Each year, Florida plays host to more than 80 million tourists, most of whom flock to the theme parks of Orlando and the beaches of Miami. However, outside these tourist hotspots lie unique townships, rural communities and breathtaking natural beauty. From Fernandina Beach to Boca Grande, here are the most beautiful towns in Florida.
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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.
Cedar Key represents a slice of old Florida, with a low-season population of around 900 and a two-lane road leading on and off the Key. One of the most charming small beach towns in Florida, it is off the beaten path, accessible by Route 24 along the Nature Coast. The small downtown area has boutique stores and is lined with century-old oak trees. Flocks of endangered spoonbills regularly pass by, landing on the beach in time for a Floridian orange sunset.
Despite having lent a name to a Bright Eyes album and a Tom Petty song, Cassadaga is also known as the “psychic capital of the world.” That’s because this unincorporated community in Volusia County is home to a large number of mediums. Spiritualism is the main industry here. Visit the Cassadaga bookstore, where tomes about clairvoyance and metaphysics are sold alongside crafts, candles and semi-precious stones. The main attraction is a spiritual reading at the Cassadaga Hotel – you can even stay the night.
Two hours from Tampa Bay, the town of Crystal River sits on the Nature Coast, showcasing one of the purest and clearest spring-fed water systems in the state. The main attractions are kayaking and snorkeling, which are offered all year on the Crystal River and, in the winter months, the quieter Homosassa River. Both guarantee an encounter with the endangered Florida manatee. The Rainbow River is also nearby, with visibility of more than 200ft (60m), giving snorkelers a chance to swim with fish, turtles, aquatic plants and natural spring vents.
Founded in 1912, Sebring is also known as the City on the Circle, thanks to the round historic downtown district. Surrounded by rivers, lakes and citrus groves, Sebring offers boutique shopping and access to some of the best hiking in Florida. The city is nestled in rolling hills, which are unique to the otherwise flat and swampy state landscape. The International Speedway is an attraction for race car fanatics, and the leather factory and world-class golf courses are just a few other things that make Sebring a great place to visit.
North of the main attractions in Orlando, Winter Park offers an array of cultural and outdoor activities. Amid the lakes of Orange County, the suburban town hosts Rollins College and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Take a stroll down Park Avenue where restaurants with al fresco dining fill the street. Just off Park Avenue is Central Park, with beautiful fountains, Hannibal Square and the historic Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II. If you’re interested in music, head to the Bach Festival Society for the chance to see a vigorous performance during the spring season.
Boca Grande is an affluent community on the Gulf Coast, known for a charming downtown area, white-sand beaches and world-class tarpon fishing. Stroll over to the landmark Gasparilla Inn and Club, which was built in 1911 and has thrived ever since – even through numerous renovations. Alternatively, take a boat ride out to the barrier island of Cayo Costa, where secluded beaches await. The Port Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum runs a scenic historical tour providing insight into the changes this Florida town has experienced over the decades.
Mount Dora is a beautiful lakefront town in central Florida, known for antique shops, estate jewelry and artwork. Outdoor cafés, gourmet restaurants, galleries and wineries line the downtown area. Founded by homesteaders in 1874, Mount Dora showcases 19th-century clapboard houses and a country-living, slow-paced style. The town’s Lakeside Inn, established in 1883, is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the state.
North of Tampa, Dade City is home to the 16-acre (6.5ha) Pioneer Florida Museum, which has a lawn replete with mossy oaks and a gazebo for shade. The annual Pioneer Days Festival is also held in Dade City, which brings the Civil War era back to life through theater. Stroll the downtown streets, filled with historic art deco and art nouveau buildings. Also worth visiting is Giraffe Ranch just outside the city where the gentle giants roam freely.
Fernandina Beach forms part of Amelia Island, on the northeastern border of the state. Graceful architecture, pristine seaside and delightful shops make this one of the best beach towns in Florida. Many structures situated in the heart of the 55-block historic zone are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and pre-date the 20th century. A free brochure offered at the visitors’ center on the waterfront details a historical walking tour through Fernandina Beach. Alternatively, take a horse-drawn carriage ride on Centre Street. Make sure you head back for happy hour at the Palace Saloon, the oldest continuously operated drinking establishment in Florida.
Just 12mi (19km) south of Gainesville, this sleepy Florida town is untouched by time. Clothes dry on the line, folks ride horses down dirt roads, and friends gather on front porches in rocking chairs. Founded in 1821 as a trading post by Edward M. Wanton and named after a Seminole chief, Micanopy has endured Native American wars, army posts and settlers of a new frontier. The Fall Harvest Festival is a serious attraction in this small town in Florida, as are the antique shops located on the main drag, Cholokka Boulevard.
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