Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

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It’s not all Disney World all the time!

You work hard, and you play harder. How about a trip to Florida? Unlike any other place, Florida has beautiful beaches and state parks, fun shopping, big farms, thrill-seeking amusement parks, and more. There’s clearly something for everyone. Check out this list of great things to do in Florida.

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Snorkel and Scuba Dive at Devil’s Den Spring

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

With a name based on the smoky steam that rises from its chimney, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Devil’s Den Spring. Ancient rock formations, fossil beds dating more than 30 million years, and crystal-clear water give visitors memories that will last. This privately owned, stunning 120-foot wide underground sinkhole is located in Williston. It offers a unique experience to tourists who want to go snorkeling or scuba diving. The location offers lodging at four cabins, tent campgrounds, and an RV park. Tourists have access to picnic tables, grills, cabanas, lawn games, and a heated swimming pool.

Image Credit: Devilsden.com.

Sight-see at Cedar Lakes Woods & Garden

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Located next to the Devil’s Den in Williston, tourists will find Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens. This beautiful botanical garden offers more than 50 garden displays, waterfalls, koi ponds, and breathtaking views to enjoy. With festivals, shows, and concerts, there’s sure to be something to keep you entertained.

Image Credit: cedarlakeswoodsandgarden.com.

Camp at Ginnie Springs

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Ginnie Springs offers camping for champions. With more than 200 wooded acres and spring-side tent sites with full electric and water hookup, campers are set up with beautiful views and fun water activities from innertubing to kayaking and canoeing. The site doesn’t disappoint if you’re looking to dive in its crystal-clear 72-degree waters.

Image Credit: ginniespringsoutdoors.com.

Visit Daytona International Speedway

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Daytona International Speedway is more than a racetrack. The racing enthusiast is sure to enjoy seeing cars zoom around the 2.5-mile track. Still, the speedway is also home to concerts, civic and social gatherings, vehicle testing, police training, and car shows.

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Tour Kennedy Space Center

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

There’s never been a better time to learn about space as we strive to understand our role on the planet earth and the evolution of man. And what better place to do it than the Kennedy Space Center, located in Merritt Island, Florida. The Kennedy Space Center is one of 10 NASA field centers and one of NASA’s main launch sites.

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Go wild at the Naples Zoo

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Naples Zoo is a nationally accredited zoo, and in it you’ll find your favorite animals and a few rarer animals like a giant anteater and the fossa of Madagascar. You can also meet Eko, the tiger, pictured in this slide. The zoo has a large aquarium and botanical garden. There’s always something fun to do at Naples Zoo, with shows and events scattered throughout the year.​​

Image Credit: napleszoo.org.

Stroll through the Naples Botanical Garden

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

The Naples Botanical Garden is a “170-acre, world-class garden paradise that features plants from around the world.” The garden represents the culture and flora of the tropics and hosts more than 220,000 visitors yearly.

Image Credit: Naples Botanical Garden Facebook.

See the Bucs play at Raymond James Stadium

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Who doesn’t love a little football? With their unexpected Superbowl LV win, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a sight to be seen, and so is their stadium. You can’t beat the cheering, music, stadium hotdogs, and people. There’s also the sightseeing experience of touring the Bucs’ home stadium. Tours are given Monday through Thursday and some Fridays, at 2 pm. Take a look at the playing field, locker room, suites, and the famous pirate ship.

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Spend the day at Bok Tower Gardens

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

The Bok Tower Gardens is a national historical landmark with two hiking trails, 50 acres of gardens, art deco architecture, and the Singing Tower carillon. It is an awe-inspiring attraction in central Florida’s Lake Wales.

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Get back to nature at Sunken Gardens

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Sunken Gardens is a 100-year-old, 4.5-acre home to more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. It has cascading waterfalls and a flock of flamingos for visitors to admire.

