The Other Florida

When most people think of Florida, Disney and Miami’s beaches immediately come to mind.

But there are other attractions in Florida that are less well known and less visited that are more amazing and beautiful than anything Disney offers.

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I look for these opportunities and am never disappointed when I find one.

Like the time Rob and I rented kayaks while spending the day at Wekiwa Springs State Park a few years ago.   Florida has natural warm springs in many areas of the state due to its porous limestone crust.  When you visit, you feel as though you have truly entered paradise, with palms swaying in the breeze and people frolicking near the water.   They are great for swimming and some even draw manatees in the winter.

I saw my first alligator in the wild at Wekiwa Springs in that kayak.  

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Another special place is the Sebastian Inlet State Park, which we visited recently.  This park is placed just at the entry to the Sebastian inlet, a fisherman’s paradise.  We were there on a windy day and watched a man catch a large snook as large waves crashed against this pier.  Yes, we got very wet.

Sebastian Inlet

(note:  Photo courtesy of Florida State Parks)

Last weekend, Rob and I went with the family to the Grant Seafood Festival.

The town of Grant-Valkaria, Florida is located south of Cocoa Beach.  Each year the town sponsors a huge Seafood Festival/Craft Fair that draws tens of thousands of people.  The Festival is a fundraiser for a school scholarship program that has raised millions of dollars over its 50-year history.  Such a great legacy.  The entire town gets into the action, staffing food stalls, directing traffic and selling tickets.

FoodStand

It’s a real community event, and the food is tasty too!

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Then there are the art fairs, county fairs, rodeos, farmer’s markets, music festivals, antique shows, quilt shows, Major League Spring Training and other events that proliferate all over the state during the winter season.  Florida sure loves its winter events and there is something for everyone.  You could go absolutely bonkers trying to see everything.  Some people try.

Here are a few links to sites that list the various parks, fairs and festivals.  

Look up your state to see what’s happening.

Stateparks.com

Fairs and Festivals.net

Festivalnet.com

Next time you’re in Florida, by all means, go and enjoy Disney, but also look for some other opportunities to get to know the real Florida.  You’ll be glad you did!

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1 COMMENT

  1. Annie | 12th Mar 16

    Lovely! And, although this Northerner has never heard of a “snook”, I will resist the urge to look up its true description, since it’s more fun to imagine Dr. Seuss -like creatures frolicking in the waves down there! 🙂

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