If you are a Floridian and struggle with finding nature, here is a list of places we're lucky enough that Mother nature put in our state. Florida has some of the best beaches, springs, and natural sanctuaries.
People like to visit Florida for the party scene and gorgeous hotel stays, but the state is much more than South Beach and beautiful palm trees. The Sunshine State is surrounded by hidden natural places where the sun shines like gold.
Pack your bags and prepare for a fun and relaxing weekend with Florida's best natural spots. Don't forget to pack a bathing suit as some of these places will make you want to jump in the water.
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.
Where: Mile Marker 73.5, Lower Matecumbe Key, Islamorada
This is considered Florida's best rest stop. A drive through US-1 from Key Largo to Key West is breathtaking. But it can become a little monotonous when you are in the car for a while. Stop at this beach and enjoy one of the best beaches Florida has to offer.
Where: 5390 N.E 180th Ave Williston, FL
You can't hide from the devil at this natural spring. This scuba diving site has become one of the most visited places by tourists. The underground cave has animal fossils and crystal clear water. This is a spot to put in your bucket list and explore the wonders of the underworld.
Where: 36850 Overseas Highway
Bahia Honda is more than a beach. Here you can do many things such as kayaking, camping, fishing, and swimming. There's nothing better than enjoying the Atlantic ocean and getting tanned for that special party. If you get hungry, take advantage of their snack bar located in the concession building.
Christ of the Abyss
Where: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Say your prayers underwater and discover this statue of Christ 25 feet deep. This natural marine sanctuary is located in the Key Largo Dry Rocks. You can scuba dive or go free diving and find Jesus. But please do not drown trying to get to the bronze sculptor. Jesus might turn your prayers into reality and become a mermaid.
Blue Hole Regional Park
Where: 3345 Caverns Rd, Marianna
Explore Florida's caverns and the hidden holes. You can go camping in this park or just enjoy the natural spring water. Go on an underground adventure with your friends and see the geological beauty. It is definitely one of the best hidden gems in Florida and worth to visit any time of the year.
Where: 28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead
Sometimes you need a little bit of an unusual experience. Coral Castle is one of those places you never thought existed in Florida. The castle is built out of limestone and coral. But what makes it so interesting? The moon-like structures and rocky chair longs.
Fruit & Spice Park
Where: 24801 SW 187th Ave, Homestead
What would you do with 37-acres of botanical gardens? Just wander around and gather the best fruits and vegetables. Learn about horticultor and garden etiquette with a private tour in this garden. Also, you can take advantage and stuck up on fresh fruits for your Sunday brunch.
Where: 17530 W Dixie Hwy, North Miami Beach
This urban park is located in North Miami Beach and has a great view of the ocean. You can go for a morning run and later on enjoy the forest. The park has bike trails, golf course, campground, and other amenities for your outdoor activities.
Ichimura Japanese Garden
Where: 1101 MacArthur Causeway, Miami
Learn about Japanese culture and how to meditate at the Ichimura Japanese Garden. This is a free experience and good if you're looking for a quiet place to relax. The garden will be hosting free events in November and a good way to embrace Asian culture.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Where: 12087 Southwest, US-27, Fort White
Cool off at this natural spring. You can go kayaking and enjoy the swimming holes. The park has many picnic areas and you can also take advantage of the equipped grills. If you're tired of packed beaches like South Beach, we recommend the pristine waters of Ichetucknee. The trees surrounding the spring also provide some relief from the Florida sun.
Knaus Berry Farm
Where: 15980 SW 248th St, Homestead
Enjoy organic fruits and the gift of nature at Knaus Berry Farm. This place has the best tomatoes and other fruits. Feel free to skip the produce and head straight to the cinnamon buns instead. You will love every bite and come back for more. This place gets packed on weekends so make sure to arrive early.
Matheson Hammock Park
Where: 9610 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables
The best thing about Matheson is that is near the city. You don't need to drive an hour and a half to get away from the traffic. Matheson is a great place to go paddleboarding or just getting that golden tan you've been postponing for weeks.
Where: 14805 SW 216th St.
You know the saying monkey see, monkey do. But for real! Monkeys will be following you around and running wild at this park. If you've ever dreamed of interacting with a monkey, this is your chance. You can feed them, pet them, and take selfies with the monkeys. Also, this will make for a great Instagram post.
Oleta River State Park
Where: 3400 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach
The greatest thing about living in Florida is that you can find bodies of water almost anywhere. This is another spot to go paddleboarding or kayaking with your date. You can get to the private island to unwind or explore the mangroves. Sometimes there's a cantina bus waiting for you in the middle of the ocean.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Where: 3500 Park Rd, Ocean Springs
The sea is calling and you must go. If you're looking for clear water and soft sand, you'll love the Gulf Islands. The white sandy beaches make perfect for an Insta post. Wear your best bikini because you might stay there for hours. Probably you'll love it so much that you'll camp out.
Where: 11000 Red Rd, Pinecrest
Right in the middle of the hectic Miami lifestyle, there is a secret garden only locals know about. The Pinecrest Gardens has the perfect scenery for outdoor recreation. Bring a date for a private picnic if you don't want many people around or stay to feed the swans. The best thing about this place? It's affordable and secluded.
Where: 1825 4th St N, St. Petersburg
The gardens have existed for more than a century and are one of the most visited attractions in Florida. Many people come here for their engagement photo shoot but you can come here anytime. The gardens are four acres of well-established botanical gardens in the Old Historic neighborhood.
Where: 4000 Morikami Park Rd, Delray Beach
This is another Japanese garden and one of the most relaxing sites in Florida. We recommend you wear comfortable shoes before entering the garden. You'll be walking for a while to find the best spots to meditate. The Morikami Gardens also have a cafeteria with the best sushi and a drum show that is a must-see.
Where: 2100 W French Avenue, Orange City
Do you like manatees? Then you'll love the waters at Blue Springs. Grab a float and navigate the clear waters of this natural spring. To avoid waiting in line, go to the park early as this is one of the most popular ones. Discover giant friendly creatures and soak in the sunshine. While you go down the stream you will discover other things your eyes won't believe.
Everglades National Park
Where: 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead
Even though the Everglades is home to many snakes and gators, the park has a lot to offer. There's a bike trail with a perfect view of the Everglades. You can get close to the alligators without getting bitten. But if you want to relax while enjoying the view, we recommend the airboat rides. It will be an experience to remember.
Florida has a lot to offer when it comes to nature. If you thought for a second the state was all about South Beach and exploring the bars, think again. A small drive down the coast on US-1 will take you to the best hidden beaches.
Florida is also home to the best natural springs and clearwater. Take advantage of your home and practice paddleboarding. Northerners love visiting Florida because they can't take advantage of warm weather all year long.
Plan your weekend adventure and get off the wrong exit. Maybe you'll discover something else we didn't mention on this list. All we know is that we got you on the right path to a memorable time.