I’ve lived in Florida my whole life and had no idea there were so many castles outside of Walt Disney World. Some of them are beautiful and some of them are almost unbelievable, but they are all right here in Florida. Go check them out!
1. Solomon's Castle (Ona, FL)
Three stories high and covered with reclaimed printing plates, Solomon's Castle is the work of artist Howard Solomon. Powered by eccentricity, Solomon fills the castle with his quirky work, which is heavily influenced by groan-worthy puns. Hidden in swampy Central Florida, it's a real diamond in the rough of roadside attractions.
2. Coral Castle (Homestead, FL)
Coral Castle is 1,000 tons of stone unearthed, transported and carved by lovelorn Latvian Edward Leedskalnin in the 1920s and the following two decades. Leedskalnin supposedly built the castle, which includes tables, rocking chairs, huge carvings, a throne and even a bathtub, for an unrequited love. He would never really reveal his methods for creating his own Stonehenge, but claimed to have used some "secrets of the pyramids." He lived in the castle and conducted tours until his death in 1951.
3. Castle Otttis (St. Augustine, FL)
Castle Otttis is an impressive piece of landscape sculpture made to look like an 1,000-year-old Irish castle and created in remembrance of Jesus Christ.
4. Loews Don Cesar Hotel (St. Pete Beach, FL)
Built at the height of the Jazz Age, it was created to realize the developer's dream of building a "pink castle." It's still popular with the rich and famous today.
5. Castillo de San Marcos (St. Augustine, FL)
Although it may technically be a fort, it sure looks like a castle. It was built in the late 1600s and is an official National Monument.
6. Castle Warden (St. Augustine, FL)
Yet another castle in St. Augustine, but not just another castle. Castle Warden was built in 1887 and turned into a hotel in the 1940s. Among the hotel's visitors was Robert S. Ripley, and in 1950 it was chosen to house his collection of curiosities. Believe it or not, this museum was the first of many and is still open today.
7. Cinderella Castle (Orlando, FL)
No list of Florida's castles would be complete without mentioning this masterpiece of the Magic Kingdom. It stands over 180 feet tall and uses forced perspective (meaning it gets smaller as it climbs higher) to appear even taller.
8. Villa Zorayda (St. Augustine, FL)
The Villa Zorayda was built by Bostonian millionaire Franklin W. Smith in 1883 to look like a 12th century Moorish palace. Today it serves as one of the many museums in St. Augustine.
9. Royal Castle (Miami, FL)
Royal Castle has sort of a riches to rags story. Founded in Miami in 1938, as the southern answer to White Castle, it grew into a popular chain found all over the south until the rise of super chains like McDonald's and Burger King forced nearly all of the small burger joints out of business. The very last Royal Castle can be found in Miami, FL. Visit Royal Castle for a taste of fast food history.
Well there you have it, nine fascinating castles, each built for its own unique purpose. Can you think of any others we forgot to mention?