TALLAHASSEE, Fla.: With countless self-guided, DIY tours across Florida, state residents have amble opportunity to explore confidently and responsibly – learning and experiencing with just the touch of a smartphone.
Below is a sampling of immersive self-guided experiences available for Floridians eager to explore their backyards while getting to know the Sunshine State like never before.
History and Culture Tours
Jacksonville’s Visit JAX! app offers a variety of history tours, including the African American Heritage Trail, that bring the region’s culture and storied past to life. In South Florida, Key West Historic Marker Tours take visitors through 125 historic locations, curating their own tour based on interests in things like military or Cuban heritage, among others.
Sarasota Downtown Introduction Walk – available via the GPSmyCity app or by simple print-out – introduces visitors to the cultural highlights of the city, including the Sarasota Opera House and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The city’s historic buildings tour takes the experience one step further with nearly two miles of strolling between the city’s top historic sights.
Take a self-guided history tour of downtown Ocala to discover Ocala’s charming downtown featuring immersive history paired with innovative public art and large-scale murals. Explore the Fernandina Beach Historic District and its fascinating architecture on a tour provided by The Amelia Island Museum of History. Fort Pierce – in St. Lucie – also offers self-guided tours focused on the great Black writer Zora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Art and Mural Tours
Floridians have endless opportunities to snap a selfie while social distancing on a Sunshine State mural adventure. In Tallahassee, for example, the Railroad Square Art District is known for its creative public art and mural-covered warehouses that house art-studios and eclectic shops. Florida’s Adventure Coast is home to the Brooksville Mural Tour, showcasing buildings that have been turned into canvases, as well as the Mermaid Trail featuring 21 bronze mermaid statues.
The Lake Placid Mural Society, located outside of Sebring, FL, manages an internationally known outdoor art gallery with over 40 beautiful larger than life murals and 17 one-of-a-kind trash container companion pieces. The Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society also offers its own version of a mural tour with 30 historic and educational murals throughout the city.
St. Petersburg is taking a fun approach with its drive-in murals, letting visitors stay in their cars while experiencing quirky murals painted during the annual SHINE Mural Festival. And yes, there’s an app for that.
Quirky and Unique Tours
Some visitors want to do more than just look and learn. They want to do, and that’s the principle behind Gulf Toast, Sarasota County’s craft beer and spirits tour, panning as far north as Parrish, through Sarasota and Fort Myers, and down to Marco Island.
Martin County has taken the traditional historic tasting tour to the water with a unique self-guided stand-up paddleboard experience offered at Zeke’s Surf, Skate, & Paddle Sports.
Pensacola offers a different approach with its Beach Footprints in the Sand Eco Trail, featuring 8.5 miles of beach trail that encourages visitors to hike and swim while learning about the nature around them. The city’s Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail introduces visitors to 12 shipwrecks along the coast – fun for kids and adults alike. Sarasota even proposes a scavenger hunt for families to tackle together.
Get in touch if you’re interested in more options for self-guided travel through Florida. For more information on the Sunshine State or to plan a 2020/21 vacation to Florida, visit www.VISITFLORIDA.com.
Symeria Palmer, Publicist
About VISIT FLORIDA
As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 131.4 million visitors in 2019. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $91.3 billion to Florida's economy and supported 1.5 million Florida jobs in 2018. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, $2.15 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, The Hertz Corporation, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, Simon Shopping Destinations and Universal Orlando Resort.