Robbie’s Marina is a don’t-miss stop as you drive through the Florida Keys. Dozens of tarpon, some more than 6 feet long, gather at the dock and lunge for fish from visitors. The restaurant there, the Hungry Tarpon, is highly recommended , too.
Destinations that capture that “only in Florida” flavor.
Coral Castle is a 100-year-old site made of 30-ton blocks of limestone somehow arranged by a lovesick eccentric into a Stonehenge-like work of art.
Like a lot of original Florida tourist attractions, it can be corny, playing up a mystical angle. But it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and is strange and wonderful in its own way.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is known for its iconic mermaid show and water park. The gorgeous spring-fed river is also a great place for kayak and SUP rentals, although the route from the park has been shortened.
The annual July 4 Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim is a happening not a race. Participants cross the 1.5-mile wide Peace River every which way — some kayak, some swim, some float. For Floridians, where July 4th is always hot and steamy, it seems like a perfect holiday tradition.
Robert Is Here, just outside Everglades National Park, is a must-stop for my family on the basis of its fresh-fruit milkshakes alone. But we also love the menangerie out back, the exotic tropical fruits there for the tasting and the overall ambiance.
The historic agricultural area surrounding the Homestead entrance to Everglades National Park offers so many cool experiences — a park where you can see and sample exotic fruits, a historic village of shops and restaurants, a local tropical-fruit winery and famous fruit milkshakes and cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon rolls and the fall season are both back; Knaus Berry Farms reopened Oct. 25. This 50-year-old institution south of Miami has generations of devoted fans. It’s a good stop for an Everglades trip or a day exploring the Redland.
Lakes Wales is blessed with the historic and grand Bok Tower Gardens, but there are other things to do, from funky ‘Spook Hill’ to a pretty pathway around the lake for biking or walking.
They don’t make movies like “African Queen” any more — and they don’t make boats like the African Queen either. If your dream was to sit where Humphrey Bogart or Katherine Hepburn sat in the classic 1951 movie, then head to Key Largo. Here are the details you need to plan a visit.
Stopping at Alabama Jack’s, a fish shack and dive bar on a remote road between Homestead and Key Largo, has been the classic way to start a Keys trip for decades. We revisited the open-air waterfront spot recently, and we’re happy to say: It’s as shabby and atmospheric as ever.
No Name Pub has been around since the 1930s, and it looks like it. It offers tasty food in a historic building, but what makes this the king of Funky Florida is the decor: $90,000 (some say) stapled to the walls and ceiling.
Florida’s wackiness goes back to its first settlers, and Koreshan State Historic Site celebrates one of our earliest eccentrics. Thanks to this cult leader, though, a lovely wooded site on the Estero River was preserved through the years for us to enjoy.
The beach town of Marco Island is all manicured and modern, but here are four adventures into the wild and authentic Florida that are within a quick drive. You can wade across a lagoon to a wild beach or have lunch in a funky fishing town or stroll on a boardwalk into a beautiful old growth cypress swamp.
Key West has a lot of off-beat charms, but one of my favorites has always been the chickens that you hear crowing and see strutting everywhere. But don’t feed them! It’s now against the law. Learn about the fascinating feral fowl that are part of Key West’s funky charm.
A Virginia Key kayak outing offers an amazing combo – views of the Miami skyline rising out of Biscayne Bay in one direction, mangrove lagoons with shore birds in the other. An extra treat: It’s the best way to see the old Miami Marine Stadium.
Boyett’s Citrus is a throwback to the Florida before Disney. It’s a mom-and-pop business, with mini-golf, an animal park. animated dinosaurs — and more. There’s no theme except “this might be fun.”