You Need to Visit 6 Hidden Gems in Florida ( with a Visitation Permit ). Time- Sensitive Deal to Support )

Sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA
Thinking about arranging, or arranging, a trip to Florida? Are you seeking something a little more distinctive and less well-known but just heard about its most well-known locations and major attractions?
We’ve ridden roller coaster at Orlando’s theme parks and partied on Miami’s South Beach– all of which belong on your Florida Bucket List.
However, as our recent travels to Florida have demonstrated, the Sunshine State is n’t just about Mickey Mouse or bustling cities; it’s also home to some of the most entrancing hidden gems that promise unforgettable experiences.
Visit us as we discuss six of our beloved hidden gems in Florida, each with its own distinctive beauty, from small coastal towns to beautiful natural getaways.
And to sweeten the deal, we’ve teamed up with VISIT FLORIDA ( sponsor ) and Priceline to bring you an exclusive discount for your accommodation, making your Florida trip not just memorable but also budget friendly.
Booking is making it simpler for you to find a happy home and purchase it!
PRICELINE DEAL: 10 % off Hotel Express Deals on top of the up to 40 % off on Hotel Express Deals when you book by May 27 at 9 a. m. eastern There is a limited quantity of redemptions, so act now. Visit around and Use CODE: CAZNCRAIG10
1. Manasota Key, Gulf Coast
Avoid the crowds and explore the picturesque beauty of Manasota Key, an 11- hour barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, way between Tampa and Fort Myers.
I’ll never forget my first view of Englewood Beach at Manasota Key ( mere steps away from our accommodation ): pure white sand, calm, turquoise water, palm trees barely swaying, and only a handful of people.
This was a Florida paradise I had n’t seen before, and had never heard of, making it one of my favorite hidden gems in Florida.
But wait, Stump Pass Beach State Park is located at the southeastern end of the island.
That watch! Through gaps in the trees, a 1.3-mile shallow nature trail cuts through a low-lying forest, offering views of the exotic Gulf Coast on the one side and the quiet, luminous aqua waters on the other.
With only a few passing bys, it’s smooth and soft. Dolphins may also swim by after you reach the end of the trail. The two women swim sailing right where they appeared in my eyes.
One of the most photographed locations in the world is also a great place to place a West Indian Manatee or a Loggerhead Sea Turtle.
Shark teeth huntingManasota Major is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, offering possibilities for shooting, snorkeling, and shark teeth looking along the coastlines of Blind Pass Beach Park. I’d suggest you’re guaranteed to find … a bit.
Enjoy delicious fresh seafood at The Waverly after a day of exploring because the twilight Gulf views supplement every food. My best recommendation is to make a reservation for a table in the dining room upstairs in advance. Speak about a secret stone in Florida.
With an extensive and varied list, live music all afternoon and evening, and spicy fruit margaritas on the gravel, picnic furniture set out on the sand, and a Key West-style feeling, The Sand Bar Tiki &amp, Grille has a Essential West-style feeling.
For more survive song, empty air dining, fresh shellfish, dusk gazing, and fire pits, sit at the famous Lighthouse Grill.
Find out what other activities are available in Manasota Key.
Recommended Accommodation: Manasota Key Resort
Image: PricelineFor a soothing be, consider the Englewood Beach before, Manasota Key Resort with its exclusive beach area. Additionally, it is close to Stump Pass State Park. Some suites have terraces that overlook the ocean.
Notice rates and availability below.
2. Martin County, Treasure Coast
Jensen BeachTucked ahead on Florida’s southern coastline, Martin County is a heaven for both nature lovers and artwork fans. This city combines modernity and Old Florida elegance, inviting you to put on your flip-flops and adopt a calm Island-style persona.
Martin County has everything we love in a destination: amazing, varied scenery, fun outdoors adventures, wonderful towns with artistic vibes, a slow- paced tempo perfect for vibrant fun, endless opportunities for mouth- watering seafood and sunset cocktails—often paired with live music and laughter—and yet great coffee shops!
Sunset Sail on a Schooner LilySail on a scenic schooner sailing trip to the St. Lucie River, take a Hobe Sound mural tour, or take a stroll through downtown Stuart, which was voted 2016’s” Happiest Seaside Town” to explore the picturesque St. Lucie River.
