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Disney World, Universal, Busch Gardens, the list goes on as Florida has no shortage of great theme parks to choose from --but I totally get it, not everyone visits just for those. For whatever the reason may be, if you ever find yourself wondering what else there is to do in the Sunshine State, you can rest assured knowing that your options are plenty. From our coasts to the springs and beyond, there is surely something that anyone can enjoy doing; here are some suggestions to get you started on your quest to discover over 15 things to do in Florida besides theme parks.
Visit a Beach
Let's be honest, if you aren't coming to Florida for the amusement parks you are probably here for the beaches, and it's no wonder why! With miles of coastlines and two major bodies of water to choose from Florida's beaches are definitely the runner-up option to the theme parks. Better yet, no matter where you are located in the state, you won't be farther than a couple hours from the coast and there is so much more to do than just tanning and sunset watching. Each public beach offers differing amenities and activities from camping to fossil hunting to on and off-leash dog parks and piers, and so much more, you absolutely will not have any trouble finding a great sandy spot to put a towel down near you.
Swim in a Spring
If you follow my blog you probably already know I am a huge advocate for hanging out at one of the many Florida springs. They are a great alternative to a crowded (and expensive) waterpark, some of them even have natural lazy rivers for you to spend hours floating down. There are hundreds of springs in Florida, here is a list of the ones you can visit.
Explore a Tourist Town
Who needs Epcot when you can discover a variety of other cultures all around the state? The Greek town of Tarpon Springs, Dunedin's Scottish vibes, the colonial ambiance of St. Augustine, the Latino touch of Ybor City -- historic tourist towns are abundant in Florida, each one offering their own unique charms, speciality shops and restaurants, and plenty of culture.
Get Lost in Nature
With so many nature parks scattered throughout the state, it's unsurprising that spending a day (or night) in nature is a popular pastime, especially among those who want to get away from the crowds - from waterfalls to hidden islands and mysterious gnomes, you never know what you might discover. Though, do remember to bring mosquito repellent and sunscreen!
Have you ever wanted to go deep-sea fishing or scallop hunting? Florida is a great place to start! Rent a charter and catch your dinner for an experience you, and your tastebuds, won't soon forget.
Take a Sunset Cruise
Cruises don't have to be expensive or long --if you have an evening free, do consider taking a sunset cruise from your local dock. There are tons of companies that offer these, some of which may even include dinner! I highly recommend this one from Tarpon Springs that takes you to a remote island, and it's pretty cheap too.
I'm not talking about going to your local Walmart (though, they do have some pretty fun finds too) but more along the lines of massive flea markets, farmer's markets and tourist/novelty shops. Because Florida is so rich with tourism, we have a lot of great small-business shops offering a wide variety of speciality items -- like Florida orange blossom honey -- that's not quite so easy to find everywhere else.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry
Just like shopping, I'm not suggesting your usual order from Applebees. With themed eateries-galore, from whimsical cafes and post-apocalyptic bars, there's no shortage of interesting places to stop for a bite -- or drink.
Lighthouses, wild monkeys, historic homes, location markers -- interesting sights all across the state await your visit, and are the perfect chance for a photo-op you absolutely will not be able to reproduce anywhere else.
Take a Tour
Tours can be done in so many ways, whether you prefer on foot and self-guided, segways, scooters, buses or boats, no matter how you prefer to get around there is a tour perfect for you. Many larger towns and cities offer scooter rentals on nearly every corner for a fun and exciting way to get around (without finding a parking spot!)
Go to a U-Pick Farm
It comes as a surprise to many that farms are so common in Florida, but we are lucky that they are! There are tons of farms that offer U-pick produce and flower fields that can easily make for an entire day of fun in the sun.
Camp Under the Stars
Camping is fun! Go camping at one of our dark sky parks for an extra bit of excitement and stargazing after the sun goes down.
Fulfill your lifelong dream of riding a pony on the beach (or on a trail) with one of the many horseback riding farms around the state.
Wonder Around an Exhibit/Garden
Art exhibits, museums and public gardens can be a super fun time if you go to the right ones! There are always new exhibits popping up, sometimes they are even interactive like the Van Gogh Exhibit that premiered at St. Pete's Dali Museum, or my personal favorite -- Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, which has tickets on sale here.
Go to an Outdoor Event
Thanks to our year-round nice weather, outdoor concerts and events never seize -- and it's not unusual to find a free one happening at a local venue!
Putt-putt golf is a staple to the beachy tourist lifestyle, and that means there are tons of mini golf courses around. It's a great option for family fun night, or a first date!
Play at an Arcade
Who doesn't love a good arcade? Florida is full of arcades, some of which are also bars that are open late for when you are looking for something fun to do at night. Just don't go stealing any games or consoles.
Of course, the fun doesn't have to end there! Bring a camera and a friend, make a photo shoot out of all the fun you are having. Make an appointment at a spa for some well-deserved relaxation. Make it an at-home craft night. Options to enjoying Florida are endless, you just have to get creative sometimes.
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