8 Major Mistakes to Avoid on a Florida Vacation as per Floridians

Florida may be known for its reputation. This state known for outdoor adventures, watery exploits, and charming tiny beach towns you can enjoy all year round has surprises around every turn, including our beaches, theme parks, and family fun.

As a longtime Floridian, I’ll tell you, that you may not know the state as well as you believe. Why do we shine our beach lights for months? Where can you kayak in a nighttime blue lagoon? Our sustainable crustacean tastes best in creamy mustard sauce.

Read on for Florida vacation mistakes to avoid ideas for locations to go and cool activities you probably didn’t realize you could do here.

Bypassing Border Towns

North Florida’s finest stretch, just south of Georgia, is typically overlooked by northern drivers heading down I-95 to South Florida and Orlando’s theme parks.

Ride a bike around Amelia Island’s miles of oak-lined paths, camp behind the dunes on Little Talbot Island State Park’s undeveloped barrier island, and enjoy Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville’s most charming beach town, with its surf culture and classic Florida beach vibes. North Florida deserves the detour.

Thinking Orlando’s Best Food is at Theme Parks

8 Major Mistakes to Avoid on a Florida Vacation as per Floridians

There’s Orlando theme park and the city 15 kilometers north. In this metropolis of many culinary influences from Laotian and Indian to Ethiopian and Moroccan, Thornton Park, Winter Park, College Park, and Mills 50, famed for its Asian cuisine, are great places to eat.

MICHELIN Guide Orlando eateries like Soseki and Knife & Spoon received their first Michelin stars. Other Orlando favorites like gastropub The Ravenous Pig and Italian wood-fired restaurant Prato are also good.

Not Turning Off Sea Turtle Lights

We adore Florida sea turtles. Green, loggerhead, and leatherback sea turtles nest from March to October. Guided sea turtle nesting night walks in Brevard, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties are available in season. You may spot hatchlings running for the ocean on your morning beach walk.

If you’re staying on the beach, turn off your external lights and draw your curtains at night. Inside lights can fool mama sea turtles into thinking they’re the moonlight, distracting them from reproducing.

8 Major Mistakes to Avoid on a Florida Vacation as per Floridians

Overlooking Interior

With 1,350 miles of coastline, Florida appeals to beachgoers from the powdery Panhandle to the coral cays of the Florida Keys. There’s also lots to see inland.

The Equestrian Hotel in Ocala, a hilly town north of Orlando known for raising thoroughbreds and Arabian horses, lets you watch weekend jumping contests at a vast arena from your accommodation.

Visit Rainbow Springs State Park and Itchetuckneee Springs State Park in Central Florida to swim or tube in the state’s abundant freshwater springs. There are lots of ways to stay cool and entertained without the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.

Neglecting Bioluminescence Update

A bioluminescent bay isn’t just at Puerto Rico’s Vieques or other popular Caribbean destinations. The phenomenon occurs throughout Florida. When you kayak with A Day Away Kayak Tours after dark in the Indian River Lagoon near Titusville on Florida’s east coast in summer, dinoflagellates in the water make it shine blue. This is stunning, as streaking mullets look like underwater rockets in bioluminescent seas that shine everywhere.

Ignoring Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Outside the Florida Keys

The only continental US living coral barrier reef lies in the island chain south of Miami to Key West, offering great snorkeling and diving. However, people often overlook the numerous other places to scuba dive and snorkel beyond the Florida Keys, many with equally magnificent underwater scenery.

Phil Foster Park (also known as the Blue Heron Bridge) in West Palm Beach has an underwater snorkeling route in the Intracoastal River where you can see octopus, flying gurnards, spade fish, and other oddities in pristine waters.

Scuba divers love Jupiter Inlet’s wrecks and reefs, where huge grouper spawn by the scores in August and September. One of the world’s best sites to cave dive is Florida’s inland springs, which bring expert divers to miles of underwater channels.

Neglecting Hurricane Season

The official hurricane season in Florida is June–November. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t visit during this time—we live here year-round and handle the weather—but vacation pandemonium may result.

Hurricanes allow plenty of time to prepare and escape. A good rule? Wait until locals seem frantic before panicking. When they start buying overdrive, clearing supermarket and home improvement store shelves, go home until the storm passes.

8 Major Mistakes to Avoid on a Florida Vacation as per Floridians

Skip Stone Crabs on the Menu

Florida cuisine often highlights grouper sandwiches and Key lime pie. Seafood lovers know to visit from October 15 to May 1, when stone crabs can be lawfully collected and served fresh at state seafood restaurants like Joe’s Stone Crab.

Since crustaceans are harvested one claw at a time and returned to the water to regrow, they constitute a sustainable seafood supply. A typical mustard dipping sauce pairs with the juicy claw meat’s sweet, clean flavor.


Florida is a state brimming with hidden gems and unique experiences beyond its well-known attractions. From exploring the charming border towns to savoring diverse cuisines in Orlando, respecting sea turtles during nesting season to discovering the magic of bioluminescence, there’s much more to Florida than meets the eye. Explore, savor, and enjoy the Sunshine State’s diverse offerings.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *