kampong botanical garden

Does your marriage need that spark that only a well-timed sunset can provide? Looking to surprise your friends with a niche location for your next meetup? As “locals,” Island residents know Key Biscayne inside-n-out. How about other places across the state? What will locals recommend?

A recent article published by Southern Living magazine, list the top 10 “secret” places to visit to recharge, relax or simply enjoy a change of pace.

For a scenic walk, the top recommendations is Walkers Landing, located in a residential community on Amelia Island. Full of tasteful wooden benches and swings to watch the sunset from, it’s easy to think of the countless romantic events that have likely taken place there. Even with friends, it’s not difficult to bring a picnic and make some memories.

If you have more of a knack for parks and exploration, one of the best is the Gordon River Greenway in Naples. Beloved by the locals, it boasts paved pathways, canoe and kayak launches, scenic overlooks for wildlife viewing, and a hidden entrance near the Naples Zoo and Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Kampong Botanical Garden of Coral Gables provides over 11 vivid acres of exotic plants and moss-laden oaks. Created as a tribute to Dr. David Fairchild, most of the Miami population doesn’t even know it’s there, highlighting it as the perfect surprise for a get-together with those important to you.

The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Vero Beach, which advertises a large number of things to do if standing around looking at plants isn’t your thing. Butterfly gardens, bird rookeries, fish spawning sites, and turtle nurseries are all available to the public. Whether on a guided tour or looking around yourself, we highly recommend that you keep an eye out for the wildlife.

I can hear you from here… “But I don’t like parks, what do you have to say about that?” Worry not, locations more your speed are abundant. The Cortez Historic Fishing Village, on Sarasota Bay in Manatee County, is where one of the few remaining commercial fishing fleets on the waterfront in Florida can be found. Sprinkled around the isle are a variety of seafood eateries, such as the Star Fish Company, where the Catch of the Day was caught earlier that day.

For a smaller scale of destination, the oxymoron that is the No Name Pub was originally a general store/bait and tackle shop before the owners set up the bar aspect of it in 1936. According to the locals, “it’s a nice place if you can find it.”

Anna Marie Island’s Shiny Fish Emporium can offer a fun creative outlet for those in need of one, as well as a small piece of home decor. Because let’s be honest, what your desk setup is missing is a painted sand dollar, made by yourself and assisted by the owners of Shiny Fish, Dan and Rebecca.

For more, refer to Southern Living.

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