The Sunshine State is a fantastic place to visit. You can expect warm weather, sunny days, and an inviting atmosphere.
Florida is most well-known for its beautiful beaches and turquoise blue waters, but there’s so much more to Florida than just coastal cities.
Florida also has amazing inland cities that can sometimes get forgotten compared to larger coastal cities like Miami, Tampa, Fort Myers, and The Keys.
Below you’ll find a list of 11 places in Florida that are not located on a beach yet are still fun places to explore with tons of attractions, hotels, bars, restaurants, and events.
Next time you plan a trip to Florida, consider a location that isn’t on the beach and try something new. Of course, if you don’t want to give up a beach vacation, that’s fine too. Most of the cities on this list would make great day trips.
While going to the beach is a typical vacation for most people, it’s not the end-all-be-all. There are many things you can do that would make a vacation relaxing and effective other than spending it on the beach.
For instance, visiting a park, walking along a lake, and eating at a gourmet restaurant are great examples of things that can make a vacation relaxing and enjoyable.
The sunshine state is full of amazing and unique places to visit. It is called the sunshine state even though it only ranks number 10 in the USA when it comes to sunshine. Here are some more fun facts about Florida that you probably didn’t know.
Keep reading to learn more about the best non-beach locations to visit in Florida.
The Best Non-Beach Locations to Visit in Florida
Here’s a list of ten of the best cities in Florida that are not located on a beach. Hopefully, this has inspired you to consider a new location in Florida for your next vacation.
Orlando is most known for being the home of Walt Disney World. The city has many theme parks, including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom from the Dinsey Family, as well as Universal Orlando, which includes Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures, Legoland, and Seaworld.
Water parks include Universal’s Volcano Bay, Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove, Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Legoland water park, and Island H20 Live.
On top of all the theme parks, Disney Springs is an excellent free place with shops, dining, free events, and free parking.
The Kennedy Space Center is about 40 minutes from Orlando and is a super awesome place to explore if you have the time and love space. There are interactive simulations and tours of the space center.
Orlando Icon Park is a fantastic place to adventure.
It has restaurants, shops, and attractions, including an aquarium and Ferris wheel. Even though it is full of restaurants and things to eat in the park, it is always a good idea to bring snacks to Disney World, this will help make your trip more affordable.
Orlando is full of things to do and is quite a family-friendly location.
It’s a great city if you’re looking for a vacation that the whole family would enjoy.
Lakeland is known for its Downtown Munn Park Historic District with architecture from the early 1900s, antique shops, and a historic promenade. In addition, the city is home to Florida Southern College and a total of 38 named lakes.
Lake Mirror Park has over 2,000 acres, a large promenade, an amphitheater, and tons of campsites, some with RV hookups.
In addition, the park has hiking, skiing, biking trails, and a beach area to swim.
Circle B Bar Reserve is a protected area of land next to Lake Hancock, and it has tons of hiking trails to explore. Hollis Garden is free to visit and has over 10,000 indigenous flowers and plants.
The capital of Florida, Tallahassee, is an excellent place to visit. The historic downtown area is the heart of the city with many landmarks and monuments.
The Florida Historic State Capitol Museum will educate visitors on the political history of Florida. The tour includes the governor’s office, supreme court, and House of Representatives.
The Capitol Tower is an awesome vantage point with city views from the 22nd-floor observation deck.
The best things to do in Tallahassee can be reached from downtown, making it very easy to get around this city.
Lake Ella is a fan-favorite spot in the city. The small lake is iconically beautiful and a great place to relax and enjoy the views.
Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological Park is another place to check out with educational exhibits on the ancient history of the area.
Tallahassee is home to Florida State University and Florida A & M University. It can feel like a college town at times, but it’s so much more than that, and there is always something going on.
Most notably, Gainesville is home to the University of Florida. The school has a large campus in the center of the city and is a vibrant college town.
The city has everything you’d expect with students around, including nightlife, trendy restaurants, sporting events, and museums, but it’s so much more than that.
On the campus is the Florida Museum of Natural History, which has been the official natural history museum for the state since 1917.
The most popular exhibit in the museum is the Butterfly Rainforest which has roughly 1,000 butterflies from all different species.
Lake Alice is a protected lake home to many alligators so take caution when using the walking, hiking, and biking trails around the lake.
It’s also a popular place around sunset to watch bats. Sweetwater Wetlands Park is also a great place to spot alligators and various birds. The property has tons of trails, including a great 3.5-mile loop.
Ocala is almost directly in the middle of the state, making it just as close to the Atlantic Coast as it is to the Gulf of Mexico coast.
It’s known mainly for its undeveloped, natural beauty. Ocala National Forest is a top contender for one of the most beautiful natural destinations in the state.
Visitors can kayak, camp, fish, and enjoy the views and the wildlife.
