When it comes to planning an unforgettable vacation, Florida has no shortage of attractions to offer. From its world-famous theme parks to its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, the Sunshine State has something for everyone. However, if you’re looking to explore beyond the popular tourist spots and discover some hidden gems that will make your Florida vacation truly exceptional, you’ve come to the right place! Here is a list of the best-hidden gems across Florida that will leave you with cherished memories and a desire to come back for more.
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1. Captiva Island – Where Tranquility Meets Paradise
Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and step into the serene beauty of Captiva Island. Located just off the Gulf Coast of Florida, Captiva Island offers a tranquil oasis with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets. This hidden gem is perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat, romantic getaway, or a family vacation away from the crowds. Don’t miss the chance to spot dolphins playing in the waves or collect seashells along the shores during low tide.
2. Crystal River – Swim with Gentle Giants
For a truly unique and awe-inspiring experience, head to Crystal River, the “Home of the Manatees.” This charming town on Florida’s Nature Coast is famous for its warm springs, attracting hundreds of manatees seeking refuge during the winter months. Embrace the chance to swim and snorkel alongside these gentle giants, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Explore the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and immerse yourself in the wonders of nature.
Florida Vacation Spots For Adults
3. St. Augustine – Unraveling History’s Treasures
Step back in time and visit the historic city of St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. This charming destination offers a fascinating blend of rich history, stunning architecture, and captivating museums. Explore the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S., and wander along St. George Street, lined with quaint shops and cozy cafes. It is also great for a pub crawl! There are many bars and restaurants, including the famous St. Augustine distillery. St. Augustine’s enchanting atmosphere is sure to captivate your heart.
4. Miami – Bursting With Life and Creativity
Oh, when it comes to awesome Florida vacation spots for adults, Miami takes the crown! Seriously, this city has it all, and it’s perfect for those seeking a fantastic time.
First off, let’s talk about the foodie and art scene. Miami is bursting with life and creativity in every corner. You’ll find some incredible restaurants that will make your taste buds dance with joy. And if you’re an art enthusiast, get ready to be blown away by the vibrant art scene that Miami proudly boasts.
Miami can be as luxurious as you want it to be! Those high rises and pool scenes are straight-up glamorous. But hey, you don’t need to break the bank to have an amazing time here. You can have a blast by staying in Brickell and exploring the vibrant neighborhoods like Wynwood and Little Havana.
There’s so much to do and see in Miami that you won’t ever run out of options. From trendy bars and clubs to beautiful beaches, this city has something for every taste and interest.
Since Miami parties all night long, why not make it an adult-only trip? You’ll have the time of your life taking advantage of the vibrant nightlife and letting loose in this energetic city!
So, if you’re up for an unforgettable vacation, Miami is the place to be. Get ready to soak up the sun, savor incredible food and immerse yourself in a world of art and entertainment.
5. Dry Tortugas National Park – A Remote Paradise
Accessible only by boat or seaplane, Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote and pristine oasis located about 70 miles west of Key West. This hidden gem boasts an abundance of marine life, vibrant coral reefs, and the majestic Fort Jefferson, a 19th-century coastal fortress. Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, spot rare bird species, and bask in the sheer tranquility of this secluded paradise.
Because of its remote location, very few people visit Dry Tortugas National Park. This makes the beaches some of the cleanest and least crowded beaches in the Florida Keys. Snorkeling the reefs is one of the popular things to do in the Dry Tortugas. If you like adventure in nature, you may want to give it a try!
Florida Vacation Spots for Families
6. Anna Maria Island – The Old-Florida Charm
Welcome to paradise! If you’re dreaming of palm-fringed beaches, crystal-clear waters, and an enchanting escape from the everyday hustle, then Anna Maria Island is your ticket to an unforgettable Florida vacation. Picture yourself strolling along soft, sandy shores, sipping on fruity cocktails and feeling the gentle sea breeze – it’s all waiting for you right here!
Experience the old-Florida charm of Anna Maria Island, a delightful barrier island nestled on the Gulf Coast. With its sugar-white beaches, swaying palm trees, and a relaxed atmosphere, this hidden gem is a haven for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts. Explore the charming boutiques, savor fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants, and catch a breathtaking sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
So, pack your flip-flops and get ready to immerse yourself in the laid-back vibes of this tropical haven. From sunrise to sunset, there are many beautiful sights to see, the most mouthwatering eateries to try and maybe more bliss than you can handle!
7. Orlando – The Ever-Popular Home of the Mouse
You can’t talk about the best family vacations in Florida without mentioning Orlando! It’s an absolute must-visit spot. Sure, the theme parks play a huge role in making it a top pick for families—going to Disney World and Universal is a must-do for kids, right?
But Orlando has so much more to offer beyond the theme parks! There’s a ton of mini golf and sports activities to enjoy, perfect for some friendly family competition. Plus, you’ll find loads of local museums that are both educational and fun.
And when it comes to food, Orlando has a mind-blowing array of dining choices. From delicious local eats to international cuisines, your taste buds are in for a treat!
So, whether you’re hitting the theme parks or exploring all the other exciting stuff Orlando has to offer, there’s something for everyone in the family. Orlando is an absolute blast, no matter your age!
8. Mount Dora – Quaint Beauty and Festive Spirit
Discover the super cute city of Mount Dora, a charming town in Central Florida that has a welcoming ambiance all year. Known for its historic architecture, antique shops and fun festivals, Mount Dora is definitely worth a trip. Don’t miss the annual Mount Dora Arts Festival, where talented artists showoff their creations.
This place is brimming with character and activities that will keep you entertained from sunrise to sunset. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or a shopaholic in search of unique treasures, there’s a little something for everyone here.
Check out their many festivals with the dates here. To name a few- there are Blueberry, Beer, Art and Storytelling festivals and the list goes on!
Experience the Best of Florida’s Vacation Spots!
Venture off the beaten path and embrace the allure of Florida’s hidden gems. From the tranquil shores of Captiva Island to the historic streets of St. Augustine, each destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Swim with manatees in Crystal River, immerse yourself in the vibrant marine life of Dry Tortugas, and soak in the old-Florida charm of Anna Maria Island.
The absolute best time to visit is from November to May. The weather is perfect during these months, and you’ll have a blast exploring all that Florida has to offer.
You might find some great deals in the off-season, but be warned: summers in Florida can get scorching hot! And, there’s a bit of a hurricane risk in the fall, so be prepared just in case.
If you want to make the most out of your Florida vacation, renting a car is best. It’ll give you the freedom to check out the surrounding areas, as public transportation isn’t as great as we’d like it to be.
When it comes to hitting the beaches, keep in mind that the east coast beaches have more waves and coarser sand. On the other hand, the gulf coast beaches are calmer and boast that lovely sugar sand. Although, some folks find the gulf coast a bit too warm for that refreshing dip during the summer.
Have a fantastic trip, and enjoy every moment of your Florida adventure!
I started Social Kelli as more of a journal than a blog and realized that it could also speak to other women like me leading normal yet unique lives. Women like me, who are not celebrities but are creative, intentional, mature yet experimental, constantly evolving, (over)thoughtful, engaged where they want to be, decidedly disconnected from the noise and of course, purposely comfortable with who they are…
Social Kelli is fashion and lifestyle blog that gives marketing tips and brand recommendations to the every day woman to help grow a dream life. Take a look around my Amazon shop, read about my social media journey and follow for fashion and style inspiration. Learn how to create a home and business that reflect your passions!