What they lack in wild rides, costumed characters, and hype, they make up for with uniqueness. Whether they are the smallest, scariest, strangest or silliest, these Florida attractions will delight the whole family.
The Sunshine State is known around the world for its spectacular amusement parks, from the magical Disney World in Orlando, to the amazing Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. Here, it is said, there is something for everyone.
Or almost everyone. Because some people have a taste for the quirky, the strange, and unusual; the things one only finds off the beaten path. You know, the smallest, the scariest, the silliest.
If that describes you and your family, here are seven of Florida’s most bizarre attractions that will surely put a smile on your face. These offbeat spots may not be giant playgrounds with wild rides and colorful Disney characters roaming the grounds, but they sure make up for it in uniqueness.
Some people really will do anything for love. Take Edward Leedskainin, a lovelorn Latvian who for 28 years hand-carved and sculpted more than 1,100 tons of coral as a tribute to his lost love, who broke their engagement—and his heart.
Leedskainin’s Coral Castle comes complete with stone chairs, tables, a throne, and a tub. He lived in and gave tours of his rocky palace until he died in 1951, aged 61.
When people asked the man who stood just over 5 feet and weighed a mere hundred pounds how he had moved all of the heavy stone on his own, he usually replied, “I understand the laws of weight and leverage and I know the secrets of the people who built the pyramids”, referring to the Great Pyramid of Giza.
No matter how he did it, visitors agree it is a unique accomplishment.
28655 S. Dixie Highway
Homestead, FL 33033
Phone: (305) 248-6345
You will find it shaded by a lovely berry tree, with a park bench in front where policemen can keep a watchful eye on the town of Carrabelle (population 1,800). It is the tiniest police station not just in Florida, but the world.
The size of a phone booth, because it is, in fact, a phone booth, it was installed in 1963 to keep policemen out of the rain. At the time, a single police officer walked a beat. However, the department has grown to a whopping three officers since then.
Visitors from all over the world come to take pictures, ignoring the town’s other police station, a one-room office that because of its (comparatively) massive size, doesn’t attract visitors.
102 Ave A N.
Carrabelle, FL 32322
Phone: (850) 697-3691
Once nicknamed “The DaVinci of Debris” for his talent in making beautiful things out of items discarded by modern society, Howard Solomon, who died in 2016, created a gleaming three story castle that is 12,000 square feet of whimsical genius.
The exterior of the castle is covered in shiny silver colored metal printing plates salvaged from a newspaper business, and a turret with a balcony gives the place a medieval look.
Inside the unique home, galleries showcase hundreds of sculptures all made out of junk, from beer cans to sea shells, oil drums, sheet metal and wood. Of course, any self-respecting castle needs a moat, so Solomon’s Castle has a uniquely quirky restaurant named Boat In The Moat, a replica of a Spanish galleon that sits in an actual moat.
Located on the country roads northwest of Arcadia, and about as remote as Florida gets, the place is not only home to Howard’s family, but it also houses his workshop, galleries, exhibition rooms, and a bed and breakfast inn. It is open Oct. 2 – Aug. 1.
4533 Solomon Road
Ona, FL 33865
Phone: (863) 494-6077
If you are inclined to matters metaphysical, this place is sure to lift your spirits.
In 1875 George Colby, a young Spiritualist from New York, was led through the wilderness of Central Florida by his spirit guide “Seneca” to an area “surrounded by uncommon hills.”
Today, Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is made up of people who have chosen to live in a community of spiritual people. Many are mediums and healers who offer their services from their homes or apartments.
“We, as Spiritualists, welcome you, no matter what your religion of origin is or where you are on your spiritual path: a believer, a skeptic, or simply curious,” says their website. In 1991 the Camp was designated a Historic District and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1112 Stevens St.
Cassadaga, FL 32706
Phone: (386) 228-2880
And for those who love monkey business, there’s always Monkey Island! A family of spider monkeys are the only inhabitants of a tiny chunk of land sitting in the Homosassa River.
The surrounding water keeps the monkeys from leaving, and a ring of floats and barriers keep boaters and kayakers from landing on the island or approaching the animals. Trespassing or feeding the monkeys is illegal, and the island is under 24 hour video surveillance.
However, customers dining at the Florida Cracker Riverside Resort, or visiting the Monkey Bar, have ringside seats to the show, with monkeys climbing on platforms, swinging from ropes, and clambering around the base of a small lighthouse.
10985 W. Xanadu Path
Homosassa, FL 34448
Phone: (352) 628-2474
See large-as-life dinosaurs on display!
Dig for dinosaur bones and fossils in the fossil excavation!
Enjoy a gem mining opportunity!
If you or your kids are dinosaur enthusiasts, this is a place you will “dig’ for sure.
Central Florida’s only attraction dedicated to these prehistoric giants, the 20 acre attraction features more than 200 life-size dinosaurs, ancient artifact exhibits, children’s fossil digs, a 5,000 square-foot learning facility, paleontologist question-and-answer sessions, and more.
5145 Harvey Tew Rd.
Plant City, FL 33565
Phone: (813) 717-9865
What would you say if someone told you that your car could defy gravity, and roll up a hill all by itself? The Hill in Lake Wales, Florida is a magnetic hill or “gravity hill.” These unique features are found all over the world, and make cars appear to roll uphill when placed in neutral. One of the country’s oldest known gravity hills, it is also the only known magnetic hill in the state of Florida. In April of 2019, Spook Hill was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Is it the result of otherworldly forces at work… or an optical illusion? Whatever you choose to believe, Spook Hill is a fun activity to try when you visit Lake Wales!
600 N Wales Dr.
Lake Wales, FL 33853
Phone: (863) 676-3445