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Strike gold with five of Florida’s hidden treasures


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Santa Rosa Beach

   Tourists come from all around the world to experience the theme parks in Florida. Disney World, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens are just a few destinations that attract millions of people every year. Still, even the biggest theme-park junkie needs an escape from tourists every once in awhile. Here is the Trinity Voice’s ranking of five Floridian hidden gems that are perfect for a fun and tourist-free day:

Santa Rosa Beach – located in the panhandle, six hours away from Trinity Prep   

   Santa Rosa Beach was founded in 1910 and was recently named one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 5 Favorite Towns in America. The soft white-sanded beach provides the perfect mix of old and new, with both a historic state park and modern restaurants nearby. Biking, kayaking, wakeboarding and surfing are just a few activities that guests can enjoy at Santa Rosa. While staying at the beach, make sure to stop by The Bay, a beach-side restaurant with a Southern-Asian twist.

Weeki Wachee Springs – located in Spring Hill, two hours away from Trinity Prep

   Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is sure to provide a great time! The 535-acre park offers many activities, including a river boat cruise and canoe/kayak rides. The Springs’ Buccaneer Bay, Florida’s only spring-fed water-park, has a white-sand beach, water slides and a lazy river. Still, the Springs are most known for the mermaids. Mermaid shows, including a rendition of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” are offered daily in the 400-seat submerged Mermaid Theatre.

Dry Tortugas – located in the Florida Keys, seven hours away from Trinity Prep

   The Dry Tortugas were discovered by Ponce de Leon in 1513 and are located off of Key West. In addition to holding one of the richest concentrations of shipwrecks in North America, the Tortugas are home to Fort Jefferson, an unfinished fort that was built during the 1840s. The average day trip entails snorkeling, swimming, beach walking and a tour of the fort

Bok Tower Gardens – located in Lake Wales, one-and-a-half hours away from Trinity Prep

   The Bok Tower Gardens were founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, publisher and humanitarian Edward W. Bok in 1929. The gardens are situated on Iron Mountain, one of the highest points in Florida. Iron Mountain serves as a nice contrast with the ever-flat Orlando, whose highest elevation is its roller-coasters, like Expedition Everest and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. The Gardens feature a 205-foot singing tower, a reflecting pool, a bird sanctuary and acres of flora and fauna. This majestic location is perfect for a quiet day of photography, hiking and picnicking.

Devil’s Den – located in Williston, two hours away from Trinity Prep

   Williston’s Devil’s Den is named for the steam that rises from the cave’s chimney during the winter. It holds the remains of extinct animals and the bones of an early man that date back to 7,500 B.C.  The Den’s year-round 72-degree weather is perfect for both summer and winter. The prehistoric springs are great for scuba diving and snorkeling. You can even rent a cabin and spend the night at the springs.

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Strike gold with five of Florida’s hidden treasures