In case you didn’t know, National Florida Day is on January 25th, which means this weekend is as good as any to plan a fun getaway and take in our wonderfully charming, weird home. The Sunshine State boasts a plethora of sleepy beach towns and natural escapes, but also some great cities that hold internationally-renown culture. Since launching Culture Crusaders, we took memorable trips to a handful of Florida’s funnest towns, so here’s a refresher:

Fort Lauderdale

Why not start with the closest treasure on the list? Fort Laudy Daudy’s more similar to Miami than we like to admit. First, just like the 305, it’s true identity is masked by luxury and a proximity to a beach. When really, the true FTL is all about the charming corners, luscious canals, and epic small businesses that have helped keep it eclectic and weird in all the best ways. From badass breweries and art districts to gorgeous historical homes, here’s what we discovered in the 954.

West Palm Beach

We don’t mean to be following the Brightline (now Virgin Trains) route, but West Palm is next on the easily accessible list. Over recent years, we’ve been hearing buzzing about a bursting creative scene happening up, regardless of our hesitance. When we made our way up there, we were met with kind local business owners, passionate creatives, and blown expectations. We’re confident to say that you will be too. Follow in our footsteps.

Islamorada

The nearest beauty on the slew of Southern keys, Islamorada is such a simple day trip and you can get a lot out of one go. Escaping the drink-heavy avenues of Key West, Islamorada is its slower, more charming sister. It’s the land of bougainvilleas and iguanas, where historical shacks are as breathtaking as the water views. Somehow Islamorada has managed to retain the slow pace of a sleepy beach town while still offering eclectic happenings within its small borders. Take a look.

Key West

While we’re here, we might as well highlight the many surprises that Key West holds when you’re not specifically going to get blackout with your friends for a weekend. This little treasure trove at the tip of our state has been mistakenly identified as ‘party town USA’, like a sub-tropical recreation of Bourbon ST. While that essence might still be there in some ways, we uncovered a whole world of historical gems preserved in time, a strong artisan and small business community, and the low-key way of life only the South can provide. Discover the magic.

Orlando

Guess what? Orlando isn’t actually all about theme parks and tourism. In fact, when we went earlier last year, we made long-lasting connections in the small business community that still stand strong today. While some of the businesses in our original list are no longer with us (801 East, for example) most are giving those theme parks a run for their money. Our adventure to Orlando was definitely one for the books and it’s all thanks to everyone who took the time to make the most spot on recommendations. Dive right in.

Tampa/St. Pete

The furthest trip in Florida that we took was up to the sister cities of Tampa and St. Pete. Branded as one college town and one sleepy, Florida beach destination, these two spots have a lot more to offer than you’d think. For starters, the local creative community has banded together to ensure its competitive strength in ways we wish Miami was able to do. From breweries and puppy parties, to speak-easys and Buddhist escapes…Tampa was a surprise to say the least. See why we loved it.

How are we celebrating Florida this year? Why, more trips of course! What cities should we hit up next?

All photos by FujiFilmGirl.