Do you have family or friends planning to visit for the holidays? It seems like everyone loves any excuse to stay with you during the winter months when you live in Florida. Next time your friends or relatives come to visit, don’t take them to the same old restaurant. Impress your guests with one of these memorable attractions.
1. St. Augustine Nights of Lights
During the holiday season, our nation's oldest city really shines. Every night form November 19 through the end of January, the city is decorated with millions of tiny lights. Take a trolley tour or a romantic carriage ride to take in all the magic.
2. Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Ft. Myers
At the vacation homes for Thomas Edison and Henry Ford you can tour the homes and the 21-acre botanical garden. During December, the houses are lit up and hours are extended for Edison Ford Holiday Nights.
3. The Columbia, Ybor City, Tampa
If you're looking for a place to dine with visiting family and friends, you might as well make it somewhere special. The Columbia is Florida's oldest restaurant, famous for delicious Spanish and Cuban cuisine and flamenco performances.
4. Rainbow Springs State Park
If you thought there was no way this park could be more enchanting, you should see it decorated for the holidays. Rainbow Springs is famous for its scenic (man-made) waterfalls, and it offers swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing in crystal-clear water.
5. Florida Railroad Museum, Parrish
At this unique museum, you can actually ride the exhibits! In December, the museum will host the North Pole Express, where guests take a train ride to a winter wonderland. Kids will love the hot chocolate and cookies, arts and crafts and visiting Santa (and of course, the magical train ride).
6. Linger Lodge Restaurant & Campground, Bradenton
Linger Lodge is a strange and wonderful Old Florida experience. The founder and amateur taxidermist, Frank Gamsky, covered the walls with wildlife native to Florida. The food is just as wild, with alligator bites and frog legs for those adventurous eaters.
7. Yoder's Restaurant & Amish Village
One of the highlights of the holidays is incredilbe homemade food, but it's okay if you're not the best cook in the world. Yoder's is famous for its homemade comfort food, especially pie, so go ahead and order a few for your holiday table. The deadline to order for Thanksgiving is November 22nd at 5:00 p.m.
8. Crystal River
In the winter to early spring, manatees flock to our warmer waters, making it possble to view and even swim with the gentle giants. There are many places where you can view manatees, but Crystal River is the only place where you can experience a guided manatee encouter.
9. The Bubble Room, Captiva
This eccentric eatery is a must-try for fans of the over-the-top, kitschy fun of roadside attractions of yesteryear. Every inch of this three-story restaurant is covered with antiques, silver screen stars, Christmas decor (year-round), and moving toy trains.
10. Christmas Festival of Lights, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center
This park has so much holiday spirit, with marshmallow roasting, carol singing, millions of lights twinkling in the majestic oaks. The Festival of Lights will run through December 2nd through 24th this year, with some nights open for drive-through viewing only.
11. Homosassa Springs State Park
Here's another Florida state park that gets dressed up for Christmas. You can see the park decorated with lots of lights and even visit with Santa. Keep an eye on the park's
for this year's dates.
Have you been to any of these places? What are your favorite spots to take out-of-towners? Please share your comments with us below!