One of the wonderful things about living in Florida is that you never run out of new places to explore. Even if you’ve lived in the Sunshine State your entire life, you would be surprised by how many fascinating places are still under the radar. Here are a few interesting spots you may have never heard of (unless you live nearby, of course):
1. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach
This center for Japanese culture in Palm Beach County is unique and serene, offering Japanese tea ceremonies, a bonsai garden, festivals, classes, and a superb gift shop and cafe.
2. Koreshan State Historic Site, Estero
In the late 1800s, Cyrus Reed Teed founded the Koreshan Unity in Estero, FL. as the "New Jerusalem," centered around his belief that the Earth was hollow and humanity lived on the inside of its shell. When the celibate community finally came to an end in the '60s, the last of the followers donated the well preserved buildings to create this park. Tours, wildlife viewing, canoeing, and camping are available at the site.
3. Kerouac House, Orlando
Most people have no idea that the famous Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac lived in Florida. This is the house where he discovered the popularity of On The Road and wrote The Dharma Bums. It now provides up-and-coming writers through its residency program. Kerouac actually had another home in St. Petersburg where he spent his final years, but no great works were produced there.
4. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples
Bring binoculars for this two-mile boardwalk through marsh, wet prairie, pine flatwood and the largest Bald Cypress forest left standing in all of North America. You might spot gators, white-tailed deer, native birds, and even a rare ghost orchid.
5. Seacrest Wolf Preserve, Chipley
This non-profit preserve in Northwest Florida is one of the only places where visitors can come in contact with gray wolves and other wild animals like arctic foxes.
6. Ravine Gardens State Park, Palatka
This beautiful park in North Florida is a fun place to hike, picnic, stroll through the gardens, or even drive through and take in the scenery.
7. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park
The homestead of this beloved Florida writer is perfectly preserved, so guests feel like they've actually walked back in time into the 1930s.
8. Brevard Zoo, Melbourne
Features like the treetop trek, kayak adventure through the zoo, and a splash park where kids can cool off make this zoo in Melbourne a notch above most, but at a reasonable price.
9. Morean Art Center, St. Petersburg
The Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg not only features world renowned glass artists, they offer the opportunity to watch glass-blowing and even hands-on classes in this and other media.
10. Dudley Farm Historic State Park, Gainesville
This real working farm shows the evolution of farming over 100 years, from the mid 19th to the mid 20th centuries. The farm features 18 historic buildings, including a farmhouse, which still has its original furnishings. Staff dressed in period clothing bring history to life, performing daily duties and running various events throughout the year. Visiting hours for the farmstead are 9:00 to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
Have you visited any of these places? What’s your favorite little-known Florida attraction?