Known for its beaches, theme parks, and warm weather, Florida is a tropical paradise that welcomes millions of visitors every year. While plenty of those visitors will head to the top spots in the state, others are searching for something a little different to see and do. If you’re one of those people, consider checking out the following unexpected Florida destinations.

Fort Lauderdale

Image via Flickr by Daniel Dudek

Situated on the east coast of Florida, Fort Lauderdale is known for its beautiful beaches, boating canals, upscale restaurants, and boutiques. With hotels that range from luxurious to budget-friendly, Fort Lauderdale is also a good spot for those seeking a getaway in Florida.

Choose one of the luxury hotels that sit right on Fort Lauderdale Beach, and you can enjoy all the sun, sand, and surf you want. If you’d like to stay right in the heart of the action, consider a hotel on Las Olas Boulevard. This popular thoroughfare boasts 10 international art galleries, three museums, 65 retail options, and plenty of diverse restaurants where you can find a delicious meal.

If you choose to stay in one of the inland hotels, there’s still plenty to see and do. Sawgrass Recreation Park offers a variety of activities where people can go to learn about the Everglades ecosystem. Take a trip on an air boat, and feel the exhilaration as you skim across the water. You can also check out animal exhibits where you can learn about the creatures that live in the Everglades.

Kissimmee

Located just over 20 miles from downtown Orlando and 16 miles from some of the most popular theme parks in the area, Kissimmee is a popular spot for vacationers looking for cheap hotels when they plan on heading to the parks. However, they don’t even have to leave Kissimmee to experience some excitement. Orlando Tree Trek is a great elevated outdoor obstacle course that features zip lines, Tarzan swings, nets, and suspended bridges. You can also head to the Paddling Center at Shingle Creek to rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards for self-guided tours of the beautiful waterway.

Fort Myers

Fort Myers is on the southwest coast of Florida. It offers a relaxed tropical paradise that’s popular for fishing, shopping, golfing, and simply unwinding on the beach. While looking for seashells is a common activity on many Florida beaches, Fort Myers is special because the area has over 400 varieties of shells. If you stay at one of the resort hotels on the beach, they’ll often give you a complimentary bag to help you collect them.

If you love history, you need to make time to tour the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were good friends, and they built winter homes next door to each other. Today, you can tour these homes, gardens, and more to learn more about the men and the antique furnishings in their homes.

From relaxing days on the beach to exciting adventures in the trees, these unexpected Florida destinations are ones you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.