Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens

16 Unique Things to Do in Florida

Off the Beaten Path

These 16 unique things to do are some of my favorite places to visit in Florida for several reasons, less crowds, less costs, and more nature.  In a state that gets 300,000 new residents (myself included) and over 110 million visitors each year, you’re almost never alone in a public space and it can get pricey trying to experience all that Florida has to offer.  These places are also completely unique, filled with history, art, and culture.  They tell little known stories or forgotten truths.  From parks to museums and outdoor adventures, Florida has plenty to offer and it doesn’t always have to bust the budget. So, go ahead, make the drive, and cross off some bucket list adventures while exploring all around Florida.

*SAVE*: You’ll notice references below and throughout this site to several memberships that can get you free reciprocal entry to some museums, gardens, and attractions.  Before you choose a local membership, check to see which reciprocal groups it may belong to.  This could save you hundreds of dollars when you travel and provide interesting opportunities, both locally and afar.

NARM – North American Reciprocal Museum Association

SERM – SouthEastern Museums Conference

ASTC – Association of Science and Technology Centers

AHS – American Horticultural Society

ACM – Association of Children’s Museums

16 Unique Things to Do in Florida 1
16 Unique Florida

Make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.

Edward Bok
Icons8 footprint
1.

Hemingway House and Gardens

Location – Key West
2000 Convention Center Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Costs:
Ages 13+ $14.00
Child 6 – 12 $6.00
Under 5 Free

Hours:
Open 365 days, 9am – 5pm

Unique Experience: Explore the Home& Museum with the Free App from anywhere. Learn about the House, Hemingway’s life, and the cats from anywhere.
Try It:
• Count how many cats you see during your included 30-minute tour of the grounds.
• Sit in Hemingway’s garden with descendants of his cats.

Find It: A six-toed cat or the cat grave of Zsa Zsa Gabor.

A Hemingway Cat

A Hemingway Cat

Hemingway cat garden

Hemingway cat garden

Hemingway House

Hemingway House

2.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Location – Key Biscayne
1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

Costs:
Per Vehicle $8.00
Single Occupant $4.00
Pedestrian/Bicyclist $2.00

Hours:
Open 365 days, 8am – dusk

Unique Experience: Tour the lighthouse, the oldest structure in South Florida, built in 1825.
Try It:
• Some beach time but watch for Portuguese Man of War warnings during winter.

Amenities:
• Accessibility with 2 beach wheelchairs and 1 swimming wheelchair available free of charge.
• Rent 2 chairs and an umbrella for $20.
• Bike rentals, nature trails, museum, café overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, picnic pavilion, playground, showers, restrooms, boat camping, kayak launch, and more.

Find It: Deconstructed parts of the lighthouse on display.

Deconstructed Lighthouse

Deconstructed Lighthouse

Cape Lighthouse

Cape Lighthouse

Ocean View

Ocean View

3.

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Location – Miami Beach
2000 Convention Center Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Costs – Free
Hours – Tuesday through Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Closed on New Year’s Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

  • Unique Experience:Self-guided tour system.  Dial 305.423.1525 or take pics of the 13 QR codes along the path.
  • Find It:A well-placed (maybe hidden) unicorn in the garden.

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Seats in the Garden

Have a seat

Fountain

Fountain

16 Unique Things to Do in Florida 2
4.

Wynwood Walls

Location – Miami
2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127

Costs – Free
Hours – Monday – Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Friday – Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – midnight
Sunday from 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Second Saturday of the Month (Wynwood Artwalk) from 10:30 a.m. – midnight

  • Unique Experience:The Wynwood Walls Shop has books, magnets, and collectible figures, among other treasures that represent the exclusive artwork found here.
  • Find It: Try some ice cream. The hard part is choosing which one. There is a popsicle cart. A coconut Sundae cart.
    A vegan ice cream shop a few blocks down, Nabati
    Dasher & Crank – artisanal ice cream dream with flavors like Kush Chicken N Waffles or Strawberry Hibiscus Sorbet
    Cielito Artisan Pops.
    Mr. Kream Wynwood – spray paint your own ice cream while listening to one of Miami’s DJ’s.
Ernest Zacharevic [ SINGAPORE ]

Wynwood Walls - Ernest Zacharevic [ SINGAPORE ]

Wynwood Walls 1

Wynwood Walls 1

Faith47

Wynwood Walls - Faith47 (South Africa)

5.

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

Location – Fort Lauderdale
900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Costs:
Ages 13+ $20.00
Child 6 – 12 $16.00
Under 5 Free
Gardens Only $10.00
Tram Tour $5.00

*SAVE*
• $3 off for Military and Broward County Residents
• September 2019 Special – mention BAMM (Broward Attractions And Museums Month) – buy one get one free entry.

