Beaches, brewpubs, wildlife – Florida without the theme parks

Skip the Disney experience and enjoy soft white sand, warm seas, nature reserves and some fine dining in the Sunshine State

The soft, white sand of St Petersburg and Clearwater beaches. Picture courtesy of

Édaein O’Connell

I had plenty of misconceptions about Florida. Whenever I thought of the Sunshine State, Mickey Mouse ears and beaches filled with tanned retirees instantly came to mind.