Discover the Many Treasures A Short Drive Away

Florida is full of hidden wonders from the Panhandle all the way down to the Keys. Whether you like museums, historic monuments, nature walks or water adventure, there is something new for you to discover in Florida. Here is a list that will keep you exploring all summer long.

 

Pensacola

Your first stop in Pensacola should definitely be the unique Seacrest Wolf Preserve. Their mission is to provide a hands on human-wolf experience to help educate people on the role that wolves play in our eco-system. Check out their website for portfolios of their wolves, information about tours and events at www.seacrestwolfpreserve.org.

Pensacola is also home to the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum. It contains restored Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircrafts and the historic tales that go with them. Visit www.navalaviationmuseum.org to see all of their featured exhibits and attractions.

Florida is known for its springs, and one of its finest is Vortex Springs in the Pensacola area. Not only does Vortex Spring offer beautiful, fresh water diving, but it also has 420 acres of nature walks, zip line and Jump Tower. Visit www.vortexspring.com to plan your trip.

 

St. Augustine

Considered the oldest city in the U.S., St. Augustine is a great place for history buffs and beach bums alike. If you’ve never been, be sure to tour the 17th century Spanish stone fort, The Castillo de San Marcos with stunning views of St. Augustine inlet. www.nps.gov/casa/index.htm. Then bask in the sun at Anastasia State Park, a protected wildlife sanctuary with pristine beaches. www.floridastateparks.org/park/anastasia

Another classic Florida monument is Fort Matanzas in St. Augustine. This historic monument is still protected to this day, and beautiful scenery and wild animals inhabit the surrounding area. Visit www.nps.gov/foma/index.htm.

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Looking to spend the day floating down a lazy river? Another one of Florida’s beautiful springs is the Ichetucknee Springs. Open every day of the year, Ichetucknee offers a wide array of hiking, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, swimming, snorkeling and bird watching. Learn more at www.floridastateparks.org/park/Ichetucknee-Springs.

Nearby Devil’s Den is a beautiful 72 degree spring. It’s open to the public for swimming and snorkeling. They also offer scuba lessons as well as cabins, trailers, campgrounds and RV parks. www.devilsden.com.

 

Daytona

If you live in Florida, visiting the Daytona International Speedway is a must for high speed excitement. Check out their website to learn more about their Red Bull Global Rallycross, a high energy stunt race on June 17-19. Learn more at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

 

Spring Hill

Prepare for your wildest dreams to come true at the Weeki Wachee’s Mermaid show. The show portrays the story of the Little Mermaid while showcasing impressive underwater talents. Their other attractions include a River Boat cruise, animal shows, canoeing, kayaking and more. VisitError! Hyperlink reference not valid..

 

Lake Wales

If you find yourself in central Florida this summer, check out The Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens. This 205-foot tower was ornately crafted by stone-sculptor Lee Lawrie and contains eight beautiful levels of historical equipment. Concerts from the 60-bell cariloon fill the gardens daily at 1 and 3 p.m. See boktowergardens.org/tower-gardens/the-singing-tower.

 

Hobe Sound

Up the coast a bit from the marine center is blowing rock preserve where at high tide you can see the surf shoot up to 50 feet high. Learn more about this protected area at www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/florida/placesweprotect/blowing-rocks-preserve.xml

 

Juno

The Loggerhead Marine Life Centre in Juno is dedicated to bringing awareness and education to people about wildlife conservation, especially making sure Florida’s turtles don’t become endangered. If you have a heart for nature, check them out at www.marinelife.org.

 

Tampa

The Dali Museum is one of Tampa’s most impressive attractions. This informative and in-depth museum teaches its visitors all about the work of artist Salvador Dali, and the people, places and events that transformed this Spanish son into a surrealist sensation, including his relationship with Walt Disney. Learn more at thedali.org.

 

Sarasota

The Ringling Brothers Circus is known as the Greatest Show on earth, and The Ringling museum dedicates six beautiful exhibits to showcasing its history. The other exhibits include their thirty-one art galleries, the home of the founder of the circus, the museum, the Asolo theatre, the education centre and sixty-six acres of Bayfront gardens. Plan your visit to the Sarasota museum here www.ringling.com.

 

Fort Myers

If you’re in the fort Myers area Edison & Ford’s beautiful Winter Estate is a must see. You can tour their houses and walk through a museum that showcases their inventions and life’s work. Visit www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

 

Palm Beach

You’ll find an oasis of fun at Peanut Island in Palm Beach. Check out www.visitpalmbeach.com/Individual-Adventures/Peanut-Island-Adventure-58.aspx to find out about all of the adventures you can have on Peanut Island like snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, jet-skiing, cruises and an added bonus for the history buffs, a museum of the Kennedy Bunker.

 

Delray Beach

Take advantage of the many features of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach. Filled with culture and history, these gardens provide tours and public events as well as location for private events. Find them at morikami.org.

 

Key Biscayne

For those looking for a south Florida underwater adventure, Neptune Memorial reef is the largest man made reef ever coincide just over three miles east of Key Biscane, http://www.nmreef.com/index.html.

 

Key West

Be inspired by the Key West home of one of the most famous writers of all time, Ernest Hemingway. Meander through all the places that inspired this great writer. You’ll find information at www.hemingwayhome.com.

When you’ve finished touring Hemingway’s House, head over to the largest and most authentic collection of pirate artifacts in the world at Pirate Soul Museum, found here: www.atlasobscura.com/places/pirate-soul-museum-g.

 

These are just a few of the treasures that await your discovery right here in Florida this summer.

 

Gabriella Morris is a home school student and writer at Good News. She can be reached at [email protected]

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