Florida is known for a lot of things; good food, beautiful beaches, and family vacations. But Florida is also known for its weird and wacky side. From the “Florida Man” who is always showing up in the news for something crazy, to the down right odd roadside attractions, we definitely embrace the weird side.
From Tallahassee to the Florida Keys, the state is spotted with Roadside Attractions that are worth pulling over for. Most of the time you catch a glimpse of them as you are driving by on the highway, and have to pull over and find out more. Any locals in the area will gladly tell you all about their favorite local oddity. Here is our list of the roadside attractions you’ll definitely want to put on your list as you make your way around Florida.
Florida Roadside Attractions that are Worth Pulling Over
Smallest Post Office
With room for only one employee, and about 20 packages, the smallest USPS office is located in Ochopee, Florida. Originally a literal shed used for irrigation pipes near Big Cypress Preserve, the smallest post office came to be out of necessity. When the local, normal sized, post office was demolished in a fire, this building was converted, and remains to this day.
The post office is now beloved by the local residents of Ochopee, all 11 of them. It has also become a popular destination to send special deliveries, like wedding invitations from, due to the unique postmark. This is definitely worth a detour when you are in the Everglades.
The Mermaids of Weeki Wachee have become one of Florida’s most popular roadside attractions. Since before the days of Disney and Universal, Weeki Wachee was the place where tourists went to see the best of what Florida has to offer. Created by Newt Perry, the mermaid show utilizes an underwater air hose breathing system. When first opened the theater only sat 18 people, now there is room for over 400.
Weeki Wachee is also a popular spring for water activities. As with many of the springs around Florida, the water stays a constant 72 degrees year round, making it a great way to cool off in the hot summer months. To ensure the fun doesn’t stop with the mermaids, there is a water park called Buccaneer Bay with rides and tube rentals for floating down the spring.
The Southern Most Point
On South Street in Key West, you’ll find the iconic Southern Most Point Buoy. When standing on this spot, you are almost at the lowest latitude of contiguous North American states. As with many classic roadside attractions sometimes making false claims to gain visitors attention, the “southern most point” is a guilt of slight deception. The true point is located somewhere nearby about 500 feet away.
Contrary to popular belief, no you can not see Cuba from this spot, but it is only 90 miles south as the crow flies. The addition of the 90 miles south to Cuba and designation of The Conch Republic were not part of the original buoy constructed in the 1980’s, but they have become an iconic part of this attraction.
When visiting, you’ll definitely know right where to go due to the long line of tourists waiting to snap a photo, but who can blame them. There is almost nothing more iconic then this roadside attraction to represent the Keys, or Florida.
Located in Ona, Florida, Solomon’s Castle is one of the most unique residential buildings found in the state. Built entirely by the owner and artist Howard Solomon, this castle was his primary residence until the day he died. But, he gladly opened his home for tours, which his family continues today.
Nicknames the “Da Vinci of Debris” Solomon used recycled materials to create his castle, and all the works of are shown inside. The shining exterior of the castle is made from old printing plates he acquired when a local newspaper shut its doors. Solomon also created a restaurant on site, called the Boat in the Moat, and a lighthouse which helps guide sailors on his moat. Plan to bring cash, because there are no credit card machines at this castle.
Skunk Ape Research Headquarters
Affectionately known as the Skunk Ape, Florida’s version of Big Foot shares his home with the alligators of Big Cypress Preserve. Only about a mile from the world’s smallest post office, the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters is another detour on Tamiami Trail worth making.
Also serving as a local giftshop, and office for the campgrounds, the headquarters is functional, and fantastical. When you step into the museum, you are greeted by the large resident snakes and alligators that the staff care for. But the most fascinating part is the Skunk Ape evidence, including foot prints, photos and personal accounts by those who have seen him. You’ll be able to start your own investigation after your visit.
The Bowling Ball House
Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood in Safety Harbor, you’ll find the Bowling Ball House, also known as Whimzeyland. The landscape is dotted with hand-painted bowling balls, but that’s just the beginning. The house is painted with bright murals, and intricate tile mosaics, with free standing sculptures dominating the yard. You can also see the influence of Whimzeyland on the neighboring houses, its clear one property could not contain these artists creativity.
The grounds are free to explore, but certainly keep in mind this is the artists private residence as well as their work of art. Originally starting with approximately 60 bowling balls, you might be tempted to attempt to count the number of bowling balls, but we’ve been told there are over 800 now as part of the property. And if you are looking to take a little piece of Whimzeyland home with you, the artists have wire sculpture works available for sale.
