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If you are done exploring Florida’s theme parks, beaches, and big cities, travel off the beaten path, and you will discover plentiful unique roadside attractions in Florida.
Sunshine state has a long history as an enthralling tourist destination. Florida has everything from day-trip-worthy excursions to attractive photography opportunities, the weirdest attention-seeking landmarks, to the outdoorsy and wacky pit stop. Whether you are exploring Disney World or the Everglades, partying in Miami, or traveling to the Florida Keys, these roadside attractions in Florida are hard to miss.
Say whatever you want about Florida, but the sunshine state gladly embraces its reputation for strangeness. As such, a trip through the state lets visitors explore a fair share of roadside attractions that can boggle the minds of even the most toughened Floridians.
With all that in mind, here is our list of some unique Florida roadside attractions that will make your road trip special.
- 1 Unique Roadside Attractions in Florida
- 1.1 1. Skunk Ape Research Headquarters
- 1.2 2. Big Betsy, The Giant Lobster
- 1.3 3. Coral Castle
- 1.4 4. Goofy Golf
- 1.5 5. Ochopee Post Office
- 1.6 6. Big Orange
- 1.7 7. World’s Smallest Police Station
- 1.8 8. Robert the Doll (East Martello Museum)
- 1.9 9. Dinosaur Gas Station
- 1.10 10. Butterfly World
- 1.11 11. Weeki Wachee Mermaids
- 1.12 12. St. Augustine Alligator Park
- 1.13 13. Ray Charles Statue
- 1.14 14. Spook Hill
- 1.15 15. Sarasota Jungle Gardens
- 1.16 16. Bok Tower
- 1.17 17. Marineland Dolphin Adventure
- 1.18 18. Shell Factory
- 1.19 19. The Fountain of Youth
- 1.20 20. Whimzeyland
- 2 Wrapping Up
Unique Roadside Attractions in Florida
1. Skunk Ape Research Headquarters
40904, Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, Florida
You may be surprised that the most likely destination to spot an American Bigfoot outside the Pacific Northwest is the Everglades. Hairy, smelly bipeds mainly favor the place around the tiny town of Ochopee. It is also the place where the Shealy brothers, Dave and Jack, have opened the first-ever Skunk Ape Research Headquarters.
Dave Shealy, the younger and more outspoken of the two, is a self-appointed Skunk Ape expert, and his gift shop and wildlife attraction along the US Highway 41 is packed with all sorts of captivating skunk ape photos, lore, skunk ape koozies, and more.
Moreover, if you wish to discover verifiably real creatures, throw a few extra bucks and explore the reptile collection, which includes a giant alligator and Goldie. In addition, fun exhibits and a petting zoo also make this place a must-see.
2. Big Betsy, The Giant Lobster
86700, Overseas Highway, Islamorada, Florida
Big Betsy in Islamorada, Florida, is probably the world’s largest lobster. Standing 40 feet long and 30 feet tall, it is located in the Rain Barrel Artisans Village and welcomes visitors with a smile. This enormous crustacean lobster is intricately modeled after a spiny lobster by a renowned sculptor Richard Blaze.
3. Coral Castle
2855, S Dixie Highway, Homestead, Florida
Located in Homestead, Coral Castle is one of the unique roadside attractions in Florida. Astonishingly, this attraction was built by only one person – Ed Leedskalnin. After his teen bride-to-be left him the day before their wedding, Ed shifted to Florida from his home in Latvia and started building the Rock Gate Park, AKA Coral Castle.
What’s more surprising is that the Castle is made of giant Oolitic Limestone blocks (fossilized coral). Some of these blocks weigh more than 30 tons. So, a big mystery surrounds the Castle; how did Ed, who worked secretly in the night, move those giant stones? It is a question nobody has an answer to.
4. Goofy Golf
12206, Front Beach Road, Panama Beach, Florida
Although mini golf might not have been invented in the sunshine state, it is perfected there. Goofy Golf in Panama City Beach is among the oldest mini-golf attractions. It opened in 1959 and still attracts thousands of visitors.
As one of the unique roadside attractions in Florida, Goofy Golf features 18-hole miniature golf courses. In addition to a collection of various towering figures, the owner, Lee Koplin, has also installed an enormous monkey, dinosaur, and sphinx.
Moreover, while many of these sculptures are interactive for visitors, they also serve as obstacles for their put golf balls. Furthermore, many of these fascinating statues have glowing eyes, making this unique roadside attraction in Florida an enthralling pit stop.
5. Ochopee Post Office
38000, Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, Florida
Travel west a mile along the Tamiami Trail, and you will discover a federally maintained locale that is equally curious. The Ochopee post office, due to its size, looks more like an outhouse than a post office. It is barely larger than the United States flag billowing atop it.
However, regardless of its small size, the Ochopee post office is operated by just one staffer and still in operation since 1953. In addition, it is believed to be the tiniest mail-collection institution in the United States. During your trip, you can purchase a pre-stamped postcard and mail it to someone who will care you were there.
6. Big Orange
2265 N. Harbor City Boulevard, Melbourne, Florida
When you think about Florida, oranges probably come to your mind. It means when you look for the unique roadside attractions in Florida, you know there has to be a giant orange thrown in. Big Orange in Melbourne, Florida, is a retro piece of history.
This 15 feet wide Florida roadside attraction was built in 1967 and is made of steel and concrete. In addition, the fascinating Big Orange landmark in Melbourne, FL, initially served as an orange juice stand throughout the ’60s.
7. World’s Smallest Police Station
102 Avenue A N, Carrabelle, Florida
In the 60s, Carrabelle police were tired of answering unauthorized long-distance prank phone calls from tourists on their outdoor police call box. So, in order to get rid of it, they shifted their operations into an old phone booth. This off-beat roadside attraction has also been featured in “The Today Show” and “Ripley’s Believe it or Not.”
Moreover, while this world’s smallest police station (or at least a version of it) is still there, it is no longer in use today. However, you can find the original by visiting the local Chamber Office.
8. Robert the Doll (East Martello Museum)
3501 South Roosevelt Boulevard, Key West, Florida
Key West, Florida, is full of captivating ghost stories. However, none get the skin crawling quite like Robert the Doll. If you have any interest in exploring creepy paranormal experiences, Fort East Martello Museum is an exciting place where you will see a haunted doll in a glass.
The story of Robert the Doll starts in the early 1900s when a young boy Eugene Otto gets a one-of-a-kind doll from a servant. The boy named his doll “Robert” and became attached to it. While the doll seemed like an ordinary toy, it wasn’t long before it was involved in paranormal and somewhat terrifying events.
Today, Robert the doll is sitting in the East Martello Museum, where some tourists’ say they have witnessed him change his expressions and giggle behind their backs.
9. Dinosaur Gas Station
Harold’s Auto Center, 5299 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, Florida
Dinosaur Gas Station in Spring Hill, Florida, is another unique roadside attraction. It was initially a Sinclair gas station. Famous for its dino mascot, the fuel pump has a design of a giant dinosaur, while the mimetic building has the shape of the signature Apatosaurus. This fun building is about 30 feet wide, 47 feet tall, and about 110 feet long.
10. Butterfly World
3600 West Sample Road, Coconut Creek, Florida
Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida, is the world’s largest butterfly park and home to more than 20,000 exotic butterflies from across the globe. This gorgeous roadside attraction in Florida entices visitors with its beautiful walkways and lets them encounter a plethora of butterflies.
Moreover, the attraction also features a bug zoo, research lab, and even a museum. In addition, visitors can also explore exotic botanical gardens, beautiful waterfalls, passion vines, and more.
11. Weeki Wachee Mermaids
6131 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee, Florida
The fascinating world of Weeki Wachee Springs is situated in Spring Hills, at the intersection of SR 50 and Highway 19. If you dream of getting up close to real mermaids, Weeki Wachee Mermaids is the perfect place for you.
This unique roadside attraction in Florida is famous for offering mermaid shows in the underwater glass-sided theater. Watching trained professionals with elegant underwater performances is so captivating. In addition to watching live mermaids, the place is also an enchanted attraction for taking a river trip on a boat cruise.
12. St. Augustine Alligator Park
999 Anatasia Blvd, St. Augustine, Florida
The Alligator Park in St. Augustine, Florida, is a zoological park and one of the oldest roadside attractions. It was first opened in 1893 and houses more than 24 species of crocodiles, a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles.
In addition, this zoological park is famous for offering animal performances, exhibits, and educational demonstrations. On the back section, you will see a vast bird rookery, where free-roaming birds like wood storks, herons, egrets, and roseate spoonbill nest.
