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Floridians' Bucket List


The dawn of a new year is always a great time to reassess one's life and goals. And, as Floridians, there are so many experiences to be had and places to explore in our great state before we cross through those Pearly Gates. So, to commemorate a new year and pay homage to being a responsible Floridian, Florida Monthly® has generated its very own "Floridians' Bucket List," cataloging a variety of "must-do"s for Sunshine State residents.

checkbox Explore a miniature rain forest in a massive sinkhole at Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park in Gainesville (Alachua County).
checkbox Traverse through 20 different biological communities at Paynes Prairie in Micanopy (Alachua County).
checkbox Visit the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings homestead in Cross Creek (Alachua County).
checkbox Attend a ButterflyFest at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville (Alachua County).
checkbox Successfully drive through Waldo without getting a speeding ticket (Alachua County).
checkbox In October, ride a Ferris Wheel at the Baker County Fair in Macclenny (Baker County).
checkbox Swim with the dolphins at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach (Bay County).
checkbox Check out the old cars at the Starke Cruzin' nights (Bradford County).
checkbox See a rocket launch, tour the visitors' complex, or explore the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center (Brevard County).
checkbox Fish in mosquito lagoon (Brevard County).
checkbox Relax at Jetty Park and watch the cruise ships set sail from Port Canaveral (Brevard County).
checkbox Pick up something from the flea market, observe a circus performance, and watch a film in the drive-in theatre at the Swap Shop in Fort Lauderdale (Broward County).
checkbox Watch sea turtles laying eggs along the beach in Fort Lauderdale (Broward County).
checkbox Shop for the latest designs at Sawgrass Mills in Fort Lauderdale (Broward County).
checkbox Have a four-hour canoeing, kayaking or tubing adventure between Look and Tremble Landing and Lam Eddie Landing on the Chipola River (Calhoun County).
checkbox Enjoy a little bit of everything at Fishermen's Village, a waterfront mall, resort and marina in Punta Gorda (Charlotte County).
checkbox Observe manatees in Crystal River or Homosassa Springs (Citrus County) or at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City (Volusia County).
checkbox Feel like a kid again at the Clay County Agricultural Fair (Clay County) every April.
checkbox Pay respect to veterans at the Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park (Clay County).
checkbox Learn about Florida's illusive creature, the skunk ape, at Ochopee's Skunk Ape research Headquarters (Collier County).
checkbox Have the ribs at Michelbob's in Naples (Collier County).
checkbox Send a letter from the smallest post office in the United States in Ochopee (Collier County).
checkbox Watch the swamp buggy races in Naples (Collier County).
checkbox Tube down the river at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Fort White (Columbia County).
checkbox Put on some boots and watch a rodeo. Check out one of the following: the Arcadia Rodeo (DeSoto County), Okeechobee County Cattlemen's Association Rodeo (Okeechobee County), or Kissimmee's Silver Spurs Rodeo (Osceola County).
checkbox Rent a houseboat from Miller's Marina and float down the Suwannee River (Dixie and Levy counties).
checkbox Follow the Road to Nowhere through Dixie County's wilderness to … nowhere.
checkbox Have an adult afternoon and enjoy a Budweiser brewery tour in Jacksonville (Duval County).
checkbox Grab some fresh produce at Jacksonville's Farmers Market on Beaver Street, the oldest operating outdoor farmers market in Florida (Duval County).
checkbox Enjoy a Saturday afternoon of art, food and music at the Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville (Duval County).
checkbox Enjoy Jacksonville's (Duval County) cultural side, and visit the Museum of Science and History, the Jacksonville Zoo, the Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens, the Florida Theatre, or the Ritz Theatre and Museum.
checkbox Watch the Blue Angels soar through the air in Pensacola (Escambia County).
checkbox Kiss the moose head at McGuire's Irish Pub in Pensacola (Escambia County).
checkbox Grab a mullet and take part in Pensacola's Interstate Mullet Toss (Escambia County) every April.
checkbox In March, become a true Floridian at the Flagler County Cracker Day in Bunnell.
