When most people think of Florida they think of white sand beaches, Disney World, and of course, bright sunny days. Although its name of the Sunshine State is well deserved, the subtropical climate of this southern state does sometimes equate to afternoon showers.
Luckily, there are plenty of amazing indoor activities all around the state – that are sometimes overlooked by all of the outdoor beauty. If your day at the beach is hindered by the weather or if you’re just looking for a fun indoor activity, check out our list of the best things to do in Florida when it rains.
Table of Contents
- 1. Butterfly World – Coconut Creek
- 2. The Florida Aquarium – Tampa
- 3. The Ringling – Sarasota
- 4. Medieval Times – Kissimmee
- 5. St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum – St. Augustine
- 6. Xtreme Action Park – Fort Lauderdale
- 7. Books & Books – Miami
- 8. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West
- 9. The Turtle Hospital – Marathon
- 10. Salvador Dali Museum – St. Petersburg
- 11. iFly Indoor Skydiving – Orlando
- 12. Great Games Library & Cafe – Tallahassee
- 13. Kennedy Space Center – Merritt Island
- 14. Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery – Cape Coral
- 15. Museum of the Everglades – Everglades City
- 16. Theatre Winter Haven – Winter Haven
- 17. Monster Mini Golf – Coral Springs
- 18. Jax Ale Trail – Jacksonville
1. Butterfly World – Coconut Creek
Located in Coconut Creek just outside of Pompano Beach, Butterfly World is one of the best things to do when it rains in Florida – and is worth a visit even if it’s bright and sunny!
Butterfly World is actually the largest butterfly park in the entire world and was the first of its kind in the western hemisphere when it opened its doors in 1988. The farm has 3 acres for the beautiful winged creatures to fly about, including aviaries, botanical gardens, a working butterfly farm, and a research center all located on the premises.
There are over 20,000 butterflies, and the park has worked tirelessly since opening to increase the population and protect endangered butterfly species. This place is truly magical – and although parts of the park are outdoors, it’s still a fun place to visit when it’s raining.
That being said, the park does close early if the weather becomes too severe, so call ahead to ask about the local forecast if you are coming from out of town.
2. The Florida Aquarium – Tampa
If you’re in the Tampa area, a visit to the Florida Aquarium is one of the best things to do when the skies start looking gray. Leave the beach behind, and explore the ocean at this highly ranked aquarium.
The Florida Aquarium is often on the list of the top aquariums in the country, so you can bet that your rainy day experience will be a good one. Spend your time learning all about the plants and animals of Florida’s aquatic ecosystems and the aquarium’s conservation efforts to protect the wildlife that lives right off of the shores.
Get up close and personal with sea turtles, tiger sharks, penguins, otters, alligators and so much more at exhibits that are aimed to be both fun and educational. Whether you’re looking to wait out the rain for a few hours or for the entire day, the aquarium has plenty to keep you entertained.
If you get hungry, you’ll even find 3 restaurants located inside, so there’s no need to step out into the wet weather!
3. The Ringling – Sarasota
If it’s raining in Sarasota, make a beeline for the Ringling to wait out the storm. You may have heard of the Ringling brothers and a little something called “The Greatest Show on Earth” – and this museum was once the opulent home to John Ringling, the “King of the American Circus”, himself.
Today, this massive property is a museum of art, a theater, and most importantly, a circus museum. You’ll find tons of Ringling memorabilia along with the world’s largest model circus. After trying your hand (or foot!) on the tightrope, you can peruse some of the museum’s fine art exhibits, take a guided tour of the mansion, or catch a show at the theater. There’s a lot to do, and you may need quite a few hours if you hope to get through the whole thing.
There are also various events and performances held at the Ringling throughout the year, so check their calendar to see if there’s anything fun happening that day.
Even if it’s not raining during your time in Sarasota, a trip here is just as fun when you can explore the glorious gardens outside of the estate and enjoy the sunshine.
