Scuba diving with the Christ of the Abyss Statue, Key Largo

The 2024 Travelers’ Choice® Awards Best of the Best Things to Do list is out and there’s a reason why so many people vacation in Florida. 25 of the most loved top attractions in the US made the list, highlighting the highest rated experiences and attractions around the world and in the US based on Tripadvisor reviews

What’s number one? The Empire State Building in New York City climbed to the top as the No. 1 attraction, not just in the US, but globally. Reviewers are wowed by the 360-degree view of New York, where they can point out all of their favorite landmarks and see up to six states on a clear day. Over 300 reviews deem it a “once in a lifetime” experience and more than 8,000 5-star reviews put this tourist spot on top. Another New York iconic spot also made the top 3 top attractions in the US list.

The Empire State Building is the top attractions in the US
Star Wars “May The 4th” in New York City (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Disney)

Top Attractions in the US

  1. Empire State Building, New York City, New York
  2. Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Central Park, New York City, New York

Kristen Dalton, President of Tripadvisor states “Experiences make a trip, and our Best of the Best Things to Do Awards offer some of the highest-rated activities from across the world, highlighted by our community of travelers. Whether you’re a thrill seeker or a leisurely explorer, the ‘Best of the Best’ badge has the seal of approval from global travelers as a source of inspiration for an unforgettable vacation.”

Top Attractions in Florida

Florida still maintains itself as a major tourist destination with 3 of the top attractions in the US being here in the Sunshine State. As a 20 year resident of Florida, I love doing touristy things, but I’m kind of disappointed in myself. I’ve not been to any of these 3 attractions. Yet.

  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

    Scuba diving or snorkeling is the best way to view this park, but glass bottom boat tours are also available. TripAdvisor has this park, located in Key Largo, as the 4th best attraction in the United States. So what makes it so special?

    In 1960 the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was named the United States’ first undersea park. The Florida Keys have the only living coral reef in the continental United States. The in 1965, it got much more interesting.

    On August 25th, 1965 the Christ of the Abyss was lowered into the water at a depth of 25 feet. The bronze statue still rests there with the top at a depth of 8-10 feet below the surface. Visible to snorkelers, but best viewed with SCUBA gear.

     

  • Stetson Mansion

    We didn’t have to go very far down the list to find the next Florida entry. The Stetson Mansion is listed as the 5th best top attraction in the US.

    The Stetson Mansion is in Deland, Florida, just off I4 between Orlando and Daytona Beach. It’s referred to as “Florida’s first luxury estate”. Built in 1886 the mansion is actually older than the city of Miami. And if you’re wondering why the name “Stetson” sounds familiar, the mansion was built for famed hat maker John B. Stetson.

    The mansion is not currently open for tours, but Christmas Tours are offered 2-7 times daily Nov 1st, 2024 – Jan 18th, 2025. I’m hearing Christmas is the best time to visit, so this might be something to put on your bucket list.

  • Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

    Another Florida keys attraction, this one further down in Key West, is not a museum, but a living exhibit. Their website sums it up “Take a walk among hundreds of free flying butterflies, exotic birds and 2 glorious flamingos inside the soaring glass-domed tropical butterfly habitat.”

    Let one of their guides teach you about nature, pointing out the different butterflies and colorful flowers. When you’re done, don’t forget to hit up the gift shop.

  • The Top Attractions in the US

    1. Empire State BuildingNew York CityNew York
    2. Iolani PalaceHonolulu, Hawaii
    3. Central ParkNew York CityNew York
    4. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State ParkKey Largo, Florida
    5. Stetson MansionDeLand, Florida
    6. Alcatraz IslandSan Francisco, California
    7. GracelandMemphis, Tennessee
    8. Brooklyn BridgeNew York CityNew York
    9. Chihuly Garden and GlassSeattle, Washington
    10. Diamond Head State MonumentHonolulu, Hawaii

    See the top 25 Best of the Best Attractions in the US here

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