When you think about traveling in Florida, you almost immediately think about Disney (Orlando), Miami, Key West, or maybe even Tampa. Well, today we’re not talking about those popular Florida destination. We’re going to follow the advice of famous poet, Robert Frost, and talk about the ones less traveled. Here are 5 hidden gems in Florida that you have to see for yourself!
Fort Myers, FL
Image by Alyssa Santos via Trover
Fort Myers is one city you have to visit if you find yourself touring Southwest Florida. It’s most known for its huge beachline that runs over 6 miles along the Gulf of Mexico. If beaches aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are several other attractions that make Fort Myers worth visiting. If you like wildlife, there is the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the Manatee Park, both great places to spend the day exploring nature and wild animals.
If you are looking to go on a shopping spree, then Fort Myers has you covered. There are over 5 malls and outdoor shopping centers within 30 minutes of each other. From Bell Towers and Edison Mall to Gulf Coast Town Center and Coconut Point, there are plenty of places to shop till you drop. The best part is, a lot of these shopping centers are within walking distance of affordable hotels.
Just outside the hustle and bustle of Tampa, is a small city on the Gulf Coast, called Sarasota. This beautiful city combines modern culture and arts with classic Florida elements. If you’re looking to delve into the culture side of Sarasota, you cannot skip the Ringling Museum. You can tour this incredible museum and learn everything there is to know about the history of the circus. If you want to indulge in the Florida life, you can visit one of the six islands that are in Sarasota. From Siesta Key to Manasota Key, there are endless ocean front views to bask in. If you are considering visiting Sarasota, there are some incredible hotels with amenities like you wouldn’t believe!
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It’s incredible that Tallahassee is not one of the first cities you think of when you think about traveling to Florida. It’s the state capital and is surrounded by history and culture. Even though it’s not a common destination for tourists, it is completely worth visiting and staying a few days. No trip to Tallahassee is complete without visiting the Florida Historic Capitol Museum. This museum is free to tour, and will teach you everything there is to know about Florida’s political history. It’s also one of the most stunning pieces of architecture in Tallahassee and has been restored to its 1902 appearance. If you are looking for something more relaxing, then consider visiting St. Marks Lighthouse which presents several beautiful, scenic walkways along the Gulf.
Panama City, FL
If you are looking for an inexpensive Florida destination that still packs a lot of excitement, Panama City is your spot. There are affordable hotels, attractions, and restaurants all within a few miles of each other. If you visit Panama City, you have to check out the beaches. Panama City Beach is a popular destination for spring-breakers, because of its miles of white, sandy beachfront and its affordable activities like swimming with dolphins, waterslides, and a plethora of pools. If you’re looking for a nice hotel near the beach, consider the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel.
Gainesville is most notably the home of the University of Florida and “The Swamp.” If there is one activity you must try to do while in Gainesville, it is attending a Florida Gator football game. You could do yourself a favor by staying at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center and walking to and from the game.
However, even if it isn’t football season, there are several reasons you should visit this exciting Florida city. Gainesville is a beautiful town that embraces its wildlife history. From the Butterfly Rainforest to the Florida Museum of Natural History, you will find that Gainesville is a pleasant blend of entertainment and education.
Next time you think about visiting Florida, consider checking out the cities less traveled, like the 5 mentioned above!
Featured image via Budi Awan on Trover