When it comes to planning a great weekend in Florida, most people opt for the same ol’ popular options like Disney World Theme Parks and Miami Beach. But what if you’re someone who enjoys going off the beaten path? What if you enjoy adventuring through lesser-known yet nonetheless amazing and interesting locations?
If you’re someone who prefers a hidden paradise over a popular hot spot, keep reading. This article shares seven of the most fascinating hidden gems in Florida, ensuring you have an unforgettable getaway.
Which hidden gems in Florida will make it onto your bucket list?
Florida Domes (For Boat Enthusiasts)
Located in Cape Romano is one of the most exciting sights – only accessible by boat since it is located on the Florida gulf coast. Known as the Florida Domes, these lovely domes started as a home for a millionaire seeking solitude from the hustle and bustle of life. Their love for the ocean drew them to this distinct location off the Gulf Coast.
Today, most of the home has become engulfed by the sea and has become a bird sanctuary or shelter for birds in the area, but it is still quite an intriguing sight you won’t want to miss. So, instead of opting for a traditional boat ride in Florida, consider going the path toward the Florida Domes instead to do some bird watching.
Falling Waters State Park, Chipley (For Nature Lovers)
Most people don’t think about waterfalls or forests when it comes to Florida. They think of pristine, crystal-clear beaches with luxurious beach sand and a nightlife like no other. But if you love to explore and get out in nature, you will be pleased to discover that there is a rather enthralling waterfall awaiting in Chipley, Florida.
The Falling Waters State Park is home to the highest waterfall in Florida. It’s surrounded by breathtaking trees and fern-covered sinkholes, creating a desirable destination for those seeking to unwind and become “one with nature.” You’ll enjoy the stroll as you take in all of the glorious green foliage and clean air.
Florida Caverns State Park (For Adventurers)
Do you love nature but are more of an adventurous type? Do you want to do more than just bike trails or hiking trails through the woods? If you said “yes” to both of these questions, you need to check out the Florida Caverns State Park.
The Florida Caverns State Park is precisely how it sounds – an exclusive spot where you can take a tour through immense caverns lit up and brought to life by an arrangement of colorful LED lights.
Seriously – if you crave exploration and want to see one of the most breathtaking hidden gems in Florida, consider a trip to the Florida Caverns State Park.
Ringling Museum (For Art Lovers)
The Ringling Museum certainly nods its head towards the circus, but that’s not the only artistic talent awaiting you at Ringling Museum. This amazing museum is the state art museum of Florida, yet it tends to get bypassed by tourists, ensuring it ranks on the list as one of the must-see hidden gems in Florida.
Inside this 66-acre Sarasota enthralling museum, you will find interesting artwork from around the globe and pieces from different periods from top to bottom. These pieces were hand-selected by John and Mary Ringling, art enthusiasts that wanted to bring their passion to life. This is not like the traditional amusement parks that we have in Florida.
Venetian Pool (For Those That Love to Swim!)
Swimming pools? Boring. You can find those everywhere. A luxurious freshwater swimming pool built inside of a coral rock quarry? Now that’s something to write home about!
If you love to swim but are tired of the same humdrum pools, consider this secret spot, called the Venetian Pool, the only pool found on the “National Register of Historic Places.” That’s because this intricate pool was crafted in the 1920s, yet the hidden paradise remains a secret to most tourist folks.
Take a dip in these waters and enjoy the jaw-dropping coral reefs and landscape that is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Devil’s Den (For Snorkelers and Scuba Divers)
There are plenty of places in Florida to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving, the so-called natural springs, but few can amount to the amazing experience that the Devil’s Den offers. This unique, prehistoric spring has some of the most enchanting sights in the entire state, coining its place on the top six hidden gems.
There’s much to see in this national park, and it’s all easily noticed thanks to the “natural sunroof” that allows sunlight into this underground escape with t’s hidden entrance. As you dive and enjoy, you will be surrounded by beautiful marine life like fish and turtles that call this place home. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Swim into one of the many underwater/underground river systems for an experience that can’t be beaten.
Cedar Key (For History Buffs)
Anyone that loves to step foot back in time will love Cedar Key, Florida. This lovely island town was the second town in Florida history, ensuring it’s loaded with historical information, artifacts, and architecture in every direction. To ensure you get a glimpse of this historical site, make sure to check out the Cedar Key Historical Museum, where you will find photos and items, some of which date back to the Civil War era.
When you’re done immersing yourself in history, don’t forget to check out the surrounding beaches. Here, you can enjoy your toes in the beach sand or try your luck at fishing. You can also stroll through the town on a peddle bike, making sure that you don’t miss a single inch of this pleasant town. This is the perfect vacation spot for our history lovers.
A Few Tips for Traveling to Florida
Now that you know all of the hidden gems in Florida, it’s time to check out a few traveling tips to ensure you’re 110% prepared for your trip.
Bring a broad range of clothing
Florida is known for great weather, but it’s also quite finicky and prone to sudden downpours. Be prepared by bringing along clothes for every season – especially rain jackets! But don’t forget your beach outfit!
Don’t forget your umbrella
Florida has lots of rain, and you don’t want to be caught in a downpour without your trusty umbrella. Pack a few, just to be sure!
You don’t want to be scrambling while you’re vacationing. So, create an itinerary (complete with all the hidden paradise options above).
The two primary weather conditions of Florida are rain and sun. That said, make sure there are plenty of sunscreens packed next to your umbrella. You’ll need it – especially when you’re sunbathing on the beach sand!
Keep hurricane season in mind
Hurricanes can occur in Florida and typically come anywhere from June to November (August and September is peak season). Avoid Florida during these months, especially if you are planning on doing a road trip or be prepared for this potential natural disaster to take place.
There are so many mesmerizing things to see in Florida, from sunrise to sunset. Try to relax and see everything this glorious state has to offer.
A trip to Florida is bound to be a great weekend regardless of what you do and where you go. However, if you want to beat the crowd of the popular beaches and enjoy some of the best-kept secret spots you will surely enjoy the hidden gems in Florida mentioned above every single day of your day trip. Artsy folks won’t want to miss the Ringling Museum, while adventurers will have a blast at the Florida Domes, Florida Caverns, and Devil’s Den.