Florida has 26 officially designated Florida Scenic Highways, which are scenic but also highlight Florida’s history, culture, archeology, natural resources, and archeology.
From coast to coast here are some can’t miss "roadside" attractions throughout the State
JACKSONVILLE: Whether you’re heading north or south through the great peninsula of Florida, make sure that Jacksonville is on your to-see list for its abundance of roadside stops and attractions. With many of these attractions being right off of Jacksonville’s major highways, it is easy to plan these unique stops for your next road trip. Memorial Park is a six-acre area of open space, perfect for a stop to stretch your legs. Memorial Park is known as “one of Jacksonville’s best-loved treasures,” and is enjoyed by members of the community. With an ideal location less than 10 minutes from highway I-95 and multiple restaurants within walking distance, there’s no place in Florida quite like Memorial Park.
Some of nature's top predators are in Jacksonville’s Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary located on the northside and 10 minutes from highway I-95. At the sanctuary visitors can view and learn about endangered big-cat species such as tigers, lions, pumas and leopards. These non-profit prides itself on providing animals with a safe and loving environment after rescuing them from serious and potentially dangerous situations.
TALLAHASSEE: The Bradfordville Blues Club is Florida's first listed site on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The experience is like no other, it combines a truly unique location and atmosphere with the best the Blues has to offer. The club is a historic, one-room cinder block "juke joint" showcasing an impressive list of nationally renowned Blues acts. The BBC features a different artist every Friday and Saturday evening, while Miss Ernestine fries up catfish for music-goers around the bonfire.
Bradley’s Country Store is family-owned store not to be missed. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the store has operated at the same location since 1927 and is famous for its homemade sausage and country milled grits, both of which are still made on-site.
Lofty Pursuits opened in 1993 is another favourite. Initially opened as a small skill toy store that has grown into an eclectic mix of Toy Store and games, meets soda fountain and home-made ice cream and candy shop, where the candy is skillfully made with Victorian machinery. Browse the collection of oddities on the shelves, have brunch and watch the festinating action of Victorian candy making.
SEBRING: You may know Sebring, Florida, for its half day race every year in March, but throughout the summer months, the area may be just the perfect pit stop. Just 60 miles south of Orlando, the cities of Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid, are home to a variety of activities, whether you have a need for speed or would rather take it slow. Try not to rush to your final destination during your vacation time—here are a few reasons to stop in Sebring.
The city’s most popular park, Highlands Hammock State Park, attracts visitors with its beautiful old-growth hammock and thousand-year-old oaks. It’s also one of the oldest parks and one of the highest-ranking parks for endemic, or native, biodiversity in Florida. Ride around the park to see birds, alligators, turtles and deer close up. You might even get lucky and spot a Florida black panther or black bear treading softly through the forest during your ride.
The town coins itself as the Caladium Capital of the World with 98% of the world’s caladium bulbs coming from the area. The fields in Lake Placid harvest and ship the plants all over the U.S. and outside the country to South Africa, Turkey, Pakistan and Europe. From June until the end of October you can catch the caladiums in full bloom and enjoy them in their full splendor. You can even attend the Caladium Festival held every July and tour several family farms with 1,500 acres of fields, which have been compared to the tulip fields in Holland
ADVENTURE COAST: No trip to Florida’s Adventure Coast would be complete without a trip to one of the most iconic attractions in Florida. Home to the world-famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has something for all ages. Weeki Wachee is an enchanted spring where you can see live mermaids, take a trip on a river boat cruise, learn about Florida wildlife, and swim in the pristine waters at Buccaneer Bay. 2022 the 75thanniversary of the opening of the famed attraction, with must see celebrations coming in 2022.
Florida’s Adventure Coast’s newest attraction is Lead Foot City. A short drive north of Tampa, Lead Foot City is the destination for all things automotive. Thrilling car enthusiasts with monthly super swaps and car shows, a burn-out pad, drift carts, and more, Lead Foot City is is the site for outdoor special events featuring vendors, demonstrations, classic cars, and top-rated entertainment, all with an automotive theme
NJoy Spirits Distillery is a family operated Florida craft spirits distiller in the heart of Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville-Weeki Wachee. Located deep within the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Preserve on an 80-acre farm, they grow their own Sugar Cane for their award-winning Mermaid Rum and Rye Grain for the award-winning Wild Buck Whiskey. In addition to crafting their spirits, Njoy Spirits offers an event venue for those looking to marry or celebrate in one of the most beautiful spots on Florida’s Adventure Coast.
