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Great Vacation Destinations in Florida (Besides Disneyworld)


When you hear about taking a vacation in Florida, what places come to mind? Disney World? Universal Studios? Sea World? These are pretty obvious. So are Miami and Key West, depending on who you ask. But what if I told you that there were places in Florida that aren't as well-known as the ones I mentioned before, but are still great vacation spots? Places that make perfect honeymoon destinations? I ask because it's true; Florida has several places that are great for a getaway, but that a lot of people don't know about.

One of my favorites is St. Augustine, where my husband and I took our honeymoon. I wrote a more detailed review in a previous post, but it's a great place to explore if you just want to relax. It's not that it doesn't have plenty of attractions-the Castillo de San Marcos and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum are in the 'must see' category-, but you won't have to fight noisy crowds to have fun. The best part for me was staying in a bed-and-breakfast across the street from the bay; few things are more beautiful than a sunrise reflecting off of the still, smooth water. This would be a perfect place to go for a romantic getaway.

Although it is commonly known as a spring-break destination, Daytona Beach has plenty of things for the whole family. For people interested in NASCAR racing, there is the Daytona International Speedway. If you're into cars but don't want to watch races, you can visit the Klassix Auto Attraction. In addition to seeing automobiles from shows like Grease or The Munsters, car enthusiasts can take advantage of one of America's best collections of classic cars. As someone who likes to drive and restore cars, my father would absolutely drool over this! For nature lovers, you can take a small cruise of the Halifax river or explore Tomoka State Park. Of course, no trip to Daytona would be complete without a stroll through its Historic District and its many shops and restaurants. I'd personally love to visit the Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory, but my waistline doesn't agree. :)

When you hear of Tampa Bay, you probably think that that's the name of the city. Actually, the Tampa Bay region includes four cities-Tampa, Clearwater, Bradenton and St. Petersburg. In addition to gorgeous beaches, this area has no shortage of family-friendly activities. For animal lovers, you can visit the Lowry Park Zoo and The Florida Aquarium in Tampa. There is also Busch Gardens-Tampa Bay for those who want to go on rides as well as see the animals. For history buffs, St. Petersburg features the Florida International Museum and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. If outdoor entertainment is more your thing, Clearwater has the Sunset Celebration at Pier 60. It's basically a free festival with local vendors, live entertainment and lots of concessions. Instead of happening once or twice a year, though, it happens every night! Assuming that it doesn't rain, of course. It's a lot of fun for people who want to experience a variety of family-friendly activities in one sitting.

As you can see, Disney isn't the only place in Florida worth visiting! It can be just as much fun to visit some of the lesser-known parts of the Sunshine State, either as a couple or with the whole family. Between beautiful beaches, museums and various tourist attractions, here's literally something for everyone.


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