Unconventional Florida Destinations

Unconventional Florida Destinations: Beyond the Theme Parks

Are you tired of the same old Florida vacation? Do you want to explore something beyond the theme parks and beaches? If so, you’re in luck! Florida is full of unconventional destinations that are just waiting to be discovered. From natural wonders to cultural hotspots, there’s something for everyone in the Sunshine State.

If you’re an adventure seeker, Florida’s pristine springs are a must-visit destination. Crystal clear water, unique wildlife, and lush vegetation make for an unforgettable experience. You can also explore the state’s many state parks, which offer hiking, biking, and camping opportunities. And if you’re a history buff, you won’t be disappointed. St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, is full of historical landmarks and museums that tell the story of Florida’s rich past.

The Forgotten Coast

If you’re looking for an unconventional destination in Florida, you should definitely check out the Forgotten Coast. This area is located in the Florida Panhandle, and it’s often overlooked by tourists who flock to the state’s famous theme parks. However, the Forgotten Coast has plenty to offer visitors who are looking for a more authentic and laid-back Florida experience.


One of the highlights of the Forgotten Coast is the charming town of Apalachicola. This historic town is located on the Apalachicola River, and it’s known for its beautiful architecture, delicious seafood, and friendly locals. You can spend your days exploring the town’s many art galleries, antique shops, and boutiques, or you can take a boat tour of the river and learn about the area’s rich history.

St. George Island

If you’re looking for a more outdoor-oriented experience, you should head to St. George Island. This barrier island is located just off the coast of Apalachicola, and it’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. You can spend your days swimming, sunbathing, and fishing, or you can explore the island’s many hiking trails and nature preserves.


Another great destination on the Forgotten Coast is Carrabelle. This small town is located on the coast, and it’s known for its picturesque harbor and laid-back vibe. You can spend your days exploring the town’s many art galleries and antique shops, or you can take a boat tour of the harbor and see dolphins, manatees, and other wildlife up close.

Overall, the Forgotten Coast is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to experience the real Florida. With its charming towns, beautiful beaches, and friendly locals, this area has something for everyone. So why not plan your next vacation to the Forgotten Coast and see what all the fuss is about?

The Panhandle

If you’re looking for a quieter side of Florida, the Panhandle is an excellent destination for you. With its beautiful beaches, charming towns, and rich history, the Panhandle has something for everyone. Here are some must-visit places in the Panhandle:


Pensacola is a historic city located on the western edge of the Panhandle. It’s home to the Naval Air Station Pensacola, which is the primary training base for the Blue Angels. The city also has a rich history, with several museums and historic sites to visit. One of the most popular attractions is the National Naval Aviation Museum, which houses over 150 aircraft and spacecraft. If you’re interested in history, you should also visit the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, which offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.


Destin is a popular vacation spot located on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s known for its white sand beaches and emerald green waters. If you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up the sun, Destin is an excellent choice. The city also has several golf courses, shopping centers, and restaurants to explore. If you’re traveling with kids, you should visit the Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park, which offers water slides, mini-golf, and go-karts.

Panama City

Panama City is a vibrant city located on the eastern edge of the Panhandle. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and excellent seafood restaurants. If you’re looking for a place to party, Panama City is the place to be. The city also has several family-friendly attractions, such as the Gulf World Marine Park, which offers dolphin shows, sea lion shows, and exhibits on marine life. If you’re interested in history, you should visit the St. Andrews State Park, which has several historic sites and nature trails to explore.

Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or a place to party, the Panhandle has something for everyone. With its beautiful beaches, charming towns, and rich history, it’s no wonder that the Panhandle is one of Florida’s most popular destinations.

Natural Springs

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Florida’s theme parks, consider visiting some of the state’s natural springs. Not only are they a great way to cool off in the hot Florida sun, but they also offer a chance to explore the state’s unique natural beauty. Here are three natural springs you won’t want to miss:

Ichetucknee Springs

Located in north-central Florida, Ichetucknee Springs is a popular spot for tubing, swimming, and snorkeling. The crystal-clear waters of the Ichetucknee River flow through a lush, forested landscape, making for a serene and picturesque experience. If you’re up for a bit of a hike, there are also several trails in the park that offer a chance to explore the area’s natural beauty.

Silver Springs

Silver Springs is another popular natural spring in Florida, located just east of Ocala. The park features glass-bottom boat tours, which allow visitors to see the underwater world of the springs up close. You can also take a stroll through the park’s botanical gardens, which feature a variety of plants and flowers native to the area.

Weeki Wachee Springs

Weeki Wachee Springs is a unique natural spring in Florida, known for its underwater mermaid shows. The park also offers a chance to kayak or paddleboard down the Weeki Wachee River, which flows through a beautiful cypress swamp. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the area’s native wildlife, such as manatees, turtles, and alligators.

Historic Small Towns

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Florida’s theme parks, consider exploring some of the state’s historic small towns. These charming destinations offer a glimpse into Florida’s rich cultural and historical tapestry. Here are three small towns you won’t want to miss:

St. Augustine

As the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is a must-see destination for history buffs. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, the city is home to numerous landmarks and historic sites, including the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century fortress that once protected the city from invaders. You can also explore the city’s colonial-era architecture, visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse, or take a stroll along the picturesque St. George Street.

Fernandina Beach

Located on Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach is one of the most picturesque small towns in Florida. The town’s historic district is home to numerous Victorian-era buildings, including the Palace Saloon, Florida’s oldest bar. You can also take a stroll through the town’s charming downtown area, which is filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

Mount Dora

Nestled in the heart of Lake County, Mount Dora is a quaint small town that’s known for its charming downtown area and its numerous festivals and events. You can explore the town’s historic architecture, visit the Mount Dora History Museum, or take a scenic boat tour on Lake Dora. The town is also home to numerous antique shops and art galleries, making it a great destination for collectors and art enthusiasts.

The Keys Beyond Key West

No list of Florida’s locations is complete without the Florida Keys. While Key West is a popular destination, there are many other islands in the Keys that offer a more unconventional experience. Here are a few destinations to add to your itinerary:


Located in the middle of the Keys, Islamorada is known as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World.” But there’s more to do than just fish. Take a stroll through the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, where you’ll find galleries, studios, and shops. Stop by Robbie’s Marina to feed the tarpon, or visit the History of Diving Museum to learn about the evolution of diving.


Marathon is a 10-mile-long island that’s home to the famous Seven Mile Bridge. But there’s more to see than just the bridge. Visit the Turtle Hospital to learn about sea turtle conservation efforts, or take a dip in the natural hot springs at Crane Point Hammock. If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the mangrove forests.

Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key is the perfect destination for nature lovers. Visit the National Key Deer Refuge to see the endangered Key deer, or take a hike through the Blue Hole Trail to see alligators, turtles, and a variety of birds. If you’re looking to cool off, head to Bahia Honda State Park for some swimming and snorkeling.

Those are interested, can easily find interesting farm house stays across Florida.