Who doesn’t love Florida? I have been a few times and every single visit I see something new, or find some new city or spot that I would love to return to. We all know the popular spots and many of us have visited spaces like Orlando, Kissimmee, Tampa, but I wondered what other Florida destinations might be just off the beaten track, so I did a little hunting.
Florida Destinations – 5 Lesser Known, Less Crowded Spots
Florida is a wonderful state to enjoy a vacation. Its sunny, breezy weather and absolutely beautiful beaches make it one of the most pleasant places to relax with the family. Unfortunately, many Florida destinations are jam packed with all of the other families who also want to get away. Instead of competing with the crowds, why not think about one of these five Florida destinations that are off the vacation radar.
Florida Destinations You can Enjoy in Peace
I’ll be you had no idea that there were any Florida destinations left that weren’t filled to capacity with tourists vying for their slice of the sunny Florida pie, but there are still some places out there where the family can relax without rubbing elbows with their neighbors.
1: Boca Grande
Boca Grande is a quite historic town on Gasparilla Island. No spring crowds or hustle bustle mobs are to be found on this island about an hour and a half west of Fort Meyers. Instead of tall buildings, stop lights, and crowds, you’ll enjoy seven miles of beaches. You’ll also be able to enjoy the state park in the areas as well as bicycle trails, fishing, sailing, and all the wildlife you could as for. All of this is rounded out by some excellent dining spots and art galleries for those like a little culture on their vacation.
Another great pick in lesser known Florida destinations, Clewiston is about smack in between Fort Meyers and West Palm Beach. Situated on Lake Okeechobee, this town’s biggest draw is fishing. Lake Okeechobee is known for its largemouth bass, blue gill, speck, crappie, and bream fisihing. That’s not all Clewiston has to offer, though. It’s known as “Amerca’s Sweetest Town” because of its sugar cane production, and visitors can take tours to learn about the sugar production process. You can even take swamp and airboat tours to get out and see the wildlife.
Apalachicola is less than two hours from Tallahassee, and it’s one of the most lovely Florida destinations that hasn’t been overrun. Part of Florida’s “Forgotten Coast”, Apalachicola is a town rich in history. It was designated a National Trust for Historic Preservation Distinctive Destination in 2008 for its more than 900 historic homes and structures. When you visit this town, you’re visiting a piece of history. In addition to its historical properties, Apalachicola is known for its fresh oysters from the bay and Apalachicola National Forest, a preserve of more than 550,000 acres for any outdoor activity imaginable.
One of the more lively Florida destinations in this article and less than an hour from West Palm Beach, Stuart is known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World”. Sport fishing is one of the main attractions of Stuart, and there are more than 800 species to be found off its shores. If fishing isn’t your thing, you can sunbathe on its peaceful beaches, explore its nature preserves and parks, or just take in a round of golf in the Florida sun. In addition to all of that, Stuart boasts a robust cultural scene, with free live jazz and rock performances regularly downtown from October to May. They even have a Pirate Fest!
5: Crystal River
One of the most exciting Florida destinations to me, Crystal river is a nature lovers dream. The biggest draw to this gorgeous town is manatees. The Crystal River – which gives the town its names – is always around 72 degrees, so the manatees come there when the gulf gets too cold. This is the ONLY place in the entire United States where it is legal to swim and snorkel with the manatees, and I think that’s pretty cool. You can choose from a wide variety of tour operators that can get you an up close, personal experience with the manatees or a birds eye view from a chopper. After you have basked in the some manatee wonderfulness, you can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, birding, antiquing, and fishing. It’s a real relaxation destination.
Florida Destinations for Rest Instead of Wrestling
Wrestling crowds, that is. If you’re planning on visiting Florida, I’m sure it’s for a much needed break from your life’s hustle and bustle and not for more hustle and bustle. That’s what makes all of these lesser known areas so great. You can enjoy all of the wonderful things the Florida destinations have to offer without all the less appealing side effects of elbowing through crowded tourist destinations.