As we all know, Florida really does have something for everyone. As the pandemic prolongs our limitations on travel, there are still lots of places to visit within our lovely state. Beaches are the obvious go to for weekend escapes, but let’s look at a few other fun options based on what interests you and your travel companions the most! If you’re planning to travel to any of these destinations in the coming months and wish to visit some of the local attractions, make sure you check their websites for any advance reservations that may be required, before you start planning!
Art Buffs- St. Petersburg, FL
For those of you interested in the art scene, St. Petersburg is the perfect place to spend a weekend. Departing on a Friday afternoon, you’ll get to St. Pete just in time for a late dinner. Downtown has lots of great restaurants and offers the great Waterfront Arts District for a nice evening stroll. With two full days of exploring the arts, you’ll certainly get your fill! Not to be missed is the Salvador Dali Museum, containing over 2,400 of Dali’s works. They’re also currently hosting the immersive Van Gogh Alive exhibit until April 11, but make sure you check for available tickets in advance. While in St. Pete, you should also check out the Museum of Fine Arts, showcasing 5,000 years of civilization, and the Morean Arts Center with an incredible collection of Chihuly glass sculptures and glass blowing demos. For more outdoor art appreciation, make sure to take a mural tour on Saturdays at 10 am in the Central Arts District, featuring over 30 murals. And just a short drive from downtown is the artist community of Gulfport, with its bohemian feel, eclectic art galleries and beautiful waterside location.
Adventure Seekers- Central Florida
When we think of adventure in Florida, we may think of watersports and boating activities, but central Florida certainly has other options for the adventure seeker. Heading out to the Ocala area, you find more than just horse country. This area is filled with remarkable parks within a short drive that are sure to please. The area also has several campsites, including inside the Ocala National Forest, with its 600 lakes and rivers where you can enjoy swimming, fishing, snorkeling, canoeing and boating. Depending on how many nights you have in the area (recommended 3 if possible), you can also go kayaking with the manatees at Crystal River State Park, go cave swimming or scuba diving in Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring or check out waterfalls in the Rainbow Springs State Park (yes Florida has waterfalls, too)! While in the area, you can also take a trail ride on horseback or visit the Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park.
Antique Collectors- Central/Northern Florida
Heading towards central Florida, and particularly the area near Orlando, most of us Miamians instantly think of Disney when we head to these parts. Let’s look beyond Disney and check out some cool spots filled with charm and amazing antiques! This type of travel brings together a little bit of history with a little bit of treasure hunting all in one! One of the most quant towns in Central Florida has to be Mt. Dora. With its beautiful location surrounded by lakes, you’ll find some pretty awesome antique stores, as well as small mom and pop shops and restaurants and a relaxing and laid-back atmosphere. In Mt. Dora, you’ll also want to check out Renninger’s Twin Markets on Saturdays and Sundays, where you’ll find everything from local produce to rare collectables. While in the area, you’ll need to head into downtown Orlando and grab a bite, and then check out Orlando’s Antique Row along North Orange Avenue. While here, and depending on your length of stay, you’ll want to head either north, towards Gainesville, to the town of Micanopy or towards Tampa, to check out places like Lakeland and Winter Haven. All of these offer amazing antique shops and an escape from the hustle and bustle of Miami.
Other notable and not-so-popular places for the foodie traveler, which may require a few extra overnights, include Cedar Key (for great fishing and seafood dishes), Homosassa (for scallop fishing), Apalachicola (for its oysters), and Everglades City (during stone crab season). There are certainly lots of other remarkable places in this state to explore, so get out there and get to it. Make sure you pack a mask, hand sanitizer, and a sense of adventure!