In the first three months of 2022, the state of Florida attracted around 35 million tourists, a new record. Florida has now recorded four consecutive quarters that have attracted more than 30 million visitors.
With so many people visiting the state, many tourist attractions are likely to be crowded. The most popular rides at Florida's theme parks sometimes have wait times that are longer than an hour. Since both visitors and locals want to enjoy all the state offers, it helps to know about attractions that fly under the radar and sometimes have smaller crowds.
The website Travel + Leisure recently put out a list of "hidden gems" that often aren't too crowded. The list is below, along with the attributes that Travel + Leisure found compelling.
- Three Sisters Spring at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge: This Refuge is best known as a winter home to manatees, who migrate to the warm waters when the weather turns cold. The Refuge is a great place to see manatees in their natural habitat, and it also offers hiking trails, bicycling, and tours.
2. Dry Tortugas National Park: Surprisingly, this national park in the Florida Keys is one of the nation's least visited. There are many things to do, including exploring Fort Jefferson, soaking up the sun on the beaches, and snorkeling among the coral reefs.
3. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens: If you enjoy or are curious about Japanese culture, these Japanese gardens in Delray Beach might be the ticket. The attraction is surrounded by nature with a Japanese theme. There is a bonsai collection, koi ponds, and trails.
4. Devil’s Den: This prehistoric spring in Levy County is a unique place to snorkel and drive. It boosts 72-degree water and a cave where fossils dating back to the Pleistocene Age have been found.
5. Florida Caverns State Park: Florida isn't typically known for its caves, but this attraction in the Panhandle allows you to explore the stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, and draperies of a cave.
6, Venetian Pool: This pool in Coral Gables was carved out of a rock quarry in the 1920s and is the largest freshwater pool in the United States today. It features grottos and waterfalls and is arguably a lovely way to cool down on a hot day.
7. Wacissa Springs County Park: This park offers a dozen springs where you can swim and snorkel. The park is also known as a popular fishing spot and place to view wildlife. There are also campgrounds if you'd like to stay more than a day.
8. Southwest Florida Ale Trail: If you're a beer connoisseur, you don't have to go out of state to find a brewery trail. The Southwest Florida Ale Trail connects breweries in Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, and Collier counties. The Trail even has passports that you can have stamped to get rewards. Many of the breweries are not far from beaches.
9. Ravine Gardens State Park: This state park in Palatka has 60 acres of nature where you can hike, bike, or drive to take in beautiful views.
10. Florida Historic Golf Trail: From Pensacola to Key West, the Florida Historic Golf Trail includes public, semi-private, military, and resort golf courses. There are some famous courses here along with lesser-known courses.