I grew up in Florida and lived my entire life there before I moved to Utah for college.
One of my favorite parts of coming home is to find the cool places to explore since the swamp is completely different than the desert. Florida is so green and warm pretty much every single day of the year. This past trip, I found some new places I had never been to before and some that are a must-see every time. I put together a few things for your next Florida vacation to help future travelers or even fellow locals enjoy the beauty of the sunshine state.
Orlando Botanical Gardens
This place is gorgeous! A long time ago, a couple brought clippings of exotic plants home with them as a souvenir on all of their vacations abroad. They are all seen in a 50 acre garden surrounding their home which is now a museum. It’s a relaxing place to stroll around and take engagement pictures or pack a picnic. My personal favorite spots were in the rose garden and the vegetable patch. We stayed for a couple hours and still didn’t see the whole thing! There is an entrance fee but I think it is worth every penny.
If you have never seen an alligator in person, this is a place you will not want to miss on your Florida vacation! You can see gators only a few feet away in their natural-like environment. You can even zipline over the enclosure or hand-feed the animals for an additional fee. Also, if you aren’t a reptile-lover, there are a variety of other animals to see such as goats, snakes, tortoises, hedgehogs, flamingos and other exotic birds.
Green Key Beach
Green Key is not the best beach in the world but I am in love with their nature trail. It leads through the mangroves close to the Gulf of Mexico. At the end, there is a lookout over the ocean with a view of the shoreline that provides that picture-perfect view.
This is a small local zoo with some amazing moments to experience for your Florida vacation. They have a splash pad, paddle boats, kayaks, and a splash pad for the children to enjoy. They have a walk through aviary to hold exotic birds and a platform in the Africa exhibit to hand feed giraffes seasonal vegetables.
I love Cocoa Beach! I would go here all the time growing up. Ron Jon’s Surf Shop is right by the beach and open 24/7. It is always a good place to go no matter the weather (and it is huge!) The Cocoa Beach Surf Company is right next door and has an aquarium with a couple sharks in it. I may be a little biased, but Cocoa Beach is one of my favorite beaches, especially to show off your Kortni Jeane swimsuit.
Lone Cabbage Airboat Rides
I went on an airboat for the first time a couple of years ago and we got to go again. It was even better than before! We saw dozens of alligators only a few feet away from our boat. We got tons of pictures and we lucked out with how gorgeous the day is. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere but it is worth the trip.
Florida is a place full of fun for people of all ages. If there are any other secret spots you found other than these for a Florida vacation, be sure to share! Happy travels!