10 hidden gems in Florida most tourists miss

When you think about Florida and vacations, it's very easy to get overwhelmed with visions of Mickey Mouse, rollercoasters and sandy beaches, but that isn't all that the place has to offer! Florida is a state that has so much more than just its connections to the world of Disney and theme parks, and we want to spread the word on lots of other attractions and spots that are worthy of interest. Here are ten amazing hidden gems in Florida that most tourists often make the mistake of missing entirely!

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas is one of the least visited national parks in the entire United States. This remote location about 70 miles west of Key West, is a beautiful place to enjoy a national park experience without the crowds. Spread over seven islands, the park covers roughly 100 square miles. It is home to Fort Jefferson, a 19th-century fort and one of the largest forts in the USA. As well as gorgeous beaches, it is also home to the Windjammer wreck which together with the abundant marine life that inhabits the clear waters makes the area superb for diving and snorkeling.

Devil's Den

Situated in Levy County in North-Central Florida, the Devil's Den is a prehistoric natural spring within a dry cave. Visitors can swim, dive and snorkel in crystal clear waters that have an average temperature of 72 degrees. Inside the cave there are amazingly preserved examples of fossils that date back to the Pleistocene Age although many of the best examples are now housed in the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History.

Wacissa Springs County Park

Another destination blessed with crystal clear waters, this park is a beautiful destination. The old-time swimming hole is popular with swimmers and snorkelers while also providing a launch point for boaters, canoeists and kayakers who want to get onto the Wacissa River. The wildness of the surroundings which includes Cypress trees and lots of aquatic plants on the banks makes for great hikes, fishing and wildlife viewing.

Southwest Florida Ale Trail

The perfect activity that combines sightseeing with refreshment, this is a fun drinking route that journeys across four Florida counties. There are stops at 18 different breweries along the way where participants can sample some local delicacies and win prizes! Each brewery is also located close to a local beach.

Florida Historic Golf Trail

This experience combines the long standing history of golf in the state with the opportunity to play a round or two. The trail has some of Florida's most beautiful courses, all of which have been in operation for more than 50 years. One course is specially featured each month.

Florida Caverns State Park

Cave exploration isn't something that immediately comes to mind when you think of Florida, but the Florida Caverns State Park begs to differ! Underneath the surface of Jackson County in the Panhandle, there is a cave complex where features include flowstones, draperies, stalactites and stalagmites. The cool air and dripping water makes it mystical and a little bit eerie but a great adventure.

Morikami Museum And Japanese Gardens

This is sixteen acres of gardens near Delray Beach that celebrates everything to do with Japanese culture. From a world class bonsai collection to koi filled ponds to workshops on anything from Japanese ink painting to traditional Japanese music, this hidden gem provides an immersive Far Eastern experience deep in the heart of the Sunshine State.

Cedar Key

In a stark contrast to the shiny, ultra-modern designs of many of the state's theme parks, Cedar Key is a real throwback. Preserving old Florida culture, it's a small town just an hour south of Gainesville. Cedar Key has houses and stores on stilts over the water, lush beaches and fishing spots and offers a quaint day spent at a much slower pace than the rest of the state.

Winter Park

Similarly underrated but more modern, Winter Park is a small city north of Orlando that is filled with interesting arts and culture. As well as plenty for nature and wildlife lovers, there are regular farmers and 70 parks that hosts events and festivals all year round but if all you want to do is have or picnic or read under a tree, that's perfectly good too.

Swap Shop Flea Market And Drive-In Theatre

For a super rustic and authentic Florida experience, travel to Ft. Lauderdale where this unique swap shop stretches out across 180,000 square feet. After picking up some hidden treasures at the market, visitors often go and catch a movie at the largest drive-in movie theatre in the state.

You don't have to look too hard to see beyond the theme parks and beaches to find something wonderful and under-rated in Florida.