Our state has so many fun and fascinating things to see, from beautiful beaches to thrilling theme parks, but our favorites are the quirky or unusual places that you can only find in Florida. From wild animals to mermaids, you just have to see these for yourself.
1. Seacrest Wolf Preserve, Chipley
The big-hearted folks at Seacrest Wolf Preserve in Chipley started this non-profit to raise public awareness of the perils these magnificent creatures face by being removed from federal protection. (3449 Bonnett Pond Rd, Chipley, FL 32428)
2. Wreck Bar, B Ocean Resort, Fort Lauderdale
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. (1140 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316)
3. Hong Kong Willie, Tampa
Hong Kong Willie is not from Hong Kong, and his name is not Willie. But he is a very interesting living folk artist in Tampa who has devoted his life to reclaiming what most people would call trash and turning it into art. Stop by, take a tour and hear Willie's story, and you won't be sorry. (12212 Morris Bridge Rd, Tampa, FL 33637)
4. Linger Lodge, Bradenton
Wildlife of Old Florida was captured on the plates and on the walls by founder and amateur taxidermist, Frank Gamsky. (7205 85th St Ct E, Bradenton, FL 34202)
This colorful artists' paradise, also known as The Bowling Ball House, is decorated with bright colors, all kinds of yard art and, yes, tons of bowling balls, painted and lovingly arranged in different ways. It's kind of hard to explain, but it's definitely worth seeing for yourself. (1206 3rd St N, Safety Harbor, FL 34695)
6. Neptune Memorial Reef
Neptune Memorial Reef is the brainchild of artist Kim Brandell and is located three miles off the coast of Key Biscayne. Ashes are cast into memorials that make up a 16-acre artificial reef divers are encouraged to explore.
7. Airstream Ranch, Dover
This strange yard art created by Frank Bates to celebrate Airstream's 75th birthday looks like eight Airstream trailers growing out of the ground. It's now the property of Tampa RV, but is still visible from the highway (I-4).
8. Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, Ochopee
This unique attraction started as the office of Jack Shealy's Trail Lakes campground. Then, his brother, Dave, took up the search for an elusive Florida version of Bigfoot called the Skunk Ape. Exhibits and a petting zoo make this place a fun stop even for the non-believers. (40904 Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, FL 34141)
9. Spook Hill, Lake Wales
Whether you believe it's the haunted site of an epic battle or just some kind of illusion, you'll agree Spook Hill is a weird spot. If you put your car in neutral at the bottom of the hill, it will appear to roll uphill. (N. Wales Drive, Lake Wales)
10. Monkey Island, Homosassa
Monkey Island came into being when a man developing what would later become Homosassa Wildlife State Park needed a place to keep his misbehaving monkeys where guests could watch them from a safe distance. The tiny place is still attracting curious visitors today.
(5297 Cherokee Way, Homosassa, FL, 34448)
Have you visited any of these places? What are your favorite off-the-beaten-path attractions in Florida?