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The Sunshine State is known for its beaches and of course, Disney World, but what if I told you there's other things to do in Florida beyond the theme parks and coastlines? If you're looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Florida, maybe you'll want to add one --or all-- of these to your summer vacation bucket list.
Swim with gators
Sure, jump in any fresh body of water in Florida and you can swim with gators --but wildlife biologist,
conservationist, and gator-guru Christopher Gillette, better known by his nickname Crocodile Chris, offers brave souls the once in a lifetime chance to safely swim with gators. During your tour, Chris will lead you into a pond with a group of gators to get up close and personal with. It's $250 for a 30-minute swim, you can book your tour here.
See a space launch
Witness a space launch in real life at the one and only Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. According to information on their website, the "complex provides the closest public viewing of rocket launches with live launch commentary from space experts. Viewing locations are within a few miles/kilometers from the launch pads, so you can see and feel the liftoff of spacecraft leaving Earth under the full power of mighty rocket engines." That sounds way better than watching it from the television!
Dig up fossilized shark teeth
Finding fossils is fun, but usually pretty rare. Thankfully, that's not the case in Venice, Florida. Known as the "shark tooth capital of the world", this stretch of coastline offers treasure hunters an almost 100% chance of walking away with a prehistoric souvenir. If you want to know more and increase your chances of finding a tooth, click here!
Float down a natural lazy river
Visit Weeki Wachee or Rainbow River and go tubing down a natural, crystal-clear lazy river. Rainbow River offers tube rentals that will have you floating for hours, alternatively, Weeki Wachee has a very short section of their state park roped off for those who would appreciate a mini-lazy river adventure (pictured by my Mavic Mini above!)
Dive into a sinkhole
Florida is full of sinkholes, but none quite like Devil's Den. For a small price you can snorkel and scuba dive in this prehistoric spring located near Gainesville. There is a camp onsite, so stay a while and thoroughly explore an enchanting blue basin --and don't forget your GoPro! Click here to learn more about Devil's Den.
Drive a tank
Who doesn't have dreams of driving a tank? You can finally make this dream a reality right here in the Sunshine State. This experience is offered by Tank America, and here's what you can expect: "Navigate your way through our 3/4 mile tank course from the driver's seat of our 17 ton FV 433 Abbot. The tank course requires you to negotiate hair pin turns, climb a fifteen foot hill, and barrel through a four foot deep mud hole." Think you're up for the challenge? They have several different tank experiences ranging from about $300-$2000. Check it all out here!
Go to the southernmost point of the continental US
Drive through the picturesque Key West and make your way to the most southern point of the continental US. It's a photo-op and bragging right, so why not? Plus, it's probably the closest you're going to get to Cuba!
Get face to face with one of the most "haunted" dolls
And while you're in the area of the Keys, don't forget to stop at the Fort East Martello Museum to meet one of the creepiest dolls known to man: Robert. Once a beloved toy to the son of a prominent Key West family, Robert and his hauntings have made their way to the museum --supposedly still causing mischief to this day. Learn more about Robert here.
Stroll through America's oldest city
Founded in 1565, St. Augustine continues to retain much of its old colonial charm. With cobblestone streets, an old fort, and many historic buildings to match, there's truly no where in the US quite like this bustling coastal tourist town. Learn more about St. Augustine âhere.
Swim with manatees
Citrus County is the only county in the state that allows swimming with wild manatees; though it should be noted that doing so is under strict guidance. The best time to go swimming with 'tees is in the winter when they crowd into the springs, as pictured above. There are specific companies that offer these tours, and you will have to book through them!
Where will you be going first? Let me know in the comments below! And don't forget to book your dream rental before someone else does! Check here for what's available during your dates.