Florida Hidden Gems
Florida offers many amazing hidden treasures. No matter if you love animals or adventure travel, Florida will surely surprise and delight you with its wide range of fantastic spots! From animal sanctuary tours to exciting adventure trips – Florida offers something spectacular to meet every taste and interest! Several Florida hidden gems are available for you to see.
From Orlando‘s amazing theme parks to breathtaking natural marvels, Florida is packed with wonderful experiences worth experiencing! Pack your bags and get ready to uncover its treasures!
1. Crystal River
Florida offers an abundance of natural wonders, from crystal-clear springs that flow along its iconic Seven Mile River to its lush beaches lining its gulf coast. If you want to swim with manatees or just want an ideal place for boating, diving, and relaxation – Florida has something special in store.
Crystal River, Florida’s Gulf coast city located within driving distance of both Tampa and Orlando. Renowned for its natural springs, manatee tours and charming historic downtown area – Crystal River has long been a sought-after getaway among both residents and visitors from larger Florida cities alike who desire an unhurried yet relaxing Florida experience.
Crystal River, situated in a rural part of Washington known as the “nature coast,” has long been revered by its people. They take great pride in preserving its natural beauty while emphasizing sustainability over big-city conventions or flashy tourist attractions; thus making the town feel like an undiscovered gem that locals hope remains that way!
One of the greatest attractions in Crystal River is visiting one of its many crystalline springs. Of them all, Three Sisters Springs stands out as my personal favorite – accessible only by kayak – offering clear waters and hosting manatees that migrate annually in Florida’s winter season.
Weeki Wachee State Park is another of Florida’s hidden treasures, where kayaking in natural springs is legal and an excellent way to experience this part of Florida’s Sunshine State.
No matter your diving or snorkeling interests, this stunning underwater park in Florida shouldn’t be missed! Part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and boasting a vibrant coral reef ecosystem, don’t miss this incredible Florida hidden gem!
2. Kampong Botanical Garden
Kampong Botanical Garden in Coconut Grove is one of Florida’s hidden treasures and should be visited by anyone interested in botanical gardens and tropical fruits. Derived from Malay or Javanese meaning village or cluster of houses, this historic nine-acre garden was previously owned by legendary plant explorer David Fairchild and features rare palms, cycads, exotic fruit trees and flowering trees, including rare baobab trees, peanut butter fruit trees, cocoplums and over 50 mango varieties! Known also for their planting heritage collections from Southeast Asia, Caribbean Central Americas which are studied worldwide by scientists worldwide!
Edward Clarence Dean was an esteemed architect who created this property from local oolitic limestone accented with red-toned oriental woods. This tropical garden in the continental US features only rosewood stairs imported from Hong Kong; today it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and remains open for self-guided tours by members of the public.
Visitors to the garden will encounter over 5,000 species of plants from all around the globe, with its most celebrated collection found in its orchid pavilion where more than 150 varieties of tropical and subtropical orchids can be observed in their natural environment.
At The Kampong, horticulture reigns supreme. Visitors can explore over 80 varieties of palm trees from around the world in its palm grove. Other highlights include its butterfly garden featuring over 12 different species of butterflies as well as tropical ferns and bromeliads found throughout its greenhouses.
Visitors to Fairchild’s property can also take guided and self-guided tours to gain more insight into his travels, which brought so many new plants into America during his lifetime. Guided tours run Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10:30 AM and 12 PM respectively while self-guided tours run daily from 9AM-2PM.
3. Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida’s little slice of paradise located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, is easily accessible from Key West thanks to its idyllic coral reefs, historical fort, tranquil atmosphere and variety of sea turtles and exotic birds residing here. Despite these tranquil surroundings, visitors will easily be able to reach this park from Key West.
National parks provide an ideal venue for both day trips and overnight adventures. There’s plenty to do in them from snorkeling off of Fort Jefferson to relaxing on one of their many beaches – making this park an ideal place for those in search of quiet escape from city life.
Travel to the park requires effort, but is well worth your while. There are only two ways to reach it: ferry or seaplane – both providing affordable yet exciting journeys – the latter offering more exciting experience but at higher cost than its counterpart.
No matter which option you select, ensure to bring sunscreen and sufficient water with you. As the weather can become quite warm and sunny, protecting yourself is key. Also bring Dramamine along if you tend to experience motion sickness.
This park should not be missed when visiting Florida Keys! As an unexpected gem, you are sure to gain an unforgettable experience here. Don’t forget your camera – there are some incredible photo opps here. Plus, relax on the beach and take in the scenery. Don’t wait; visit soon if possible! This hidden treasure won’t disappoint.
4. Three Sisters Springs
Three Sisters Spring is a favorite swimming destination in Florida, home to manatees that attract many visitors. Additionally, the shallow water provides excellent learning conditions for beginner swimmers. However, visitors should remember not to touch manatees directly as this could cause stress and possibly kill them.
Three Sisters Springs can be reached via boat or guided tour, although kayakers and paddleboarders may enter via one of Kings Bay public ramps without getting wet. Boardwalk and trails may also be accessible for an entrance fee; for optimal experience it is best to go on days when there are fewer crowds.
Though many consider Three Sisters Springs wildlife refuge a hidden treasure, its beginnings were far different. Originally purchased by developers who intended to convert it into housing and water bottling facilities; luckily a group of citizens stepped in to buy back the land from them and save the wildlife refuge from destruction.
Since then, the springs have become a favorite destination among both locals and tourists. Swimming in their warm waters and witnessing manatees in winter is particularly enjoyable; many come seeking sanctuary from the cold Gulf waters!
Three Sisters Springs can become quite busy during the months of summer with swimmers and tourists coming to enjoy its warm waters and witness manatees up close. It is an excellent destination to bring family for a refreshing dip or spend an entire day discovering these creatures in their natural environment.
Three Sisters Springs remains environmentally-protected despite its increased popularity, offering visitors a fantastic way to experience Florida’s natural beauty and wildlife. Take pictures here or just relax – Three Sisters Springs are an incredible hidden gem worth discovering, with kayaking opportunities nearby and Weeki Wachee State Park offering many other activities.