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Get in the Mood: What to Read and Watch Before Going to Florida

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Are you planning on visiting Florida soon? To get you started, here are some series, novels, and movies set in Florida that feature the Sunshine State at the center of their stories. Enjoy!


Let Moonlight transport you to the heart of Miami’s Liberty City, where a touching story unfolds. Follow Chiron at three pivotal moments in his life as he navigates the challenges of his school, family, confronts his drug-addicted mother, and grapples with his identity.

As you watch, you’ll recognize iconic Florida locations like Virginia Key Beach, Liberty Square, Jimmy’s Eastside Dinner, and Miramar High School.

Available on Amazon Prime and MAX

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

Immerse yourself in the allure of the Florida Keys as you delve into Hemingway’s narrative. The story revolves around the character Harry Morgan, who is a fishing boat captain operating fishing cruises in the Florida Keys during the Great Depression. Experience the charm and drama of the Keys as Harry’s journey takes unexpected twists and turns. Hemingway’s vivid descriptions of the Keys make it a central character in the story.


Discover the captivating Florida Keys through the lens of the acclaimed series Bloodline. This gripping drama unfolds mainly in Islamorada, where the intriguing Rayburn family resides. While watching, you’ll recognize The Moorings and Morada Bay, among other iconic locales. Feel the essence of the Keys and soak in the ambiance of Green Turtle Inn, Alabama Jack’s, Pub Oceanview, and Robbie’s.

Available on Netflix

Florida Untamed

Nature enthusiasts won’t want to miss Florida Untamed, a captivating series from Nat Geo WILD. This show reveals the remarkable and occasionally treacherous wildlife of Florida. Watch in awe as you’re treated to breathtaking scenes featuring crocodiles, alligators, Burmese pythons, sea turtles, and rattlesnakes. It’s a thrilling and educational journey into the untamed landscapes of the Sunshine State, offering an up-close look at the extraordinary creatures that call Florida home. With its stunning visuals and gripping narratives, “Florida Untamed” provides an unforgettable glimpse into the wild side of this diverse and vibrant region.

Available on YouTube

Miami Vice

Step back in time with the iconic series Miami Vice. This ’80s classic not only showcases Miami’s vibrant culture but also serves as a time capsule of that particular era. Immerse yourself in the trendy music, new wave culture, and thrilling detective stories while exploring the city’s dynamic neighborhoods and scenic spots.

Available on Apple TV

A Century in The Sun: Henry Flagler & The Making of Florida

The illuminating documentary delves into the life and achievements of Henry Flagler, a visionary entrepreneur who played a pivotal role in shaping Florida as we know it. If you’re particularly interested in the Sunshine State’s complex history, this 60-minute video offers a fascinating journey through time, showcasing Flagler’s transformative impact, from pioneering railroads to building luxurious resorts. It’s a compelling exploration of Florida’s history and its evolution into a premier tourist destination.

Apollo 13

Relive a historic moment with Apollo 13. While the film primarily focuses on the spacecraft, keep an eye out for glimpses of Cap Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, just a stone’s throw from Orlando. Witness the awe-inspiring space adventure that is deeply intertwined with Florida’s space legacy.

Available for rent on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Journey through central and southern Florida in this timeless novel. Follow Janie Crawford’s path from adolescence to adulthood amidst a backdrop of diverse landscapes and cultural influences as she delves into the experiences, struggles, and aspirations of African Americans, particularly black women, in the South. The novel addresses the complex intersection of race and gender, portraying the challenges faced by its protagonist as she navigates a society characterized by racial discrimination and expectations.

Bad Boys & Bad Boys II

Experience Miami’s pulse-pounding energy through the eyes of Mikey and Marcus. The Bad Boys film series immerses you in the city’s vibrant nightlife, bustling beaches, and thrilling action scenes. From downtown pursuits to trendy clubs, these films starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence showcase Miami’s iconic beauty.

Available on Netflix

Red Grass River by James Carlos Blake

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the raw, untouched heart of the Everglades as the 20th century dawns. Traverse through the mesmerizing wilderness of this one-of-a-kind Florida landscape, where ancient cypress trees cast eerie shadows on expansive sawgrass prairies, and where the air is thick with mystery. Engage with a riveting narrative woven around crime and justice, orchestrated by the enigmatic John Ashley. This tale unfolds amidst the haunting beauty of the Everglades mangrove tunnels and the wading birds, alligators, and elusive panthers, offering a glimpse into a bygone era.

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