checkbox Eat some fresh-shucked oysters from Apalachicola (Franklin County).
checkbox Visit the World's Smallest Police Station in Carrabelle (Franklin County).
checkbox Take a tour, go hiking, or simply immerse in nature within the Apalachicola National Forest (Franklin, Liberty, Wakulla and Leon counties).
checkbox Shop for handcrafted goods in "Florida's Friendliest Town," Havana (Gadsden County).
checkbox Swim and snorkel in Gilchrist County's natural areas: Blue Springs, Ginnie Springs, Santa Fe River, Ellie Ray's River Landing, Hart Springs Park, Otter Springs Park & Campground, and Fanning Springs State Park.
checkbox Bike, skate, hike, cycle or walk along the Nature Coast State Trail (Gilchrist County).
checkbox Hike or bike the 100-foot-wide dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee, part of the 1,400-mile-long National Scenic Trail (Glades, Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach and Hendry counties).
checkbox Pet an alligator at Gatorama in Palmdale (Glades County) or at Gatorland in Orlando (Orange County).
checkbox Buy tupelo honey during May's Tupelo Honey Festival in Wewahitchka (Gulf County).
checkbox See where Florida's first State Constitution Convention was held at the Constitution Convention Museum State Park in Port St. Joe (Gulf County).
checkbox Enjoy a day of music, heritage and legend at the Florida Folk Festival every May at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs (Hamilton County).
checkbox Enjoy a cucumber in Wauchula (Hardee County), deemed the "cucumber capital of the world."
checkbox Learn about antique engines and antique cars at Zolfo Spring's Pioneer Park Days (Hardee County).
checkbox Watch armadillo races and the Strawberry Shortcake Pageant at the Swamp Cabbage Festival in Labelle (Hendry County) every February.
checkbox Learn about the Seminole Tribe of Florida at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum in Clewiston (Hendry County).
checkbox Take an airboat through the Florida Everglades with Billie Swamp Safari at the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation (Hendry County).
checkbox See "real" mermaids perform an underwater ballet at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Spring Hill (Hernando County).
checkbox View the caladiums at the Caladium Capital of the World, Lake Placid (Highlands County).
checkbox Party like a pirate in Tampa (Hillsborough County) during Gasparilla.
checkbox Grab some cotton candy at the Florida State Fair in Tampa (Hillsborough County).
checkbox Tour Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa (Hillsborough County) and then order dessert from the dessert room.
checkbox Learn how to hand-roll a cigar at the Ybor Cigar Museum in Ybor City (Hillsborough County).
checkbox Dive and swim at Ponce de Leon's Vortex Springs (Holmes County).
checkbox Buy fresh citrus from any of the local farms around Indian River County.
checkbox Take a cave tour at Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna (Jackson County).
checkbox See where the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers come together to form Lake Seminole at the Three Rivers State Park in Sneads (Jackson County).
checkbox Take in a performance at the Monticello Opera House (Jefferson County).
checkbox In June, enjoy a parade, ghost tour, arts & crafts show, and more at the Jefferson County Watermelon Festival.
checkbox Take in the pioneer spirit in Mayo for Lafayette County Pioneer Day with crafts and re-enactors.
checkbox Go antique shopping along the downtown streets or at Renningers in Mount Dora (Lake County).
checkbox Enjoy some authentic German breads at Yalaha Bakery in Yalaha (Lake County).
checkbox Find some of the most beautiful shells on Captiva Island or Sanibel Island (Lee County).
checkbox Step back in time at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers (Lee County).
checkbox Stay in a bed & breakfast, such as Superior Small Lodging in Fort Myers (Lee County), St. Augustine (Saint Johns County), Clearwater or St. Petersburg (Pinellas County), Daytona Beach (Volusia County), Fort Lauderdale (Broward County), or the Florida Keys (Monroe County).
checkbox Take a tour of the capitol building or governor's mansion in Tallahassee (Leon County).
checkbox Attend an FSU vs. UF game (Leon and Alachua counties).
