The Best Hidden Gems To Visit In Florida This Year
Florida may be one of the most-visited states in the U.S. for another year running, but there are still plenty of underrated destinations to discover in the Sunshine State.
It's no surprise that Florida attracts many visitors. With its beautiful beaches, popular theme parks, year-round warm weather, and plenty of sunshine, Florida is one of the ultimate vacation destinations in the United States.
But if paying hundreds of dollars to wait in line for hours at Disney World or sweating under the blazing hot sun on crowded Miami Beach isn't your style, there are plenty of other destinations to explore in Florida.
Although they may not draw as many crowds as the most popular places in Florida, they are hidden gems that are worth visiting.
Here are some of the best underrated places to visit in Florida this year:
1. Dry Tortugas National Park
If you've never heard of Dry Tortugas National Park, you're not alone.
This national park is among the least visited in the United States, mainly due to its remote location 70 miles west of Key West.
You can only reach the national park by boat, ferry, or seaplane, but it’s worth the extra effort to get there, and you'll be rewarded with stunning views and incredible snorkeling.
2. Crystal River
Crystal River, Florida is a town that is less than an hour and a half from Orlando on Florida's western coast.
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best places in the United States to spot manatees. You can even go diving or snorkeling to see them.
Additionally, Crystal River is known for its clear blue natural swimming holes. It's also a great place to go kayaking.
Seaside is a charming town on 30A, the scenic highway that stretches 24 miles along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida's Panhandle.
This underrated beach town is known for its gorgeous white-sand beaches and quaint small-town feel. Grab a book from Sundog Books and spend the day relaxing on the beach, or bike down 30A and explore the nearby towns.
Along with laid-back Seaside, elegant Rosemary Beach, posh Alys Beach, bohemian Grayton Beach, and family-friendly Seagrove Beach offer even more to explore.
4. Sanibel Island
Located just off the coast of Fort Meyers, Florida, Sanibel Island is a secluded island paradise.
Home to white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, shell beaches, award-winning gardens, and natural wildlife refuges, this is by far one of the most beautiful places in Florida to visit.
While sadly Sanibel was hit by hurricane Ian near the end of 2022 and most of the beaches and businesses on the island are still closed. The causeway reopened January 2, 2023, and the city is currently doing what it can to soon welcome back tourists this year.
5. Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is another underrated national park in Florida that is truly amazing to explore.
Located in southern Florida, Everglades National Park is a 1.5 million-acre wetlands preserve made up of mangroves and marshes where you can spot lots of wildlife, including alligators.
Some of the best activities in Everglades National Park are boating, kayaking, bicycling, bird watching, and camping.
6. St. Augustine
St. Augustine holds the title of the oldest city in the United States. It was originally settled by the Spanish in 1565 and is one of the few places in the U.S. where you can still see remnants of the Spanish colonial period.
This historic city is known for its beautiful architecture, quaint Old Town, 17th-century fort, and scenic beaches.
7. Amelia Island
Finally, one of the most underrated destinations in Florida is Amelia Island. Located in northern Florida on the coast near Georgia, Amelia Island has pristine beaches and a lovely historic district.
Known for its luxury resorts, great beaches, and golf courses, Amelia Island is a relaxing destination where you can get away from it all.
↓ Join Our Community ↓
The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A's happening daily!
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.
This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.