4. Medieval Times – Kissimmee
Those who get caught in the rain in the evening can enjoy dinner and a show at the Medieval Times in Kissimmee. It’s a show you won’t soon forget, centered around a tournament with knights, horses, and plenty of mock jousting and sword fights (think Game of Thrones in real-time).
Pick your favorite of the 6 competing knights and cheer them on as they battle their rivals. There’s also a royal falcon flight and equine entertainment – and plenty of ale to help you get into character as well.
As you watch the show, you’ll be treated like royalty with a 4-course meal inspired by traditional 11th-century cuisine and your choice of modern-day cocktails and mocktails.
This is a family-friendly event, but it’s also popular with girls’ nights and stag parties looking for a unique experience. There are several shows each night, but you may want to book your seat in advance to ensure you get a ticket to the tournament. Check that weather forecast ahead of time if this sounds like your kind of rainy day entertainment.
5. St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum – St. Augustine
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum in St. Augustine is one of the best things to do in Florida when it rains, especially if you’re traveling with young ones. Go back in time to the days of treasure hunting and piracy as you explore this educational and interactive museum.
You’ll learn all about Port Royal, Jamaica when the Golden Age of piracy was at its height, and there are tons of ancient artifacts like old treasure chests, the world’s oldest wanted poster, and even a real cannon! You’ll learn about what pirate life was like in Florida and about some of the most infamous pirates of all time.
Some of the most popular features of the museum are the Discovery Drawers that are hidden throughout the building. Although there isn’t actually any treasure inside, you’ll leave with a richer education about pirate history – so keep your eyes peeled for skulls and crossbones!
There’s also a Hollywood exhibit where you can see Captain Jack Sparrow’s sword, and a lovely outdoor courtyard and deck that give splendid views of the Matanzas River and the historic Castillo de San Marcos (if the rain lets up, that is). If you want a souvenir to remember your time in St. Augustine, be sure to check out the Treasure Shoppe on your way out for a large assortment of booty.
6. Xtreme Action Park – Fort Lauderdale
Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you can’t have an adventure. The Xtreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale is one of the best things to do in Florida when it rains, especially for adrenaline junkies.
At over 200,000 square feet, this is the largest entertainment venue in the whole state – so you’ll find it almost impossible to be bored here. The activities at the park are seemingly endless; you could come back again and again for entertainment even if it was raining for a week straight.
Choose from tons of activities, including:
- Go-kart racing
- VR games
- Roller skating
- Laser tag
- Rope courses
- An arcade with over 100 different games
- An interactive theater
- An escape room to give your brain a workout, too!
This is certainly a place for kids of all ages to have some fun – and even adults will likely be sad when it comes time to leave. There’s a bar and restaurant on-site, making it even easier to spend the entire day having fun – rain or shine!
7. Books & Books – Miami
Book lovers can rejoice at this perfect rainy-day venue, and there are 7 locations in Southern Florida to choose from. This self-proclaimed, locally-owned, and independently-minded bookshop chain will have you grateful for the rain in no time. Once you step inside you likely won’t mind that the weather drove you in.
Peruse the immense collection of titles showcased on large wooden bookshelves and take your time flipping through the pages as you make your way around the store. If you find something that catches your eye, you can spend the day reading in the on-site cafe.
If you get hungry the food here is outstanding. Miami also has tons of other dining options, so don’t forget to check out the 20 Best Chain Restaurants in Miami if you’re looking for something different.
Books & Books hosts a series of events throughout the year, including virtual book clubs, author talks, educational programs, and book signings. Although COVID has put a pause on some in-person events, check the calendar to see if anything is happening on your rainy day in Florida.
8. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West
On a rainy day in Key West, there’s no better place to go than the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. The former estate of the esteemed author is open for business every day of the year and is worth a visit – rain or shine.
Ernest Hemingway lived in this home for 10 years and produced nearly 70 percent of his work within these very walls. For that reason, the museum has been dubbed a National Historic Monument and Literary Landmark for its importance to U.S. history.