checkbox Enjoy a night of music, dance or art during Tallahassee's 7 Days of Opening Nights (Leon County).
checkbox Find the Elvis Presley landmark sign in Yankeetown (Levy County), where Follow That Dream was filmed.
checkbox Take a day trip and explore Cedar Key (Levy County).
checkbox See what was once considered the Garden of Eden, the four heads of the Apalachicola River in Bristol (Liberty County).
checkbox Bike "The Loop," a 135-mile trail through Madison County.
checkbox Go cave diving at Madison Blue Springs State Park (Madison County).
checkbox Visit the De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton (Manatee County) and interact with the Living History Camp.
checkbox Watch a game of jai-alai in Ocala (Marion County).
checkbox Visit Ocala's Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing (Marion County).
checkbox Take a glass-bottom boat tour at Silver Springs in Ocala (Marion County).
checkbox Learn about one of Florida's most notorious pirates at the House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar in Stuart (Martin County).
checkbox Dress to the nines and attend Miami Beach International Fashion Week in March (Miami-Dade County).
checkbox See a horse race at Hialeah Park (Miami-Dade County).
checkbox Grab some food at Miami's (Miami-Dade County) oldest bar and restaurant, Tobacco Road.
checkbox While in Miami (Miami-Dade County), have some authentic Cuban food.
checkbox See one man's greatest accomplishment at the man-made Coral Castle in Miami (Miami-Dade County).
checkbox Explore the beautiful and historic Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami (Miami-Dade County).
checkbox Travel to Flamingo, the southern-most tip of mainland Florida and Everglades National Park (Monroe County).
checkbox See the sun set at Mallory Square in Key West (Monroe County).
checkbox Go crazy at Key West's Fantasy Fest (Monroe County).
checkbox Feed the tarpon at Robbie's of Islamorada (Monroe County).
checkbox Watch key deer in their natural environment at the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key (Monroe County).
checkbox Have a margarita at Sloppy Joe's Bar and key lime pie from Blonde Giraffe in Key West (Monroe County).
checkbox Drive along the Seven Mile Bridge (Monroe County).
checkbox Take a tour of the Pigeon Key Foundation & Marine Science Center (Monroe County).
checkbox Purchase original Kino sandals in Key West (Monroe County).
checkbox Take a picture in Key West (Monroe County) at the southernmost point.
checkbox Purchase Florida Keys souvenirs from the Shell Man store.
checkbox Purchase a Conch Republic passport (Monroe County).
checkbox Snorkel or scuba dive at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park off Key Largo (Monroe County).
checkbox See a historical reenactment at Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach (Nassau County), Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell (Sumter County) or Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park (Baker County).
checkbox Savor the seafood flavors at the annual Destin Seafood Festival (Okaloosa County).
checkbox Send a letter to Santa Claus from Christmas (Orange County).
checkbox View the beautiful stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany at Winter Park's Morse Museum (Orange County).
checkbox Find a new piece of artwork at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in March (Orange County).
checkbox Watch the school bus races in Bithlo (Orange County).
checkbox In October, navigate a corn maze at Long & Scott Farms, and in May, enjoy the Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival (Orange County).
checkbox Meet Sir Gus, Jr., the camel, of the Bahia Shriners in Maitland (Orange County).
checkbox Travel the world and attend the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in October and November, then see the Cirque du Soliel La Nouba show in Downtown Disney, both in Lake Buena Vista (Orange County).
checkbox Drink butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventures in Orlando (Orange County).
checkbox Take an airboat ride at Boggy Creek in Kissimmee (Osceola County).
checkbox Visit the JFK bomb shelter on Peanut Island, part of Palm Beach Maritime Museum (Palm Beach County).
checkbox Walk through the exhibits at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach (Palm Beach County).
checkbox Take a class at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre Museum in Jupiter (Palm Beach County).
checkbox Go skydiving in Zephyrhills (Pasco County) at Skydive City.
checkbox Buy a sponge from Tarpon Springs' (Pinellas County) sponge docks.
checkbox Play shuffleboard in St. Petersburg (Pinellas County).