13. Ray Charles Statue
140 SW Broad Ave, Greenville, Florida
Although Georgia is the birthplace of renowned musician Ray Charles, Greensville is where he grew up. After his death, the town unveiled a memorial – a giant bronze statue in his likeness sitting with a piano and producing a delightful tune.
The statue was built for free by two local artists, Brad Cooley and Bradley Cooley Jr. In addition to Ray Charles’s fascinating figure, visitors can also explore Ray Charles’s childhood house located at 443 S W Ray Charles Ave.
14. Spook Hill
Lake Wales, Florida
If you are planning a trip to Lake Wales, FL, add Spook Hill to your itinerary. The gravity hill is an optical illusion where you will see your car rolling up the spook hill. This unique roadside attraction in Florida is a road that became popular in 1950. Driving uphill on Spook Hill will give you the feeling that you are going downhill. Moreover, since it is a free attraction and a public road, it is essential to be watchful of other cards.
15. Sarasota Jungle Gardens
3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota Jungle Gardens are another unique roadside attraction in Florida that has been relishing visitors since 1939. Famous for its flamingos, which visitors can hand-feed, Sarasota Jungle Gardens is also home to turtles, alligators, macaws, and lemurs.
Moreover, the garden itself feels like a tropical jungle with an occasional giraffe and ceramic elephant that light up the scenery. In addition, while a playground and a petting zoo will entice your kids, adults can appreciate its vibrant plant life from across the globe.
16. Bok Tower
1151 Tower Boulevard, Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower in Lake Wales is Florida’s famed singing tower. The intricately carved neo-Gothic and art deco chef-d’oeuvre could hardly be more picturesque. Additionally, 205 feet carillon opened with Bok Tower Gardens in 1929 to attract visitors by offering daily concerts.
Once you are done wandering its fascinatingly landscaped grounds, explore E1 Retiro, which is a Mediterranean Revival-style mansion. Moreover, if you have time left in your itinerary, you can explore another architectural wonder – the Wonder House of Bartow.
17. Marineland Dolphin Adventure
9600 Oceanshore Boulevard, St. Augustine, Florida
Marineland in St. Augustine has been attracting visitors to dolphin shows since 1939. By the 50s, it was celebrated as Marineland of Florida, pulling up more than half a million visitors yearly. However, in 2006 after its renovation, it was reopened as Marineland’s Dolphin Conservation Center, focusing more on conservation than entertainment.
Today, it serves as Marineland Dolphin Adventure and attracts visitors by offering daily dolphin training and shark feeding presentations. In addition, visitors can also enjoy swim-with-dolphin packages that allow them to get in the water and say hello to these beautiful mammals.
18. Shell Factory
2787 N Tamiami Trail, N Fort Myers, Florida
Touted as the world’s most extensive seashell collection and shell specimens, Shell Factory and Nature Park is another unique roadside attraction in Florida. Opened in the 30s, the Shell Factory now features everything a quirky Florida roadside attraction needs. For instance, there is a mini-golf, a wildlife park, a petting zoo, a zip line, restaurants, gem mining, and more.
Moreover, inside the factory, you will admire seashells of every color, shape, and size. In addition, it also has shell-adjacent treasures, such as shark teeth, coral, sponges, and sand dollars.
19. The Fountain of Youth
11 Magnolia Ave, St. Augustine, Florida
The Fountain of Youth is a privately owned archaeological park located along Hospital Creek. While there is no evidence, the site has been touted as the landing point of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon. In addition, although the park is famous for fun and lore, it’s always been about revealing real history.
So, you can explore its restructured Timucuan village and Spanish mission or marvel at a 16th-century night sky in the planetarium. And, of course, don’t forget to drink from the spring as natives and travelers have for centuries.
1206 3rd St. N, Safety Harbor, Florida
Floridian artists Todd and Kiaralinda have been decorating their houses for more than twenty years. However, you cannot expect a run-of-the-mill coat of paint. Their home, known as “Whimzeyland,” features a mosaic of paintings, plexiglass, bottle trees, recycled material, and bowling balls.
In fact, this whole project began when the couple went to a flea market and headed back with a bunch of free bowling balls. There, you will see more than 500 painted bowling balls decorating the entire home. Since bowling balls are what make the home popular, it is often called a “Bowling Ball House.”
Whether you are exploring Disney World or Everglades or just planning a road trip to Florida, you will want to take advantage of these unique roadside attractions in Florida. They are enthralling pit stops and can make your travel even more exciting.
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