If you're a loyal local to everything happening in Orlando, activities can become old when you've explored it all. This winter break, explore unusual and unique places a few hours away from your city. These place range from extraordinary to peculiar, but they will give you a taste of Florida you didn't know existed.
Some of these locations are less than three hours away from Orlando, making it an instant day trip. As amazing as they are, there's more than Disney and Universal Orlando. So, leave your annual pass at home and discover the magic around the Sunshine State.
Where: 2222 Old Dixie Hwy, Ormond Beach
This place belonged to Colonel Thomas H. Dummett, and it was a sugar mill and rum distillery. If you're into ruins and historic places, here you'll learn about life back in the 1800s. The place is unique in its own and it looks like ruins you would see in ancient Mayans cultures.
Where: 200 1st Street, Neptune Beach
This community hub serves great coffee, breakfast, tartines, salads, and sandwiches. On your way to adventure, stop at this place and enjoy a great meal with the coffee community. The place offers great live music and is just steps away from the beach. A tranquil atmosphere and conversation with strangers are all we need to have a great start to the weekend.
Where: 3501 Old Kings Road, Flagler Beach
This was a sugar and cotton plantation over 9,000 acres. On your visit, explore the plantation house, slave cabins, wells, and crumbling foundation of what used to be a sugar mill. You can come and do your morning yoga under the ruins and connect with the old spirits. The location has a scenic walking trail for visitors and is also a great place for a photo shoot. Bring your picnic basket and enjoy the old village.
Where: 74 King Street, St. Augustine
Go ghost hunting at this historic hotel in St. Augustine. This is a national historic landmark and now called Flagler College. Explore the Spanish Renaissance architecture of what used to be a destination for tourists back in the 1800s. The hotel was built a hundred years ago by Henry Flagler and it's one of the most historic places in Florida. The courtyard fountain has a beautiful backdrop for pictures and the luxurious crystal chandeliers make this place breathtaking. You can take a tour of the place and learn more about Florida's history.
Where: 12200 San Servando Ave., North Port
If you're looking for the fountain of youth, visit this location in North Port, Florida. The warm spring was once a cave and it was placed in the National Register of Historic Places. You can scuba dive in the spring or just swim with your favorite float. Don't be deceived by the tranquil waters. The spring is about 145 feet deep and you can see the water is perfectly clear to ten feet deep. Warm Mineral Springs is considered a health spa and many people come to enjoy the natural wonders of this haven.
Where: 5297 S Cherokee Way, Homosassa
Visit the monkeys at this little island located in the middle of the Homosassa River. You can see the five spider monkeys from the public boat ramp or jump on a boat to see them up close. The monkeys are fed every day by the owners from a personalized menu. This is a fun place to go on a romantic date and enjoy nature.
Where: 509 Lynn Road, Tampa
Explore the majestic architecture of this Hindu temple in Tampa. The temple hosts several events and temple services during the month including pooja (a prayer ritual performed by Hindus). No matter what religion you practice, this is a great place to visit near Orlando.
Where: 1206 3rd St., Safety Harbor
One of the most unusual places in Florida is located in Tampa. Whimzeyland is an explosion of colors and rainbow. The local house is a place to find peace and happiness for those who believe in fairytales. It features bowling balls, plexiglass sculptures, painting, bottle trees, and recycled material sculptures. If you're into colors, then make a day trip to this magical house.
Where: 901 S Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach
The eye-catching sculpture is located in Gulfstream Park. It's hard to miss it when you're passing through and it makes a great backdrop for your Insta pictures. This mythological greek-styled attraction attracts many tourists around Hallandale Beach and represents the fight of good against evil. Make a stop here before you drive back home.
Where: 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
The estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are one of the most visited historic sites. The place has more than 20 acres of historical buildings, gardens, and the 1928 Edison Botanical Research Laboratory. You can visit the museum and explore the different gardens including the butterfly garden, a bamboo garden, and even Palmetum, a collection of different species of palm trees. It's a day trip that would take several hours.
Where: 39 Cordova Street, St. Augustine
There's nothing like good southern comfort food. This place knows how to pair together biscuits and gravy with a modern twist. This restaurant serves fresh, natural, and homemade biscuits. If you're looking for a great breakfast stop and heading to St. Augustine, this is the place. You can even get french toast biscuits with cinnamon and pecans baked in. It gets better than that but you need to taste it yourself.
Where: 352 S Nova Rd, Daytona Beach
This museum has a state-of-the-art planetarium and has many special events such as wine tastings and movie nights. The museum has special exhibitions happening every month. You won't get bored at this museum because there's a lot to see.
Where: 25 Ocean Ave., Daytona Beach
Pack your bathing suit and spend the day at the beach. The Daytona Beach Boardwalk is opened all year and has many attractions to enjoy. The place features a Ferris Wheel, Mardi Gras Fun Center, many shops, and other rides. It's a great place to enjoy classic games, have ice cream by the pier, and enjoy the sunset.
Where: Lake Helen, FL
Expect a different type of adventure when you visit Cassadaga. This is a small town of spiritualists and mediums in Florida. You can get a tour for $15 and explore the Victorian era community that once formed part of many spiritualists. They also offer a spirit night tour where you can connect with spirit energy. The place also offers spiritual healing by certified healers.
Where: 4655 Vineland Road, Orlando
Enjoy a spiritual experience when you visit the holy land. This place is a living biblical museum that features many shows and exhibits that takes you 2000 years back. Experience moments of the Bible in a unique way. You can see live shows, Broadway-style musicals, and dramatic plays that reveal the heroes of the Bible — it's a great experience for all religious people.
Where: 401 West Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
This opulent historic landmark used to be a hotel for the wealthy travelers back in the 1880s. The museum features original luxurious furnishings and artifacts collected by Mr. and Mrs. Plant. The exhibitions take you back to the Victorian era and early years of the City of Tampa. Don't be surprised at how big this place is. You'll see extensive gardens, tennis courts, race track, golf course, and many other rooms. Life was good back in the 19th century.
Where: 103 3rd Street, St. Augustine
The landscape sculpture was built by two men in remembrance of Jesus Christ. You can only visit the castle by appointment and they offer service on the last Sunday of each month. The interior exudes a vibe of an early Christian church.
Where: 950 Old Sugar Mill Road, Port Orange
This place has an interesting history. It used to be cotton, rice, and sugarcane plantation. The 10-acre property has beautiful gardens perfect for weddings and ceremonies. It's also referred to as Bongland Ruins. While strolling around the gardens you'll notice prehistoric sculptures and life-sized beasts.
Where: 615 Channelside Dr, Tampa
This location recently opened in Tampa and is becoming a local's favorite. Take a trip to this place and enjoy local craft beer. It's an outdoor waterfront destination to enjoy live music, shopping, and other events.
Mural of Lake Placid
Where: 18 N Oak Ave., Lake Placid
Take a break from the Wynwood Walls and explore the Lake Placid murals. These murals were created to beautify the town and public buildings. Many of the murals have a theme and represent Floridian activities such as fishing, cattle driving, quilting, citrus farming, and other things. You don't even have to jump off your car to enjoy the murals.