It seems that most tourists head out to the crowded, expensive theme parks or the fiercely hot beaches, but if you are looking for the beaten path when traveling to Florida, history and some of the more cultural offerings in Sunshine State is being considered. From northern Florida with the southern hospitality of Panhandle to the exciting cultural influence at the bottom of the state, a Florida vacation offers endless opportunities for unusual places to visit.
Every coast, actually from the Atlantic to the Pacific with the Gulf Coast included, exudes history that relates not only to America but also globally. From the keys to Tallahassee, the importance of the dynamic history of Florida and the history of the state is immediately apparent, and the locals hope to share its myriad cultural assets with you.
Where to go and what to do during your Florida vacation:
Tropical treasures in the keys
Key West, just off the coast of Florida and connected by a bridge, is a continuous sunny destination that has delighted everyone from President Harry Truman and Tennessee Williams to Ernest Hemingway and the US Navy. Famous author Hemingway, after a vacation to Florida, subsequently decided to live in Key West, and his home has now been transformed into a museum with descendants of his polydactyl cat, still roaming the grounds.
Near the ocean, locals and tourists alike can enjoy activities that include the blue waters of the ocean, including mountain ship and scuba diving after old sunken treasures. Many U.S. presidents, including Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt, bolstered local lore and Florida history by calling Key West home during the winter months at the southernmost house of the Grand Hotel and Museum.
Early industrialists in Fort Myers
Both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford decided to call Fort Myers home during the winter months after taking a vacation to Florida. Edison's home, called "Seminole Lodge," has been accurately refurbished to reflect the period of time it was built and lived in, and includes one of the first modern swimming pools in Florida's history and his laboratory, which he would have enjoyed it, remains a fine example of one of the best historical sites in Florida.
Located next to Edison & # 39; s graciously designed house is "Mangoes," Henry Ford & # 39; s recently renovated winter home. After a vacation to Florida, Ford decided Fort Myers would be better than the Michigan cold. A garage full of restored antique Ford cars rounds out the serene atmosphere. Both historic homes feature lush gardens along the Caloosahatchee River.
The contrasts of Palm Beach
From industrial influences to charming gardens, Palm Beach is a sunlit city of contrasts. Henry Flagler connected the cities of Florida after realizing that a sophisticated transportation system could help revitalize the state and bring more tourists to vacation in Florida. From the late 1880s, Flagler began to buy railways, combine routes and install several tracks up and down the coasts and eventually well in between. The Henry Flagler Museum, located in his magnificent winter home called "Whitehall," announces his achievements and his idea of bringing the first vacationers to the state for profit, a first in Florida's history.
The sweeping and serene Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens are located outside the city limits of Delray Beach, bringing Japan to Florida's coast. Exhibitions include galleries highlighting ancient and modern Japanese art and culture, tea ceremonies, festival celebrations, tasting events and special exhibitions in the garden. While on your Florida vacation, Morikami is a must see.
Family fun in sunny Sarasota
Sarasota is another hotspot for historic sites in Florida. The city has a detailed cultural history complete with Native American and Spanish influences. Historic Spanish Point, which highlights 5,000 years of Florida history, features prehistoric Indian mounds, living history appearances, archaeological tours, a butterfly garden and pioneer-era buildings. Cruises in historically inspired vessels sail Sarasota Bay for an entertaining finale to your Florida vacation.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Ringling Museum of the American Circus center around the home of the museum's name families, who designed their sprawling mansion to mimic European architecture, a fine example of one of the more detailed historical sites in Florida. About d & # 39; Zan, completed in 1926, saw the largest and most expensive parties of early 20th century Sarasota. The Ringling Art Museum exhibits both old and new American, European and Asian artworks. The circus museum, which was opened to the public in 1948 and has since become a popular stop during a vacation to Florida, has a large collection of handkerchiefs, posters, costumes and props from the early days of the circus. On the grounds is also a miniature circus constructed by Howard Tibbals, which was integrated into the design of the small circus set that is now part of Florida's history.
Military Origins in Pensacola
Home of the Blue Angels, Pensacola, a must see on a Florida vacation, is proud to be home to naval flying. More than 150 restored aircraft from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are on display at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, where visitors can experience the flight simulator or learn more about naval flight in Florida's history and the rest of the world in the Memorial Theater. In addition, the museum has an IMAX display, a tour of the restoration hangar, cockpit trainer and Blue Angels events on select days.
Nearby is the historic Fort Pickens, which was built in 1834 and used well into the 1940's. The fort, which was significant in Florida's history, had been influential during the Civil War, and in the mid-1880s, the famous Apache warrior, Geronimo, was captured in the fort where he became a sideshow for tourists on vacation in Florida. . A visitor center displays memorabilia, art and books that enhance the history of the fort.
Panhandle & # 39; s Gorgeous Golf
Surprisingly, Apalachicola, the secluded, charming Gulf Coast town mirrored in Florida's history, offers many opportunities for things to see and do. The Camp Gordon Johnston Museum provides a glimpse into the life of World War II soldiers and their intensive training. The camp opened in 1942, a permanent reminder of the military's influence on Florida's history, trained America's amphibious soldiers before going to war, and the remains of the training areas and camp are still surviving. Exhibitions include photographs, articles and knickknacks from the camp's heyday.
In the city center, the historic old district has over 900 buildings, constructed as far back as the early 19th century, listed on the National Register. Hiking offers visitors the opportunity to explore each location in depth and includes an old cotton warehouse, three parks and rows of living oaks and magnolias. A Visitor Center provides maps, ideas, and directions to experience Apalachicola's historic downtown while on your Florida vacation.
History from coast to coast
When on vacation in Florida, the Sunshine State offers much more than just beautiful beaches and warm weather. From coast to coast, Florida and the history of its people and culture still influence its community and lifestyle. Don't worry about the endless choices of where to go or what to do – if you're looking for history of any kind, Florida has it!