As the southeasternmost U.S. state, Florida has the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast with hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches. Visitors are attracted to the state because of its comfortable winter weather and beach communities. Miami is known for its Latin American culture, renowned arts scene, and nightlife, especially in the South Beach neighborhood. Orlando is world-famous for its theme parks, such as Walt Disney World. Travelers from across the globe bring their families to Disney for a chance to meet Mickey Mouse. With 21.48 million inhabitants, Florida continues to experience a population boom with many transplants coming from the northeast section of the U.S. In addition to the weather, there is no personal income tax in Florida, which makes it even more appealing to potential residents.
Warnings & Dangers in Florida
Safest Places to Visit in Florida
All cities in Florida have safe areas and attractions to visit.
Close to Jacksonville is the world-famous Daytona Beach.
Orlando has Disney and Epcot Center, which are incredibly safe, as well as a vibrant downtown.
A safe and interesting destination in Tampa in Ybor City, which is home to countless retailers, bars, and restaurants.
Miami is the most cultural and diverse city in Florida, with a heavy Latin and South American vibe.
Miami is a relatively safe city with plenty of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, world-class shopping, and pristine beaches.
St. Augustine is one of the most historic towns in the United States and incredibly safe, which makes it a do-not-miss destination.
All the coastal towns boast something unique with beaches generally being safe to visit alone.
Places to Avoid in Florida
In addition to the bad neighborhoods in major cities, some suburban and rural towns are consistently plagued by high crime.
Florida City, a small city south of Miami had the highest violent crime rate per 100,000 citizens.
Marianna, a city on the Florida Panhandle, also had high violent and property crime percentages.
Lake City, which is situated between Orlando and Tampa in the middle of the state also had high violent and property crimes in 2020.
Other cities to avoid include Riviera Beach, Starke, Cocoa, Palm Springs, Lake Worth, and Chattahoochee round out the list with a high percentage of crime.
Many of these areas are not heavily touristy due to a lack of attractions, so there is no reason to visit in the first place.
However, if you find yourself at one of these destinations, simply keep your wits and never flash money or valuables as this is just asking for trouble.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Florida
So… How Safe Is Florida Really?
Florida is a relatively safe state, especially in rural areas.
However, there are good and bad neighborhoods in all major cities.
Most crime is related to robberies, theft, and some violent, drug-related crimes.
One major issue in the large cities is drug trafficking, especially in Miami due to its location in the Caribbean.
Drugs come into Miami on boats in the middle of the night, and while this doesn’t impact tourists, the related crime could.
In the bad areas of the cities, tourists should avoid the area at all costs.
Do some research on the high crime areas of the places you’ll be visiting before travel.
Tourist areas, like along the beach, in shops, or downtown sections are safe, even at night.
Rental cars are always targets for thieves to leave valuables at home or in the trunk and always lock the car doors.
Take taxis or water taxis when returning to your hotel late at night to avoid any issues.
All major cities have prostitutes and drug dealers, both of which are illegal so stay away.
Finally, never walk into low-lit areas or remote sections of cities, and don’t get involved in street showdowns with anyone.
Florida can be a wonderful family or personal vacation due to its pristine beauty, exciting nightlife, incredible shopping, and excellent weather.
Most travelers won’t have an issue when visiting so it is a good and safe place to visit if you use common sense.
How Does Florida Compare?
- Visas – The United States visa policy for foreign nationals wishing to enter the U.S. varies based on the origin country. For those that require a visa, visitors must acquire the documentation through the government. Regardless of the origin country, all travelers must have a valid passport to enter. U.S. residents don’t need a visa or passport to travel to Florida, just valid identification.
- Currency – The official currency in all states is the United States dollar.
- Weather – The best time to visit Florida for the best weather is between December and April when the temperatures are milder with hot days and comfortable nights. While average temperatures vary across the state, the weather is extremely hot in the summer with high humidity. Florida is right in the middle of the hurricane zone is therefore subject to severe weather.
- Airports – All major cities – Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale – have at least one international airport. Additionally, there are smaller regional airports scattered across the state for access to more rural areas.
- Travel Insurance – It is always advisable to purchase travel insurance, especially during these uncertain times of delays, cancellations, and other travel issues, even if you are coming from another state. For foreign visitors, travel insurance is especially important when entering the United States.
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