Hours:
Tuesday through Sunday, 9am – 4pm

Unique Experience: Explore undeveloped beachfront on 35 acres of a native barrier island ecosystem hidden amongst mostly commercially developed beachfront. View an amazing orchid collection and works from an American artist as well as the personal treasures of the Birch/Bartlett families.
Try It:
Take the tram tour – a nice well explained ride around the grounds.

Bonnet House Pond

Bonnet House Pond

Bonnet House Gate

Bonnet House Gate

Bonnet House Courtyard

Bonnet House Courtyard

 

 

6.

Morikami Museum and Gardens

Location – Delray Beach
4000 Morikami Park Rd, Delray Beach, FL 33446

Costs:
Ages 18+ $15.00
Child 6 – 17 $9.00
Under 5 Free

*SAVE*
• $2 off for Military and Seniors
• $4 off for college students with ID

Hours:
Tuesday through Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Closed Mondays and major holidays

Unique Experience: 7,000+ piece collection to encourage and expand understanding of Japanese culture. Festivals, family fun days, and workshops that offer Japanese immersion.
Must Experience: A self-guided tour through the children’s exhibit in the Yamato-kan, Japan Through the Eyes of a Child.
My “Want To” Experience: Sushi & Stroll – Second Friday of the month: May, July, September from 5:30pm to 8:30pm

Find It:
Tsukubai – water basins that were originally used in tea gardens for ritual purification but now serve as a focal point in gardens today.

Morikami Gardens
Morikami Gardens
Morikami Gardens
7.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

Location – Clewiston
30290 Josie Billie Hwy PMB 1003, Clewiston, FL 33440

Costs:
Ages 13+ $10.00
Students, Military, Seniors $7.50
Under 4 Free

*SAVE*
• NARM, Smithsonian Affiliations, Time Travelers, American Alliance of Museums, BOK Tower Gardens, & Palm Beach Zoo Society with presentation of membership cards.

Hours:
Daily, 9am – 5pm except Holidays, see site for current list of closures.
Boardwalk closes at 4pm.

Unique Experience: Embrace a deeper understanding of Seminole history and culture with access to rare artifacts on display. Talk with artisans in a modern day version of a Seminole village along the boardwalk and watch demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts.
Must Experience: Watch the video when you arrive and allow enough time to walk the full (mile) length of the boardwalk.

Find It:
In the galleries, find the reason why women shouldn’t lay down while eating.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki

Village Water Pump

Village

Gallery

Gallery

 

8.

Historic Spanish Point

Location – Osprey
337 N Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229

Costs:
Ages 13+ $15.00
Child 5 – 12 $7.00
Under 5 Free

*SAVE*
• Seniors $3 off
Free Reciprocal – NARM, ROAM

Hours:
Monday through Saturday, 9am – 5pm
Sunday, 12pm – 5pm

Unique Experience: • Download the app to follow the site tour and learn about the people of Historic Spanish Point.
• Take a boat tour aboard Magic, a replica of the Webb pioneer family boat from 1900, through Little Sarasota Bay.

Must Experience: Walk through Mrs. Potter Palmer’s sunken gardens and feel the breezes off the bay.

Find It:
A window to the past – see the inner workings of a shell ridge midden

Gardens
Boardwalk
Garden 2
9.

The Dali Museum

Location – St. Petersburg
1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Costs:
Ages 18+ $25.00
Child 13 – 17 and college student with ID $18.00
Child 6 – 12 $10.00
Under 5 Free

*SAVE*
Groupon – I saw one while I was writing this.
After 5pm on Thursdays, the $25 adult price drops to $12.
Free reciprocal entry with NARM

Hours:
Monday through Saturday, 9am – 5pm
Sunday, 12pm – 5pm

Unique Experience: View Dali’s masterworks in Augmented Reality (AR) through the Free Dali Museum App from anywhere.

Must Experience: The Little Surrealists Tour on a Saturday morning at 11AM. Kids 4 – 11 get a special 1-hour tour where they learn more about the imagery and meanings behind Dali’s artwork.
Mimosas and Masterpieces Catalan-inspired Brunch on Sundays.

Find It:
The painting titled Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln-Homage to Rothko (Second Version).

Dali Windows

Dali Windows

Kids Tour

Kids Tour

Dali Museum

Dali Museum

10.

Imagine Museum

Location – St. Petersburg
1901 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33713

Costs:
Ages 13+ $15.00
Child 7 – 18 $10.00
Under 6 Free
*SAVE*
Military and seniors $2 off
College Student with ID $5 off
$5 Thursdays after 5pm
Free Reciprocal entry with NARM

Hours:
Tues, Wed, Fri- Sun, 10am – 5pmThursday, 10am – 8pm
Monday, CLOSED

Unique Experience: Explore the Floating World by Karen LaMonte, an exhibition and deep study of the Kimono.

Must Experience: It’s an amazing display of glass artwork. Breathtaking as in if you go with children, you may be holding your breath until you leave and definitely, hold their hands.

