh

grilled fish with vegetable salad on white ceramic plate
Photo by Alex Teixeira on Unsplash

Florida offers a variety of delicious foods, and fresh fish is a standout choice—grouper and mahi-mahi are especially popular if you’re trying seafood for the first time. However, not every fish on the menu here is locally caught and fresh. If it’s not specifically from the nearby Gulf or Atlantic Ocean, it’s best to avoid ordering it. It’s a well-known rule in Florida: You might be disappointed if you don’t stick to fresh, locally sourced fish.