12 Places Where You Can Still Experience Old Florida
While most outsiders know Florida for its theme parks and popular beaches, there’s a whole other side of our state that most visitors never see. If you ask most native Floridians, they’ll tell you this — “Old Florida” — is the best part. The parts of our state that predate all of the big-name attractions that draw the tourists, are often referred to as Old Florida. And there are still many places in the state where this spirit still lives; this is the Florida to which Hemingway referred. Here are 12 of the best places to visit in Old Florida:
We're aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Cedar Key
This town near North Central Florida is a delightful slice of Old Florida. Visitors love the natural beauty and slower pace of this town.
is perhaps most famous for its clams, so make sure to try out a few local restaurants.
2. Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
, located 14 miles south of Tallahassee, is a treasured piece of Florida’s history and a natural oasis. It's also home to this stunning hotel, built in 1937.
3. Juniper Springs Recreation Area, Ocala National Forest
This scenic spot, with its crystal-clear water and historic millhouse, is one of the oldest and most popular campsites in the region. Read more about Juniper Springs in
4. Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, Dade City
The Pioneer Florida Museum & Village sits on 16 acres and takes an in-depth look at Florida history, with living history exhibits and an annual festival with Civil War reenactments. Read more about Dade City, the town in which the museum is located, in
This historic fishing village on Sarasota Bay is as authentic as it gets. You'll love the unique charm of this coastal community.
6. St. Augustine
We couldn't write this list without including
, which is not only the oldest city in the state, but the whole country. This town has over 450 years of history, with plenty of fun shopping and dining experiences, too.
7. Bok Tower, Lake Wales
truly is one of the most marvelous places in The Sunshine State; registered as a U.S. National Historic Landmark, this contemplative garden and bird sanctuary is practically straight out of a Tolkien novel.
8. The Freezer, Homosassa
The Freezer is a
located in Homosassa with a real Old Florida feel. Meals are served in to-go boxes with plastic forks, but no one complains. Probably because this is some of the best seafood in town. Bring cash and a big appetite for this adorable tiki bar.
9. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Although its popularity peaked in the 1960s, we love the unique way this park celebrates the natural beauty of Florida’s springs.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
is absolutely unforgettable Florida fun -- and you can even swim with manatees there!
10. Cap's Place Island Restaurant, Lighthouse Point.
is a longstanding landmark in South Florida and basically a time machine back to Old Florida. Broward County's oldest restaurant was a speakeasy and casino in the 1920s, which explains why it sits on a little island. You have to take Cap's motor launch from their dock to reach the restaurant, which only adds to its unique charm.
This fishing village in Northwest Florida is famous for some of the best seafood in the country, especially oysters. You'll fall in love with the rustic charm of
12. The Yearling Restaurant, Cross Creek
The Yearling Restaurant
specializes in "Cracker Cuisine" (like frog legs and alligator), but the unique atmosphere is what has kept visitors coming out to this countryside gem since 1952. If you love Old Florida, you absolutely must visit this iconic restaurant.
Have you visited any of these places? Where do you think are the best places to visit in Old Florida? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
And for more Florida fun, be sure to check out our
Ultimate Florida Bucket List! Address: Cedar Key, FL 32625, USA Address: Wakulla Springs, FL 32327, USA Address: Juniper Springs Recreation Area, 26701 FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488, USA Address: 15602 Pioneer Museum Rd, Dade City, FL 33523, USA Address: Cortez, FL, USA Address: St. Augustine, FL, USA Address: 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853, USA Address: 5590 S Boulevard Dr, Homosassa, FL 34448, USA Address: Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida 34606, USA Address: 2765 NE 28th Ct, Lighthouse Point, FL 33064, USA Address: Apalachicola, FL 32320, USA Address: 14531 East, Co Rd 325, Hawthorne, FL 32640, USA