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Play at Busch Gardens

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Busch Gardens is a 335-acre African-themed animal theme park located in Tampa. It’s home to 200 species of animals, and visitors can go behind the scenes on a safari. At Busch Gardens, you’ll find everything from festivals and animal exhibits to rides and roller coasters to keep you entertained.

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Tour the J.N ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is home to interactive exhibits on ecosystems and birdlife. You can walk three trails to explore the wildlife. Visitors will also find fishing, boating, biking, and photography opportunities during their time at the wildlife refuge. Tours are also offered.

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Get to know Ernest Hemingway

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida, where you can walk the path of a legend and learn a little more about the famous writer. Take a tour of Hemingway’s home and see the photos of his fishing adventures. Tourists can get full access to his home and writing studio with the Hemingway Home Evening Writing Experience.

Image Credit: Lloyd Arnold/Wikimedia Commons.

Spend time with the butterflies of Key West

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Relax and let your stress go while walking through a magical world of butterflies at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. The tropical paradise is filled with hundreds of beautiful butterflies from 50 to 60 species worldwide. The conservatory is also home to 20 exotic bird species, cascading waterfalls, and trees. Learn more about butterfly anatomy, physiology, and life cycle in the learning center and browse the Gift Shop for a wide selection of artwork and unique gifts.

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Tour the Everglades National Park

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Only 45 miles northeast of Miami International Airport, the Everglades National Park in the United States’ largest subtropical park and wilderness. It is home to endangered species such as the American crocodile, green turtle, and Florida panther. The park offers three campgrounds, lodging, boat and tram tours, biking, boating, and canoeing.

Image Credit: Curt Rosner / istockphoto.

Luxuriate in the Venetian Pool

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

The Venetian Pool is more than just a pool. It’s a beautiful oasis that holds 820,000 gallons of water that flows from artesian wells. You’ll see palm trees, coral rock formations, waterfalls, and caves. It has a well-deserved spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Parasail in Key Largo

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Parasailing is a regulated sport in the state of Florida, so if this activity is is on your bucket list you need to find a reputable place to go. Key Largo Parasail has you covered with a top safety record in the country. Parasail across 25 miles of fantastic views of Key Largo, the Atlantic Ocean, and John Pennekamp State Park for the thrill of a lifetime. Reservations are recommended.

Image Credit: keylargoparasail.com.

Take the cure at Warm Minerals Springs Park

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

With an old Florida vibe, Warm Minerals Springs Park is located in North Port. The springs in the area have high mineral content and are known for their healing qualities. The waters at the attraction stay at a year-round temperature of 85 degrees, and visitors can relax in the water, explore the land, or enjoy spa services.

Image Credit: cityofnorthpoint.com.

Ahoy, mateys! Mingle with pirates in St. Augustine

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum transports you more than 300 years back in time to the Golden Age of Piracy. The 5000-square-foot museum has been featured on the History Channel, The Today Show, CNN, and in People Magazine

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Go Japanese at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Capture the essence of Japan in Delray Beach at this 16 acre-park of Japanese gardens and galleries. Learn more about Japan’s rich and diverse culture through art, exhibitions, and six historical gardens. With collections from private collectors and other institutions, the museum boasts a diverse slate of exhibitions throughout the year.

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Learn your aviation history at this world-class museum

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

The National Naval Aviation Museum features a large state-of-the-art theatre, interactive exhibits, and a vast collection of aviation artifacts for visitors to see. Discover historic aircraft and learn more about the history of naval aviation at this historic site. (Call ahead, as you may require an escort if you do not hold a Department of Defense Identification Card.)

Image Credit: navalaviationmuseum.org.

Get a sense of wonder in Orlando

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Located in Orlando, WonderWorks combines education and entertainment with 100 exhibits that challenge your mind and imagination. Experience extreme weather, wonderful art, physical challenges, space, and an imagination lab. 

Image Credit: Jarosław Binczarowski / WikiCommons.

