Florida Shines in Tripadvisor’s Best Travel Experiences Lists

The Sunshine State is more than just great theme parks, says new list by Tripadvisor
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is the top-ranked theme park on Tripadvisor’s list for 2023. Universal Orlando photo

As summer gets into full swing, it feels like a fitting time to offer a hat-tip to those activities we truly savor and enjoy. To that end, Tripadvisor has released a collection of lists profiling the best travel experiences of 2023.

The lists are derived from 12 months of traveler reviews across the globe, but we’ll focus on the U.S. experiences here. In addition to the Top Overall Experiences, Tripadvisor offers 10 further sub-categories including Top Attractions, Amusement Parks & Water Parks, Bucket List Experiences, Cultural & Historical Tours, Food & Culinary Experiences, Nature & Outdoor Activities, Sailing & Day Cruises, Snorkeling & Water Sports and Wine Experiences. New for 2023 is Family-Friendly Experiences, activities that are perfect for kids and the parents tagging along with them.

For the overall top experiences in the U.S., swimming with the manatees in Florida’s Crystal River was ranked No. 8.

Top 10 Experiences – US

  1. Grand Circle Island and Haleiwa Tour, Honolulu, Hawaii
  2. Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching, Juneau, Alaska
  3. History and Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour, Salem, Mass.
  4. Party Bike in Old Town Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  5. Niagara Falls American-Side Tour with Maid of the Mist Boat Ride, Niagara Falls, N.Y
  6. Xtreme Parasail in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
  7. Deluxe USS Arizona Memorial and Historical City Tour, Honolulu, Hawaii
  8. Swim with Manatees, Crystal River, Fla.
  9. Fairbanks Snowmobile Adventure from North Pole, North Pole, Alaska
  10. The Official Hollywood Sign Walking Tour in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.

Among the Top 10 attractions, the Stetson Mansion in Deland ranked No. 8.

Top 10 Attractions – U.S.

  1. Empire State Building, New York City, N.Y.
  2. Central Park, New York City, N.Y.
  3. Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, New York City, N.Y
  5. The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, La.
  6. Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, N.Y.
  7. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colo.
  8. Stetson Mansion, DeLand, Fla.
  9. Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nev.
  10. USS Midway Museum, San Diego, Calif.

Florida predictably dominates the list of top amusement parks but doesn’t top it. Universal’s Islands of Adventure landed at No. 3.

Top 10 Amusement Parks

  1. Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo.
  2. Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
  3. Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando
  4. Fun Spot America, Kissimmee
  5. Magic Kingdom, Orlando
  6. LegoLand California, Carlsbad, Ca.
  7. Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Penn.
  8. Universal Studios Florida, Orlando
  9. Whale’s Tale Waterpark, Lincoln, N.H.
  10. LegoLand Florida, Winter Haven

Other Florida winners include the Little Havana Food and Walking Tour in Miami (No. 1 for best food and culinary experience), Clear Kayak Tour of Shell Key Preserve in Tampa Bay (No. 4 for outdoor activity), the Party Boat Cruise in Miami (No. 9) and Fort Lauderdale Sailing Charter (No. 10) for best sailing and day cruises, and the Sarasota Guided Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Tour in Sarasota (No. 5) for best snorkeling and water sports.

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