What do you think of when you hear someone mention Florida tourist attractions?
Most people think of sprawling amusement parks, race tracks, and famous beaches. However, there’s more in the sunshine state to keep tourists happy.
So keep reading to learn about some of Florida’s underrated attractions.
Let’s dive in!
Atlantic Side Florida Tourist Attractions
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
If you’re interested in formal gardens and a beach, you should check out Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. Washington Oaks is 425 acres of formal gardens, lush hammocks of live oaks, beachcombing, and scenic tidal pools.
Although the formal gardens are the park’s heart, the unique feature of Washington Oaks is the shoreline. It has the most extensive coquina rock formations on the Atlantic Ocean.
Coquina rock is limestone formed by the accumulation of particles, minerals, and seashells. It’s essentially an impressive collection of shells and sand cemented together a long time ago (during the Pleistocene era).
The gardens have native and non-native plants, including azaleas, camellias, and birds of paradise. On your visit, enjoy the short trails, visitor center, and events throughout the year. Don’t forget your bicycle and fishing gear as there are plenty of opportunities for both!
Location: 6400 N. Oceanshore Blvd, Palm Coast FL 32137
Pro Tip: Want to go fishing while in Florida? This is How to Get a Florida Fishing License.
Bioluminescent Kayaking in Cocoa Beach
Did you know some sea life that produces light? A chemical reaction in certain animals creates this bioluminescence. You can take a kayak tour in Cocoa Beach and see it for yourself. The water glows in response to the movement of kayaks, manatees, fish, and stingrays.
The best time to see the bioluminescent light is during the summer on moonless nights. The two primary bioluminescence sources are comb jellies (November to March) and marine phytoplankton (June to October).
Kayak tours launch from the Indian River and Banana River Lagoons. There’s even a company with clear kayaks, so you don’t miss any of the action. Tours can last up to two hours.
Location – depends on the tour company you choose
Gulf Side Florida Tourist Attractions
With nearly 30 springs in the area and 65 million gallons of water flowing every day, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is one of the largest springs in Florida.
A unique feature at Homosassa Springs is the main spring. Three different sources with varying freshwater and saltwater quantities feed the spring. This water mixture leads to freshwater and saltwater fish in the spring and manatees, especially in winter.
The park is also home to a wildlife experience where injured and orphaned animals live out their lives as educational ambassadors. Visitors can learn about alligators, black bears, red wolves, Key deer, whooping cranes, and other animals.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park has shaded elevated boardwalks as well as traditional trails. The Pepper Creek Birding Trail is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Although the park is home to several springs, swimming is not permitted.
Location: 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa FL 34446
Inland Florida Tourist Attractions
Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
Are you a scuba diver or enjoy a good snorkel? You might want to visit Devil’s Den. It’s an incredibly rare underground spring inside a dry prehistoric cave with stalactites and walls lined with fossils. The spring isn’t connected to any rivers or the ocean but does link to other springs via an underground cave system.
To get to the swimming area, you have to climb down 54 feet via a narrow metal staircase. Once at the bottom, there’s a platform where divers and snorkelers can get into the 72 Fahrenheit clear water.
There are no shallow areas, and the water depth changes depending on local water levels and rainfall amounts. The swimming hole diameter is 120 feet, but the diameter expands to 200 feet below the surface. They describe it as an inverted mushroom.
Go for the day or camp; it’s up to you.
Location: 5390 NE 180th Ave Williston, FL 32696
Pro Tip: Need a place to stay while exploring Florida? Check out these 11 Best Campgrounds In Florida.
Bok Tower Gardens
Located in Lake Wales, Bok Tower Gardens has nine different gardens on 250 acres. The gardens are a more unique Florida tourist attraction because of The Singing Tower, a 205-foot ornate art deco and neo-gothic tower with 60 carillon bells. If you visit at 1 pm or 3 pm, you can hear the bells during a 90-minute concert.
If it’s open, check out Pinewood Estate, a 20-room Mediterranean-style mansion built in 1930. Have kids? Make sure to check out Hammock Hollow, a space just for little ones.
The gardens are excellent for strolling and relaxing along paved and mulched paths. There are nature trails, like the Pine Ridge Trail (¾ mile) and the Preserve Trail (1.5 miles).
On your visit, keep an eye out for wildlife, including 126 different species of birds and some endangered and threatened animals such as the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake, gopher frogs, and the Florida mouse.
Location: 51 Tower Boulevard, Lake Wales, Florida 33853
Falling Waters State Park
You probably don’t think about waterfalls when you think about Florida. Still, Falling Waters State Park is home to Florida’s tallest waterfall. A stream creates it by dropping 73 feet into a sinkhole, a 20-foot deep cylindrical pit with limestone walls. The best time to visit is after heavy rain.
In addition to the waterfall, there’s a butterfly garden and a 2-acre freshwater lake with a white sandy beach. Set up for the day and have a picnic or stay for a few days at Pine Ridge Campground.
As for wildlife, keep an eye out for various birds, gray furred fox squirrels, brown bats, great horned owls, deer, foxes, lizards, turtles, and the occasional snake. The park is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail as well.
Location: 1130 State Park Road, Chipley FL 32428. You can reach the waterfall by following the hilly one-mile Sink Hole Trail.
Florida Keys Tourist Attraction
Dry Tortugas National Park
One of the smallest national parks by land, Dry Tortugas, is mostly water and only 100 square miles. The park comprises seven small coral islands and sandbars: Bush, East, Garden, Hospital, Loggerhead, Long, and Middle.
Visitors go to Dry Tortugas to snorkel, fish, paddle, and visit Fort Jefferson, one of the largest 19th-century masonry forts in the USA. If you decide to snorkel, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular coral reefs, sea turtles, old shipwrecks, and underwater artifacts.
The only way to get to the park is via ferry or seaplane! It’s an adventure just to get to the park. Once there you can visit for the day or do a little primitive tent camping.
In addition, the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is in the park. It has a cool mock-up of Aquarius, the world’s only underwater lab.
Location: 40001 SR-9336, Homestead, FL 33034
Underrated Florida Tourist Attractions Offers Spectacular Beauty
Florida is full of incredible tourist attractions, and we hope this article helped you learn more about Florida’s underrated natural wonders. What’s your favorite Florida tourist attraction?
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