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Articles Tagged "Florida"

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Florida Architecture

If you're planning on buying a Florida home or upgrading to a different Florida property, you'll find that there are a lot of architectural styles to choose from. Our real estate agents understand that having so many options can feel overwhelming, especially if you aren't sure exactly what you're searching for in a home.

We recommend learning about the different architectural options so that you feel more comfortable when you're shopping for a home. Here are some of the most popular Florida home styles. 

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Florida is a magical state full of hidden gems the average visitor – or even resident, for that matter – knows exist. Everyone knows about Walt Disney World and the glistening sands of South Beach, but for every well-known destination in the Sunshine State there exists at least one under-the-radar spot worth visiting. Join us on this tour of some of the amazing hidden gems in Florida that you should absolutely check out.

Ravine Gardens State Park

There's no shortage of beauty on display at Palatka's Ravine Gardens State Park. The park's namesake ravines can be viewed from suspension bridges – a ripe opportunity for photos. And if you're visiting between December and March, you're in for a real treat: it's blooming season for the hundreds of azaleas, washing the gardens with a dazzling colorscape.

Florida Caverns State Park

Florida isn't exactly known for its caves. After all, most of the state is barely above sea level. And yet we have Florida Caverns State Park, a series of large, connected caverns beckoning visitors to explore. Take a guided tour to experience the chilly underground air, sounds of dripping water, jagged stalactites, and wildlife like bats in these otherworldly depths.

Bok Tower Gardens

Nestled among rolling hills of citrus stands Bok Tower Gardens, a true hidden gem in Central Florida. The titular Singing Tower looms over the gardens and houses one of the world's finest carillons, a percussion instrument consisting of 23 bronze bells in fixed suspension. Performances can be heard ringing throughout the garden daily, adding to the overall contemplative atmosphere.

Beyond the Singing Tower, the park is home to one of the state's most impressive landscape gardens. As you meander through the garden, you'll encounter acres of blooming foliage, lush ferns, palms, and oaks, and even natural Floridian wildlife like threatened gopher tortoises and endangered eastern indigo snakes.

Falling Waters State Park

Here's another one to file under "Things You Didn't Know Florida Had" – waterfalls! Sink Hole Trail leads through huge trees to Falling Waters Sink, a 100-foot-deep, 20-foot-wide cylindrical pit. A small stream drops water 70+ feet into the bottom of the sink, creating the picturesque waterfall. The park even has a bit of a spooky factor: no one truly knows where the water goes once it reaches the bottom of the sink.

Blowing Rocks Preserve

This peaceful barrier island sanctuary is home to the largest Anastasia limestone deposit on the Atlantic coast. High tides and storms cause the sea to fling itself against the rocks, forcing plumes of saltwater as high as 50 feet into the air. It's a sight unlike anything else.

Cedar Key

While the previous entries on this list have been parks and preserves, this entry is an entire city! Located just over an hour south of Gainesville, Cedar Key is a small island city in the Gulf of Mexico. The quaint and quiet town offers a refreshing break from city life both in its city-by-the-sea vibes and the amazing Cedar Key Museum State Park. As a vacation spot, it's under the radar but perfect for a quiet getaway.   

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Weeki Wachee Springs has something no other hidden gem in Florida does: live mermaids! These dazzling sisters of the sea perform classic shows and other underwater feats for captivated audiences each week (though attendance is limited during the pandemic).

Once you've seen the mermaids, enjoy a serene journey into nature with a kayak ride down the spring. Kids will love splashing in the waters of the onsite Buccaneer Bay waterpark, too!

Ocala National Forest

Ocala National Forest attracts plenty of visitors, but outside of locals, the park's praises aren't sung enough. Anything you want to do, you'll find space for it at Ocala National Forest. Go hiking across miles of trails. Kayak or swim in remarkably cool springs. Camp overnight under the twinkling stars. All your outdoors dreams converge here.


There's an interesting feeling of civic pride you feel when you discover a celebrity you know and love is from your hometown. But for every well-known celeb from the Sunshine State, there's another handful of famous people from Florida you didn't know were from here.

The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, & More | Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville may as well one of the capitals of Southern Rock given the number of legendary bands from the genre it's produced. Lynyrd Skynyrd of Freebird fame, The Allman Brothers Band, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, and .38 Special all hail from the Bold City. Rock bands continued to emerge from Jacksonville during the 90s and 2000s as well. You probably know Limp Bizkit hails from the First Coast, but so do Cold, Yellowcard, Evergreen Terrace, Shinedown, and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Maya Rudolph | Gainesville, FL

Gainesville was home to a famous rocker of its own (the late, great Tom Petty), but a well-known comedian also hails from Gator Country. Maya Rudolph was born in Gainesville in 1972. The famous actress was a prominent cast member on Saturday Night Live and has starred in several feature films, including Bridesmaids, Inherent Vice, and Big Hero 6.

