Tripadvisor has been releasing its lists for 2023’s Traveler’s Choice. It’s their “Best of the Best Things to Do” list and it’s pretty comprehensive. The one that came out today is the big one. ‘Top Overall Experiences.” Since my budget is tight, I’m focusing on experiences right here in the United States. And in that list of 25, four of them are within driving distance for us here in Southwest Florida. Florida Staycations. Sometimes the best things to do don’t have to cost a fortune. With decent gas mileage, you can do some of these on just a tank of gas from Fort Myers.

In their Traveler’s Choice Awards, Tripadvisor states “We award Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best to experiences and attractions with a high volume of above-and-beyond reviews and opinions from our community over a 12-month period.” They added, “fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor’s 8 million listings are awarded Best of the Best, signifying the highest level of excellence in travel.”

If you’re looking for Florida theme parks to visit, sorry. None of them made this list. But you can find those here. The experiences on this list are much more nature-involved. And since so much of our area is still negatively affected by Hurricane Ian, perhaps a drive away vacation might be the thing to do this summer.

If you want the best and spare no expense, you’ll want to do number one on this list. The Grand Circle Island and Haleiwa 9 Hour Tour. It’s a full day tour of Oahu, Hawaii. I’ve seen some of the pictures and it looks absolutely incredible.

So of their list of 25, here’s 4 Of Tripadvisor’s Best of the Best Things to Do. The experiences here in Florida.

  • Swim with Manatees

    This one comes in at number 8 on their Nationwide list. Swimming with the manatees at Crystal River. Crystal River is north of Tampa, about a 3 hour drive from Fort Myers. A 3 hour swim is about $70 and they provide the snorkeling gear.

    Swim With Manatees in Crystal River, Florida - Open Year Round

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  • Mangrove Tunnel, Manatee and Dolphin Kayak Tour of Cocoa Beach

    Nationwide, reviewers placed this experience at number 13. Kayaking through mangrove tunnels. A relaxing 2 hour nature excursion. Much different than the airboats that scream through the mangroves in Everglades City. Also fun, but totally different. if traffic’s not too bad, you can make it to Cocoa Beach in under 4 hours. $54 a person.

    Fin Expeditions - Top-Rated Kayak Tours in Cocoa Beach FL

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  • Clear Kayak Tour of Shell Key Preserve

    2 hours in a clear Kayak in Tampa’s Shell Key Preserve comes in at number 14. About $80 each.


  • Shark and Wildlife Viewing Adventure in Key West

    There’s more to do in Key West besides drinking and buoy selfies. At number 17 on the list, you go out on a boat and they chum the water with bait to bring in the sharks. And then you can go drink and the bars. $90 a person.


  • The rest of the list

    If you’re looking to venture out of Florida this summer, here’s the entire list. If you really want to get out of time, change the drop down to “world”.

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