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7 Underrated Places To Visit In Florida For 2023

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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.

Kayaking in the Everglades

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.

Aerial view of Dry Tortugas National Park

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.

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Manatee in Crystal River, Florida

3. Seaside

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.

Houses in Seaside Florida

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.

Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida

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.

Everglades National Park Flordia

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.

St. Augustine, Florida

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.

Beach boardwalk in Amelia Island

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Krissy

Sunday 15th of January 2023

After Hurricane Ian you’re gonna want to double check on anything Florida before planning a day trip or anything like that. Sanibal Island for example, had its “land bridge” completely destroyed and they have only just recently made traveling to the actual island (any other way than by boat) something that’s doable. Although lots of places have gotten back up & running in record time, you’ll still be glad you looked into things first if only so you don’t get stuck with a car full of kids who’re bored to annoyance because your plans have been changed because Mother Nature had a hissy fit of sorts. Don’t let this deter you from visiting Florida though, it’s still a great place to be doing something or nothing… your call!! TTFN

Lewis

Sunday 8th of January 2023

Wtf? 2023? Sounds like this article I'm just had the title updated and nothing else. Saying about highland is darn near wiped off the map it's hurricane Ian the 2022.

Lindsay

Saturday 7th of January 2023

Sanibel Island was directly hit by a Category 4 Hurricane named Ian and the damage is devastating. My family lives on the island and I've seen the damage firsthand. The beaches you mentioned, are currently closed, less than a dozen businesses are open, there are no hotels or resorts to stay in yet on Sanibel, and the island is still in an active state of recovery. It will be back stronger than before, and ready for visitors, but that time isn't now. Please see the City of Sanibel's website for more information.

Jacky

Sunday 15th of January 2023

@Lindsay, Sanibel Beach ⛱️ is back!!! Planning to visit soon. Most business are open and should be a great time.

Joy

Saturday 7th of January 2023

You missed Butterfly Dans located in Kissimmee.

Butterfly Dans is a butterfly breeding farm in Kissimmee, Florida. There are greenhouses where various species of butterflies are bred from egg laying through hatching. An aviary with birds, fish, a turtle, a tortoise and a bunny named Cotton are also on the farm as is a gopher tortoise named Charles Xavier. Hydrophonic and aquaphonic systems are installed to grow food for the caterpillars. There are more things to discover like a bug camp and a food forest. Tours are by appointment only.

The website is https://www.butterflydans.com/

Address: 1803 Harbor Rd, Kissimmee, FL 34746 (407) 847-8278

Sue

Saturday 7th of January 2023

Don't forget Indian Rocks beach in Pinellas county. It's on the Gulf of Mexico.