7 Exotic Places in Florida That Are Unreal But Really Exist

One of the missions I have on this website and in life is to discover the most unreal places across the US and anywhere I travel and when it comes to exotic places in Florida, this state has a lot of those areas too.

When you think of Florida and nature, there’s a 99% chance that you’ll probably think of beautiful beaches and sunsets, but this article isn’t focused on that stuff (since it’s everywhere in this state). What this post focuses on is actual exotic places (none beaches) in Florida that you would have a hard time believing are real and if someone showed you the pictures I’m about to and guess where it is, Florida would be last on your list of guesses! So let’s see what these places actually are:

The list of the 7 most exotic places in Florida:

exotic places in florida 01

  1. The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park.
  2. Devils Den Prehistoric Spring.
  3. Madison Blue Springs State Park.
  4. Weedon Island Preserve kayak adventures.
  5. Manatee Springs State Park.
  6. Dry Tortugas National Park.
  7. Kelly Park.

I’m going to show you exactly where to find each spot and what to expect in each area when you go, because sight seeing these spots is the least of what’s available here to explore.

But even for sightseeing, it’s more than enough to shock you at how beautiful it is!

the canyons zip line and adventure park exotic places florida 01

1) Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park:

Description: This spot is a perfect example of what I mean when I say you can’t believe this is in Florida (that was the case for me when I first found it), but it is.

Basically this park really defines it’s name.

It has canyons (highly uncommon for Florida), amazing hiking trails with awesome, exotic bridges to cross, kayak adventures, a zip line adventure and tours and way more to make it a very memorable trip.

Whatever type of outdoor fun you enjoy, there’s a good chance that this specific park has more than enough activities to cover you in that regard (I’d be surprised if it didn’t).

Location: Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park is located close to Ocala, Florida.

Now onto what is likely the most interesting one to people:

devils den cave exotic places florida 02

2) Devils Den Prehistoric Spring:

Description: The photos from this area are very iconic and popular, yet most people have no idea where it’s actually from and now that you’re reading this article, you know it’s in Florida.

This is a famous spring and cave where you can go sightseeing.

From my understanding, you can’t go into the water unless you do a tour or scuba diving which is another cool thing you can do here.

But basically this is one of the most famous areas in all of Florida if you’re looking for truly exotic places to explore and it doesn’t take a lot of description to see why. Just show people this picture, offer them an opportunity to visit this place and you’ll likely get a definite yes!

Location: Devils Den Prehistoric Spring is located in Williston Florida. The 2 closest towns next to it are Gainesville and Ocala.

madison blue springs state park exotic places florida 03

3) Madison Blue Springs State Park:

Description: When I inevitably do a list of the best state parks in Florida, without a doubt Madison Blue Springs will be on it.

Until I started exploring the state more, I had no clue it had so many springs and Blue Spring is one of the most famous.

Besides being an actual spring area, this place has very scenic and simple hiking trails and you can swim in some of the Springs in the area.

On top of that, the area is just stunning to enjoy looking at as you can probably tell already!

Location: Near the town of Live Oak (very close to the Georgia border). This isn’t an area that people often visit, but if you are driving through the area, making a stop here is highly recommended.

Me personally, when I drive down to Florida, it’s from I 95 which is pretty east of this, but totally worth it.

st petersburg kayaking area exotic places florida 05

4) Weedon Island Preserve kayak adventures:

Description: A few years ago I did this kayak adventure with 2 friends and I was amazed by it. This area is amazing for numerous reasons, and that includes:

  • Kayaking in beautiful water.
  • Kayaking across mangrove areas and through forests.
  • The area is a wildlife nursery.
  • There is a 5 hour window given for the kayak you rent so you have a lot of time to enjoy and explore the area.
  • There are also boardwalk areas to walk along to enjoy nice scenery.

This was one of the first amazing none beach areas I got to explore in Florida and I never forgot how amazing it was (and I do plan to go back). In my opinion if there is ever a list of the best places to kayak in Florida, this area deserves to be on it.

Location: Near St. Petersburg Florida.

manatee springs state park exotic places florida 04

5) Manatee Springs State Park:

Description: Take the most beautiful idea of clear blue water you can imagine, then add manatees to the mix and you have a clear description of the awesome attraction available at Manatee Springs State Park.

You are able to swim, kayak, snorkle and scuba dive in this area with amazing colored water (natural spring) and also encounter manatees in the wild.

