When you think of Florida, you likely think of its many theme parks, sunny beaches, and the lauded nightlife in Miami. But Florida is more than the sum of these parts. It’s home to incredible natural beauty, historical sites, and museums that hold company with major attractions found in other parts of the United States. Explore the following underrated Florida vacation spots worth a visit. Additionally, the best part about these places is that you still get the Florida sunshine and trips to the beaches that make any Florida experience complete.
The town’s name speaks of its origins as a resort for Northerners seeking a break from harsh winter weather. Winter Park is north of Orlando and is full of cultural attractions that complement its genteel history.
Stop at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art to see rare pieces of Tiffany glass and art from other famous American manufacturers. Head to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum for art that spans the eras from antiquity to contemporary works. Don’t forget the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens to experience the works created by this Czech-American artist. Wander along the brick streets lined with trees while exploring the shops on Park Avenue.
Jacksonville often becomes regarded as the place people go to when they can’t afford to vacation in the major cities farther south. This perception is something of a misperception since Jacksonville has much to offer visitors.
The Jacksonville African-American Heritage Trail, for example, has 15 self-guided tours for casual hikers to discover landmarks that are important to the African-American community of the region. For those who want to explore nature, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is one of the last remaining coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast that hasn’t been spoiled by humans.
Another fact that may surprise visitors is that Jacksonville is home to the largest urban park system in the United States. Visitors can golf, kayak, swim, and play tennis on public property. You also don’t have to worry about paying for a membership to get in the door. Make sure to book your Jacksonville hotel room for enough time to fit in everything that you want to explore during your stay.
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Central Florida Zoo cares for more than 400 animals that come from 150 species, but you’ll find that you’ll come for the animals and stay for the fun. Visitors can feed the giraffes on the weekends or pet a rhino if they want. After seeing the animals, check out the park from the sky on the ZOOm Air Adventure Park or cool off in the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground. You’ll find that many activities at the zoo are geared toward kids of all ages.
Florida has much to offer visitors beyond its most well-known attractions. For those who want more than the standard fare of theme parks and beaches, the state offers many incredible destinations to discover.