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6 Hidden Gems In Florida You Need To Visit Now

woman and child hugging and laughing on beach

Sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA

Thinking about planning, or booking, a trip to Florida? Tired of only hearing about its most famous destinations and top attractions and craving something a little more unique and lesser known?

We’ve ridden roller coasters at Orlando’s theme parks and partied on Miami’s South Beach– all of which belong on your Florida Bucket List.

But, as our recent Florida travels have shown us, the Sunshine State isn’t just about Mickey Mouse or bustling cities; it’s also home to some of the most enchanting hidden gems that promise unforgettable experiences.

Join us as we share six of our favorite hidden wonders in Florida, each offering its own unique charm, from quaint coastal towns to serene natural escapes.

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1. Manasota Key, Gulf Coast

aerial of woman and child walking on englewood beach

Escape the crowds and discover the pristine beauty of Manasota Key, an 11-mile barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, halfway between Tampa and Fort Myers.

I’ll never forget my first view of Englewood Beach at Manasota Key (mere steps away from our accommodation): pure white sand, calm, turquoise water, palm trees barely swaying, and only a handful of people.

This was a Florida paradise I hadn’t seen before, and had never heard of, making it one of my favorite hidden gems in Florida.

But wait, it gets better at the southern end of the island is Stump Pass Beach State Park.

woman standing on the beach
That view!

A 1.3-mile sandy nature trail winds through a low-lying forest, offering glimpses of the wild Gulf Coast on one side and the serene, luminescent aqua waters on the other through gaps in the trees.

It’s flat and gentle with only a handful of people passing you by. Once you reach the end of the trail, dolphins may even swim by. I was jealous of the two ladies paddle boarding right next to where they appeared.

This is also a good spot to spy a West Indian Manatee or a Loggerhead Sea Turtle (one of the most concentrated spots for these sightings in the world). 

Shark Teeth Hunting at Blinds Pass Beach, Florida
Shark tooth…

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