One of the things I love (and sometimes hate) about living in Florida is that it’s always a top tourist spot in the U.S. This opens the door to wacky roadside attractions, theme restaurants and all sorts of obvious cries for attention.
Sure, we may get a little cheesy sometimes, but I love this about Florida. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re always having fun, and we want you to have fun, too.
These unique restaurants are perfect examples.
1. The Bubble Room (Captiva, FL)
One theme just wasn't enough for this colorful restaurant. The Bubble Room features antiques, stars of the silver screen, Christmas decorations, and moving trains on all three (yes, three!) floors.
2. Linger Lodge Restaurant & Campground (Brandenton, FL)
Wildlife of Old Florida was captured on the plates and on the walls by founder and amateur taxidermist, Frank Gamsky.
3. Clark's Fish Camp Seafood Restaurant (Jacksonville, FL)
Similar to Linger Lodge, Clark's houses a huge menagerie of stuffed animals, but not just those native to Florida. You'll find lions, tigers and bears (oh my!), and even an exhibit with turtles, fish and a 5-foot live alligator.
26. De Leon Springs State Park
This park is perfect for swimming and canoeing, and it's home to a pancake house with a DIY twist: a griddle in every table allows patrons to flip their own flapjacks.
5. Market 17 (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Market 17 is a farm-to-table restaurant, serving local, organic food, lovingly prepared. What's really unique about them, though, is their dining-in-the-dark option. They claim the removal of sight heightens a patron's sense of taste and allows a deeper appreciation of their (very well-rated) fare.
6. Murder Mystery Dinner Train (Fort Myers, FL)
Not only do they fit all of this in the confines of a train car, the train actually runs during the shows!
7. Romeo's Cafe (Miami, FL)
Romeo's offers a unique dining experience with no menu. Guests are greeted by the chef and asked a few questions about their preferences and allergies, and he returns with a custom-made six-course meal.
8. Blue Heaven (Key West, FL)
Blue Heaven is an iconic beacon of Key West culture. It has a whimsical atmosphere with folk art, live music, lush foliage and cats and chickens roaming free. Their food is well-rated and they claim to have the best Key lime pie on the island.
9. Medieval Times (Kissimmee, FL)
Think of it as extreme dinner theater. Jousting and sword fights accompanied by spectacular modern lighting and production. Pretty good food with no silverware provided (to keep things authentic). Maybe it's a little corny, but it's also irresistibly fun.
10. Lunch with an Astronaut (Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex)
Purchase includes a buffet and a presentation given by a real astronaut, with the opportunity afterward to ask questions. This sounds really cool, as long as it's not space food.
11. Dick's Last Resort (Orlando, FL)
I tried not to put too many chains on this list, but this one piqued my interest. Servers are not only allowed but required to be rude to guests. It's all in jest, of course, and supposedly a lot of fun (for those not easily offended). Plus the name cracks me up.
12. Lips (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Lips describes itself as "the ultimate in drag dining." The food may be a little on the pricey side, but you're really paying for the experience.
13. Satchel's Pizza (Gainesville, FL)
Having lived in Gainesville for several years, I'm pretty sure I'm legally obligated to mention Satchel's. Not only is the food amazing, the decor all has a reclaimed, junk art vibe, and it has its own store (Lightnin' Salvage) chock full of weird and fun little knickknacks and gifts.
14. The Wreck Bar (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
This unique bar was designed to look like a sunken ship. Weekend mermaid shows performed in the hotel pool complete the illusion and draw tons of visitors.
There you have it, more wacky and wonderful places brought to you as only Florida can. If you know of any other crazy or amazing Florida restaurants, please share them with us!