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The sunshine state brings people from all over the world to experience its luminous beaches and energizing amusement parks. However, its European zing is a feature that tends to be overlooked. Over the past few centuries, Florida has retained a firm grasp on its ancestral roots with its elegant dining experiences and infamous landmarks.

Whenever traveling over the pond is tempting, you might want to consider these Floridian spots instead:

If you’re craving Spain, then check out: St. Augustine, Florida.

Noted as the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine features some of the most delectable culinary experiences in addition to its enriching historical tours and unique vendors. Picturesque architecture proudly displays a sense of Spanish culture within the city, as visitors peruse the whimsical alleyways and brick roads.

For stay, the four-star Casa Monica Resort offers a quiet getaway with a royal touch, located in the heart of the downtown district. St. Augustine also has several, cozy bed & breakfast establishments, such as 44 Spanish Street Inn.

For wine tasting, the city hosts an exquisite experience known as The Tasting Tours, which can be booked through reservations. Visitors have the choice of either a carriage tour, roadster tour or walking tour—all three including different culinary dining, accompanied by some of the finest sips.

For sightseeing, take a visit to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument—a towering fortress built in the 1600s to aid the Spaniards against their enemies. With its theatrical reenactments, exploding canons and riveting view of the waterfront, this castle makes quite the impression. For a delicious café outing, make a pit stop from the day’s adventure to try The Spanish Bakery & Café. Daily they offer visitors fresh, homemade soups, oven-baked rolls and other hand-crafted goods.

Additionally, the shops in St. Augustine feature some of the loveliest and quirkiest fashion pieces. Check out Philanthropy Fashion Boutique, located in the heart of downtown. This shop offers a variety of bohemian styles from independent retail brands and a selection of home decor. A percentage of sales goes to different charitable causes–a quite distinct feature.

For those who enjoy history, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Park is also a city treasure. From one stop to another, St. Augustine perfectly combines a sense of timeless history with modern tradition.

 If you’re wishing for a little British invasion, peruse: Tampa, Florida.

Tampa’s creative community has developed innovative areas that encompass the city’s passion for the arts and European culture. For stay, the Epicurean Hotel offers a high-class experience with its modern architecture and relaxing ambiance. It is tucked away in Tampa’s Soho/Hyde Park District–which many college students love to peruse on the weekends. Exclusive coffee shops, such as Buddy Brew Coffee Roasters, can be found in Hyde Park Village alongside many familiar retailers (Anthropologie, Williams Sonoma, West Elm). This coffee shop’s minimalist aesthetic creates an artistic feel to accompany its deliciously embellished lattes—such as the BBC Caramello—and freshly crafted croissants.

For a quick snack during a typical Floridian day, The Hyppo sells all organic, gourmet popsicles; try their Champagne Mango flavor. At lunch time, make reservations at one of Central Florida’s finest dining experiences, The Oxford Exchange. This British-inspired hub features an indoor bookstore, retail shop, coffee/tea bar, marketplace and restaurant all in one. The high tea experience reflects a delicious British tradition in connection with its culturally diverse menu. After the meal, try their Devonshire spread on a warm pastry for dessert! As well, they offer freshly brewed leaves from local-brand, TeBella Tea Company, and Buddy Brew Coffee roast for bean lovers.

For all who enjoy both classical and contemporary art, be sure to visit the Tampa Museum of Art. Located downtown, the museum has featured works by prolific artists including Norman Rockwell and Pablo Picasso.

Just like the flower carts that are lined up in the streets of London, Tampa features floral shops with blooms for sale by the stem. From eucalyptus to chrysanthemums, Florist Fire offers a variety of seasonal blooms hand-wrapped by the store front’s staff. For an evening of good spirits and shopping, visit The Pub, located at the International Plaza.

Nothing like a glass of wine and some traditional fish’n’chips to wrap up a day of England-meets-Tampa adventures.

If you’re missing summer days in France, check out: Winter Park, Florida.

 Adorned with draping vines, the city of Winter Park leaves visitors smitten with its French charm. Here you’ll walk down cobblestone avenues, peruse dainty shops and enjoy scrumptious menus that illuminate the town. For stay, book a room at The Alfond Inn, an exquisite, pet-friendly hotel. As the inn is centrally located, guests are welcomed to travel by foot to enjoy all Winter Park has to offer.

If you’d like to start your day eating French toast topped with strawberries and Nutella drizzle, then The Briarpatch is the place for you. This hole-in-the-wall brunch spot, held dear by locals, offers a picturesque environment with its wooden floors and pearly minimal décor; it really commemorates the European culture.

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For shopping, be sure to stop in at Rifle Paper Company, a design and stationery brand owned by the influential duo Anna and Nathan Bond. From floral illustrations to fashionable designs, the store houses personable agendas, calendars and printed goods. For le déjeuner, Chez Vincent and Paris Bistro are both excellent choices for authentic French cuisine.

If a little pastry and cup of coffee are on your radar, then take a visit to the town’s latest addition, New General Store. Their menu also highlights appetizing treats such as their classic ricotta bread with delicious, organic honey. Items like their tuna white bean salad can substitute for a light lunch!

Do you know any other spots to add to this list?

Feature Image via Monica Friese

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8 comments

    1. Hi Addie!

      I’ve never visited, but thank you so much for the suggestion! I’d love to check it out.

      Thank you so much for reading! It means a lot.

  1. I went to college in St. Augustine and have to vouch for it everytime I see it featured on a blog or in an article. Such a special place. It’s incredibly beautiful, walkable and there’s tons of amazing restaurants—I recommend The Floridian, Bistro de Leon, and Present Moment Cafe.

    Briana | youngsophisticate.com

  2. Lakeland (in between Tampa & Orlando) has a lot of cool restaurants! Posto9 is a really awesome Brazilian restaurant and you can get beignets from The Poor Porker.

    1. Hi Jess! Love Tarpon Springs! Their bakeries are infused with so much culture, too. Great suggestion, no doubt!

    1. Hi Charmaine!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I hope someday you visit! Florida is a pretty unique state, with a lot to offer newcomers.

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