Exploring Florida: The 10 Hidden Gems You Must Discover
Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. The state is home to a plethora of theme parks, Orlando Florida resorts by Westgate, beaches, and other attractions that draw in visitors from all over the world. The Walt Disney World, Kennedy Space Center, and South Beach in Miami are just some of the many well-known destinations in Florida that immediately come to mind when thinking of the state’s most visited tourist destinations.
However, Florida offers much more than its well-known tourist spots. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and explore some of Florida’s hidden gems, here are ten places you should definitely add to your list.
10 off-the-beaten-path destinations in Florida
- Three Sisters Spring at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
This gorgeous wildlife refuge offers wildlife watching, bicycling, hiking trails, and guided tours. Still, it’s best recognized as a world-renowned winter haven for manatees. Every year, West Indian manatees travel to the warm spring waters, so it’s a must-see if you want to observe the sea cows in their native environment.
- Devil’s Den
Devil’s Den is an ancient natural spring in Levy County that provides diving and snorkeling in clear, 72-degree waters. This magnificent cave was dubbed after early inhabitants who felt the steam flowing from the cavern resembled smoke ascending from hell.
- Florida Caverns State Park
In Florida, it is possible to go on a cave tour. Stalactites, flowstones, stalagmites, and draperies hidden underneath the surface of Jackson County in the Panhandle can be discovered at Florida Caverns State Park. Hiking, swimming, and other activities are also available at the park.
- Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Delray Beach’s best-kept secret is its sixteen-acre Japanese garden. This tranquil and picturesque location has a world-class bonsai museum, ponds brimming with koi, footpaths, and picnic places where you can submerge yourself in nature. You can also learn about Japanese culture with organizations and programs that offer classes in traditional Japanese music, Japanese ink painting, and other activities.
- Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the nation’s least-visited nature reserves, is worth a look if you’re exploring the Florida Keys. While Dry Tortugas isn’t a hidden gem among residents or national park enthusiasts, its distant position means you may tour Fort Jefferson, explore the beaches, snorkel amid the coral reefs, or plunge into a shipwreck without any of the mobs found on Florida’s famous beaches.
- Venetian Pool
This Coral Gables treasure isn’t your typical public Pool. The Venetian Pool is the largest freshwater lagoon in the United States. It was created from a coral stone quarry in the 1920s. The waterfalls, grottos, palm trees, and porticos make this an idyllic spot for a day of swimming.
- Southwest Florida Ale Trail
Although Oregon and Vermont are widely regarded as the top beer-loving places in the country, did you know that Florida has a brewery trail? The Southwest Florida Ale Trail links breweries in four Florida jurisdictions. It provides a passport that may be stamped at 18 participating breweries to earn rewards. Several of these breweries are also close to shore, allowing for a perfect beach and beer day.
- Wacissa Springs County Park
This park is a swimming, snorkeling, and boating paradise, with over a dozen sparkling springs to pick from. Wacissa Springs County Park is a beautiful fishing and animal observation location.
- Florida Historic Golf Trail
Golfers worldwide go to Florida for the state’s legendary variety of courses. The Florida Historic Golf Trail allows them to play on some of the best while learning about the state’s rich sporting past. The path includes well-known courses designed by prominent golf course architects and some lesser-known public courses.
- Ravine Gardens State Park
This one-of-a-kind park in Palatka provides 60 acres of natural beauty to explore. Suspension bridges span the park’s ravines more than 30 feet above the earth, and there’s a 1.8-mile loop where you can bike, drive, or walk to take in the breathtaking scenery. If you enjoy hiking, you might appreciate the park’s somewhat challenging routes that descend into the ravines.
So, there you have it! The Sunshine State is full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.
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