Think fantastic places only exist in Hollywood? Think again! There are some pretty amazing places right here in Florida!
Here in Florida, we always hear about how Disney World is the most magical place in the world, but the magic doesn't just exist in Orlando. Did you know that Florida is home to the third largest coral barrier reef? Or that Florida is home to the world's tiniest police station? Big or small, Florida has it all!
Colorful sunsets, mystical coral reefs, and acclaimed architecture make postcards come to life right in front of you! So let's take a look at the most surreal places in The Sunshine State ...
Content disclaimer: We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit a potentially hazardous location, you check for the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. The locations listed below may or may not have changed their regulations in regards to what you can or cannot do on site since the article was last updated. Always consult with local authorities. If you do plan to visit a location, know the risks beforehand and respect the environment.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Where: 100 Grinnell St, Key West
Turquoise waters, coral reefs, historic buildings. These are just some of the wonders that can be found within Dry Tortugas National Park. Float on the serene teal water, then explore the historic sites located within the park. Bring along an underwater camera to take snapshots of the marine life and coral reef, and cap off your day by watching the sunset as the lighthouse comes to life.
Florida Caverns State Park
Where: 3345 Caverns Rd, Marianna
Florida Caverns State Park is not only exotic, but it is also extremely unique. The only publicly viewable air-filled caves in the state, the caverns located within the park are filled with stalactites and stalagmites that will make for extra cool Insta pics! You can also explore this incredible attraction underwater!
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Where: 6400 N Ocean Shore Blvd, Palm Coast
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a two-for-one attraction famous for containing the original habitat of a barrier island and its wondrous gardens, which are a hotspot for engagement photos and weddings. It's the perfect spot for a getaway with your SO and a great locale for Insta pics!
Where: 1700 Bowmans Beach Rd, Sanibel
Are you a fan of seashells and sunsets? Bowman's Beach is your go-to for both! Located on Sanibel Island, this beachfront is famous for its plethora of seashell finds and westward overlooks that capture the setting sun. It's a treasure box for the avid beachcomber and paradise for the rest of us!
St. Bernard de Clairvaux
Where: 16711 Dixie Hwy, North Miami Beach
This historic church and monastery are certain to make you swoon! Whether it's the Spanish architecture or the curated gardens, there is something magical that will draw you in. The building itself has traveled the world to make its home here in Florida. The church was originally constructed in Spain and later shipped to New York City before becoming nestled in Miami-Dade County.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Where: 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo
You don't have to travel to Australia to see a mystical coral reef because there is one right here in Florida's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park! Put on your snorkel gear (or go deep with your scuba suit) and witness the wonders that can only be found under the sea. I don't know about you, but I'm humming the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid just thinking about this underwater wonderland!
Christ of the Deep
Where: 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo
Think that Rio de Janeiro's "Christ the Reedemer" statue is impressive? So is Key Largo's "Christ of the Abyss" statue! Also called "Christ of the Deep", the statue located next to the John Pennekamp State Park is one of the most photographed underwater items in Florida. Pretty cool, right?! Throw on a snorkel or scuba mask and dive underwater to snap a pic with this sunken attraction. You may even have a colorful fish photobomb your shot!
Big Talbot Island State Park
Where: State Road A1A N, Jacksonville
Did you know that Jacksonville has more acres of land dedicated to parks than any other American city? Of the many parks located in this Florida metropolis, Big Talbot State Park is a true gem! With a picturesque coastline complete with a beachfront forest, Big Talbot offers views that are absolutely surreal. Go early in the morning to witness the sea mist settle over the sand, or plan an afternoon bike ride down one of the park's trails. And don't forget to reserve an evening in Big Talbot because this postcard-worthy landscape belongs on your Sunset Bucket List!
Falling Waters State Recreation Area
Where: 1130 State Park Rd, Chipley
Waterfalls are magical no matter which angle you view them from. In Chipley, Falling Waters State Park is filled with these natural wonders. Ever tried doing yoga by a waterfall? Give it a go on the boardwalk that weaves through the park! And if waterfalls aren't splendid enough, the park also has a butterfly garden! It's a definite win-win!
Where: 9700 SW 328th Street, Homestead
A community built solely on water? That's exactly what the urban planners behind Stiltsville envisioned when they designed this stilts-only neighborhood off the coast of Biscayne National Park. Can you imagine swinging on a porch swing in the middle of the water? This certainly isn't an attraction you'll happen upon every day!