checkbox Tour the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg (Pinellas County).
checkbox Shop, eat, fish, jet ski or parasail at John's Pass in St. Petersburg (Pinellas County).
checkbox Spend a night at the historic, pink Don CeSar Beach Resort off St. Pete Beach (Pinellas County).
checkbox Have some smoked mullet in Gulfport (Pinellas County).
checkbox Visit the Isle of Capri and enjoy a grouper sandwich (Pinellas County).
checkbox Watch a band perform at St. Petersburg's (Pinellas County) The Coliseum.
checkbox Grab some fresh produce at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City (Hillsborough County) in March.
checkbox Make a prehistoric friend at Plant City's (Hillsborough County) Dinosaur World.
checkbox Tour the Florida Southern College in Lakeland (Polk County) to see Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture.
checkbox For aviators, attend Sun n' Fun, the international fly-in and expo, in March and April in Lakeland, or visit Fantasy of Flight in Polk City (Polk County).
checkbox Listen to the famed carillons ring at Bok Tower Gardens.
checkbox Build toy cars, tour castles and ride roller coasters at Legoland in Winter Haven (Polk County), opening in the Fall.
checkbox Go hang-gliding at Wallaby Ranch in Davenport (Polk County).
checkbox Watch cars "roll up" Spook Hill, not down, in Lake Wales (Polk County).
checkbox For a bit of music, enjoy Palatka's (Putnam County) Bluegrass Festival in February or Blue Crab Festival Memorial Day weekend.
checkbox Celebrate the Florida Azalea Festival in March at Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka (Putnam County).
checkbox Be entertained during the Milton (Santa Rosa County) Scratch Ankle Festival.
checkbox Take a boat around Charlotte Harbor or to Cayo Costa State Park (Sarasota County).
checkbox Visit The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota (Sarasota County) and tour the gardens, mansion, museum and circus exhibits.
checkbox Dress up for the Sarasota (Sarasota County) Medieval Fair in November.
checkbox Eat traditional Amish food at Yoder's in Sarasota (Sarasota County).
checkbox Check out the historic murals throughout Lake Placid (Highlands County).
checkbox Tour Sarasota's (Sarasota County) tropical oasis and rest under banyan trees at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
checkbox Go to Big Tree Park in Longwood (Seminole County) to see The Senator, the largest bald cypress tree in the United States.
checkbox Take a cruise on the St. Johns River aboard the Rivership Romance, sailing out of Sanford (Seminole County).
checkbox Have Floridian fare at Black Hammock Restaurant in Oviedo (Seminole County), and then take an airboat around Lake Jesup.
checkbox Go canoeing at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka (Orange County) or tubing down Rock Springs Run.
checkbox Visit both the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas national monuments in St. Augustine (St. Johns County).
checkbox Check out The Old School House, the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the United States, in St. Augustine (St. Johns County).
checkbox Purchase datil pepper sauce in St. Augustine (St Johns County).
checkbox View the historic buildings and Tiffany Louis Comfort stained glass windows on the Flagler College campus.
checkbox Drink from the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine (St. Johns County) at the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park.
checkbox Tour the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine (St. Johns County).
checkbox Become a dolphin trainer for a day at Marineland in St. Augustine (St. Johns County).
checkbox Check out Webster's Farmers Market in Sumter County, the oldest and largest flea market in Florida.
checkbox Pay respects to fallen soldiers and our veterans at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell (Sumter County).
checkbox See live musical performances, camp, or attend an art fair at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak (Suwannee County).
checkbox Go scalloping in Steinhatchee (Taylor County).
checkbox Enjoy Perry's (Taylor County) Southern Pines Blues & BBQ Festival in December, Pickin' in the Pines in September, or the Florida State Bluegrass Festival in March and April.
checkbox Visit the Lake Butler courthouse in Union County.
checkbox Watch a Daytona 500 Race (Volusia County).
checkbox Take part in Bikefest in Daytona Beach (Volusia County), or simply watch the crowds from Gilly's Pub 44.
