Florida might seem like all it can offer is damn good citrus and damn good beaches, but boy, does this state have some surreal stuff to offer guests. Not only do we make all your dreams come true with the magic of our Disney parks, but we’re also full of mysterious and charming hidden gems.
The Bubble Room
This bizarre restaurant can be found on Captiva Island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Step into a (drug-fueled) dream where everything seems multicolored and embellished. Décor hangs on every inch of the wall: framed photos and wall art, Christmas lights, old toys. Enjoy dishes like Mango-Tango Chicken, Moon Over Miami, The Louis Armstrong, and the restaurant’s world-famous Bubble Bread. Make sure to catch the sunset on the beach before heading to dinner at this strange spot.
The Bubble Room, 15001 Captiva Drive, Captiva, FL, USA, +1 239 472 5558
Neptune Memorial Reef
The Neptune Memorial Reef is the largest man-made reef in the world and covers 16 acres of the ocean floor. Just east of Key Biscayne, this Atlantis-inspired reef is popular among scuba divers, marine biologists, students, and boaters – but its spiritual undertone means it’s also a popular place for families to send off the ashes of loved ones so that they can “create life after life.”
The Neptune Memorial Reef, Miami Beach Marina, Miami Beach, FL, USA, +1 954 655 3592
Coral Castle is actually much more than just a sculpture garden created by hand. It’s also a monument dedicated to the woman who Edward Leedskalnin (Coral Castle’s creator) loved. After she called off their wedding, one day before they were supposed to get married, Ed decided he was going to spend his time turning his hurt over the loss of the love of his life into something tangible, something beautiful. Coral Castle took Ed many years to build (1923–1951); to this day, many people wonder how a man so frail was able to move such heavy structures. It remains one of the greatest mysteries surrounding the sculpture garden.
Coral Castle, 28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, FL, USA, +1 305 248 6345
This crazy, funky, eclectic, and downright strange place is actually someone’s private home. Coined the “Bowling Ball House” for years, Whimzeyland is decked out in colored tiles, bowling balls, bottles, and other strange pieces of décor and embellishment. This is a really cool place to stop and take photos at, and the home feels like walking into someone’s imagination or a real-life storybook for a moment. Escape into colored glass, over 500 bowling balls, and all kinds of funky ornaments at this dreamlike spot.
Whimzeyland, 1206 3rd St, Safety Harbor, FL, USA, +1 727 725 4018
Salvador Dalí Museum
Fans of Salvador Dalí are in a for a real treat. This museum stands as an ode to the highly imaginative and talented surrealist painter and features several of Dalí’s paintings, photographs, prints, book illustrations, and 3D objects. Some popular paintings to look forward to seeing here include Apparatus and Hand, Disappearing Bust of Voltaire, and Puzzle of Autumn. The museum also offers other fun and interesting events like film screenings and yoga.
Salvador Dalí Museum, 1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL, USA, +1 727 823 3767
Visit the home, galleries, and workshop of renowned artist Howard Solomon at his odd castle near central Florida. The castle also has beautiful trails and paths where visitors can quietly stroll and head over to the Boat in the Moat restaurant. Solomon’s Castle places visitors out of reality and into the imagination of Howard Solomon, making for a wonderful time to spend with family and friends.
The Christmas Palace
A huge store that entirely dedicated to selling Christmas items all year long? Check, Florida has that, too. The Christmas Palace, located in Hialeah, is exactly what it sounds like: a haven for Christmas-lovers to come and buy beautiful ornaments, artificial trees, fake snow, home décor, and other goodies for the holidays. Even for those who don’t celebrate or aren’t fans of Christmas, just the sight of this winter wonderland smack in the middle of Miami is pretty darn magical.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Full of gorgeous trees and foliage, as well as serene and tranquil bodies of water and little fountains, this beautiful garden makes for a wonderful date spot for couples walking through. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens offers guests access to different exhibitions depending on the time of the year that they visit, but they all center on different interesting aspects of Japanese culture, like Japanese Art Deco, tattoo culture, and the art of creating bamboo baskets. There is also a tea room where guests can be a part of a traditional tea ceremony.
North Port Warm Mineral Springs
The North Port Warm Mineral Springs, a water-filled sinkhole that’s been around since 1977, keeps a warm temperature of approximately 85°F (30°C) all year long and contains 51 different minerals (contributing to one of the country’s highest mineral content springs). Come visit for some relaxation, not just a typical beach. Make sure to book the available spa services, like Swedish full body and hot stone massages, in advance – perfect for a lazy weekend afternoon.
St. Photios National Greek Orthodox Shrine
This shrine, coined “The Jewel of St. George Street,” was originally built by a Spanish family in 1749, and according to Atlas Obscura, “The reliquary contained bone fragments from 18 saints and was certified by the Vatican.” This beautiful spot in St. Augustine also features Byzantine art and gorgeous frescoes, as well as a garden for guests to enjoy.