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The Sunshine State is a popular vacation destination known for its theme parks, beaches, and warm weather. But there are also many unique places to vacation in Florida that are waiting to be explored.
From rural country charm to historic destinations, Florida has something to offer for everyone.
Many of these destinations are friendly on the budget since they are away from the more crowded tourist destinations.
If you are a seafood lover, Apalachicola is the place to be. This small town on the Gulf Coast is known for its fresh oysters and other seafood delicacies.
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For those who love antique shopping, Mount Dora is a hidden gem. This quaint town is filled with antique shops and charming cafés, making it the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon.
If you are looking for a peaceful getaway, Live Oak offers a rural country charm that is hard to resist. This small town is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a slower pace of life. It is also located near many must see crystal clear natural springs.
Tarpon Springs is another unique destination that is known for its natural sponges. Visitors can take a boat tour to learn about the sponge industry and even try their hand at harvesting sponges.
Below are a few of the unique places to vacation in Florida you must put on your buckets list. At the bottom of this article, I have also placed additional information to help you plan the perfect getaway.
Top Out-of-the-Way Unique Places to Vacation in Florida
For those looking to explore Florida beyond the typical tourist destinations, there are plenty of unique places to visit. Here are some top out of the way destinations worth checking out:
Apalachicola for Seafood
Located in the panhandle region, Apalachicola is a charming town known for its fresh seafood. Really a cool area to visit.
Enjoy oysters, shrimp, and other local catches at the many seafood restaurants in the area. For a taste of history, the town also has a number of historic sites and museums to explore.
Mount Dora for Antique Shops
Love antiquing? Mount Dora is a must-visit destination for you.
The town is home to dozens of antique shops, offering everything from vintage clothing to rare collectibles.
Visitors can also enjoy the town’s many art galleries and scenic lakefront views.
Live Oak for Rural Country Charm
Located in northern Florida, Live Oak is a small town with a laid-back, rural feel. Life is lived outdoors in Suwannee County.
Plan to enjoy the town’s many parks and nature trails, crystal clear springs as well as its quaint downtown area which includes restaurants, antique shops, and more.
The town also hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year. Two very popular events are Flea Across Florida and Christmas On The Square is the first weekend in December.
Tarpon Springs for Natural Sponges
Known as the “Sponge Capital of the World,” Tarpon Springs is a unique destination with a rich Greek heritage.
Here you can take a boat tour to see the sponge divers in action, and explore the town’s many shops and restaurants. The town also hosts an annual Greek festival, featuring traditional food and music.
Waterfalls in Steinhatchee
Located in the Big Bend region, Steinhatchee is a hidden gem with stunning natural beauty. It is also the location of the one of the few waterfalls in the Sunshine State located on the Steinhatchee River.
If you love to fish, move Steinhatchee to the top of your bucket list. This town is known for its fishing and boating opportunities as well as scallop season.
Be sure to visit nearby Hagen’s Cove and Keaton Beach.
Historic Destination Cortez
Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Cortez is a small fishing village with a rich history.
Plan to explore the town’s many historic sites and museums, or enjoy fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. The town also hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year.
Dixie County off the Beaten Track
For those looking to truly get off the beaten track, Dixie County is a great option. Located in the heart of Florida’s nature coast, the county is home to dozens of parks and nature preserves, as well as several small towns with unique charm.
Yes, there are beaches in Dixie County. This rural area is perfect for those that like to be active outdoors. Enjoy hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities, or simply relax and take in the natural beauty of the area.
Out Of The Way Gems In Florida And More Unique Places To Vacation in Florida
Florida is known for its popular tourist destinations, but there are also many hidden gems waiting to be explored.
Quiet beaches, natural parks, or historical sites, the Sunshine State has something to offer for everyone.
Beaches and Islands
Florida is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world. If you are looking for a secluded beach, head to Ponte Vedra Beach on the East Coast or Navarre Beach on the Florida Gulf.
Tarpon Springs is another great destination for beach lovers, as it is home to natural sponges and beautiful beaches.
Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
For those who love nature and wildlife, Florida has many parks and wildlife sanctuaries to explore. Crystal River is a great destination for those who want to experience the river charm of Florida.
This area is home to many parks and wildlife sanctuaries where you can see a variety of animals and birds including manatees.
Historical Sites and Museums
Florida has a rich history, and there are many historical sites and museums to explore. Amelia Island which is where Fort Clinch is located is truly a step back in time.
You are also able to camp on the beach at Fort Clinch State Park, but you will need to register early.
If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure, head to North Central Florida. Here you will find Paynes Prairie near Gainesville or Osceola National Forest near Lake City.
These rural destinations are perfect for those who want to experience the quiet charm of Florida and get away from the crowds.
When you are tired of the tourist traps and high costs of vacationing in these areas, it’s time to step away from the crowds. These out of the way destinations provide a unique glimpse into the state’s rich history and natural beauty.
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Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH. Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise