Florida has lots of tourist attractions, but they don’t always live up to your expectations. These Florida attractions are pretty popular with tourists, but you won’t disappointed if you decide to see them for yourself:
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. St. Augustine
St. Augustine is a really cool piece of history, but it's not exactly a secret. If you visit on a weekend during tourist season, it can be impossible to find a parking spot. Don't let that stop you from taking in all that our nation's oldest city has to offer. We recommend visiting during the week as opposed to the weekend and trying one of the trolley services that scoot around the city so you don't have to park. Sure, they're touristy, but they can save you a lot of time and frustration.
2. Ichetucknee Springs State Park
This is one of Florida's most popular natural waterparks, especially for tubing. Summer is the high season for this activity, and the park can be pretty hectic. The good news is that tubing at this park (unlike some others) is available year-round. That means fall is the perfect time to give it a try. The weather is still warm, and it should be a little less crowded. Even if you have to come during tourist season, we promise that this unique Florida pastime is worth it.
3. Coral Castle, Homestead
This mysterious landmark has puzzled tourists for decades, mostly because it's hard to believe that these massive stone structures were sourced, moved, and carved by a single man. Coral Castle has been a tourist attraction almost all the way back to its creation. It can be a little cheesy but in a delightfully quirky way. Definitely add this one to your bucket list.
4. Dry Tortugas National Park
This national park is home to Fort Jefferson, which is unfinished, but still the Western Hemisphere's largest masonry structure. Visitors can tour the fort and enjoy snorkeling and kayaking in the beautiful turquoise water. This is definitely a popular destination for Key West tourists (about 70 miles away), but we can tell you it truly lives up to its hype — and is worth the cost of the boat ride out there.
5. Bok Tower, Lake Wales
This majestic 200-acre garden features an iconic 205-foot bell tower facing a reflecting pool, a bird sanctuary, and acres of oaks, pines, ferns, flowers, and wetland plants. This was a popular tourist spot in Central Florida long before Disney World. We think it more than lives up to its hype, and every Floridian should visit at least once.
6. Crystal River
Crystal River is the only place in Florida you can legally have a guided up-close encounter with the playful and curious manatee. The companies do cater somewhat to tourists, of course, but it is an incredible experience and Crystal River is a delightfully authentic Old Florida town even natives can appreciate.
7. Torreya State Park
Although this one isn't exactly a tourist trap, it always tops our lists for scenic places in the Sunshine State. You won't find views like this anywhere else in Florida because of the park's 150-foot scenic bluffs.
8. Devil's Den
Unfortunately, you have to be diving or snorkeling to explore this one, but Devil's Den is a popular natural attraction in Williston. You might think the photos of this underground spring must have been enhanced, but it is even more beautiful in person. Its ethereal beauty always reminds us how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful state.
9. Solomon's Castle, Ona
This DIY castle is one of those weird and wonderful roadside attractions that Florida was once famous for. Its creator used reclaimed materials to build this unconventional home and art gallery, and it is full of his creative and often humorous work. We think you should definitely give this a try if you prefer your attractions kitschy and off-beat.
10. Butterfly World, Coconut Creek
Butterfly World in Coconut Creek opened in 1988, and it has been growing ever since. This park is the largest of its kind in the whole world, with more than 5,000 butterflies. It might sound mundane to spend the day butterfly gazing, but this park will blow you away. The scenery is gorgeous, and there is just something magical about seeing this many butterflies in one place.
What do you think? Do you know of any other Florida tourist traps that totally live up to their hype?