Glass Bottom Boats at Silver Springs
In Ocala Florida you’ll find one of Florida’s oldest Roadside Attractions, and draws tourists throughout the years, The Silver Springs Glass Bottom boats. They have been in operation since the 1870’s, and not much has changed since then, except maybe the addition of air conditioning. The 30 to 90 minute tours take you out into the crystal clear spring waters to see the underwater world hidden below the surface. But you’ll see more than just fish below the surface, as the spring was the host to movies and television shows in the 1930’s and 50’s.
While your enjoying your boat ride or exploring the state park, be on the look out for one of the parks more unique residents. Originally brought into the park as a tourist attraction over 100 years ago, rhesus macaques have made very comfortable lives for themselves in Ocala. But, don’t interact with the monkeys, they have herpes, and no that’s not just something your mother tells you to get you to stay away.
Florida Citrus Tower
Its pretty hard to miss on the Clermont skyline, the Florida Citrus Tower is an essential stop in central Florida. Now equipped with an elevator, unlike when it originally opened, the views from the top go for miles. Originally built as an observation deck for the citrus industry, to give viewer a birds eye view of the crops.
Today you can visit the coffee shop on the ground floor from the Citrus Coffee Company. Grab a latte, pay your admission, and then take a ride up to the top. Although there aren’t any citrus groves viewble from the tower any longer, you can still enjoy views of Lake Apopka and Lake Minneola and the surrounding areas. If you are in the area at Christmas time, the tower has a spectacular light show, definitely worth the trip.
Tallahassee Automobile Museum
If there is an automobile enthusiast in your group, a detour to the Tallahassee Automobile Museum is an absolute must. Originally showcasing a small collection of 15 cars, the museum has now grown to over 160 automobiles on display. And just think about how much room 160 cars would take up. So notable items in the collection include cars like a 1900 Snell, one of the oldest gas combustion automobiles made, an original Batmobile, and astoundingly the 1860 horse-drawn funeral hearse reported to have carried Abraham Lincoln is also on display.
But the museum doesn’t just stop at automobiles. The have on display a large collection of original adding machines, fishing lures, antique gold clubs, pianos, and a lot more. As far as roadside attractions go, this one is really the quintessential mix of all the best things to see. Definitely make the detour the next time you are in Tallahassee.
The Sponge Docks
The historic Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs are a great place to Stop for an Afternoon. You can learn about the history of the area, grab an excellent meal, and pick up some locally grown sponges. Yes, thats right sponges grow, and they grow in water. Just off Florida’s West coast, you can find beds of sponges, just waiting to be harvested. Nowadays, they use modern diving equipment, but prior to that, historic diving suites with bulky helmets and breathing hoses attached to the boat.
The area is rich with Greek heritage, due in part to the migration of sponge fisherman to the local waters. There are many local shops and restaurants celebrating the Greek influence in the area. And Tarpon is proud of their sponges, every shop along the docks has many varieties of local sponges to choose from. If you are looking for a sponge to wash your car, your dishes, or apply your make-up, you are in luck.
The next time you are near Miami, make a trek over to the Coral Castle. Rivaling the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Coral Castle continues to amaze engineers to this day. Made from oolite limestone, the castle made up of blocks of stone weighing thousands of pounds. Who is Ed? Apparently Ed is the builder of the engineering marvel, building with no outside help or large machinery. When questioned about how he moved the blocks of coral, Ed would only reply that he understood the laws of weight and leverage well.
The Coral Castle was built as a tribute to his true love who left him just days before their wedding. The castle remained under construction until the day Ed passed. With a long standing history, the Coral Castle has gone through some changes over the year. Originally Ed gave tours for 25 cents, sharing his creation to visitors who stopped by. Today when you stop by this roadside attraction, the admission is a little higher, but it is definitely worth the visit.
The Fountain of Youth
Perhaps the ultimate roadside attraction in Florida, the Fountain of Youth has been drawing visitors to St. Augustine for over 500 hundred years. St. Augustine definitely holds quite a few roadside attractions, due to the age of the city, but really none is more iconic than the Fountain of Youth. Maybe it’s the promise of everlasting life, or the awful taste of the Florida tap water, no one can resist the appeal of this historic monument.
Although the park is now clearly labeled for all who seek it, back in the 1500s they had a little bit more trouble finding it. Following a ledgend of the Indigenous Peoples of the area, originally thought to be located on the island of Bimini, Ponce de Leon showed up and Florida and found a spring, and probably said “Good Enough.”
So we can’t guarantee that this Fountain will actually provide you with any kind of youth. But, we visited in 2016, and so far so good.