The best places in Florida away from the crowds: readers’ tips

It’s not all showy spectacle, queues, rides and golf in the Sunshine State: historic sites, glorious gardens, quiet beaches and Biff’s burger joint also feature

Near the small town of Estero, about 12 miles from Cape Coral, is beautiful Koreshan state park, which up until the early 1960s was the last home of a 19th-century cult, the Koreshan Unity. They believed the Earth was hollow, set up a community here in 1894, called New Jerusalem and produced their own newspaper. They also were the first to provide the surrounding community with electricity. The last follower of the cult, a woman who had fled Nazi persecution in Germany called Hedwig Michel, ceded the grounds to Florida in 1961. The park is beautifully maintained and staffed by knowledgeable volunteers. Visitors can walk around the landscaped site and see many of the buildings used by the community. It’s fascinating, peaceful and very strange – quite unlike the well-known bits of Florida. You pay $5 a car for parking. Activities such as kayaking and camping are available in the park and there are wildlife and running trails, too.

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