“Oh, the places you’ll go.”-Dr. seuss
Calling all wander lusters…
How many people can truly say that they live where others long to vacation?
If you live in the state of Florida, this is a saying we all know too well. With Florida being the most southeastern state, the summers are long, and the winters are practically non-existent. And as far as we are concerned, there are no other seasons outside of that.
Florida has many local gems to explore that offer breathtaking views, eclectic art spaces, and overall, out-of-the-norm aesthetics. But how many of us Floridians are aware of these places? Surprisingly, not many. Consider this your flashing sign to jump in a car and take a road trip! Here are five local gems you should check out:
Blowing Rocks Preserve
Located in Jupiter Island, the appeal of Blowing Rocks Preserve are the unique rock formations along the beach that provide beautiful views and plenty of photo ops. With a diverse landscape and wildlife, this does not feel like the typical Florida beach. As the high tide rises, water spurts through the erosion holes of the limestone formations, spouting up to 50 feet into the air at times! This wonderous occurrence is exactly how the natural reserve got its name. You may want to include this gem of a place on your bucket list if you enjoy nature and wildlife. Admission is an optional $2 per person donation to maintain the natural preserve.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Located in Delray Beach, sits a 16-acre Japanese cultural museum and garden that has won the Traveler’s Choice Award for 2021. And I can see why! With over 7,000 art exhibits, a bonsai garden, and an onsite restaurant with pan-Asian goods and seasonal specialties, this place creates the illusion that you are a world away. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens also hosts several public events per month such as cultural festivals, and classes such as Japanese calligraphy and tea ceremony workshops. If you enjoy Japanese art, history, and culture, this is the place for you! Admission for adults is $15 and $9 for children between the ages of 6-17. Children under 5 are free.
Swap Shop Flea Market and Drive-in Theatre
Located in Ft. Lauderdale, you can find the largest daily flea market in the world that includes a 14-screen drive-in theatre. It is also considered the second-largest tourist attraction with visitors flocking from not only the US, but Canada and other countries around the world as well. Spend the afternoon taking in the vintage charm as you shop bargain deals, grab a bite at the open-air food court, or for all my car lovers, visit the car museum onsite. And if you are looking for fresh produce, head over to the farmer’s market, known as one of the best in town. Attention all shoppers, this one is for you!
A local landmark located in Safety Harbor, Whimzeyland was originally known as the “Bowling Ball House” for the over 500 painted bowling balls scattering the yard and throughout the house creating a psychedelic work of art. In addition to the bowling ball formations, you can find a garden made of colored bottles, mosaic tiles, and colorful ceramic sculptures that make this hidden gem perfect for IG worthy photo ops. The house is a private residence owned by two artists who welcome visitors to admire their artwork for FREE .99.
Venetian Pool, Coral Gables
A historic swimming pool located in Coral Gables, the Venetian Pool has been enjoyed by visitors all over the world. The main appeal of this place is the Mediterranean style architecture that creates the allure of vacationing poolside in Venice, Italy. This enormous pool holds 820,000 gallons of water that is drawn from artesian walls and regulated at a chilly temperature of 76 degrees. Enjoy a hot summer day with swaying palm trees, quaint waterfalls, and intriguing caves. Daily admission rates are $15 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 12.
You do not need to travel out of state when there are so many interesting places to explore at your full disposal. Sometimes it is worth being a tourist in your very own backyard! And for those who do not reside in Florida, I hope this post motivates you to explore the state other than the most known attractions such as Disney World and South Beach. I promise you won’t regret it!
My fellow Floridians, have you visited any of these places? How was your experience? Any places not mentioned that you feel should have been included in this list? I would love to hear from you!
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