Florida December 27, 2017
10 Places In Florida That Are Better Than Anywhere Else In The Country
Whether you love to fish, swim, hike, camp, or just explore, Florida is paradise on Earth. Here are some of the most beautiful hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems the Sunshine State has to offer.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Ocala National Forest
Some of our state's oldest and greatest attractions are our crystal-clear freshwater springs. Whether you're a lifelong resident or a first-time tourist, a visit to one (or more) of Florida's springs should be on your to-do list. Many of the most beautiful springs in the state are located within this national forest.
2. St. Augustine
We're very proud to be home to the country's oldest city, and this historic town is especially pretty this time of year. Every Floridian should see our oldest city dressed up in millions of lights for this yearly festival at least once. Don't worry if you couldn't make it before Christmas, Nights of Lights lasts through the end of January, so you still have time to check it out.
3. Dry Tortuga National Park, Key West
This national park is home to Fort Jefferson, which is unfinished, but still the Western Hemisphere's largest masonry structure. Visitors to this park enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, and touring the old fort.
4. Villa Vizcaya, Miami
This European-inspired estate was the winter property of agricultural industrialist John Deering. Today, it is a museum full of art and antiques, as well as a National Historic Landmark. But visitors love it just as much for its 10 acres of beautiful gardens on the Biscayne Bay.
5. The Everglades
The Everglades consists of more than a million acres of the biological diversity and natural beauty that Florida was famous for long before its theme parks and vacation spots. The brightest jewel in Florida's crown has long been threatened by development, but many Floridians are fighting to save it.
6. Devil's Den, Williston
Devil's Den has an ethereal beauty that reminds you how lucky we are to live in our state. This unique prehistoric spring is covered by a karst window that lets in a stream of sunlight, like a spotlight into the clear, blue water below. Visitors must be scuba diving or snorkeling to explore here.
7. Ancient Spanish Monastery, North Miami Beach
How does a 12th-century Spanish monastery end up in Florida? Well, it was purchased in the 1920s by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, whose plans of moving it to California were sidetracked by shipping complications. It ended up in storage for decades until it was purchased again in the '60s and moved piece by piece to North Miami Beach. Tours are available most days from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
8. Ca' d'Zan, Sarasota
This Mediterranean Revival mansion was built to serve as the winter home of circus magnate John Ringling. It is now part of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The museum offers tours with different levels of access. We recommend paying extra for most thorough tour that includes the spectacular view from the home's tower.
9. Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Bok Tower Gardens in Central Florida is right out of a fairy tale. The 205-foot tower is not only a work of art, it holds some of the world's finest carillon bells. The surrounding gardens are lush and romantic. The tower was built on Iron Mountain, the highest hill in Florida, and there are some beautiful views of orange trees below.
10. Venetian Pool, Coral Gables
This is the country's largest freshwater swimming pool and the only swimming pool on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in the '20s in a coral rock quarry in the style of Venice, Italy. It is truly a swimming experience unlike any other. (Please note that the pool is currently closed for renovations through January 2018.)
What do you think of this list? What do you think are the most beautiful places in Florida?