Then there are the twenty- two miles of uncrowded, white sandy beaches to play on. Although Stuart and Jenson have private beaches, locals suggest the undiscovered Tiger Shores Beach.
Sunset from Disappearing IslandIf you can plan your visit around a full moon, we suggest the unique sunset full moon stand-up paddle board tour. Paddle out to Disappearing Island, in the middle of the St Lucie River Inlet, to watch a tangerine sunset, followed by the moon rise, and return paddle by its light! And yes, that island does disappear with tidal movements! From Sandspirit Park in Stuart, we launched our paddleboards.
For outstanding smoothie bowls, head to the Jensen Bunkhouse Coffee Bar when hunger strikes. Follow that up with coffee at The Roasted Record in Stuart ( shop for vinyls while there ) ).
Numerous restaurants along the waterfront offer lunch and dinner with a view. The Stuart Boathouse or TideHouse are both recommended.
If you’re in town on a Thursday, Jenson has Jammin Jenson, a street festival with live music, art markets and food!
Discover even more fun things to do in Martin County, Florida.
Recommended Accommodation: Hutchinson Shores Resort &amp, Spa
Low-key luxury and a flawless Jensen Beach setting are combined with low-key luxury at PricelineHutchinson Shores Resort &amp, Spa.
The guests have access to resort-style amenities like outdoor swimming pools, on-site restaurants, a wellness spa, and private beach access. Private balconies have sweeping ocean views.
See rates and availability here on Priceline
3. Monticello, North Florida
Monticello A historic town tucked into the heart of Jefferson County in Natural North Florida, take a step back in time and discover its timeless charm. Due to its unspoiled beauty and mild climate, which are the “keys to quality living,” the county is known as Keystone County.
Explore the charming downtown area with its numerous antique shops and eateries, take a tour of Monticello Opera House, or stop by nearby orange and bee farms.
On the Wacissa River, an unmissable activity is air boating through narrow channels canopied by Spanish moss cypress and oak trees. You’ll stop at swimming holes along the way by feeding this first magnitude clear, spring-fed stream with about twenty springs at the headwaters.
Follow that up with a kayak paddle through the quickly moving water and constricting spaces of the Slave Canal, which connects the Wacissa to the Aucilla River.
The adventurous Slave Canal kayak We adored it so much that it made our top family vacations in the USA. ( With lots of photos and videos ) Read more about our Wacissa River adventure.
For a taste of Southern hospitality, dine at Tupelo’s Bakery &amp, Cafe, known for its delicious baked goods and homestyle dishes. One of the best I’ve had was the gluten free cupcake here. And pizza lovers, will enjoy Pappa &amp, Nonna’s Pizzeria for extremely delicious pizzas.
Click here for more tips on things to do in Monticello, Florida
Recommended Accommodation: 1872 Denham Inn
Image: PricelineThe award- winning 1872 Denham Inn, located in the heart of scenic Monticello, offers six elegantly appointed rooms featuring comfortable king beds, private baths, and unique period antiques.
This exquisitely restored Italianate masterpiece, which is listed on the National Historic Register, is a fantastic retreat in the beautiful north of Florida. Its every room features traditional Victorian elegance.
See rates and availability.
4. Wakulla Springs, North Florida
Wakulla Springs, one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, is a breathtaking sight at the beauty of Florida’s natural springs.
The haunting cypress mangroves that rise out of the swamp may be familiar to you because Tarzan and the Creature of the Black Lagoon were shot here, and the setting is considered to be medieval.
Wakulla Springs ‘ sapphire waters are abundant with wildlife including manatees, alligators, turtles, deer, and birds.
On a leisurely glass bottom boat trip along the Wakulla River, you can see many of these.
Beautiful swimming hole with a diving platform for kids of all ages. The canopied jungle views give off a Florida-like vibe unlike anything you’ll find on its well-known beaches.
Enjoy a meal at the historic Wakulla Springs Lodge, where traditional Southern and seasonal farm-to-table dishes are served in a charming vintage setting.
Kids will love the classic 70 ft marble original Soda Fountain built by Edward Fall, and known for its root beer floats, ginger yips, and sundaes.
Recommended Accommodation: The Lodge at Wakulla Springs
Staying at The Lodge at Wakulla Springs is one of the highlights of a trip to Wakulla Springs. Each of the lodge’s 27 rooms overlook the springs.
