When taking a trip to Florida, many of us set our sights on a few select attractions – the most notable being the exciting theme parks.
But aside from the thrill seeking roller coasters, whizzing you around like there’s no tomorrow, Florida has an abundance of natural and historical attractions spread throughout its landscape.
Many of these go unnoticed, which is a shame not only for Florida but visitors too. Here’s our list of our six favourite attractions steeped with nature and history you simply have to visit.
- The Southernmost Point Buoy
Key West is one of the most popular parts of Florida, filled with fabulous nightlife, yearly annual events and amazing places to visit like Ernest Hemingway’s House and the Botanical Forest and Garden. But what you may not know is the area is only 90 miles from Cuba, and if you visit the buoy in question you’ll be as close as you can be without leaving Florida.
- Delray Beach
Florida is a stunning destination, and tucked away in Palm Beach County is the paradise of Delray Beach. Not extremely well known to tourists, it was named the ‘Most Fun Small Town’ in America by USA Today in 2012. Enjoy the romantic surroundings and the peaceful white beaches, and partake in a walk across the three-mile boardwalk on the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, where you may spot some alligators.
- Crystal River
If you venture 90 minutes from Orlando or Tampa, you’ll come to Citrus County, where you’ll find the Crystal River. Visiting a river may sound a little strange, but alongside the stunning natural surroundings, visitors will be met by an abundance of majestic manatees that travel here when the Gulf of Mexico gets too cold. It’s worth noting this is the only place in the U.S. where you can legally swim and snorkel with manatees, with various tour operators providing this service.
A true hidden gem, this is the perfect place to visit for a taste of real Florida. Hidden along the coast visitors will be amazed by the stunning pre-Civil War era architecture seen throughout. A particularly fascinating place to visit is the Chestnut Street Cemetery, which has tombstones dating back to the 1830s. Make sure you take part in a river cruise with Captain Gill where you can marvel at the natural surroundings, and enjoy some delicious sea food at places like Up The Creek Raw Bar; something the area prides itself on.
- Ancient Spanish Monastery
If you head to North Miami Beach you’ll find the breath taking Ancient Spanish Monastery. Filled with history, it was originally built in 1141 and resided in Segovia, Spain until the 1920s when it was dismantled and rebuilt in the United States. It is now the oldest building within the Western Hemisphere and acts as the St. Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church.
- Christ of the Deep
Over at Key Largo you can really indulge in something truly unique and fascinating. Here you’ll find the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which just so happens to be the first undersea park in America. But what you really need to see is the nine-foot-tall, bronze ‘Christ of the Deep’ statue, sitting 25 feet below the ocean surface within the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary.