Florida is one of the most diverse states in the US. With its stunning landscapes, varied wildlife, rich food scene, and amazing weather; Florida makes for an ideal holiday destination for all groups of holidaymakers including families, honeymooners, couples and friends. But unfortunately, the place suffers from the curse of the famous, which means that one aspect of the state’s many offerings overshadows almost everything else. The overriding popularity of Orlando’s Universal Studios and the Walt Disney Park makes Florida synonymous with theme parks whereas the state has plenitude to offer to the visitors in actual.
Here are top five places to visit in Florida after you’re done with the theme park routine:
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales
Bok Tower Gardens, built upon the Iron Mountain, stand as a living testament of USA’s status as the land of opportunities. The gardens were constructed by one Dutch immigrant Edward W. Bok as ‘enduring token of his appreciation for the opportunities he had been given.’ The majestic 200-acre garden boasts a 205-foot tall singing tower with carillon bells, a Pine Ridge Trail, Pinewood Estate, and a visitor centre. Around 126 species of birds, including the migrating birds, find sanctuary in the lush garden.
Crystal River State Park in Citrus County
An exciting place for lovers of wildlife, photography and nature in general, the 27000 acres of Crystal River State Park offers the undisturbed islands, inlets, backwaters and forests. You can hike or ride a bicycle along the miles of trekking trails. You can get familiarised to the native wildlife and plants. The waters of the park present excellent kayaking, canoeing and boating opportunities. You can come here with your family for a picnic amidst the greens or spend the day fishing. The Visitor Centre of the park depicts the natural habitats in the park and hosts three 125-gallon aquariums. A film titled ‘Living Waters’ educating the visitors about the park and its ecosystem is shown every day in The Visitor Centre.
Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon
Rainbow Springs State Park is one of the best places in Florida to enjoy nature. The park is a perfect choice for a day of activity in the outdoors including swimming, snorkelling, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing (remains closed from October to March) in the Rainbow River. The mesmerising blue springs in the park are believed to be nearly 10,000 years old, and are the fourth largest in Florida. The park opens its gates for the visitors at 8am in the morning, and it is recommended that you visit as early as possible to avoid huge crowds. On weekends, the entry is at 10am, and the gates are closed as soon as park is full to the capacity.
Santa Rosa Beach
The Santa Rosa Beach on the Florida’s Emerald Coast is a vacationer’s dream. The turquoise blue waters and the upscale dining options lend the Santa Rosa Beach much of its appeal. One of the prime reasons that this beach is such a favourite spot when it comes to lesser known destinations in Florida is that there’s more to do here than just the beach fun. You can explore the nearby artist colony called the Gulf Place or head to the Point Washington State Forest touched by the beach when you are ready for some action.
Explore the Cafes – The French Pantry and Cafe La Buca
Located in Jacksonville, The French Pantry is a chic cafe bringing the French sophistication, and amazing baking to Florida. Open only during the lunch hours, the cafe serves some of the best pastries and cakes you will ever have in your life. Cafe La Buca on the Pompano Beach is your own little place to have a good time with friends and family. The Italian food served here is lip-smacking. There’s no menu which means you’ll have to pick one of the dishes that have been prepared for the day. The guests are allowed to bring their own wine.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach
Dedicated to the culture of Japan, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens hosts two museum buildings, Garden of the Drops of Dew, a bonsai garden, library, gift shop, and a Japanese restaurant in its vicinity. Try to visit the gardens during one of their celebration of a Japanese festival to have the splendid experience of understanding Japan in Florida. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens open at 10am in the morning from Tuesdays to Sundays.