Millions of travelers will visit Florida for beaches, great hotels, and nightlife activities this summer. Most travelers think Miami and Miami Beach are the places to find these things, but there’s more to Florida than the east coast.
Even though Miami and Miami Beach have fantastic beaches and cultures known globally, other places in Florida have something for travelers to enjoy. Florida is covered by water west and east, and some might argue that the west (Gulf Coast) has better waters due to its connection to the Gulf of Mexico. The waters are gentle and calm, and the beaches are less crowded with the spring break crowds. Not to say that parties don’t happen there; it’s a different vibe than Miami.
You should head over this season and check it out for yourself. The Gulf Coast, which consists of places like Sarasota, Perdido Key, Fort Myers, and Honeymoon Island, is some of Florida’s best-kept secrets. It’s also a road trip haven for those who like driving alongside beautiful scenes like clear coastal blue waters. Check out the top six reasons travelers should visit the Gulf Coast instead of Miami this summer.
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It’s One Of Florida’s Most Scenic Areas
You must check out the Gulf Coast if you enjoy doing anything by beautiful beaches or coasts. It’s known for having some of the cutest bars, restaurants, and destinations facing the water. Even if it’s not by the ocean, most establishments like Ophelia’s on the Bay in Sarasota face some water. This spot is extremely laid back but with a touch of fancy that doesn’t intimidate.
Other areas like Lido Key have roads right next to the ocean. This gives the driver an incredible backdrop if you’re there on a sunny day. Other scenic drives include Pensacola to Destin. You’ll cross bridges with water on both sides and feel like you’re driving on the water for you and your passengers. It’s an excellent experience for basically any traveler.
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The Beaches Are Unreal
If you’re ever in this area, you know the Gulf Coast has some of the best beaches in Florida. Places like St. Pete Beach have been rated the top beaches in the world for the last couple of years.
Other excellent beaches are Indian Rocks Beach, Henderson Beach, Boca Grande, and more. You’ll find some of the softest white sand nesting against almost crystal-clear blue waters. If you head over in the summer, it’s the perfect way to cool off against the sometimes unbearable Florida heat.
It Has Amazing Diverse Historical Architecture
It’s not all about beaches here. You can find some cool architecturally significant hotspots on this side of Florida which will surprise you. Places like the Mediterranean revival house Ca’ d’Zan epitomize 1920s design, and the 20th-century Rationalism paradise, Ybor City Historic District, are some of the exciting spots here.
Known as the former cigar capital of the world, Ybor has been a destination for travelers since 1885. There are plenty of 1920 Spanish and Mediterranean revival-designed buildings in the area, and finding them could be a fun way of looking at this area differently.
The Hotels Here Can Be Quaint
Even if you’re in a massive hotel, the vibes here are different. Take the Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota. It’s a modern hotel but is near some of the best areas in Downtown Sarasota. The beach is next door, and walking along some of the nearby streets here gives you a small coastal beach town vibe.
The hotel has excellent amenities, like a semi-indoor pool with city views and rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows on all four sides. It’s the perfect place to get a sense of places like Sarasota.
Nature Here Is Abundant
The Gulf Coast has some impressive natural areas; if you’re visiting, it’s worth seeing. The western Everglades are full of endemic flora and fauna in this area. You can kayak through mangrove tunnels to spot manatees at the Ted Sperling Nature Park. You can even take a boat out to see dolphins at Marco Island.
There’s Nothing But Laid Back Leisure Around
The Gulf Coast is known for many things, but the most important is its ability to be laid back. Even if you’re partying the night away in Siesta Key, a vital chill element still exists here. It’s the perfect place to relax and not be bothered too much. We can’t guarantee you’ll be relaxed here the whole time, but it’s the ideal place to try.
Florida’s Gulf Coast is a hidden gem destination for many travelers, and it’s the perfect place to spend your summer vacation. There’s plenty to do here, and it’s a destination you should check out soon.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com