Explore Miami Beach’s night life

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Miami Beach nightlife deserves a spot of its own. With nightclubs, salsa dancing, local food, rooftop bars, and more, the nightlife in the famous city has a little something for everyone. You can check out performing arts in South Beach at the New World Center, or relax on the beach. Just start walking or cruising along the beach to find something that suits you perfectly.

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Discover Dry Tortugas

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

The Dry Tortugas National Park is located in Homestead, 70 miles west of Key West. It is a 100-square-mile park with seven small islands accessible by boat or seaplane. Less than 1 percent of the park is dry land. It is home to Fort Jefferson, a lighthouse, blue waters, coral reefs, marine life, and an assortment of birdlife. Visitors can go snorkeling and diving, boating, or swimming for wildlife viewing. Discover the history and culture of this national park for an unforgettable experience.

Image Credit: John Dengler / NPS Photo.

Stroll the Destin Harbor Boardwalk

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Experience Destin Harbor Boardwalk in Destin, Florida. It has been named one of the Top 10 “most popular beaches in the United States.” Perhaps you want to swim in the ocean or relax on the beach. But you’ll also find parasailing, jet skiing, boating adventures, snorkeling expeditions, dolphin cruises, and more. With beautiful clear water and white sand, it’s a sight to be seen.

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Get surreal at the Dalí Museum

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

The Dalí Museum is home to Salvador Dalí’s work and legacy. The Spaniard’s creativity was pure and boundless. Visit the Dalí museum to learn more about the people, places, and events that created the unique man.

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Play at Legoland Florida Resort

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Another top thing to do in the Sunshine State is spending a day at Legoland Florida Resort. It’s a Lego-inspired interactive 150-acre theme park with more than 50 rides, shows, and attractions. Its water park includes a wave pool, lazy river, body slides, and interactive water play structures. Guests are invited to stay at the Pirate Island Hotel or Legoland Hotel, both complete with Lego-inspired dining and amenities.

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Learn at the Florida Museum of Natural History

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

The Florida Museum of Natural History is located at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The museum inspires people to value the world’s rich and diverse biological and cultural heritage. Several hundreds  butterflies live in call the museum’s Butterfly Rainforest exhibit home at any given time, and more than 40 million specimens and cultural artifacts are housed in the institution. The museum has a wide range of themes, with temporary exhibits changing throughout the year.

Image Credit: Florida Museum of Natural History Facebook Page.

Visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was the winter home of farming manufacturer James Deering. The museum features a decorative art collection, a native forest, a mangrove shore, a historic village, and 10 acres of gardens. It is a showcase of art and architecture not to be missed.

Image Credit: Vizcaya Gardens Facebook Page.

Tour the International Swimming Hall of Fame

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Located in Ft. Lauderdale, the International Swimming Hall of Fame is the mecca of swimming, diving, and water polo. It houses the largest collection of aquatic memorabilia and aquatic books, manuscripts, and literature in the world. The complex has more than 40 permanent exhibits and tells the history of aquatic sports. 

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Get natural at Kampong

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Take a self-guided tour of the Kampong in Coconut Grove. It is one of five National Tropical Botanical Gardens, and visitors to the Florida location you can marvel at fruit or flowering trees from the tropics, commune with 80-year-old baobab trees, or enjoy the prized fragrance of flowering plants. The Kampong has collections from Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. It features 50 varieties of mango trees and other exotic flora and fauna.

Image Credit: ntbg.org.

Go to Seaworld Orlando

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

Seaworld Orlando is more than an aquarium. It is an aquatic theme park filled with numerous exhibits and attractions. Connect with dolphins, snorkel with fish, and feed exotic birds. 

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Where will you go?

Beyond Disney: Fun-filled Florida destinations

So, there you have it: 34 fun-filled, educational, and inspirational things to do in Florida. This list is sure to fit any budget or sinking fund with a little planning. It’s time to pack your bags and make a travel checklist, because there’s nothing like a vacation to help you manage stress and enjoy life.

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This article originally appeared on Savoteur.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

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