Florida might be best known as the land of alligators and orange trees, or at least better known for its natural wonders than its man-made ones. That doesn’t mean we’re lacking in landmarks. How many of these iconic places do you recognize?
1. Walt Disney World
If you've ever been to one of the parks at this huge complex in Central Florida, you have to admit it was an impressive feat of imagination and construction. Cinderella's Castle is probably the most iconic Disney World Structure, inspired by ancient castles around Europe, was actually built with forced perspective (it gets smaller toward the top) to make it look taller than it is.
2. Southernmost Point
This humble concrete buoy is one of the most photographed attractions in the United States. It marks the lowest latitude in the continental U.S. Though it's not actually accurate, that hasn't stopped this landmark from becoming one of the most iconic places in Florida.
3. Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Bok Tower Gardens in Central Florida is right out of a fairy tale. The 205-foot tower is not only a work of art, it holds some of the world's finest carillon bells. The surrounding gardens are lush and romantic, and the tower sits on Iron Mountain, the highest hill in Florida.
4. NASA Vehicle Assembly , Titusville
At 525 feet tall, this iconic building is one of the biggest buildings in the world and the image that pops into most people's minds when they think of a NASA building in Florida.
5. Villa Vizcaya
This European-inspired estate was the winter property of agricultural industrialist John Deering. Today, it is a museum full of art and antiques, as well as a National Historic Landmark. But visitors love it just as much for its 10 acres of beautiful gardens on the Biscayne Bay. Even if you don't recognize it, you have probably seen Vizcaya before, because it has been used in many films over the years.
6. Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway runs 113 miles through the Keys. It's surrounded by bright green water and islands for miles, and runs alongside the historic bridges that were its prototype. It was designated an All-American Road in 2009, the highest honor given by the National Scenic Byways program.
7. St. Augustine
The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest structure of its kind in the country. This is just a piece of the many historic buildings and narrow cobblestone streets that make St. Augustine so picturesque.
8. Ponce de Leon Lighthouse, Ponce Inlet
This iconic red lighthouse located near Daytona stands 175 feet tall, making it the tallest lighthouse in Florida and one of the tallest in the country.
9. Henry B. Plant Museum, Tampa
This unforgettable landmark is a stunning example of Moorish Revival architecture, built by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant in the late 1800s. It was once a luxury hotel, but these days it is part of the University of Tampa campus and houses a museum about tourism in the Gilded Age.
10. Coral Castle, Homestead
Coral Castle is a Flinstones-like castle complete with huge furniture and sculptures, all mysteriously constructed by one man. Lovers of all things weird will have a blast scratching their heads while touring this fascinating landmark.
11. Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
This surreal-looking building is a fitting tribute to the subject of this museum: the great painter Salvador Dali. Once you've seen this museum in person, you will never forget its unique architecture (and exhibits).
12. Gatorland, Orlando
Gatorland is one of those classic Florida roadside attractions, which has been around for almost 70 years. The eye-catching entrance that resembles a gator's mouth is instantly recognized by many, many Floridians and tourists.
13. Siesta Key
Though it might look like any other beach to the untrained eye, those in the know will recognize Siesta Beach on Siesta Key because of its blinding white sand. It is made up of 99% quartz, making it cool even on the hottest days. Because of this and its natural beauty, this beach has topped many best-beach lists over the years.
14. Plaza Ferdinand VII
This park dates back to 1815, and it's named after the King of Spain at the time it was built. In 1819, Florida became part of the United States, and Andrew Jackson made a speech here announcing this news and declaring Pensacola the capital. This historic area still looks much like it did even in its earliest photographs.
How many of these did you recognize? What are your favorite iconic Florida landmarks?