Forget scrolling through a travel blogger's Instagram because we've compiled a list of surreal places within a three-hour radius of Tampa that you can see IRL! 

Florida is filled with beautiful sights, but these locales take incredible to the next level. We promise that there's nothing extra about any of these spots; each one is as deserving as it is surreal. 

There are definitely some epic locales nearby, and we're here to give you a guide to the ones you don't want to miss. Trust us, each one deserves a visit and a top spot on your bucket list. 

Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park

Where: 4732 Millhopper Rd., Gainesville, FL

Is there anything more majestic than a waterfall? Showcase your adventurous side at Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, a goldmine of natural wonders located just outside of Gainesville. Teal waters, natural springs, and a central sinkhole should put this locale at the top of your list.

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Devil's Den Prehistoric Spring

Where: 5390 N.E. 180 Ave., Williston, FL

Devil's Den provides some of the best Insta shots any natural wonder in Florida can offer. This open sinkhole is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and even scuba diving. Because general swimming is not allowed, plan ahead and make a snorkeling appointment via the Devil's Den website. Trust us, you don't want to miss out on this surreal place.  

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Edward Medard Park and Reservoir

Where: 6140 Turkey Creek Rd., Plant City, FL

Bring out your inner monkey as you navigate the tree limbs and roots that are iconic to Edward Medard Park and Reservoir. This natural jungle gym will bring out your inner kid as you climb up the intricate roots and swing on the branches. Don't you wish this tree was in your backyard? 

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Ocala National Forest

Where: 17147 E. State Rd. 40, Silver Springs, FL

You don't have to travel all the way down to the Florida Keys to get your fill of turquoise waters. Just two hours north of Tampa is Ocala National Forest, 673 square miles with a plethora of Insta-worthy backdrops. Swimming, hiking, and kayaking are just some of the methods through which you can explore this natural wonderland. If you're lucky, you may even spot a manatee.  

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Juniper Springs

Where: 17147 E. State Rd. 40, Silver Springs, FL

We may be biased, but we believe that this recreation area is home to one of the best natural springs in Florida. Juniper Springs is a gem within the Ocala National Forest. This intersection of Saint Johns River with Juniper Creek creates a natural pool complete with subtropical flora and limestone caves that are just begging to be explored. In the need for a quiet getaway with bae? Juniper Springs is a popular spot for camping. So pitch your tent and get lost in the magic of this natural wonder. 

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Monument of the States

Where: 300 E. Monument Ave., Kissimmee, FL

Feeling patriotic? The Monument of the States is Florida's own symbol of unity and was erected to memorialize those affected by Pearl Harbor. Fun fact about the memorial: All of the rocks were donated by patrons from around the world, including then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The structure was then built by volunteers, which showcases the goodwill and genuine spirit that the formation represents. There's even a time capsule hidden inside the monument! 

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Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Where: 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, FL

Here in the Tampa Bay area, we love manatees and one of the best places to view these awesome sea creatures is by way of the floating observatory at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. In addition to the manatee population, the park is also home to Lu, a Hollywood-renowned hippopotamus.

The surreal views within the park have been around for centuries, as the land was once inhabited by Florida's Native American community. So grab your paddleboard, kayak, or canoe to explore the historic waters and take in truly incredible sights. Paddleboarding and manatees? We're all in!

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Honeymoon Island State Park

Where: 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin, FL

With turquoise waters and an array of shells lining the white sand beaches, you don't have to travel far to experience paradise. Honeymoon Island State Park consists of 385 acres of land above the water and another 2,400 acres beneath it.

Splurge on a helicopter ride to see the submerged portions of the island from the sky, or go for a refreshing swim along the shoreline. This is the perfect destination for a solo adventure or a weekend getaway with your S/O. 

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Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Where: 375 W. Sanctuary Rd., Naples, FL

The everglades experience isn't exclusive to South Florida; did you know that there are everglades right here on the west coast? For the nature buff, Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a dreamland. Explore the sights by way of the boardwalk that weaves throughout the refuge, which is home to a variety of wildlife including alligators, raptors, and otters. 

Plan your outing at the right time and you'll have the fortune of seeing the beautiful Ghost Orchid bloom. From the wildlife to the flora, you won't believe the number of surreal sights available to you in this natural locale.

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King's Landing

Where: 5722 Baptist Camp Rd., Apopka, FL

Along the Wekiva River is King's Landing, a natural site as incredible as its fictional counterpart. Canoeing, kayaking, camping, and so many more activities are viable options for exploring the teal waters and subtropical flora that will make your followers envious. Connect to the local roots by venturing to Rock Springs Run, a former hunting ground of the Timucauan Indian Tribe that has been preserved so that the modern-day explorer can take in the historic landscape. 

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Whimzeyland

Where: 1206 N. 3rd St., Safety Harbor, FL

Have you ever been inspired by bowling balls? The owners of Whimzeyland, affectionately termed "The Bowling Ball House", certainly were when they became the recipients of several complimentary bowling balls from a flea market and decided to use them as the launchpad to creating one of the most surreal sights in the Tampa Bay area. Curated with the eclectic in mind, this colorful collection has been expanding for over 20 years and counting.

What is it exactly? Whimzeyland is a house decorated with trinkets, yard art, and memorabilia galore that all come together to produce a majestic experience that allows you to step into a colorful realm without leaving town. You always hear that a picture is worth a thousand words; in the world of Whimzeyland, there are a thousand things to put into your picture.

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Myakka River State Park

Where: 13208 State Rd. 72, Sarasota, FL

Over 37,000 acres of surreal sights await you at Myakka River State Park. Home to a suspension bridge that offers incredible views of the natural canopy, climbing to the top watchtower won't be the only thing that takes your breath away. The park is popular with hikers and cyclists alike and has amazing flora and fauna. You may even see some of Florida's rarest birds, including the elusive pink Roseate Spoonbill. Bring your camera and your curiosity, and go adventuring in this amazing natural refuge.

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Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

Where: 1502 S.E. Kings Bay Dr., Crystal River, FL

Crystal River is the manatee capital of the world, and we couldn't be more excited to catch a glimpse of these adorable "Sea Potatoes." Explore the waterways by kayak, canoe, or even paddleboard. Plus, the manatees aren't the only local celebrities you may come across as Crystal River is the hometown of fan-favorite The Bachelorette contestant Jordan Kimball. (If you want to help Crystal River's manatees affected by Red Tide, consider supporting a local charity that aids in marine life welfare.) 

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Spook Hill

Where: Lake Wales, FL (GPS Coordinates: 27° 54′ 43.35″ N., 81° 34′ 56.47″ W.)

This optical illusion is a nationally renowned hotspot among thrillseekers searching for the spookiest locales. Spook Hill is a gravity hill comprised of limestone and sand that has built up over millions of years. Cars driving the stretch of road appear to roll up the hill and then disappear into plain sight. Crazy, right? You'll have to check it out for yourself. The local community even gets into the spooky festivities as Casper the Friendly Ghost serves as the official mascot of Spook Hill Elementary School. Boo! 

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Siesta Key

Where: 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota, FL

Siesta Key in Sarasota is known for surreal sunsets and picturesque white sand beaches. It makes for the perfect day trip and an even better Insta pic. Siesta Key is also a beachcomber's dream with a plethora of sea glass and shells to be found, so feed your Pinterest habit by scouring for the best sea glass jewelry tutorials, then go scavenging for the perfect pieces to make a pair of earrings your friends will envy. 

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We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.


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