Florida, known as the Sunshine State, is full of fun places to visit and magical locations to discover. It offers fantastic beaches, unique attractions and fun theme parks such as Disney World, Legoland and Universal Studios; but there are also some lesser-known places that may not be on your radar.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Relax in the Bok Tower Gardens
This glorious garden was founded by Dutch immigrant Edward W Bok in 1929 and more than 23 million people have visited it since. See the majestic Singing Tower with its 60-bell carillon, and kick back by the fabulous Reflection Pool. This is a great family-friendly place to come and enjoy spending time in nature, or just to have some quiet time by yourself on a warm Florida day. If there’s one thing Florida can provide, it’s dependable sunshine.
Take a trip to Butterfly World
This enchanting attraction in Coconut Creek is like something out of a dream. It is the largest butterfly park in the world and features over 80 different species – see how many you can spot when you head there for a visit. If you’re lucky, one might even alight on your outstretched finger. Founders Ronald Boender and Clive Farrell turned their butterfly-collecting hobby into an incredible park, which opened in 1988, and continues to amaze people from all over the world who come to see the collection of beautiful butterflies and flowers.
Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Chances are you’ve heard of Ernest Hemingway. The house was built in 1851 and became Hemingway’s in 1931 during his Key West days. The prolific author, who wrote many novels and poetry – including the World War I biopic A Farewell To Arms – lived in this fabulous home that is now open to the public. According to the home and museum site, “The cats about the home and grounds are descendants of the cats [Hemingway] kept while he lived in the house, including many extra-toed.”
Spend time in Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is a small spiritual community that has been around for 122 years. The community was built as a place for like-minded individuals to live together and share spiritual practices, and visitors can come here for spiritual healing, church services and to talk to a medium. If you’re suffering from stresses in your work or home life, have been looking for a change or simply want to experience something outside of your daily norm, it’s definitely worth including on your tour of Florida wonders.
Marvel at Vortex Spring
Florida is great for adventure travelers and, if you love exploring the ocean’s depths, don’t miss Vortex Spring, where you’ll find an underwater cavern (fed by the cool water of an underground river) that stretches for over 1,600ft (488m). It’s a favorite for divers. The cavern begins just 58ft (18m) below the water’s surface but extends far beyond that. Experienced cave divers are allowed to travel to a depth of 115ft (35m). This is so rare that you’ll definitely only see it when you’re in Florida.
See what Stiltsville is all about
If you find yourself near Miami, take a boat ride out to Stiltsville. This group of wooden homes built on stilts in the 1930s was the fashionable place to be when visiting the Miami Beach resorts. Accessible only by sea, it’s especially ideal on a warm day when the waters are calm. These homes seem to float and look almost dream-like, and as mentioned, the only way to get there is by water. If you get seasick, you may want to pass, but if you can stomach it, make sure this spot is at the top of your list. It’s truly magical.
Stop by the International Independent Showmen’s Museum
If circus acts appeal, you’ll want to visit this creepy-but-cool museum where you can see all kinds of different items including old circus rides, game pieces and funhouses. The museum showcases American circus and traveling show history and is an incredibly interesting place to visit. With more than 52,000sqft (4,831sqm) of American carnival and traveling show history, you might just be inspired to run away and join the circus. Whether you specialize in the high wire, training animals, clowning around or being the ringmaster will depend on which exhibit has inspired you.
Celebrate the Love Trees of St Augustine
If you’re looking for a cute place to take your partner, this is the place to go – especially if you both love nature. The Love Trees of St Augustine are natural wonders that people have marveled over for years. Simply St Augustine defines a Love Tree as “when two trees are so tightly entwined that they must embrace forever or both die.” St Augustine, America’s oldest city, is already a beautiful spot to visit with your honey, but the Love Trees just make it that much more special. It is also said that “if you kiss your loved one under the Love Trees, you’ll seal your love for eternity.”
Harry Potter World
If you’re a fan of Hermione, Ron and Harry, you can’t leave Florida without making a pilgrimage here. This theme park is actually two parks in one – one in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and another in Universal Studios. You can get the Hogwarts Express between the two, hang out in the Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley and Honeydukes and fly with dragons. You might want to come in costume – many super-fans do. You’ll leave equipped with a wand, plenty of sweet souvenirs and the wish that you really had got your Hogwarts letter, aged 11.
The Jax Ale Trail
Beer lovers, assemble. The town of Jacksonville has developed a great beer scene in the past few years, and the absolute best way to discover it is by completing the Jax Ale Trail. Get yourself a ‘passport’ at any of the eight participating breweries, and start drinking responsibly. You have to visit four or more breweries to start getting stamps in your passport and win fun prizes. Dedicated participants can hop on the Jax brew bus, which will take you on a four-and-a-half-hour tour of the best local breweries, which includes learning about the history of beer and drinking plenty of the stuff itself.
This famous square has hosted a vibrant party scene since the 1960s. Walk around Mallory Square at sunset and you’ll encounter jugglers, troubadours, psychics, bands, dancers, artists and street performers walking tightropes or swallowing swords. When you get peckish, try out some authentic treats from the food vendors on the square. Key West favorites include Key lime pie, conch fritters and coconuts filled with rum. And don’t forget to look up over your head at the sky, which every night creates the kind of pink-and-purple-spangled displays that will stay with you forever.
The water park attached to SeaWorld should not be underestimated. And there’s no place like Florida with its heat and humidity for a refreshingly cool water park. With nine water slides, ranging from speedy to slow and spinning to shooting, two lazy rivers and two kids areas, this is one of the best water parks around. With many sandy beaches to relax on and soak up the sun, Aquatica is great, whether you want to kick back with a cocktail and watch others in the water or spend all day going down every single water ride in the park.
Additional reporting by Alice Johnston
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