Having always lived in Florida, I know I take for granted the natural beauty that is constantly surrounding me. As I get older, and especially after the winter the rest of the country experienced, I am more and more thankful that I was born in the Sunshine State. Everyone is familiar with Mickey Mouse and the Kennedy Space Center, but what about some of the more obscure destinations in Florida, so obscure that you can’t even drive there?
Cayo Costa – Just off the coast of Pine Island, this hidden gem has nine miles of beautiful beaches, mangroves and plenty of manatees and dolphins to entertain. I can personally attest that this is an ideal place to camp with your friends, just make sure that you pack what you can carry.
Caladesi Island State Park – one of the few completely natural islands along the Gulf Coast, this beach was rated America’s best beach in 2008. There’s something for everyone – fishing, hiking, swimming and, of course, sun bathing. There’s also a kayak trail towards the interior of the island. Floating docks are available with electric service and water hookups for those wanting to spend the night.
Dry Tortugas – About 70 miles west of Key West lies the Dry Tortugas National Park. This small archipelago of coral islands is home to Fort Jefferson and the seven Dry Tortugas islands. This park is known for its abundant sea life, coral reefs and tropical birds. Divers are drawn to this area to investigate the Windjammer Wreck site that was discovered in 1971. There’s plenty of kayaking, camping, snorkeling, and diving for the whole family!