6 Natural Wonders in Florida to Put on Your Bucket List

Venetian-Pool

Shutterstock/Marco Borghini

Shutterstock/Marco Borghini

By Cynthia De Saint

January 4, 2023

It is known that the ancient world had seven wonders, but the Sunshine State has nothing to be envious of with these fascinating, one-of-a-kind attractions that can only be found in our southernmost state. 

Florida may be famous world-wide for its stunning beaches, exciting theme parks, and glamorous nightlife, but there is so much more to enjoy here! From lush gardens and deep caverns to romantic love trees, the state has an adventure for every taste. Here are six you will not want to miss!

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

6 Natural Wonders in Florida to Put on Your Bucket List
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Nature lovers, prepare to fall head-over-heels in awe! Tucked between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River in Northeast Florida, this beautiful park is well-known for both its lush botanical garden and its distinctive cinnamon-hued shoreline of coquina rock formations along the Atlantic beach.        

Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, from hiking, birdwatching and bicycling, to strolling along winding reflection ponds or simply spending a lazy day at the beach. They can also picnic from either the beach or the seawall along the Matanzas River on the park’s west boundary. If they’d like to learn about the park’s natural and cultural resources, the visitors center will give them all the info they need. Second Saturday Plant Sales are monthly events enjoyed by the community and first-time visitors. Learn more HERE

St. Andrews State Park

6 Natural Wonders in Florida to Put on Your Bucket List
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Known for its emerald green waters and pristine white beaches, this enchanted place located just three miles east of Panama City Beach offers visitors 1.5 miles of truly breathtaking coastline. Beach lovers can snorkel or swim in the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and be awed by the multi-colored marine life thriving not far below the surface. Visitors can also stroll through pines and coastal plant communities, and because it is a popular migratory stopover for numerous bird and butterfly species, they shouldn’t forget to bring their binoculars! Those who like to sleep close to nature, or watch the stars unobstructed by city lights, can stay overnight in the campground. Learn more HERE.

Florida Caverns State Park

6 Natural Wonders in Florida to Put on Your Bucket List
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Just an hour west of Tallahassee, this state park gives visitors a rare opportunity to marvel at limestone stalagmites and stalactites, and flowstones and draperies, as they explore the depths of its ancient caverns. A 45-minute guided tour of the caverns takes them on an adventure  through multiple chambers in search of stunning rock formations.                                                                                          

But there’s so much more to the park than caverns! Guests can hike or bike several miles of trails, and there’s also the spring-fed Blue Hole that’s just right for swimming. Those who like a little oar-action can canoe along the pristine Chipola River, and then pitch a tent at the on-site campground. Learn more HERE

Venetian Pool

Would you like to enjoy a refreshing swim in the midst of South Florida’s Coral Gables, the so-called “city beautiful”? If the answer is yes, then head to the largest freshwater pool in the United States. But wait… does it qualify as a natural wonder? Yes, if you take into account that more than 800,000 gallons of fresh spring water are pumped daily into this gorgeous pool. And when we say gorgeous, it’s because Venetian Pool, which was built in 1924 from a coral rock quarry, features grottos, waterfalls, porticos, and a signature bridge that makes it look as though it’s set in Venice, Italy. No wonder it is the only swimming pool listed in the National Register of Historic Places! If visitors need to fortify themselves after a vigorous swim, the Venetian Pool Cafe offers hot and cold food, drinks, snacks, and a large variety of refreshing ice creams. Learn more HERE

The Love Trees of St. Augustine

The town of St. Augustine, Florida’s oldest European settlement, has a number of “love trees” that will enchant the romantic in you. What is a love tree, you may ask? It is a beautiful natural formation that happens when two separate species of tree grow in, on, and through one another.

Local legend has it that if two lovers kiss beneath one of the beautiful arbors, they will share an everlasting romance. At this time, there are around seven of these love trees to be found around the city, and people from all over the world come to kiss under the foliage, with many proposals happening under the green canopy with its promise of everlasting love. Learn more HERE.                                 

Harry P. Leu Gardens 

6 Natural Wonders in Florida to Put on Your Bucket List
Shutterstock/Ritu Manoj Jethani

Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane, were in the habit of bringing back exotic plants from many of their travels, which they then planted in their Orlando home and its adjoining 40 acres. Through the years, this led to the creation of a stunning variety of flora that has become a destination for budding horticulturalists and lovers of beauty everywhere. The grounds of the Harry P. Leu Gardens are laced with meandering paths that wind through the various collections, which include bromeliads, magnolias, ferns, roses, palms and lilies, and over 2,000 camellias, the largest collection in the country. Learn more HERE.

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CATEGORIES: COMMUNITY | THINGS TO DO
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