It’s almost summertime and that means families from all over are going to pack their lives up into suitcases, hop on planes, trains, or automobiles and head somewhere fun for summer vacation! For a lot of families that means heading to the Sunshine State Of Florida. There’s a lot to do and see in Florida besides its most famous attraction - Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Florida is one of the most diverse states in all of the United States. Its original motto was “things are different here.” That couldn’t be more accurate. Some areas are still staunchly rooted in Southern Pride. Some areas, like Miami are all night long party spots. Then there’s a giant and ever-expanding mouse house in the middle of the state! From the borders of the Gulf Of Mexico to Alabama and Georgia and all the way down to the Keys, there’s so many unique things that you just can’t do living anywhere else. Whether it’s a quick stop on your road trip or you’re going to make a week of whatever you’re doing, here are 10 Things You Can Only Do In Florida.
10 Visit The Vortex Spring
The state is primarily surrounded by water, so you better learn how to swim to truly experience all of the fun of the Sunshine State. One thing you won’t find anywhere else is The Vortex Spring. If you live for cave diving then head to Ponce De Leon, Florida and grab your scuba tank. The underwater world stretches into a cavern that gives way to a river over 1600 feet.
9 See Hemingway’s House
Ernest Hemingway is one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century. The World War I veteran who wrote novels such as The Old Man And The Sea, For Whom The Bell Tolls, and A Farewell To Arms had lived in a beautiful home in Key West, Florida for eight years, between 1931-1938. There, he wrote To Have And To Have Not. Bibliophiles can visit this house, which is now a museum, that is full of history. If you’re a fan of James Bond movies, portions or License To Kill were filmed here as well.
8 Eat At The Bubbleroom
There are plenty of strange eateries all over the world, none as strange or as magical as The Bubble Room. Found on Captiva Island, The Bubble Room is known for its addictive Bubble Bread, but also the wild rainbow decor. You really can’t go wrong with a restaurant this colorful with a motto like “It’s Always Christmas At The Bubble Room.”
7 See Coral Castle
You have to see the Coral Castle just to believe some of the crazy stories about its creation. Latvian Edward Leedskalnin was spurned by his fiancé the day before his wedding. He fled for America and contracted Tuberculosis... but was supposedly healed by magnets. He built the castle by himself for over 25 years, refusing anyone to see it before it was finished. The castle itself is truly a new “Wonder Of The World,” and anyone near Miami should check it out.
6 Visit The Haunted Houses Of Florida
Yes, you can only visit the Haunted Houses Of (insert state name) in that particular state. But the unique thing about the neighborhood of Saint Augustine is that it is also the oldest continuously inhabited city in the continental United States.
For example, the house at 26 Toque Place where the walls bleed, mirrors randomly display the word “hi,” and ghost hunters have claimed to have seen the ghost of a murdered little girl wandering around. That’s just one house!
5 The Airstream Ranch
When people hear “Americana,” they often think of good old fashioned greasy spoon diners, and cross-country drives. In some areas, there are some wild one-of-a-kind landmarks. When you get to Tampa, you might be able to see the remnants of what was a unique, but now shut-down spot. It looked like Stonehenge and was known as the Airstream Ranch. It has since been shut down, but items like this can now live forever online. Plus, you never know when someone else will get the urge wedge a bunch of classic campers into the ground for all to see.
4 Jules Undersea Lodge
Do you like to SCUBA dive and are certified? Do you like to live like Ariel, Sebastian, Spongebob, or Aquaman and live underwater? Then check out Jules Undersea Lodge.
Heas Key Largo and get your gear on, because SCUBA diving is the only way to get to your room. If you’re interested and you’re not certified on SCUBA, don’t worry, you can still go and they’ll teach you. Then celebrate and have a meal in the SCUBA lodge.
3 The Ringling Museum
Hugh Jackman and The Greatest Showman captivated audiences. For nearly 150 years, Ringling Brothers and the Barnum And Bailey Circus did the same thing. Since the circus ceased coming to town, we have to head to The Ringling Museum in Sarasota to check out the rich pageantry, pomp, and circumstance of what this unique attraction meant to so many families for so many years.
2 Check Out The Real “Bat Country”
Johnny Depp heads through “bat country” during Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Bruce Wayne surrounds himself with both the real animals and a costume. If anyone has any interest in seeing a bunch of the nocturnal animals, then head to Gainesville, Florida and look for three small houses on stilts. There, you’ll find the University Of Gainsville’s Bat Houses - The largest conservatory of bats anywhere in the world. Get there around dusk to see the show - like something out of a horror movie, the bats wake up and swarm out of their homes to go hunting.
1 The Butterfly World
In Coconut Grove, you’ll find the largest collection of butterflies on the planet. The aptly named Butterfly World houses over 80 species of the insect and nearly 20,000 live colorful butterflies. If butterflies aren’t your thing, Butterfly World has also become Hummingbird World as well and now has the largest selection of Hummingbirds as well. Besides the Hummingbirds, Butterfly World has all kinds of exotic birds.