checkbox Custom make pancakes at The Old Spanish Sugar Mill inside De Leon Springs State Park (Volusia County).
checkbox Get a reading from a medium in Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp (Volusia County).
checkbox Enjoy a boat tour, or go swimming at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, where Tarzan was filmed (Wakulla County).
checkbox Sunbathe on the Beaches of South Walton (Walton and Okaloosa Counties).
checkbox Visit Florida's highest point, at 345 feet above sea level, Briton Hill (Walton County).
checkbox Attend the Chipley (Washington County) Watermelon Festival in June.
checkbox Enjoy a lawnmower race in Washington County.
checkbox See Florida's highest waterfall at Falling Waters State Park in Chipley (Washington County).
checkbox Participate in the annual Florida Cracker Heritage Trail ride, starting east of Bradenton (Manatee County) and ending in Fort Pierce (Saint Lucie County) in February.
checkbox Visit both Withlacooche rivers (one in Central Florida, the other connecting to the Suwannee River in North Florida).
checkbox Attend a spring training baseball game in Lakeland (Polk County), Dunedin (Pinellas County), Clearwater (Pinellas County), Tampa (Hillsborough County), Bradenton (Manatee County), Sarasota (Sarasota County), Port Charlotte (Charlotte County), Fort Myers (Lee County), Lake Buena Vista (Orange County), Kissimmee (Osceola County), Viera (Brevard County), Port St. Lucie (Saint Lucie County) or Jupiter (Palm Beach).
checkbox Explore an underwater shipwreck, such as the USS Massachusetts (Escambia County), SS Tarpon (Bay County), Vamar (Bay County), City of Hawkinsville (Dixie County), Regina (Manatee County), San Pedro (Islamorada), Half Moon (Miami-Dade County), SS Copenhagen (Broward County), Lofthus (Palm Beach County), Georges Valentine (Martin County), or the Urca de Lima (Saint Lucie County).
checkbox Learn to spell, pronounce and located on a map Istachatta, Islamorada, Kissimmee, Wewahitchka, Choctawhatchee, Pithlachascottee and Tohopekaliga.
checkbox Drive along Alligator Alley, Old Dixie Highway and A1A.
checkbox Bird-watch along the Florida Birding Trail, found throughout the state.
checkbox Visit an Indian Mound, such as the Fort Walton Temple Mound in Fort Walton Beach (Okaloosa County), the Lake Jackson Mounds in Tallahassee (Leon County), Turtle Mound in Titusville (Volusia County) and the Madira Bickel Mounds in Ellenton (Manatee County). Other mounds can be found in Crystal River Preserve State Park (Citrus County), Jupiter Inlet Historic & Archaeological Site & Dubois Park (Palm Beach County), Indian Mound Park in Pompano Beach (Broward County), and Mound House in Fort Myers Beach (Lee County).
checkbox Golf at one of Florida's more than 1,200 courses throughout the state, such as The Blue Monster at Doral (Miami-Dade County), TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach (St. Johns County) or Bay Hill in Orlando (Orange County).
checkbox Be one with nature and spend a night camping.
checkbox Read A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The New History of Florida by Dr. Michael Gannon, Everglades: River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas and The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
checkbox Watch Ulee's Gold.
checkbox Go deep-sea fishing.
checkbox If in Washington D.C., visit the Florida House on Capitol Hill.
checkbox Drink orange juice at all five of the state's welcome centers: on I-10 west of Pensacola (Escambia County), U.S. 231 near Campbellton (also near Marianna, Jackson County), I-75 at Jennings (near Lake City, Hamilton County), I-95 north of Yulee (near Jacksonville, Nassau County), and at the west entrance of the State Capitol Building in Tallahassee (Leon County).
checkbox Visit one of the old sugar mill ruins, such as those found in Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park in Homosassa (Citrus County) and New Smyrna Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site (Volusia County).
checkbox Canoe a portion of the Suwannee River (Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Suwannee, Madison and Hamilton Counties).
checkbox Navigate the Ten Thousand Islands off the coast of Southwest Florida (Monroe and Collier counties).