There are several springs which are all great for swimming on hot days.
Another excellent site is Withlacoochee State Forest which is the third-largest in Florida. With almost 50 miles of trails and paved paths, it’s the perfect place to explore.
Ocala is a great place to visit if you want to be one with nature and enjoy the natural beauty of the Sunshine State.
With additional reserves, conservancies, parks, museums, and gardens, there are many outdoor activities at your fingertips.
The city is nicknamed “The City on the Circle” because of Circle Drive, which is in the center of Sebrings Historic District downtown. The roundabout is lined with boutiques, restaurants, and places to explore.
The Sebring International Raceway is America’s oldest racing track and hosts several races each year.
Sebring is also on Lake Jackson, which has a few beaches and is great for swimming, picnicking, and fishing.
In addition, there are several lakes in the area that are great for kayaking, boating, jet skiing, if you want to do more than relax and enjoy the view.
Highlands Hammock State Park is Florida’s oldest state park and has the largest amount of Florida’s rarest species.
You can take a tram tour through the park or walk the trails around the 1,000-year-old oak trees.
7. Winter Haven
Home to the Chain of Lakes, which is linked by canals, Winter Haven is a great place to explore if you love being by the water, but don’t want to be on the beach. Several lakes have parks along the water, boat ramps, and watersport rentals.
Most notable in Winter Haven is Legoland on the shores of Lake Virginia. It’s the most popular attraction in the city and a fun place for the entire family, not just children.
Legoland has rides, lego attractions, and a water park. Located close to Tampa and Orlando, there are many restaurants, bars, and excellent places to check out.
Lake Eloise is a popular location for water skiing and other watersports. Enjoy being out on the water, boating, skiing, and walking the pathways around the lakes.
There are also Cypress and Botanical gardens in the city to visit. Winter Haven has a lot at your fingertips without the large crowds of Orlando or Tampa, making it a superb choice when deciding on a place to visit.
Clewiston was first inhabited by Seminole Native Americans and was later one of the largest sugar producers.
The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum is an incredible place to visit if you want to learn more about the Seminole people who lived in Florida for many generations before it was settled.
The museum is located on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation, which is in the Everglades, and the museum has over 10,000 artifacts.
The Big Cypress Indian Reservation has both Big Cypress National Preserve and Billie Swamp Safari.
It’s an outstanding cultural and natural place to explore where you can learn about Native American history and camp out, kayak, canoe, and walk along the natural pathways.
Visiting Lake Okeechobee is a must in Clewiston.
There is a fantastic trail that stretches over 100 miles and is one of the country’s largest scenic trails of its kind. It’s part of the Florida National Scenic Trail, which runs from Pensacola in the Panhandle to Miami in South Florida.
9. Lake City
Lake City, sometimes referred to as a natural theme park, is a great place to explore. First off, visit Osceola National Forest, which has over 200,000 acres where visitors can camp, fish, and bike.
You can visit the park’s rivers, swamps, and lakes using the trails.
Florida is a relatively flat state, but there is a waterfall in Lake City called Falling Creek Falls. You can take a boardwalk out of the falls to enjoy listening to the sound of rushing water.
If you’re not scared of alligators, check out Alligator Lake Recreation Area. Here you can fish and spot alligators though swimming isn’t recommended, as you might be able to guess.
10. Genie Springs
Just outside of Lake City is Florida’s famous Genie Springs, beautiful freshwater springs that will make anyone want to rethink going to the beach. A great spot to camp out and enjoy the refreshing crystal clear water.
Perfect for paddle boarding, kayaking or even just chilling on a floaty all day. It is also a great spot if you are looking to do to some snorkeling or even scuba diving. Just because you aren’t on the beach doesn’t mean you can’t partake in these awesome activities.
Located right between Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park, Homestead is a prominent agricultural location and great for exploring the outdoor area.
Homestead has a small-town atmosphere and is only 30 miles south of Miami, so if you want a quiet, relaxing place to stay with the option of going into the city, this is the perfect location.
With family-owned businesses and restaurants, there is a ton of quaint beauty to explore in Homestead.
It’s also one of the most southern cities in Florida and a great place to stay if you want to visit The Keys.
Finally, with many nearby parks and cities to explore, Homestead is a fabulous centralized location.
So what do you think? Are you convinced there are other great places in Florida worth visiting besides beach locations? Because there are.
There are many great places to visit in Florida, both on the coast and inland. One is not better than the other, and while the coast has opportunities to swim and relax on the beach, inland Florida has gorgeous state parks, lakes, and other natural beauty to explore.
So who knows, maybe on your next trip to Florida, you can have the best of both worlds and visit inland and coastal Florida within the same trip to the Sunshine State.
Do you have a favorite non-beach location in Florida that isn’t on this list? Say so in the comments below.
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