Discover these 5 Great hidden gems of Florida and more!

6:30:00 PM La Mesa RV 4 Comments

It doesn't take long to uncover that we're a land of undiscovered towns and stretches of parklands usually right smack in the middle of paradise.There are many different labels that you could place on these unique areas. The one we like to use is " Hidden Gems". These are places that uniquely located all throughout the country that have a little of nostalgia to them and provides a plethora of hidden resources that reveal some things that most of you have never heard of.undiscovered towns and stretches of parklands usually right smack in the middle of paradise.There are many different labels that you could place on these unique areas. The one we like to use is " Hidden Gems". These are places that uniquely located all throughout the country that have a little of nostalgia to them and provides a plethora of hidden resources that reveal some things that most of you have never heard of.

The definition of Hidden gems is an idiom which means something which is extremely outstanding and not many people may know about; for example, Blame It on Rio by Stanley Donen is a good movie, but relatively unknown by the mainstream world, hence a hidden gem. It's time to uncover a few.

1. Whimzeyland
Using countless bottles, tile mosaics, and more than anything, bowling balls, the private Florida residence known as Whimzeyland has taken two decades to cover its grounds with a non-stop explosion of color. Located in a residential area, this private residence is owned by two artists who welcome visitors to walk around the property and view their art.

To really appreciate the entire home is to appreciate the gardens made of colored bottles, rainbow mosaic pathways, and bright ceramic sculptures. Originally Known simply as the "Bowling Ball House", fro the now over 500 painted bowling balls that are in pyramids, stacks, and walls, Whimzeyland also features a small gallery where bowling balls decorated and donated by other artist are put on display for visitors to view

To view the entire house click here:

Nearby Gems: 
Clearwater Virgin Mary: This glass-stain Mary once attracted thousands of pilgrims until her head was shattered by a vandal with a slingshot.
Hindu Temple of Florida - A gleaming white tower in ornate Indian style soars above the low-slung bungalows of north Tampa.
Jungle Parad Site - The site of a gold digging conquistador's bloody landing in the Americas.
Gravity Research Foundation Monument - This is a tribute to a future time when gravity is conquered.

2. Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower gardens is truly a place of historic beauty and serenity. Among the rolling hills of citrus in Lake Wales, Bok Tower Gardens continues to be one of the most remarkable and awe-inspiring landmarks in Central Florida.
This breathtaking gem has been enchanting those enjoying a Central Florida vacation for over 80 years because founder Edward W. Bok did not settle for anything less than amazing when he created this masterpiece. Bok immigrated to the United States when he was only six years old from Den Helder, Netherlands.
After striving to lead a successful life, Bok became a Pulitzer-Prize winning author along with completing many other noteworthy achievements. He retreated from Pennsylvania to Lake Wales, Florida during the frigid winter months, and during this time, he fell in love with the sunsets, birds, and hills of this area.
With a vision of creating a beautiful place to inspire others and touch hearts, Edward Bok worked alongside landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to produce a Singing Tower, the gardens, reflection pool and more. In 1929, he presented these gifts to America as a way of expressing his gratitude for the many opportunities this country had presented him.

3. Swimming with Manatees in Crystal River Florida

Swimming with the manatees of Crystal river Florida is not like any other wildlife-watching experience in the world. You can truly interact here with the manatee on their terms.
Though there are many wildlife attractions around the world where you can come into close contact with a wild animal, it is usually because they are being bribed with food or coerced against the animal’s will. This is not the case in Crystal River. The manatees congregate here every winter to take advantage of the 72-degree water that flows from the springs throughout Kings Bay. And though they have plenty of protected areas where they can rest undisturbed, they choose to come out and interact with the humans out of simple curiosity.
When to Swim With Manatees
The manatees arrive in winter to take advantage of the relatively warm water that gushes out of the springs in the bay. December, January, and February are the best months to swim with manatees as they are present in the greatest numbers.

4. Food and Beverage Tours in central Florida
From chocolate factories to foodie tours, these tours are sure to take your taste buds along for the ride

The Orlando Food Tours is a Winter Park walking food tour that takes you on a three-hour journey across local eateries. The Tantalizing tastes and Tours give you some flavors from around the city from 4 Rivers to Pom Pom's as well as views of landmark locations such as Amway center and Holy Land.

At the Chocolate Kingdom, you can take a 45-minute chocolate tour through a cacao tree greenhouse, a chocolate museum, a river of chocolate and a micro-batch-bean-to-the-bar factory that uses old-world machinery. If your sweet tooth craves to know more about chocolate, then you can tour Farris and Fosters where you choose the amount of chocolate you want to put into molds, then pair it with whatever fillings you desire including peanut butter and strawberries.

But not to be outdone is the Showcase of Citrus. Take a ride on a hulking 4x4 through this 2,500-acre estate and learn about the history of the Citrus Estate, trees, plants and animals in the area. Acres of groves and 50+ varieties of citrus.
Here some honorable mention tours:

5. Hidden gems of South Beach
South Beach is known to be flashy, but beyond the bars and restaurants in the spotlight are some places that require a little bit of searching. Because the beach is about to celebrate its centennial, it's is a superb time to highlight those special eateries off the beaten path.

These are places known mostly by locals, spots in back alleys with no signage, and even a special locale with a porta-potty portal. There are so many to name so we will highlight some long time favorites and list the others.

Perhaps you've heard great things about Bodega's tacos, but for all the glamour, you must enter through the porta-potty portal. (It's way better than a hot tub time machine.) It is the blue door that reads, "Baños," in graffiti, but it will transport you to a  bar with tequila.

South Beach and Philly have very little in common, so it should come as a surprise that you can get a good cheesesteak a stone's throw from the beach. Part of Española Way is known as a tourist trap, but closer to the water you will find some sports bars that don't match the club scene. If you head to the back window at the end of the bar in Lost Weekend, and you'll find the Alibi, which serves a Philly cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz on an Amoroso's roll.
pic photo by @CarinaOst

There is the South Beach that tourists see, and then there is this vibrant, rich culture of neighbors and sense of community that grows Under the Mango Tree. This small store and eatery isn't easy to spot, but the veggie melts, açaí bowls, dragon fruit smoothies, and fresh juices aren't easily forgotten. This place is special and full of health and heart.

The Rest: 

These are the hidden gems of Florida. I am sure there are plenty more that you can probably think of. Feel free to leave your hidden gems in the comments below. But before we go there is one hidden gem that we forgot to mention. It is LaMesa RV. Not only do we have 4 convenient locations in Florida, we provide an RV for every lifestyle. Our sales locations have state of the art service facilities with RVDA Master Certified technicians. We also have buyers available if you are trying to sell your used RV.

To find the nearest location to you, search here:


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