If you’re traveling around Florida, there are some spots you would definitely enjoy. Florida offers amazing beaches on both the east and west coast of the state; however, there are some hot spots that folks often miss. From the unique flavor of Key West, to the magic of the theme parks, there is so much to enjoy here. For your next trip around the Sunshine State, these are five spots in which to enjoy the beauty and unique spirit of Florida.

1. Sarasota

From Selby Gardens, with its amazing blooms, concerts and more, to the quiet waters of mangrove-lined paths for paddling, Sarasota offers much to do for the visitor. Bike around town and visit the shops on Main Street or enjoy the art galleries and Art Center Sarasota. Walkers will delight in the many paths near the downtown area; walk over the Ringling Bridge at sunset for a unique experience. Spring is the season for Baltimore Orioles baseball games. Whether you are a sports fan, golfer or a culture buff, Sarasota offers it all.

2. DeLand

Home of Stetson University, the oldest college in Florida, DeLand offers culture as well as sports. Blue Spring State Park is located in Orange City and hosts swimming, kayaking, canoeing, SCUBA, camping and more. Its warm 73°F waters attract abundant manatees during the winter. While in the area, get your golf game on at one of the nearby courses; Victoria Hills in DeLand Florida offers a golfer’s paradise right in the central part of Florida. Also in DeLand, historic and enchanting Stetson Mansion, home of the hat manufacturer, should be on your list; it was built in 1886 and is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

3. Destin

Nestled on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay, the western coast city of Destin is known for beaches of powdery white sand, great golfing, and unmatched fishing. Stroll the boardwalk or enjoy giant dunes with a visit to Henderson Beach State Park. Hikers will enjoy being under pine and oaks, while kids can enjoy the fun at Big Kahuna’s water park. History buffs and amateur archaeologists will enjoy a visit to Fort Walton Mound, an archeological site, first built in 850 A.D. by the Pensacola tribe.

4. Key West

The western-most city in Florida, it caps off the beautiful Florida Keys. Duval Street offers bars, restaurants, shopping and the unique people-watching of this city. Narrow streets frame pastel-colored conch houses, adding to the quaint aura of this charming area. Visit the Hemingway House and museum, home of the six-toed cats, some of which carry the polydactyl gene. Even if you don’t like cats, there is much to enjoy at Ernest Hemingway’s former home, where lush grounds surround. Dive or snorkel the surrounding reefs or savor the sunset from Mallory Square.

5. Fort Lauderdale

Just 28 miles north of Miami, this popular destination is the site of boating and canals that wind their way through the city. Nearby Atlantic beaches provide fun. If you love swimming, visit the International Swimming Hall of Fame. History beckons with a visit to Stranahan House, built in 1901. Art lovers will appreciate the NSU Museum of Art, where contemporary art and American and Cuban modern art are part of the collection. You might see work by Frida Kalo, Philip Guston, Frank Stella and others.

These are just some of the hot spots to visit while enjoying the best of this state with friends or family. Relax and savor the wonder of Florida.

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