5 Experiences You Can Have Only In Florida

As someone who grew up in Florida, I tend to get the same handful of questions about my home state: Did I go to the beach every day after school? (No.) Did I see alligators often? (Yes.) Is it really always warm outside? (Yes, really.) But there’s one thing that people tend to miss altogether when asking about the Sunshine State: that it’s one of the largest and most diverse states in the country. Take this mind-blowing statistic, for example: If you were to drive from the Florida Keys to the Florida-Georgia border, it would take you more than 12 hours. In other words, there’s a whole lot of Florida to explore. While the state’s most famous attractions are just as good as you’ve heard, there are other unique sights that you can only experience in Florida – and they’re worth adding to your itinerary, too.

Swim With Manatees

The only place in the entire United States that you can legally and safely swim with wild manatees is in Crystal River, Florida. In the winter months, hundreds of manatees populate the waters of Kings Bay in Crystal River, where you can swim with these giant, docile creatures (there’s a reason they’re often called “sea cows”) via a guided tour. Just remember, each visitor is required to learn their “manatee manners” before swimming in order to protect the health and environment of the manatees.