Blowing Rocks Preserve
Where: 575 S Beach Rd, Hobe Sound
Blowing Rocks Preserve is the East Coast's largest portion of exposed Antartica limestone, which makes this unique locale both notable and great for Insta pics! The limestone boulders are perfect for meditating seaside, striking a (yoga) pose, and exploring the natural wonders available right here in Florida.
The World's Smallest Police Station
Where: 102 Ave A N, Carrabelle
The City of Carrabelle is known for being home to "The World's Smallest Police Station." The size of a phone booth, this landmark attraction is open 24 hours and makes for a great Insta pic! Fun fact: the current phone booth located on US 98 is a replacement for the original. The first "World's Smallest Police Station" can be viewed in the city's Chamber Office. Two tiny police stations? We're all for it!
Great Florida Birding Trail
The Great Florida Birding Trail is a statewide attraction. Officially titled "The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail" (GFBWT), this collection of trails spanning over 2,000 miles and 500 unique locations gives explorers the opportunity to see the state's 514 species of birds. The GFBWT is split into four geographic sections (South, West, Eastern, Panhandle) so chances are that there's an entrance near you!
Bill Baggs Cape Florida National Park
Where: 1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne is known for being home to one of Miami's wealthiest communities, filled with gorgeous mansions and private yachts, but the key is more than an affluent enclave — it's also the starting point of The Great Florida Coral Reef and location of Bill Baggs Cape Florida National Park. The latter is a beautiful natural area that comprises the southernmost third of Key Biscayne. In addition to stunning sunsets and remarkable underwater views, you can also snap a pic with the Cape Florida Light, Miami's oldest standing structure that has been around since 1825 despite having been involved in the Second Seminole War and placed in and out of service multiple times since its initial construction. Needless to say, Bill Baggs Cape Florida National Park is rich in history and natural wonders, thus making it the perfect destination for both the history buff and the photo aficionado alike!
Torreya State Park
Where: 2576 Northwest Torreya Park Road, Bristol
With its gorgeous stone bridge and breathtaking overlooks, Torreya State Park is one of the most romantic spots in Florida! The Gregory House, built on the grounds of the park, is a popular wedding venue and there's a good chance that you'll catch a glimpse of a bridal party during your visit! But you don't have to be part of a couple to enjoy the splendor of this popular locale. Hiking, biking, and camping are just some of the ways to explore this natural treasure box. Whichever you choose, visiting Torreya State Park is worth it!
Where: 2701 De Soto Blvd, Coral Gables
The Venetian Pool in Coral Gables is a nearly century-old public swimming pool that is as stunning as it is historic. Opened in 1924, the four acres that comprise the Venetian Pool are a popular destination for both tourists and locals to the Greater Miami area. There are diving boards built over waterfalls and a gallery of pictures showing the pool's history. If that wasn't impressive enough, the Venetian Pool is the only pool listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Blue Spring State Park
Where: 2100 W French Ave, Orange City
If you've ever wanted to be a mermaid (I know I have!) then spending time at Blue Spring State Park is the closest you can get to fulfilling such a mystical aspiration! With rainbow colored water (when the sun shines just right, the water actually looks purple!) and adorable marine life (manatees, anyone??) this public attraction is a truly fantastic choice for paddleboarding, canoeing, swimming, and snorkeling! (Don't forget to bring your mermaid tail... or at least a cute swimsuit!)
Where: 14805 SW 216th St, Miami
If you love monkeys, then Monkey Jungle in Miami is your paradise! This wildlife park consists of 30 acres filled with over 500 monkeys from 18 different species, including many endangered species. The park's tagline is "Where the humans are caged and the monkeys run wild" and we couldn't be more excited to be surrounded by these furry, acrobatic creatures!
Where: 28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead
Some buildings are made of brick, some are made of wood, and others are made from ... coral! The creator of Coral Castle harvested a massive amount of coral from his Florida property and used it to build this remarkable attraction. He began construction of Coral Castle 28 years before his death, and he worked on his creation until the end of his life. Talk about a cool legacy to leave behind!
Great Florida Reef
Where: Key Biscayne to Dry Tortugas
The Great Florida Reef is not just a beautiful sight; This natural wonder is the only living barrier reef found near mainland USA, and it is the third largest reef in the world behind The Great Barrier Reef in Australia (#1) and The Mesoamerican Reef (#2). Pretty neat, right?! Grab your snorkel mask and go exploring in this underwater wonderland!