Hey there! My name is Amanda and I was born and raised in Odessa, Florida which is 20 minutes outside of Tampa. I currently reside in Lutz. I started a travel blog (thewanderingconk.com) because I love inspiring others to get out there and enjoy everything that the Sunshine State has to offer. I wanted to create a place where people could search for random stuff to do any day of the week, including seeing the hidden gems of Florida.
Florida as a destination has a lot of versatility. We are often thought of as just a theme park state but we have so much more to offer. I love that on the weekend I can choose to check out a beach, explore an old city, go kayaking or snorkeling at a natural spring, hit the various hiking trails, float down a river or even check out one of our many theme parks if I feel like it!
My favorite hidden gem of Florida is Blowing Rocks Preserve in Jupiter. You would never believe that there could be “cliffs” in this state, so it’s a sight to see! Plus, the sea grape tunnel within the preserve on the pathway to the beach is something from a movie. Blowing Rocks Preserve is one of the most beautiful spots in Florida, however it’s not the only treasure that we have. Below is my list of the 10 best hidden gems of Florida:
10 Hidden Gems of Florida
- Rainbow River
- Weeki Wachee River
- Ocala National Forest
- Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
- Wynwood Neighborhood (Miami).
Tips for Visiting the Sunshine State
The best time to visit Florida is in the month of September. All of the kids are back in school then, spring break and summer break are over, and the natural springs and beaches are much quieter. The rainy weather occurs less often that time of year too but the temperature is still warm and sunny. If you have the chance, come in September and you will have a blast!
One thing to enjoy all year round is food. We are a melting pot of different cuisines. Our seafood is great but we also have a ton of cute coffee shops, delicious barbecue, Cuban food, southern food and Asian restaurants. I would say collectively downtown St. Petersburg has the best of all of that. Go to Trophy Fish for seafood and beautiful cocktails, Paradeco for coffee and healthy breakfasts, and Bodega for great Cuban food.
Before coming to Florida, know that everyone is friendly. If they are not, they are most likely visiting from up north! Most Florida towns are casual. Men can wear shorts and a Columbia shirt to a fancy restaurant and no one would bat an eye! We like to be laid back. For a unique stay make sure you book Coconut Casita. The decorations are amazing, it has a jungle garden and a pool, and it’s located close to beaches and the town of Vero Beach.