One of the best things about living in Florida is that it’s like living in a giant outdoor playground (if you know where to look). It’s been proven that spending time outdoors helps relieve stress and thus improve your health. These incredible hidden gems will help you get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and bring out your sense of adventure.
1. Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West
Located about 70 miles west of Key West, this massive fortress is the largest masonry structure in the entire Western Hemisphere. This abandoned 19th-century fort was actually never completed. Fort Jefferson may be huge and desolate, but the impressive masonry and stunning surroundings make it hauntingly beautiful.
2. Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens, Williston
These gardens first opened in 2015, but their creator had spent the previous 20 years turning an abandoned quarry into the charming oasis you see today. The pathways lead over the man-made lakes and take visitors past hundreds of species of plants.
3. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, Coral Gables
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has been a beautiful oasis of palms, flowering vines, and tons of other tropical plants in Miami since 1938. Visit during one of their amazing festivals for a special treat.
4. Cayo Costa State Park, Captiva
If you want to get away from the crowds and see what a natural beach looks like, you will love Cayo Costa. This island gives a glimpse of Florida as it appeared long before modern times. It can be reached only by boat or ferry, so it feels like a private island.
5. Lake Louisa State Park
This state park has 20 homey cabins with rockers on wide porches overlooking Dixie Lake. These 2-bedroom cabins accomodate up to six people. Because this is a state park, phones and TVs are not provided, but who needs them? There's plenty of hiking, fishing, swimming, and biking to do instead.
6. Camp Mack's River Resort, Lake Wales
This fish camp offers simple but accomodating cabins at reasonable prices. The camp has frontage on the Kissimme River with miles of trails to explore. All cabins come with cable TV and a full kitchen so you can cook your catch.
7. Robinson Preserve, Bradenton
This park in Bradenton contains trails for hiking and biking, picnic tables, and a long, winding boardwalk for wildlife viewing.
8. Shalom Park, Ocala
Peace is in the name, Sholom, and also in its purpose. The park was created as a haven for all people seeking peace. It covers 44 acres and contains two miles of trails, a formal garden, prairie, koi pond and plenty of places to sit and relax after a busy day.
9. The Smoakhouse Ranch, Branford
This historic homestead is a 22-acre working farm where you can see animals, walk trails through the woods, and pick seasonal fruit, or just spend the whole day relaxing on the porch. There are three cottages and a larger farmhouse, but the hand-built, 1920s-style Earl cabin would be our choice.
10. Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach
This 50-acre preserve in Palm Beach County is full of turtles, alligators, frogs, and all kinds of native plants. It’s also heaven for bird-watchers, with more than 150 species seen on site.
What do you think of this list? What’s your favorite place to go when you need to relax?