Central and North Florida Communities Ideal for a Summer Getaway

St. Augustine | Kristin Wilson

When winter crowds depart, summer becomes the ideal time to visit the Sunshine State. Numerous destinations across North and Central Florida are ideal for a summer getaway. Let’s look at some of the best options for warm-weather excursions. 


Ocala, in Central Florida, is particularly popular among nature lovers. The city is known for its nearby natural attractions, including the Ocala National Forest and Silver Springs State Park. The sprawling Ocala National Forest comprises pine forests and hundreds of lakes, making it a dream spot for canoeing, kayaking, and camping. Also, Ocala’s main town area offers commercial centers, hotels, and tasty restaurants.

Silver Springs State Park | Eric Tompkins

St. Augustine

St. Augustine, founded in the 1500s, is considered the oldest city in the U.S. This coastal epicenter in North Florida contains several historical monuments and museums dedicated to preserving its past. St. Augustine also offers visitors fantastic beaches, such as Crescent Beach, and top-notch local golf courses.

Crescent Beach | Almon Sorrell


Orlando is one of Florida’s largest cities and a tourist destination that welcomes millions annually. Most famous for its massive theme parks, including Disney World and Universal Orlando, it is a can’t-miss family-friendly hotspot. During the summer, Orlando hosts many major events and festivals. Visitors can experience the International Food and Drink Festival for a taste of the city’s diverse food scene or jam out at one of its many summer concerts.

Universal Studios Plaza in Orlando | Aditya Vyas

Palm Coast

Palm Coast, a burgeoning beachy paradise near St. Augustine, has emerged as a top-notch summer destination. Contributing to its popularity are gorgeous soft-sand beaches, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, and premier fishing opportunities. Palm Coast also offers tranquil nature preserves, where visitors can spot birds and aquatic creatures, along with luxurious golf and beach resorts.

Palm Coast | Lance Asper


Destin attracts many visitors throughout the year, thanks to its pristine Gulf Coast beaches along the Florida Panhandle. For those who love waterfront relaxation, few places in Florida are better. Known for having some of the best deep-sea fishing in the state, Destin frequently hosts fishing competitions, and its restaurants feature delectable, freshly caught seafood. Visitors have the opportunity to take charter boats or boat tours to explore its stunning turquoise waterways as well.

Destin | Tamara Malaniy

Gulf Breeze

Gulf Breeze is a small city near Pensacola along the Florida Panhandle. Visitors can enjoy various activities, including snorkeling, boating, and camping, at the Gulf Islands National Seashore, or they can head to the renowned Gulf Breeze Zoo to admire its diverse group of animals, from rhinoceroses and hippos to gorillas and giraffes. While Gulf Breeze offers a tranquil alternative to other bustling Gulf Coast locations, it also provides a wide selection of excellent resorts and hotels.

Gulf Breeze | Debby Hudson

Winter Haven

Winter Haven, a Central Florida community, contains two major chains of lakes. In all, there are more than 50 lakes within or touching its borders. It is a destination for water sports and boating enthusiasts, who can easily access the numerous boat ramps and rentals in the area. Also, LEGOLAND Florida is just minutes away from Winter Haven, providing ample family-friendly fun. 

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