Florida is well known for many things. From Disney World to the Art Deco facades of Miami, the beaten path in Southern Florida is trodden upon by millions of visitors each year. But Florida is a big state with a lot to offer.
While mainstream attractions eat up a lot of the attention paid to Florida, there are a range of activities and destinations that remain hidden from the masses. If you’ve managed to secure cheap holidays to Florida in 2013, venturing off the main tourist trail can mean you can get more for your budget break and explore some of the state’s lesser visited wonders at the same time.
Morikami Museum and Gardens in Delray is a perfect respite for curious travellers. Couples, families and lone wanderers alike will love this Japanese refuge for its open spaces and quiet areas of contemplation. There is plenty of room for kids to run and play and the exhibits are interesting for all ages. The restaurant is delicious and reasonably priced making Morikami the perfect day excursion from Miami.
For those interested in traveling further afield, the Florida Keys are an incredible destination. While not entirely ‘secret’, Islamorada is a stunning destination for snorkelers, divers, sport fishermen and sun worshippers. With a fleet of skilled fishing captains, sublime beaches, and a range of cultural attractions, Islamorada is not as busy as Key Largo or Key West and offers visitors the chance to explore all facets of idyllic island life.
The Theatre of the Sea Marine Mammal Park in Islamorada offers tourists the chance to swim with dolphins and the History of Diving Museum provides visitors with a glimpse into underwater exploration that is sure to fascinate. Music lovers can enjoy warm tropical nights on the lawn of an Amphitheatre in Founder’s Park and theatre enthusiasts can take in first rate performances at the Coral Shore Performing Arts Centre. Islamorada is also home to world-class bars and restaurants where visitors can sample succulent local seafood and sip Mai Tai’s dockside at a local tiki bar.
No visit to Florida would be complete without venturing into the wild swamps and wetlands that the state is famous for, but try to think outside the Everglades and you’ll be well-rewarded. Home to thousands of bird species, turtles, fish and of course alligators, the Loxahatchee River is the perfect place to explore this wild side of Florida by canoe or kayak.
A guided tour is a good idea for the less experienced and it takes five hours to meander through the most scenic parts of southern Florida ending at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The trips begin under a dense Cypress canopy, travel over waterfalls and include informative talks about local history and culture. Alligator sightings are very common if not guaranteed.
With thousands of miles of coastline and some of the most impressive wildlife in the world, Florida is so much more than its hotspots. What’s more, a Florida holiday outside of the main tourist zones can be inexpensive, adventurous and gloriously appealing to the eyes, so it’s certainly worth demanding more from your next southern state getaway.