The charming home is surrounded by lush gardens and boasts beautiful architecture, so even if you aren’t interested in Hemingway’s work it’s still a lovely spot to spend a rainy day. Tours of the home run every 15 minutes from 9-5 each day, and you’ll learn all about Hemingway’s life and work as you peruse the museum.
You’ll also find a host of cats (around 60!) wandering around the premises, all of which are distant descendants of Hemingway’s beloved Snow White. This aptly named white cat was polydactyl, with six toes rather than four – and many of the museum’s cats boast this same odd but endearing trait. 9. The Turtle Hospital – Marathon
9. The Turtle Hospital – Marathon
The Turtle Hospital is a small non-profit organization located on the grounds of the old Hidden Harbor Hotel in Marathon. The hospital is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating endangered, sick, and injured sea turtles before releasing them back into the wild.
The Turtle Hospital offers guided tours of the premises and hopes to educate visitors about the dangers that these creatures face, both from humans and natural causes. The tours are informative, engaging, and enjoyable – and you’ll get to learn the personal stories of some of the turtles they’re rehabilitating.
This is a great rainy day activity if you happen to run into some bad weather while you’re in the Keys, and it’s one that you’ll likely remember for a lifetime. If you’d like a memento from your visit, all profits from the gift shop go directly to conservation efforts – so it’s a win-win!
10. Salvador Dali Museum – St. Petersburg
Visiting a museum is one of the best ways to spend a rainy day, and the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the best museums in the state.
This cultural hot spot is home to the most comprehensive Dali collection outside of Europe, and the museum has been the unofficial hub of fine arts in the Tampa area since it opened back in 1982.
Let your imagination run wild as you peruse the extensive collection of Dali’s famous surrealist art and the rotating exhibits that showcase the life of this artist and collections of other artists’ work. Throughout the year, the museum also hosts a variety of fun events including calligraphy lessons, poetry nights, art camps, and musical homages to famous works of art.
If the rain lets up after a few hours, head outside and visit the Avant Garden. This labyrinth of sculpted hedges features a series of walkways that promote quiet reflection, and there’s no doubt that you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated after spending some time in these beautiful gardens.
11. iFly Indoor Skydiving – Orlando
If you’ve ever wanted the thrill of jumping out of a plane without actually jumping out of a plane, then a trip to iFly Indoor Skydiving is the perfect way to spend a rainy day in Orlando (you’ll find additional locations in Tampa, Jacksonville, and Fort Lauderdale as well!).
Test your courage in a safe and controlled indoor environment. You won’t have to jump or fall; simply let the trained instructors take you into a wind tunnel and take off with two feet on solid ground. The wind will surround you and lift you into the air, giving you the same feeling of flying without all the fear that comes with it.
Once you get the hang of it, you can attempt some flips and twists while you’re in the air. Whether this is your first time skydiving or your 50th, it’s a fun experience that never gets old. This indoor activity is perfect for people of all ages, and kids as young as 3 can take part in this seemingly magical experience.
12. Great Games Library & Cafe – Tallahassee
Since the start of the internet age and the emergence of smartphones, board games have slowly been making their way towards the brink of extinction. But, Great Games Library & Cafe is seeking to remedy that – and if you’re in Tallahassee on a rainy day, don’t hesitate to give this place a visit.
You’ll find shelves stacked with all the classics, like Monopoly and cribbage, along with a whole host of games that you’ve likely never heard of. Whether you’re traveling with a large group of friends or just one other person, you’ll find a game that suits you and yours.
You could also sign up ahead of time for one of the many tournaments that the library hosts throughout the year, or simply buy or rent a board game to bring back to your hotel room. If you happen to get hungry during your time at the library, there are some Greek finger foods and specialty coffee and teas available at the on-site cafe.
13. Kennedy Space Center – Merritt Island
If the beach weather you were expecting on your trip to Merritt Island hasn’t panned out, you can spend the rainy day at the Kennedy Space Center. This is a fun experience for both young and old, and you’ll find hours’ worth of interesting exhibits inside this massive museum.
Learn all about NASA’s past and future missions, explore a real space shuttle, partake in an astronaut training simulation, and so much more!