Bob Ross | Daytona Beach, FL

America's favorite televised painter just so happens to be one of the most famous people from Daytona Beach, FL. That's right, Bob Ross was born in the city in 1942. He served 20 years in the Air Force before eventually becoming the honey-voiced master of zen with a paintbrush we all knew and loved.

Chipper Jones | DeLand, FL

The popular Atlanta Braves slugger hails from DeLand, FL. Chipper Jones also fits as a famous person from Daytona Beach, FL, too; he was raised in the Daytona Beach metro area. That being said, he got his start in baseball playing little league in the DeLand area.

Wayne Brady | Orlando, FL

Despite being born in Georgia, Wayne Brady is still one of the most famous people from Orlando, FL as he spent the majority of his young life in the Central Florida city. The likable improv comedian got his start with Orlando improv troupe SAK Comedy Club, where he developed skills that would catapult him into the national spotlight on TV shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

Mandy Moore | Longwood, FL

Mandy Moore is one of the few famous people from Longwood, FL. Her family moved there when she was two years old, and it's where she spent the majority of her formative years. Mandy Moore got her start as a singer with a handful of chart-topping hits to her name before taking on roles as an actor later in her career.

Kate Upton | Melbourne, FL

The eye-catching model moved to Melbourne, FL as a kid in 1999, where she attended Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy and even competed nationally as a young equestrian. She later built her career as a head-turning model and actress.

Jim Morrison | Melbourne, FL

Jim Morrison is, without question, one of the most famous people from Florida. Hailing from Melbourne, FL, Morrison made his name as the front man for rock band The Doors. His vocals, lyrics, and memorable live performances have left a lasting impression not just on his fans, but on the entire rock genre for decades after his untimely passing.


Strange Florida is the best Florida. We've already covered the bizarre world records held in the Sunshine State, but believe it or not, that's only scratching the surface of weirdness on display here. In fact, you can't drive far in this state without some new, eccentric oddity beckoning you off your route and entrancing you with its kooky vibes. Here are some of our favorite weird Florida roadside attractions.

Fountain of Youth| St. Augustine

We start with one of the most famous Florida oddities: the Fountain of Youth! You know the story: The waters spewing forth from this landmark are said to grant eternal youth to those who sip from it. Whether or not that's true (we lean towards no, but, hey, don't give up on your dreams), this archaeological park is home to several unique exhibits dedicated to topics ranging from blacksmithing to cannon firing. Or you can just go look at the peacocks.

Gatorland | Orlando

Florida is gator country. No matter where you go – hiking trails, fishing holes, possibly your swimming pool – you're bound to spot one of these scaly reptiles. You'll definitely spot more than a few if you happen upon the gator mecca known as Gatorland! The park bills itself as the Alligator Capitol of the World®, a claim that's hard to argue: dozens upon dozens of alligators, crocodiles, and even extremely rare white leucistic alligators call this park home. If that doesn't convince you of Gatorland's reputation, maybe the massive alligator head framing the park entrance will. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"]Florida roadside attractions Welcome to Gatorland![/caption]

Weeki Wachee | Spring Hill

Freshwater springs and Florida go together like alligators and Florida, so it makes sense that one of the state's kitschier attractions is in spring-turned-entertainment venue, Weeki Wachee State Park. More specifically, we're referring to the live, underwater mermaid performances held here. The world-famous mermaid performers put on a stunning rendition of The Little Mermaid (based on the original fairy tale, not the Disney movie) in the park's underwater auditorium.

Monument of States | Kissimmee

This Florida roadside attraction was originally created as a symbol of national unity after the attacks on Pearl Harbor during WWII. Eye-catching as it is meaningful, the Monument of States was built exclusively by volunteers using stones donated from across the world.

Big Daddy Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum | Ocala

Not many people know who Don Garlits or Dean Moon are or have heard of a "Swamp Rat" car. But if you're a drag racing junkie, you can't do much better than Big Daddy Don's museum. Take your time viewing nearly 300 cars between two buildings. And we mean take your time – the average tour takes two to three hours!

The Holy Land Experience | Orlando

If you've ever driven along I-4, chances are you've seen The Holy Land Experience towering over the tree line, inviting you with a heap of divine strangeness. In a city known worldwide for its theme park experiences, The Holy Land presents something a little…different. As you might have guessed, the experience here is very heavy on biblical tales and religious subject matter, so your enjoyment mileage will vary. But in terms of pure, unmissable kitsch, The Holy Land Experience ranks among the top of Florida roadside attractions.