It was built in 1937 by industrialist Edward Ball and is known as North Florida’s castle.
See prices and availability here.
5. Cedar Key, Gulf Coast
Slip into your flip- flops, release your pent- up stresses, and embrace a slower pace. We’re journeying back to the days of Old Florida, reminiscent of the Key West you dreamed of during Hemingway’s era. It’s raw and authentic, free from glamor, and artificial tourist attractions.
The tranquil fishing village of Cedar Key, nestled among the Cedar Islands and extending four miles into the Gulf of Mexico, radiates a genuine, warm, and unhurried charm.
Arriving across a series of bridges and scenic salt marshes, you’ll find a diverse community where artisans, nature lovers, and those seeking a more relaxed lifestyle coexist harmoniously.
Spend your days kayaking to the small nearby islands of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, swimming at the small beach, or taking in breathtaking sunrise and sunsets.
Gorgeous sunriseSteamers Clam Bar and Grill on the Big Dock offers prime views over Atsena Otie, the barrier island offshore of Cedar Key, and some of the best clams and clam chowder on the island.
Cedar Key is a major producer of clams nationwide, raking in more than$ 34 million annually.
There are several private nooks on the narrow deck where you can enjoy dolphin frolicking in front of you and feel the balmy breeze on your skin.
Locals claim that the Tiki Bar, which is located just outside the bridge into town, cannot beat the sunset and the odd vibes.
See more things to do in Cedar Key, Florida
Recommended Accommodation: Harbour Master Suites
Great accommodationThere’s no better place to stay in Cedar Key than on stilts over the water with 270- degree expansive views over nearby islands. Sunset is breathtaking from your own private deck.
Our two-bedroom Sea Pearl Suite at Harbour Masters had a living room and a fully equipped kitchen, and we loved it. The Cedar Key Way is also within easy walking distance of everything!
6. Sebring, Central Florida
Welcome to SebringIn Central Florida’s Sebring, ranchers and citrus growers mingle with farm- to- table restaurants, while locals enjoy the company of alligators, turtles, and birds in ancient forests, abundant lakes, and cypress swamps.
Known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreation, Sebring offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, and golfing amidst breathtaking landscapes.
So much fun! This is another location where you can take an airboat ride, this time on Arbuckle Creek and Lake Istokpoga, zipping over the water lilies and through backwater country creeks past farmland, grazing cows, and massive oaks dripping with Spanish moss over the banks.
Our driver, Captain John from Airboat Wild Adventures, also took us scooting over dry land, which was what we enjoyed about this airboat ride. It was wild fun!
Do n’t miss a boardwalk hike through Highlands Hammock State Park’s stunning Highlands Hammock State Park’s cypress swamps.
1000- year- old oak trees provide shade as you walk past giant cypress, hardwood swamps, evergreen flatwoods, ferns, and other habitats. There’s a good chance you’ll see alligators here as well.
After a day of exploration, dine at Chicanes Restaurant &amp, Bar, located in the Inn on the Lakes, a local favorite known for its delicious cuisine and panoramic views of Little Lake Jackson, especially at sunset.
The ibis ‘ flocks flying to the small island across the restaurant almost take the place of the setting sun’s beauty.
Good news. You can easily reach your Inn on the Lakes room after the sunset show and some drinks at Chicanes.
Discover more things to do in Sebring
Recommended Accommodation: Inn on the Lakes
Chicanes Restaurant and Inn on the Lakes offer a luxurious, casual dining experience in a sophisticated setting. The hotel offers spa treatments and a stunning swimming pool set among palm trees, and it is close to the historic center.
See rates and availability
Final Thoughts
Beautiful sunset over Manasota Key These hidden gems of ours give a glimpse into the many shades of Florida, from its unspoiled coastlines to its historic towns and natural wonders. I’m prepared to discover more obscure locations in Florida.
With Priceline’s Hotel Express Deals, you can make these unforgettable trips even more affordable. When you book your lodging through Priceline book by May 27 at 9 a.m. eastern, you can get an additional 10 % off in addition to your savings of up to 40 %.
Do n’t miss out on this chance to discover Florida’s hidden treasures without breaking the bank. Make plans for an unforgettable adventure today. Click here and use CODE: CAZNCRAIG10
You can now travel to your happy place for a happy price!
What destination will you visit in Florida?
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