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. Fort De Soto Park
Located in Pinellas County, Fort De Soto Park is made up of five keys connected by bridges or causeway. Visitors can explore beautiful beaches, shallows, piers for fishing, and the remnants of Fort De Soto.
2. Coral Castle
Coral Castle in Homestead, FL, was built by a lovelorn Latvian man by hand as a tribute to an unrequited love. He lived in the formations made of stone he sourced and built all by himself, giving tours to the public until he died. Was he crazy or romantic?
3. Stetson Mansion
The famous hatmaker's 10,000-square-foot, three-story mansion sits on two acres in DeLand, FL. This remnant of the Gilded Age blends many different architectural styles and claims to be Florida's first luxury home.
4. Cayo Costa Island State Park
This paradise may be popular, but it has remained relatively unknown to those outside the area.This gorgeous park is accessible only via private boat or a ferry from Punta Gorda, Pine Island, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, or Captiva Island. Be sure to make reservations, because this park is every camper's dream.
5. Flagler College
This college in St. Augustine was once the Hotel Ponce de Leon and has to be one of the most beautiful campus buildings in the country, complete with 79 Tiffany stained glass windows, chandeliers, hand-painted ceilings and murals, and a 68-foot domed ceiling with ornate carvings. This is a college you will want to tour even if you're not interested in a degree.
6. Bob's River Place
This swimming hole in Branford, FL, is like a water park on the Suwannee. Its rope swings and impressive water slides make it perfect for thrill seekers.
7. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
This park in Citrus County is a local favorite and a great place for viewing all kinds of Florida wildlife, including manatees.
8. Koreshan State Historic Site
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.
9. Highlands Hammock State Park
Highlands Hammock near Sebring, FL, is one of the oldest parks in Florida and features beautiful old hammock and oak trees and wildlife that can be viewed from the historic catwalk.
10. Venetian Pool
This historic 1924 public swimming pool located in Coral Gables will give you a very unique swimming experience.
11. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Stunning formal gardens and a shoreline dotted with coquina formations make this park in Palm Coast, FL, an instant favorite among many visitors.
12. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
This museum in Sarasota is a must-see which features fine art housed in the circus magnate's unique winter mansion and gardens.
13. Dry Tortugas
This small group of islands at the end of the Keys is home to the never-completed Fort Jefferson.
14. Tarpon Springs
Visiting this Greek community in Pinellas County feels like vacationing in a faraway land without ever leaving Florida.