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Editor Pick

Get to Know the Real Florida at These Unique Places

Updated: April 19, 2023

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Katie Broome

Blue Heaven

Key West, Florida
Dine al fresco beneath tropical foliage—and among roaming roosters—at this favorite, known for its hearty breakfasts and Caribbean-inspired lunch and dinner. The menu is a little slice of heaven, with sea scallops à la Provençal, Jamaican jerk chicken, filet mignon and the ever-popular homemade Key lime pie (topped with a mountain of meringue) among the offerings. Live music accompanies lunch and dinner.Read More

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Homosassa Springs, Florida
Built around a freshwater spring that keeps the water a chilly 72 degrees F, the wildlife park and rehabilitation center is said to be the world’s only spot to see West Indian manatees throughout the year. A pontoon boat takes you on the short trip from the visitor center to the park, where an underwater observatory allows you to peek at the manatees’ slow-moving antics. Other native animals, including black bears, Florida panthers, bobcats, wolves and river otters, can be seen along paved walking trails and boardwalks.Read More


Orlando, Florida
Get close to a few of Florida’s native creatures at this iconic family-friendly attraction, one of the fun things to do in Central Florida. Pose for a photo at the park entrance—it’s shaped like a giant gator mouth—then explore the grounds to see crocodiles, alligators and other reptiles up-close. Daily gator feedings feature plenty of jaw-snapping action, while train rides and a petting zoo provide entertainment for little tykes.Read More

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Fort White, Florida
A float down the crystal-clear Ichetucknee River is the perfect Florida experience if you're wondering what to do on a hot day. Rent an inflatable inner tube or raft from vendors just outside the park entrance, then spend 2 to 3 hours floating down the river. You’ll be treated to views of sunbathing turtles and thick tree canopies. Non-tubers will enjoy hiking, kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling and scuba diving at the park.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Florida’s east coast boasts the only place on Earth where man has successfully launched a spaceflight to the moon. Plan to spend a full day at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where captivating exhibits and experiences cover the past, present and future of the NASA space program. Walk beneath a massive Saturn V rocket, touch a moon rock, ride a launch simulator and see the space shuttle Atlantis on display—this AAA GEM® attraction is worth a trip to the coast.Read More

T-Rays Burger Station

Fernandina Beach, Florida
Located in a converted gas station, the no-frills restaurant serves up burgers, breakfasts and daily blue plate specials to hungry crowds. The line often snakes out the door (past the old fuel pumps), but the wait is well worth it for chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, shrimp and “Big T Burgers,” made with a half-pound of hand-patted chuck and a secret spice blend. Picnic tables, mismatched furniture and college football décor create a casual, friendly vibe, making this one of the fun places to go for local grub.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Spring Hill, Florida
Live underwater mermaid shows put this roadside attraction on the map when it first opened in 1947. Today the park still draws record crowds to see its unique Weeki Wachee mermaids perform in the springs. Settle into your seat in the submerged viewing theater and watch as sequined mermaids twist, turn, flip and float through the water. Practice your own mermaid routine in Buccaneer Bay, a spring-fed water park located on-site.Read More
Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Katie Broome

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