For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Florida are the spectacular theme parks and attractions that it’s known for. However, there are many local getaways that are an easy drive away and will make you feel like you’re on an exotic vacation. Consider these Florida getaways for your next day or weekend trip.
Widely known as one of the best beaches in the country, Clearwater has a lot to offer from its soft white sand to its warm, turquoise waters. There are plenty of delicious seafood restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it a wonderful destination for families, couples and friends. You can either sunbathe and lounge on the beach if you’re there for relaxation or enjoy fun water activities such as parasailing, paddle boarding, or jetskiing if you’re looking for a thrill.
Crystal River is located along the west coast of Central Florida and is known for its handful of year-round warm water springs as well as its National Wildlife Refuge. It’s also one of the only places in the world where you are able to swim with manatees (yes, it’s safe to swim with these harmless, gentle giants). If you’re uneasy about swimming with manatees unguided, consider visiting the Three Sisters Spring boardwalk, renting a kayak, or attending a guided snorkeling or boat tour. If you want a better chance of seeing manatees during your trip, try visiting from November to March as this is when approximately 400 manatees migrate here to escape the cold water of the Gulf of Mexico.
Colonized by Spanish explorers over 400 years ago, St. Augustine is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. with plenty of Spanish colonial architecture and history. The Castillo de San Marcos is a must-see 17th-century Spanish stone fortress that was built to protect the city from other interested parties and it is also known as one of the best historic monuments in Florida. St. Augustine is also known for its multicultural cuisine and world-class art galleries that will make you feel like you’re in a cute little European town. Make sure to soak up the sun on St. Augustine’s coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and find the secret to longevity at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archeological Park.
Enjoy a fun and luxurious trip filled with high-end resorts, beaches, shopping, art galleries, and cutting-edge dining in Naples. There’s also gorgeous beaches and outdoor activities such as boat tours, kayaking, botanical gardens, and golf courses. The 130-year old Naples pier is the best place in town for a casual stroll or to catch the sunset/sunrise. Located in Southwest Florida, Naples is the perfect gateway for exploring the the Everglades ecosystem, the native habitat and maybe watching a glimpse of the local wildlife.
Between its stunning beaches and exotic tropical feel, it’s almost hard to believe that the Florida Keys are right in Florida’s backyard. Key Largo, Islamorada and Key West are the most popular islands with plenty of fun things to do. If you’re an adventure-seeker, snorkeling tours and water skiing in Key West are for you. Islamorada, the sports fishing capital of the world, also has some fun adventures such as swimming with dolphins and meeting endangered sea turtles at the Theater of The Sea or going on eco-tours and kayaking. Key Largo is the first of the Florida Keys, the Dive Capital of the World, and home to the world’s largest artificial reef. Relax and take in the tropical vibes of Key Largo or enjoy watersport activities such as fishing, kayaking and swimming with dolphins.
One of the biggest benefits of living in Florida is being an easy drive away from these must-see destinations. With so much to do and see, we hope this helps you plan your next local getaway!