Dress Sculpture

Dress Sculpture

Glass Sculptures

Glass Sculptures

Kimono

Kimono

11.

Bok Tower Gardens

Location – Lake Wales
1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853

Costs:
Ages 13+ $21.00
Child 5 – 12 $10.00
Under 5 Free
*SAVE*
Active military with ID FREE
FREE reciprocal members – AHS

Hours:
Open 365 days, 8am – 6pm

Unique Experience: Explore a 205 foot art-deco and neo-Gothic Singing Tower Carillon on 50 acres of Olmsted Gardens.

Must Experience: Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden filled with lots of activities from splashing in the River Walk to mastering the Spider Climb or drawing in the Doodle Bug Art Place.

Find It: The Word Garden.

Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens

Children's Garden

Children's Garden

Carillon

Carillon

12.

Harry P Leu Gardens

Location – Orlando
1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Costs:
Ages 18+ $10.00
Child 4– 17 $5.00
Under 4 Free
*SAVE*
FREE Reciprocal Members – AHS
General Public Free Admission days at Leu Gardens:
Monday, October 7, 2019
Monday, November 4, 2019
Saturday & Sunday, March 14 & 15, 2020
Monday, April 6, 2020
Monday, May 4, 2020

Hours:
Open 364 days, 9am – 5pm
Closed on Dec. 25th

Unique Experience: Explore the gardens while hunting down 20 enchanted fairy doors, but only until September 30, 2019.

Must Experience: The Tropical Stream Garden to Lake Rowena Overlook, through the Northwoods to the Landing and the Floral Clock. (Those are my favorite parts.)

A Fairy Door

Fairy Door

Leu Gardens Landing

Leu Gardens Landing

Purple Passionflower

Purple Passionflower

13.

Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens

Location – Williston
4990 NE 180 Ave, Williston, FL 32696

Costs:
Ages 13+ $12.00
Child 6 – 13 $7.00
Under 6 Free
*SAVE*
Active military with ID $6.00

Hours:
Daily except Wednesday, 930am – 5pm
Closed on Dec. 25th

Unique Experience: Explore a once abandoned lime rock quarry that has been transformed into a Japanese style series of islands with waterfalls and bridges.

Must Experience: The journey down and back up to the overlook point (rainy weather could cause a rise in water levels that might make some areas inaccessible, watch the weather around the time you go).

Find It: The overturned boat.

Woods and Gardens

Woods and Gardens

16 Unique Things to Do in Florida 4

Overview

Cedar Lakes Gardens

Cedar Lakes Gardens

16.

Big Talbot Island Boneyard Beach

Location – Big Talbot Island
Jacksonville, FL 32226

Costs:
Per Vehicle $3.00 CASH

Hours:
Open 365 days, 8am – dusk
Boat ramp open 24 hours

Unique Experience: A short trail walk to Boneyard Beach from the parking area leads you to a salt washed graveyard of live oak and cedar tree skeletons.

Must Experience: The Timucuan Trail runs parallel to A1A and is 2.9 miles long. Perfect for skating or biking. Black Rock Beach is just down the road, another good stop.

Boneyard Beach
Boneyard Beach
Boneyard Beach
15.

Kingsley Plantation

Location – Jacksonville
11676 Palmetto Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32226

Costs:
Free

Hours:
Open Daily, 9am – 5pm
Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Unique Experience: Free Audio Tour telling the story of Anna Kingsley, a Senegalese woman who was purchased as a slave by the owner, Zephaniah Kingsley and became an active independent participant in the plantation management, acquiring her freedom, her own land, and slaves as well.

Must Experience: Free Audio Tour telling the story of Anna Kingsley, a Senegalese woman who was purchased as a slave by the owner, Zephaniah Kingsley and became an active independent participant in the plantation management, acquiring her freedom, her own land, and slaves as well. Printable Kids Tour.

Find It: The perfect spot to sit and feel the breeze from the Fort George River.

Historic Tabby Slave Quarters

Historic Tabby Slave Quarters

Historic Document

Historic Document

Ft. George River View

Ft. George River View

14.

Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park

Location – Gainesville
4732 Millhopper Rd, Gainesville, FL 32653

Costs:
Per Vehicle $4.00
Pedestrians/Bikes $2.00

Hours:
Wednesday through Sunday, 9am – 5pm

Unique Experience: Explore a historic sinkhole from the 1880’s with many legends about its name. Did the devil kidnap a Native American princess and create the sinkhole to trap her rescuers? Who Knows?

Must Experience: The new sinkhole boardwalk is finished! Descend down the sinkhole, notice the temperature change and the trickling waterfalls, listen to the sounds of nature.

Longleaf Pine Tree

Longleaf Pine

Bridge

Bridge

Trees and sky

Through The Trees

Books for Kids About Florida

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