Ruins of Bongo Land | Port Orange

If we didn't have you at "Bongo Land", this article may not be for you. But if you're still here, you are in for a treat. Bongo Land was a strange little theme park in the Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens from 1948-1952, and not much of it remains today. Except for a handful of the goofiest concrete dinosaur replicas you'll ever see. Sure, there's a human sundial and remnants of a 19th century sugar cane factory elsewhere in the gardens, but you need to see the googly-eyed dinos standing tall as the last vestige of a prehistoric era.

Official Skunk Ape Headquarters | Ochopee

For untold years, the legendary Skunk Ape has allegedly stalked the Florida Everglades, evading human contact at every turn. And for decades, the Official Skunk Ape Headquarters has doubled as an Everglades attraction and research center for a handful of folks dedicated to tracking the elusive beast down.

Goofy Golf | Panama City

Towering monkeys with frightening red eyes. A sphinx with a startled expression. An extremely ornate dragon. These colossal statues and more make up some of the obstacles blocking your colorful golf ball from 18 challenging holes at Goofy Golf in Panama City. It's campy, it's silly, and even the website is frozen in time in 1998. Goofy Golf is perfect.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Florida roadside attractions Goofy Golf[/caption]

Spook Hill | Lake Wales

At Spook Hill, strange forces manipulate your car, causing it to roll backwards…uphill. Or, it could be an optical illusion produced by the gravity hill which makes the slightly downward slope of Spook Hill appear to be an uphill slope. Whether you buy in to the lighthearted fun surrounding the legend of Spook Hill or not, this famed tourist attraction is free and a lot of fun to try out yourself.


Florida is a strange place. We say that with nothing but love, because we'd have it no other way. Maybe it's the blistering sun, or maybe it's the fact that we live with dinosaurs (hello, alligators). But whatever the reason, there's no denying that Florida is a little odd. So it makes sense that the folks from Guinness World Records have made a lot of trips to Florida to document many eccentric world record attempts. From watermelon-eating contests with hundreds of people to tattooed senior citizens, here are some of the most bizarre Guinness World Records set in Florida.

Longest Marathon Playing Badminton, Doubles

Back in 2014, four Tampa residents doubled up and played badminton for an exhausting 32 hours and 25 minutes to achieve this record. We're tired just thinking about it, honestly.

Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Scientists

More than 1,100 people slipped into their white lab coats in Kissimmee and set a world record (1,139 to be precise, because scientists like precise figures). It might make more sense when you consider this occurred at a science equipment distribution conference.

Longest Video Game Marathon on an MMORPG

If 32 hours playing badminton sounded like a lot, how about 32 hours playing a video game? That's how long Ian Haimes of Clearwater spent on World of Warcraft® during his record-breaking marathon session.

Largest Watermelon Eating Contest

259 people chowed down on watermelons in Safety Harbor last summer, making for the world's largest watermelon eating contest. It was for a good reason, too; the contest was part of Melons for Moolah, an event held to raise money for local charities.

Largest Collection of Flamingo-Related Items

We love our flamingos in Florida. But no one loves them more than Ocala resident Cindy Dunlow. She owns 793 flamingo-related items – although it's entirely possible that number has grown since she set the record in July 2016.

Most Claps in a Minute

Miami resident Seven Wade was only nine-years-old when he achieved the world record for most claps in a minute. In only 60 seconds, Seven managed to clap more times than we've probably clapped in our entire life: 1,080 times!

Most Tattooed Senior Citizens (Male & Female)

Melbourne is home to two record-holders: Chuck Helmke and his partner, Charlotte Guttenberg. Chuck's body is 97.5% covered by tattoos, while Charlotte edges him out slightly with 98.75% coverage.

Longest Scanned Document

During the 2008 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference in Orlando, a document stretching out to 3,875 feet was scanned on a Trüper 3600 scanner by Böwe Bell + Howell. The Trüper 3600 was not available for comment, though we're certain it was exhausted.

Fastest Mile Ran While Hula Hooping

We're definitely getting out in the weeds now. Thomas Gallant of St. Johns broke the world record for fastest mile ran while hula hooping by completing his mile in six minutes and 53 seconds. Very impressive considering we can't even hula hoop for 30 seconds standing still.

Most Cherry Stems Knotted in Three Minutes

Al Gliniecki of Gulf Breeze knows his way around a cherry stem. Using his tongue, he tied 39 cherry stems into knots in three minutes in 1999. And more recently, he set the record for most cherry stems tied in a minute with 14!

Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Ninja Turtles

First it was scientists, now it's people dressing as chemically altered reptiles who fight crime. In 2014, 1,394 people suited up as their favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® characters at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, setting a world record that likely won't be broken anytime soon.

Most Concrete Blocks Broken Consecutively While Holding a Raw Egg

In the ultimate display of martial arts mastery and delicate grip, Kevin Bergquist of Bradenton shattered 28 concrete blocks with his bare hand – without breaking the raw egg he clutched in his smashing hand. We're not sure how this idea came to be, but we love it.

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