The youngsters in your group will love playing on the interactive planet playground, while visitors of all ages can enjoy wandering around the various exhibits and learning about the space memorabilia housed inside the museum.
Once you get hungry, you can have an out-of-this-world dining experience at the on-site restaurant. Parents can take an extra-long break at the Planet Play Lounge with an artisanal coffee, craft beer, or glass of wine while the kiddos get back to exploring space.
Check their website in advance for any events going on during your rainy day visit. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a rocket launch.
14. Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery – Cape Coral
Adults looking for the best things to do in Florida when it rains might find the best option to be the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery located in Cape Coral. The distillery crafts small-batch spirits using ingredients exclusively from Florida, and if you’re a lover of rum this place simply cannot be missed when you’re in this area.
The rum is distilled in white oak whiskey barrels for anywhere from 3-14 years, and all the sugar cane used is grown just 35 minutes away from the distillery. Many of their spirits have won multiple awards, and in 2019, the Wicked Dolphin won its 4th consecutive award for the best craft rum distillery in the country from USA Today.
You can learn all about the rum-making process on a free tour of the distillery, and after you’ve learned how to make it, you’ll get the chance to taste it. Drink it straight up or try it mixed in one of the tasty, seasonal cocktails that the distillery dreams up. If you fell in love with one of the varieties, you can purchase up to 6 bottles from the distillery itself.
15. Museum of the Everglades – Everglades City
While the rain may put a damper on your plans of taking an airboat tour, you can still learn all about the history of this incredible ecosystem at the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City. Located just outside of Naples, this museum is one of the best things to do in Florida when it rains.
Everglades City was once only accessible by boat, and this remote trading town eventually became the base operations for the Tamiami Trail, known in modern times as US Highway 41, which runs directly across the Everglades.
The museum is one of the few original structures still standing from the time when “Florida’s Last Frontier” was finally settled. The exhibits will take you through over 2,000 years of history.
Although small in size, the museum is extremely fascinating. You could easily spend hours looking through the permanent and rotating exhibits pertaining to this area.
16. Theatre Winter Haven – Winter Haven
Often considered to be one of the best community theaters in America, Theatre Winter Haven is the perfect way to spend a rainy evening. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll likely find something exciting going on.
There are over 100 performances held here each year, including plays, musicals, dance productions, and concert series. Theatre Winter Haven definitely knows how to put on a good show.
You might be pleasantly surprised by the immense talent that comes out of this community theater. Actors from Disney often come over for major productions, and many local talents have been performing here for years.
If you live in the area, you may want to consider buying season tickets to Theatre Winter Haven – and if you’re feeling inspired after the show you can even audition for one yourself! There are also kids camps and dance classes if your young ones are interested in getting into theater.
17. Monster Mini Golf – Coral Springs
If cloudy skies have you searching for indoor entertainment, Monster Mini Golf in Coral Springs is a fun rainy day activity. It isn’t just an ordinary mini-golf course, either. This monster-themed 18-hole course is a glow-in-the-dark adventure featuring all your favorite monsters.
Once you’re done puttering around the course, you can check out the arcade area complete with all the old classics and some new modern games that are sure to please. You’ll also find a laser maze and VR games as well, making it easy to spend the whole day here for the young – and, the young at heart.
18. Jax Ale Trail – Jacksonville
Jacksonville is known for its vibrant nightlife, and if you’re hoping to get a head start you can begin your day drinking along the Jax Ale Trail. Rain or shine, there’s a long list of local breweries around Jacksonville that boast a wide variety of brews, sours, ciders, and more.
No matter what your preference is, you’re sure to find something you like along the way as the trail consists of nearly two dozen different breweries (each with its own style and list of beers).
From veteran and family-run breweries to a taproom located in a renovated vintage ice house, one thing all these places have in common is their assortment of seriously tasty drinks.
You likely won’t be able to make your way to all of the breweries in town, but even if you just pick a few, make sure you have a designated driver or some very comfortable walking shoes.