Of all the states in the country, Florida might just be the most unique. With swamps, beaches, populous metropolises and tiny isolated communities, this state has a truly incredible range of things to see, things to do and places to go. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that Florida sees over 130 million tourists visit each year!
It’s no secret that Florida is a great place to spend a summer vacation; with a plethora of theme parks, five star resorts, beautiful beaches and other tourist attractions, it’s a traveller’s dream come true. Of course, in a state with such a range of attractions and destinations, there are bound to be a lot of things most people miss on their first, second or even third time around.
These are the secrets of Florida. The overlooked, underappreciated and uniquely satisfying destinations are some of the most enjoyable ways to spend your time in Florida, yet they are by and large a criminally underrated and underappreciated part of the touristic landscape of the state. So what are these hidden gems and well kept secrets? Let’s find out!
Crystal Springs – Zephyrhills FL
When the sun is shining overhead and there hasn’t been a single gust of wind for the whole day, there’s nothing that beats the singular pleasure of cooling off with a refreshing swim. There are plenty of places where you can enjoy a cool, pleasant swim here in Florida, but when in our book there’s only one place that will do: Crystal Springs in Zephyrhills FL!
For those who aren’t aware, Florida is home to dozens of natural springs, each seemingly more beautiful than the last. These natural springs have beautiful, crystal clear water which stays a refreshing 72 degrees fahrenheit year round. In many of these springs, you’ll find a wide variety of benign flora and fauna such as waterfowl, fish and manatees.
In our opinion, one of the best of these natural springs is Crystal Springs. Located just outside of Zephyrhills FL, this delightful natural preserve looks like something out of a storybook. Towering cedars, water oaks and palms shade its immaculate crystal blue waters, making for an experience unlike any other you’ve ever had before. If you’re planning a trip to Florida, you might want to put this on your trip itinerary!
Local arts scene – Miami, FL
If you’ve heard of Florida, there isn’t a chance in hell you don’t know at least something about Miami. This city, often referred to as “the Gateway to the Americas”, is a thriving, wealthy metropolis with one of the biggest local enemies in the country and one of the most vibrant and competitive job markets on the east coast. There’s just so much to do here!
Now, you might be thinking “Wait… this article is about the secrets of Florida; Miami isn’t a secret!” If you were thinking this, you’re right. Miami isn’t a secret! What is a secret, however, is Miami’s local arts scene. With dozens of semi-underground artists, performers and musicians, the local arts scene of this city is something you absolutely cannot miss if Florida is your vacation destination this year.
If you decide to visit Miami and search out the thriving local arts scene, you’ll be treated to a range of artistic expression that’s unmatched by any other city in the state. From the ambitious street performers and buskers lining the sidewalks to the art house painters, actors and sculptors, the arts scene in Miami is something like nothing else you’ve ever seen, heard or felt before. You don’t have to take our word for it; just ask one of the real estate agents in Miami FL!
National Naval Aviation Museum – Pensacola, FL
While Florida sees over a hundred million tourists come and go every year, the vast majority of these vacation goers miss out on all of the excellent attractions in the northern regions of the state. As a result of this, many of the most interesting things to see and do in north and central Florida are remarkably uncrowded, making for a remarkably stress free experience.
One of the most underrated cities in the state is undoubtedly the city of Pensacola FL. This charming little place is best known as the home of the U.S. Naval Aviation Base and the Naval Officer Candidate School, but it also has a ton of other things to see and do. With beautiful beaches, a wide range of attractions and a friendly populace, it’s just a great place to visit.
Among its many attractions, perhaps the most fascinating is the National Naval Aviation Museum, where you can explore over 100 years of naval aviation history. The museum is home to over 150 aircraft from different periods of U.S. naval history, with some of the most fascinating airplanes, helicopters and prototype aircraft you’ll ever see. According to real estate agents in Pensacola FL, this is one attraction that you don’t want to miss!
Everglades National Park – South Florida
Ok, ok, this one isn’t exactly a secret. As one of the best known landmarks in the state, the Everglades gets quite a bit of traffic each year, and has its fair share of wide eyed tourists. Nevertheless, we think there’s a good chance you might never have considered putting it on your travel itinerary. If that’s the case, allow us to tell you why you should!
To the uninitiated, the Everglades might seem like just another swamp, without much to do when it comes to having fun. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Across the hundreds of square miles of seemingly desolate swamp and marshland you’ll find a hidden world of beautiful fauna and flora, as well as some practically otherworldly landscapes.
There are a variety of ways in which you can experience the Everglades national park. Airboats are a great option, as their shallow draught allows them to navigate all but the shallowest sections of the park. If you enjoy kayaking or canoeing, these are both great ways to experience what the park has to offer as well. Once you visit, you’ll soon see why it’s listed as one of the most beautiful national parks in America!
Panama Beach – Panama City, FL
While Florida certainly doesn’t come up short when it comes to beaches, most of the popular seaside tourist sites in the state aren’t exactly isolated. If you’re planning to visit a popular beach during the summer when the weather is nice, you’ll be lucky if you find a 3’ x 5’ space to spread out a towel! But what if there was a beach that was just as beautiful as its more popular counterparts, but without the crowds?
Luckily for you, there’s a place that fits that description perfectly: Panama Beach! This exquisite white sand beach is virtually unknown among tourists due to its location in the panhandle, but that doesn’t make it any less attractive. Even though it’s a ways off the beaten path, Panama Beach is one of the best places to visit if you’re trying to escape the droves of sweaty tourists.
The beach itself is a wonder to behold: immaculate white sand stretches as far as the eye can see in both directions, bordered by dunes on one side and the crystal clear, sparkling azure water on the other. Despite its incredible beauty, the beaches are still virtually unpopulated even during the busiest days of the year, and you can enjoy the view in peace. If it wasn’t on your planner already, you’d do well to pencil in Panama Beach and contact the local realtors in Panama City FL to help you settle in!
Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine, FL
Compared to many places across the globe, American cities are still in their infancy. While many cities in Europe, Asia and Africa have existed for hundreds or even thousands of years, most American cities have only existed for one or two hundred years. There is one place, however, that proves the exception to that rule: the city of St. Augustine FL.
As the local realtors in Saint Augustine FL tell us, the city is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States, this place has a ton to do and see, from its long list of historic sites to its wide variety of delicious culinary attractions. Today however, we’re going to be taking a look at one historic site in particular: Castillo de San Marcos, one of the oldest European forts in North America.
This imposing but elegant fortress was originally built in the year 1672, over 100 years after the city was founded. Designed in a simple but effective four-pointed star layout, the fortress has stood continuously for over 300 years. Incredibly, the fortress itself never fell, in spite of the numerous attacks it sustained. Today, it’s no longer a military site, and can be visited free of charge by anyone!
Moving to Florida
These hidden gems are just a few of the hundreds of Florida’s little-known secrets. No matter how long you search, you’ll probably never discover all the secrets this unique and fascinating state holds; but should that stop you from trying? If you’d like to spend more time enjoying the things this state has to offer, you might want to consider moving here!
This is a good idea for a number of reasons. Not only is the state a great place to spend free time, it’s also a great place to work and live! Florida is home to a number of cities with compelling arguments as to why you might enjoy making them your home. Take Miami for example; according to Forbes magazine, it’s the cleanest city in the country!
If you’d like to make this delightful state your home, you’ll want to find a real estate agent in the area you plan to move to, and see what’s on the market. With a little bit of searching, you should be able to find a home that suits your needs and your budget in no time at all. Before you know it, you might just be Florida’s newest resident!