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10 Places in Florida Every Photographer Needs to Shoot At Least Once

Florida has a rich ecosystem with natural springs, coastline beaches, and diverse wildlife. With this, it is no surprise that Florida is a photographer’s dream. While most photography enthusiasts think of snapping an attention-grabbing photo from Disney, Key West or Miami, Florida has much more to offer. Consider shooting something unique at one of these offbeat photography locations in Florida.

Beaches on Destin's Emerald Coast Destin, Florida
Credit: Destin, Florida by bigstock.com

Beaches on Destin's Emerald Coast

What Is It? Once a sleepy fishing village, Destin has grown exponentially in popularity while still maintaining a small-town vibe. 

Why Do It? This area is great for photographers, as Destin is still a fishing village at heart with tons of elements that can make your photographs interesting.

Good to Know: Boasting a unique three bodies of water (Gulf of Mexico, Destin Harbor, and Choctawhatchee Bay), and plenty of beaches, boats, seagulls, dolphins and herons along the bleach white sand and crystal clear light blue waters, you will be spoiled for choice with photo ops.

History in St. Augustine St. Augustine, Florida
Credit: St. Augustine, Florida by bigstock.com

History in St. Augustine

What Is It? Step back into history and visit St. Augustine, America’s oldest city to capture a glimpse of old Florida. 

Why Do It? Here you will find photo ops abound with landscapes, architecture, and historical landmarks. Beginners and experts alike will enjoy photographing the quaint shops on the cobblestone-lined streets and the monumental Castillo de San Marcos in the historical district. 

Good to Know: Nowhere else in Florida will you find this type of old-world charm amongst a beach town.

Surfers in Sebastian Inlet Sebastian Inlet
Credit: Sebastian Inlet by Joe in DC via Flickr

Surfers in Sebastian Inlet

What Is It? If you’re looking for some action photography, Sebastian Inlet will keep your shutter busy. 

Why Do It? While Florida has plenty of surf spots along its beaches, Sebastian is one of the few in the state that surfers can achieve high performance “big wave” status that is sure to make your photos pop. 

Good to Know: With waves maxing out at 15-feet, Sebastian Inlet is only 15 miles south of Melbourne Beach and a perfect spot to capture the energy of Florida’s surfers.

Wildlife in The Everglades Swamp Everglades National Park
Credit: Everglades National Park by bigstock.com

Wildlife in The Everglades Swamp

What Is It? Spanning the southern tip of Florida is the Everglades National Park and the best place to photograph Florida’s unique alligator-filled swamps. 

Why Do It? The Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness and protected mangrove forest in the US, so it comes to no surprise that you will find a plethora of diverse wildlife in these eerie swamps.

Good to Know: Keep your eyes peeled for alligators, snakes, and a variety of other exotic reptiles, insects, birds, and fish.

Crystal-Clear Waters in Blue Spring State Park Blue Spring State Park, Orange Park
Credit: Blue Spring State Park, Orange Park by sun dazed via Flickr

Crystal-Clear Waters in Blue Spring State Park

What Is It? The largest spring on the St. Johns River, Blue Spring State Park boasts 2,600 acres and one of the most popular spots for catching a glimpse of Florida’s famous West Indian manatees in their natural habitat.

Why Do It? The spring’s comfortable 72-degree temperatures are ideal for swimming, kayaking, and paddling, as the forested banks and pale blue waters in the swimming hole are a quarter-mile of perfection. Boat tours also operate narrated nature and ecological excursions throughout the area.

Good to Know: Take note that swimming is not permitted here during the manatee season November through March. Manatee tours are popular at this park, including this top-rated kayaking tour that welcomes novice kayakers.

Lush Foliage in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Credit: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Lush Foliage in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

What Is It: An 83-acre oasis, it is a historic garden that dates back to 1938.

Why Do It: This treasured garden sanctuary is a haven for horticulture enthusiasts, particularly in spring. The entire family can enjoy a day of exploring the colorful Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables.

Good To Know: Here you can observe the vast selection of tropical plants and flowering trees, from the Rose of Siam display to the Cannonball Tree.

Horses & Bison in Paynes Prairie Paynes Prairie
Credit: Paynes Prairie by floridastateparks.org

Horses & Bison in Paynes Prairie

What Is It: Paynes Prairie is an off-the-beaten-track park in Micanopy. It is a designated National Natural Landmark with beautiful vistas that can be explored on a day of horseback riding, biking, or hiking through the scenic forest.

Why Do It: Here you’ll find 20,000 acres of diverse ecosystems that are home to roaming horses and bison, which is truly a rare experience in Florida.

Good To Know: Famous for its rich array of habitats, you can observe alligators, bison, horses, and nearly 300 species of birds.

Serenity at St. George Island State Park St. George Island
Credit: St. George Island by floridastateparks.org

Serenity at St. George Island State Park

What Is It? Photographers are drawn to St. George Island for peace and serenity, providing enthusiasts the chance to capture the true essence of natural Florida without all the tourists. 

Why Do It? Often a deserted area, St. George is a quiet nine-mile stretch of land with white sugary sand, lofty dunes, marsh grass, and subtropical sea oats. In the fall, you can add fields of wildflowers to the already charismatic landscape. 

Good to Know: Affectionately called “The Forgotten Coast”, St. George is where you can shoot exotic wildlife such as bald eagles, great horned owls, and loggerhead turtles as the sun sets over Apalachicola Bay.

Nature in Ocala National Forest Silver Glen Springs
Credit: Silver Glen Springs by fs.usda.gov

Nature in Ocala National Forest

What Is It? Ocala National Forest is home to one of the lushest forests Florida has to offer. 

Why Do It? While this area is great for the blue springs and peaceful lakes, it is the forest that will give photographers a huge opportunity to experiment with their skills. 

Good to Know: Known as the “world’s largest sand pine scrub forest”, this quiet pine forest is packed with sandy scrubs, thick palmettos and towering oak hammocks that provide a natural habitat for black bears, turtles, and alligators.

Sunrise & Sunset in Cedar Key Cedar Key
Credit: Cedar Key by TimothyJ via Flickr

Sunrise & Sunset in Cedar Key

What Is It? Florida is well known for beautiful sunrise and sunset photo opportunities littered along its postcard coastlines. However, Cedar Key is in a category of its own. 

Why Do It? Truly an extraordinary gem on the Gulf Coast, Cedar Key is not only one of the most charming small towns in Florida, but its also known for both its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. 

Good to Know: Situated an hour away from Gainesville, this laid back cluster of islands is a favored spot to shoot one of Florida’s natural light shows and capture the clouds illuminate and change colors throughout the day.

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