One of the best things about living in Florida is that there’s no excuse for being bored. Our state offers so many outdoor opportunities for aspiring explorers of all ages, and these are a few of our favorites. So get out there and start exploring!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando
Next time you're in Orlando, skip the theme parks and surround yourself with all of the natural beauty of this 50-acre garden. The butterfly garden and the rose garden are especially appealing to visitors of all ages.
2. St. Andrews State Park, Panama City
If you've never visited the fine white sand and sparkling green waters of the Emerald Coast, you're really missing out. Explore the nature trails, fishing piers, a campground, and trips to Shell Island.
3. Torreya State Park, Bristol
Visitors to this park love the scenic bluffs, challenging trails, and a chance to see the extremely rare Torreya tree.
4. McKee Botanical Garden, Vero Beach
This historic garden in Vero Beach began as McKee Jungle Gardens back in 1932, but it was forced to close in 1976. It was finally reopened under the current name in 2001. It features thousands of native and tropical plants, an impressive collection of waterlilies, and some impressive structures, like the historic Hall of Giants.
5. Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna
This park in the Panhandle provides access to the only air-filled caves open for tours in Florida. It also offers activities such as bicycling, boating, kayaking, canoeing and camping.
6. Morikami Museum & Gardens, Delray Beach
This center for Japanese culture is treasured for its tranquility. Visitors can experience authentic tea ceremonies, view an impressive collection of bonsai trees, attend cultural festivals, language classes, and sample some delicious sushi in the cafe.
7. Cedar Key
Located in Levy County, Cedar Key is a small island town with a population around 700. Stroll through the charming historic district. Take trails through local parks and wildlife refuges and soak up the laid-back vibe. Remember to try the fresh clams the town is famous for.
8. Falling Waters State Park, Chipley
Falling Waters near Chipley, FL, is home to the tallest natural waterfall in the state of Florida. It can be quite the sight after a heavy rain, as the water rushes down 73 feet into a huge sinkhole.
9. Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne is like an island escape, just outside the hustle and bustle of Miami. There you'll find some lovely scenery, with Crandon Park to the north and historic Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park to the south.
10. Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville
This giant sinkhole in Gainesville may have a creepy name, but it's actually a beautiful natural escape from your busy life. Plus, how cool is it to tell people you explored a sinkhole?
11. Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg
Sunken Gardens were planted in a drained lake in St. Petersburg more than 100 years ago. It features charming waterfalls and walking paths surrounded by tens of thousands of tropical plants and flowers.
12. Pine Island
There is so much to do on this island near Fort Myers, yet life moves at a more relaxed pace. If you enjoy fishing, boating, nature and art, you'll love exploring the communities of Pine Island.
13. Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter Island, Hobe Sound
If you time your visit to this preserve perfectly, you can see waves breaking on the huge limestone formations, sending water up to 50 feet in the air. Don't miss the preserve's education center, boardwalk, or the butterfly garden.
14. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
Fairchild has been a tropical oasis of palms, flowering vines, and tons of other exotic plants in Miami since it opened in 1938. Visit during one of their beloved festivals for a special treat.
Have you explored any of these awesome places? What’s your favorite place to explore in Florida?