Gareth Davies visits Florida in the aftermath of turbulent times for the Sunshine State

In September, Florida hunkered down as it prepared for the 185mph beast that was Hurricane Irma.

Tragically, she claimed the lives of 82 Floridians, and the storm caused more than $66billion in damage.

But, in true Sunshine State spirit, the residents, businesses and resorts are already back on their feet.

Say Florida and the mind tells you Disney and theme parks.

While the southeastern state has that in abundance, scratch beneath the surface and there is so much more to discover.

Families looking to please their children might possibly not be able to do any better than Disney World and its supporting cast of rollercoaster-clad attractions, but Florida is bursting with untapped treasures.

For the more mature visitor, The Kennedy Space Center some 50 miles east of Orlando is the one not to miss.

With the second race to space well underway there could not be a more exciting time to visit the home of NASA.

Two of the three companies vying to send the public outside of the earth's atmosphere are now based at Cape Canaveral - Elon Musk's SpaceX and Boeing.

But away from the all-year-round Christmas festival that is the area of land set aside for roller-coasters and fantasy, there are plenty of hidden gems.

A world away from the cartoon hubbub, Clearwater sits on an endless plain of pure white sand on the West Coast.

In a world masked by Instagram filters, you'll have to rub your eyes to double check the colour of sand and sea is at is appears - it's paradise.

The Sandpearl Resort hotel swallows the competition and its views of over the miles of beach stretching north and south are unrivaled.

It also happens to be a stone's throw away from the best, traditional sandwich in town - the Grouper Club at Frenchy's.

Although a few days of lazing on a sunlounger may be tempting, but there are heaps of activities to tempt families away from the waves.

Out on the ocean, there are dolphins to be seen and the Tropics Tours team's expertise all but guarantees you'll see the playful creatures in their natural habitat.

Having built up a thirst, there is a nearby stretch of mini breweries serving up some of the finest craft ales in the country to the soundtrack of the best local talent - none more impressive than the Dunedin Brewery and its stunning selection.

St Petersburg is a world away from the sandy toes of Clearwater, yet just 20 miles from each other on the western peninsula.

The hipster vibe is alive and well in the UK, and is prevalent in St Pete's with legendary wall murals, bespoke ice cream shops and blown glass factories and exhibitions.

The Rom Chihuly gallery is a must for those seeking art before heading south.

A drive through the Everglades is not as exotic as you might expect, but crocodiles and huge lizards on the road keep whoever's behind the wheel on the ball.

But the reward at the end is breathtaking - the Florida Keys.

It's the closest you'll get to driving on water.

One stretch of road leading out to America's southernmost point in Key West with endless miles of ocean to the left and right.

Very few Keys are worth stopping off at, other than to do a spot of snorkeling, but Key West is simply stunning.

It's as if they grabbed the best things from the 1940s with rows of quaint wooden houses with porches overlooking manicured tree-lined streets with the modern addition of independent bars and shops.

The tiny city is one of the best places on the planet to watch a daily occurrence most of us take as a given.

Sunsets in Key West are a celebration - every single one.

And every single one is worth celebrating.

While live soul music plays, hundreds gather to sip cocktails and watch the fiery ball disappear over the horizon of unspoiled sea with only slow-sailing ships and idyllic islands adding to the landscape.

It might be the most difficult place to get to in Florida - but it's undeniably worth it.