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A woman in a kayak at Kings Landing. Right: The town view of St. Augustine.

A woman in a kayak at Kings Landing. Right: The town view of St. Augustine.

There are places to visit in Florida that are known for more than just their beach views. Some of them make you feel like you're in a completely different country without a passport even being required.

From the historic buildings in Spain to the shimmering coasts of the Caribbean Isles, these destinations actually exist in the Sunshine State.

If you can't cash in for a trip overseas quite yet, but you have the need to satisfy your wanderlust, we're showing you all the top spots to feel like you can complete travel bucket list.

St. Augustine

Price: Prices vary for what you decide to do and visit.

Address: St. Augustine, Florida

Why you need to go: St. Augustine is considered one of the oldest cities in the U.S., and it will make you feel like you're in Spain with its stunning old-world Spanish-inspired architecture. You can wander the city and see St. George Street for gourmet bites and coffee at adorable huts, delicious milkshakes at The Sweet Spot, and shop on a pedestrian-only thoroughfare. Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum has a location here.


Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Price: $9-15

Address: 4000 Morikami Park Road Delray Beach, FL 33446

Why you need to go: This gorgeous zen place will whisk you away to Japan. You can wander the gardens and admire the lush landscape or learn more about Japanese History at the museum — even the vending machines show the price in Yen. There's also a Koi pond and bonsai collection.


Kings Landing

Price: $5-69, depending on your age, and if you bring your own kayak or rent one. Tours go from $59-99.

Address: 5722 Baptist Camp Rd., Apopka, FL 32712

Why you need to go: This stunning 8.5-mile river run that leads to a sulfur spring transports you to the Amazonian Jungle on a safari paddle tour as you wind down river beds of crystal clear water. The gorgeous greenery around it makes this place feel so magical.


Sanibel Island

Price: Many beaches are free, some cost around $5 to park.

Address: Sanibel Island, FL

Why you need to go: Sanibel Island will make you feel like you're in the Caribbean with its sugary white sandy beaches and turquoise waves along Florida's Southwestern Coast. The flawless views resemble a true island escape in the Sunshine State. You can also visit museums and a lighthouse if you're looking to do something indoors during your visit.


The Venetian Pool

Price: $5.50-11

Address: 2701 de Soto Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Why you need to go: This public swimming pool is a slice of Venice, Italy. It is considered the largest natural freshwater swimming pool in the United States. There's a tunnel beneath the waterfall where you can look out at the landscape, or you can hang out deckside and admire the architecture up close.


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Price: $164, check their website for deals.

Address: 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819

Why you need to go: This magical world will feel like you've stepped foot into the Harry Potter universe. The adventure park ambiance feels just like London with tons of shops to explore. Here, you can taste butterbeer and even get your own wand.


Devil's Millhopper Sinkhole

Price: $2-4

Address: 4732 Millhopper Rd., Gainesville, FL 32653

Why you need to go: This sinkhole resembles a South American jungle or rainforest. The trees cast a canopy over the sinkhole that allows for a variety of plant life to thrive for the lushest of nature views. They even have mini-waterfalls down in the Devil's Millhopper. The forest walking trails above the sinkhole give a completely different look, like visiting 2 different places at a single destination.


Epperson Lagoon

Price: $30-35

Address: 31885 Overpass Rd., Wesley Chapel, FL 33545

Why you need to go: There's a metro lagoon in Florida, and it is a man-made 7.5-acre oasis that's like stepping into the Maldives. Crystal clear waters and light sands with a resort-style feel will mentally transport you to South Asia. They have an inflatable obstacle course and other fun activities for you to do on the water, too. It's also eco-friendly, using 50 times less water than a traditional pool and 100 times fewer chemicals.


Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

This article has been updated since it was originally published in 2020.

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