This is something I’ve personally been wanting to explore on my end but you need to try it if you enjoy this sort of stuff.

Location: Near the town of Chiefland.

Note about manatees: If you’ve never been around them (I have), let me say that they are very peaceful creatures and for me, very curious to be around. I encountered them on Coquina Beach in Florida where they are much more in the open water, but here they are very easy to spot (basically everywhere).

exotic places florida dry tortugas national park 06

6) Dry Tortugas National Park:

Description: This national park is technically a beach location so it kind of “violates” the rules of this post, but the historic element of it, plus the scenery and how to get to it, all mixed into one is why I needed to add this amazing place to the list

First of all to get to this national park (which is a famous fort), you need to take a boat ride there.

Then when you do reach it, you can swim around the area, explore the actual fort (it’s a museum) and really get a nice mix of amazing views, historical spots checked off your list and get great views in general when the sun sets in the area and in general all across it.

Location: Dry Tortugas National Park is only accessible by boat from Key West Florida but there are plenty of tours and trips you can take on your own here as well.

kelly park springs exotic places to see in florida 07

7) Kelly Park:

Description: Kelly Park, the final place on this list is a good mix of the kind of stuff you see in Madison Blue Springs and Manatee Springs State Park (but without the manatees).

This park is very scenic, has a lot to explore which also includes hiking trails and a nice lazy river swim across the area.

Depending on what you love to do when traveling to these places (passive or active adventures), this park has all of that, and once again with the awesome scenic views and beautiful springs, it’s well worth going to.

Location: Near Orange County, Florida.

The water in this picture isn’t that clear to show off how amazing this area is but trust me, the springs here are awesome and stunning (very clear blue/green water to swim and kayak on).

exotic places to see in florida trip planner 02More quick questions about exotic places in Florida:

What is the prettiest spot in Florida?

There are tons of pretty spots to see in Florida but some of the top choices are the natural springs across the state and places like Clearwater, St. Petersburg.

What is the best kept secret in Florida?

In my opinion the best kept secret in Florida is that there’s way to see than just beaches. For example, there are amazing natural springs all over the state where the scenery is jaw dropping.

This list of exotic places to see in Florida will be expanding but if you have any suggestions to add to it, please leave them below!

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8 thoughts on “7 Exotic Places in Florida That Are Unreal But Really Exist”

  1. What a great read! I have visited Florida so many times over my lifetime, and even lived there for a few years. But I’ve only been to Manatee Springs State Park. In fact, many of the other spots you mentioned, I haven’t heard of. I’m totally obsessed with manatees and as you’ve mentioned, the water color there is absolutely amazing! It really is a little piece of paradise. 

    When people think of vacationing in Florida, they tend to envision a beach holiday. But why not break out of the box and try something in nature? It’s so much more satisfying. I would much prefer to go kayaking or exploring some of these beautiful spots. Now I definitely have to mark these down for my future visits! Thanks for sharing these jewels.

    Reply
  2. A close friend of mine lives in Punta Gorda, and he’s actually been to the Canyons Zip Line park and said the same thing – he also couldn’t believe it existed! 

    He mentioned that the next time I visit, it’s going to be the first thing we do. I don’t know if he knows about Devil’s Den or not, he’s never mentioned it, so I’ll have to bring that up since it’ll be pretty close anyway! You’re right about some of the photos, I’ve even seen them but never knew exactly where it was lol. I’ll have to see if he ever knew that’s where it was!

    Reply
  3. Oh this is such a great list Vitaliy ! As I been doing a lot of walks in nature this list do come handy if I ever come by Florida. Though I am opposite site of the world, Florida is a state I would love to visit if I am back in the states again. Beaches seems mediocre to me lately, nature has more to offer especially if you can do activity like zipline and kayaking. These spots have everything for everyone. 

    Reply
    • I hear you on the beaches being a bit boring too Katt. At least you now have way more to see in Florida when you go!

      Reply
  4. Love your post and the fact that you’ve steered away from the beaches. I’m also very much a nature person and hidden gems off the beaten track are the best. I’ve never had the chance to visit the USA but still hoping one day! We have zip lines here in South Africa, such a fun activity. This article is a great help to those seeking more than what meets the eye on their travels.

    Reply
    • Thanks Ali! Would love your suggestions for south Africa nature gems if you wouldn’t mind since I plan to visit there one day too 🙂

      Reply

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