DAYTONA BEACH: Daytona International Speedway, one of America’s most prestigious racetracks, hosts iconic events throughout the year such as the DAYTONA 500, the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, the DAYTONA Supercross or summer’s Coke Zero Sugar 400.The facility also offers daily track tours as well as a 2.5-hour VIP tour. Both tours take guests behind the scenes where they can discover what makes Daytona International Speedway the “World Center of Racing. “Following the tour, guests can view the winning DAYTONA 500 car and tour the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, which showcases spectacular displays honoring all forms of motorsports: stock cars, sports cars, open-wheel, motorcycles, drag racing, land speed records, powerboating, and aviation.
If visitors are looking for a high-speed experience of Daytona International Speedway, they can try their hand at the NASCAR Racing Experience on select dates of the year. Guests will strap into a stock car for a drive or ride experience around the track. The Speedway has a cool new neighbor –ONE DAYTONA. With a short walk across the pedestrian bridge or a drive across the boulevard, guests can step into a million square feet of world-class shops, restaurants, and hotel accommodations.
OCALA/MARION COUNTY: Road trips are all about iconic experiences, and what better choice is there than Florida’s very first tourist attraction? Silver Springs State Park, home to many Hollywood movies and offers kayak and canoe rentals. While you are there, you will also have to embark on their world-famous Glass-Bottom Boats, where you can gaze into the clear waters to see fish, turtles, manatees and more. There are easy hiking trails and lots of fun photo spots throughout the park to remember your day.
Another perfect addition to your Florida road trip is cruising through horse country, since Ocala/Marion County is famous as the Horse Capital of the World®. We highly recommend taking a tour of one of the many local horse farms. Take the long way to gaze over acres of rolling green hills and enjoy the regal beauty of the horses
Florida Black Bear National Scenic Byway State Road 40 turns into the Florida Black Bear National Scenic Byway once you enter the Ocala National Forest. The drive alone is worth the trip. Right off State Road 40, you can walk breathtaking trails or kayak the famous Juniper Run at Juniper Springs Recreation Area. Drive a little further down SR 40 and turn north onto State Road 19 (still part of the National Scenic Byway) to splash around in Silver Glen Springs or continue north to Salt Springs. Enjoy hiking, swimming, boating, trail riding and more in any of the three springs’ recreation areas in the Ocala National Forest
EXPERIENCE KISSIMMEE: Anyone embarking on a road trip and looking for quirky road-side attractions should include Kissimmee, specifically the Monument of States. One of Kissimmee's most recognizable landmarks, it was championed by Dr. Charles Bressler-Pettis, a retired doctor and president of the Kissimmee All-States Tourist Club, in 1941. In the wake of the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Bressler-Pettis began requesting for items from around the United States to create a symbol of solidarity.
Donations came in, and many governors, a prime minister, and a U.S President were among the contributors. Volunteers helped build and paint the monument, and their efforts resulted in a 50-foot, 100,000-pound structure made of rocks, fossils and plaques. Alaska and Hawaii were eventually added to the monument, plus one last addition years later: some of the remains of Bressler-Pettis inside the monument. If you find yourself visiting the Monument of States and have some time to explore, consider wandering around Historic Downtown Kissimmee for shopping, dining, admiring the local art scene and taking in some Florida nature.
The Sunshine State offers visitors an assortment of unparalleled culinary options. To learn more and plan your next trip, visit www.VISITFLORIDA.com.
About VISIT FLORIDA
VISIT FLORIDA is the Sunshine State’s official tourism marketing corporation and travel planning resource for visitors across the globe. As Florida’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming over 122 million visitors in 2021, an increase of 54 percent from 2020. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs, and serves more than 13,000 travel industry partners throughout the state. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA, follow @FloridaTourism on Facebook and Twitter, or go to visitflorida.org. For inspiration in the Sunshine State follow @VISITFLORIDA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.visitflorida.com. For media resources, visit www.visitfloridamedia.com.
About Vox International
VoX International is a Canadian-owned destination marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada with offices in Vancouver and Montreal, providing Canadian representation nationally. VoX is a full-service sales, marketing, event planning and public relations agency led by a team of high profile, knowledgeable travel industry executives. Recognized as a marketplace leader, VoX offers a wide range of support within the North American meeting, incentive, events, and hospitality and leisure tourism sectors. VoX’s passion for providing personal, innovative and results driven solutions are key factors for driving the company’s reputation for success.
Senior Public Relations Manager
VISIT FLORIDA – Canada
416-935-1896 ext. 242