At Stuckey’s, we love road trips with plenty of quirky roadside attractions. Lucky for us, when it comes to weird roadside attractions, Florida abounds with plenty of places to scratch our itch for kitsch. So, pack your suitcases and bring plenty of our famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls, because we’re about to show you some of the quirkiest must-sees in Florida.
Skunk Ape Headquarters / 40904 Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, FL
In the wilds of the Florida Everglades lives a large, hairy, and elusive creature that walks upright on two legs and smells worse than rotten eggs. They call it the skunk ape because of its foul-smelling stench. Well, at least that’s what Dave Shealy calls it. You see, Dave is the foremost leading skunk-ape researcher in the world. In fact, Dave is the ONLY skunk-ape researcher in the world, and he’s been keeping track of skunk-ape sightings since he first saw one of the legendary creatures at 10 years old. Dave even got a picture of a skunk ape in 1997, after which he attempted to put together his own skunk-ape posse to hunt down the seven-foot-tall, 450-pound monster. It didn’t work, but he did (apparently) capture video of the skunk ape meandering around a swampy field on July 8, 2000.
Judge for yourself whether it’s true at Dave’s Skunk Ape Headquarters, where you’ll also see giant alligators (it IS Florida, after all) and a 350-pound python named Goldie — one of the largest captive snakes in the world. There’s also a gift shop where you can buy skunk-ape books and souvenirs, a wide variety of alligator products, and local native crafts as well. You can even stay overnight at their campground.
Headless Brontosaurus / County Road 476, Brooksville, Florida
When his wife died in 1964, August Herwede began the unusual hobby of building concrete animals on the land surrounding his Brooksville, FL, home. History doesn’t say whether he did it to honor his late wife … or if he did it after she died because she would never have allowed such a thing. Nevertheless, he built an elephant, a wooly mammoth, a couple of lions, and nearly thirty other creatures on his property.
It was his unusual hobby that would end up leading to his death, too, in 1967. Inspired by the Sinclair Dinoland exhibit at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, August thought it would be pretty cool to build a brontosaurus in his front yard. Unfortunately, one day when he was about two-thirds done with the behemoth creature, he accidentally fell off the scaffolding, breaking both his legs in the process. He died a couple of months later, never finishing the giant dinosaur. Soon after, all of August’s creations were sold off, leaving only his beloved, unfinished brontosaurus behind.
This quirky roadside attraction is still there, standing on Lake Lindsey Road (County Road 476) a little over a mile east of US Route 41.
Jake and Elwood Blues Statue / 20814 W Pennsylvania Ave, Dunnellon, Florida
Sometimes what makes something quirky is the fact that it’s so out of place — and yet looks so cool. Take two brothers from Chicago, Jake and Elwood Blues, the fictional characters in the movie Blues Brothers, starring John Belushi and Dan Akroyd. What is a statue of two guys, who should be singing the blues in Chicago’s blues bars and Holiday Inns, doing in front of the Two Rivers Inn in Dunnellon, FL?
Well, the owner of the Two Rivers Inn found the statue for sale in Georgia and thought it would be a pretty good way for guests to find the hotel faster than you can say, “Rubber Biscuit.” And it worked! It worked so well that he’s put up similar statues at other hotels he owns. The next time you’re in the area, whether you’re on a mission from God, or just a regular road trip around Florida, stop by for a selfie with the Blues Brothers.
If you like your seafood fresh, you won’t find it fresher than right here on the docks of Everglades City. Every day, dozens of fishermen bring in bushels of stone crabs straight from the Gulf of Mexico and onto the tables of the many casual, unassuming seafood restaurants that dot the streets of Everglades City. Sure, they send some of these delicious crustaceans, with their big meaty claws — still considered a delicacy even in these parts — to big-city restaurants in Miami and the like. But, unlike those big-city restaurants, the fun here lies in dining on the picturesque waterfront, cracking those claws open, and casually throwing the shells right back into the waters from where they came.
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp / 1112 Stevens St, Lake Helen, Florida
We’re adding this one here because we know that you’re looking for something a little spiritual on your next road trip adventure. How do we know that? Well, we know because we’ve been to Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp.
After working with several spirit guides and traveling through a variety of states, a trance medium from Pike, NY, by the name of George P. Colby ended up in Florida in 1875 on the advice of one of his spirit guides. In 1894 he opened the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. Eventually, the place became known for the number of psychics and mediums that frequented the camp, thus earning the moniker,“Psychic Capital of the World.”
Nowadays, nine principles of spirituality are taught at the camp that includes the Cassadaga Hotel, a central auditorium, The Colby Memorial Temple, a community library, the Caesar Forman Healing Center, a bookstore, a welcome center, and the Andrew Jackson Davis Educational building, which is used for musical performances and gatherings.
Weeki Wachee Spring State Park / 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, Florida
We’ve featured this in a full-length article of its own, but a list of quirky and nostalgic things to see in Florida would not be complete without mentioning this enchanting world of mermaids.
After former World War II Navy frogman Newton Perry cleaned all of the rusted refrigerators and automobiles out of his newly purchased Weeki Wachee Springs, he hired some ladies who could swim well, asked them to don mermaid costumes, and opened Weeki Wachee’s mermaid show in 1946.
Today, the mermaids are still the main attraction, but the park has expanded to include river boat cruises, wildlife talks, and swimming at Buccaneer Bay Water Park. You can also paddle your way down the Weeki Wachee River.
Florida’s full of the kitschy stuff that we love about road trips. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know, and we’ll add them to our next random list of quirky places to see in Florida.
Until then, don’t forget to also add a few stops at one of the Florida Stuckey’s locations to your next Florida road-trip itinerary. Be sure to pick up a few of our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls and other road trip snacks, including our delicious flavored pecans and mouthwatering popcorn treats.
By the way, we all know that Mom introduced us to the family road trip in her trusty station wagon back in the day, so why not thank her with one of the best Mother’s Day gifts ever — the Stuckey’s Mama’s Day Gift Box? Each box comes with all of those things your mama loves almost as much as you:
- Three 2-oz. Pecan Log Rolls
- One 8-oz. Caramel Popcorn
- One 6-oz. Pecan Log Roll
- One 8-oz. Pecan Divinity Tub
- One 9-oz. Pecan Halves
- One 4-oz. T&S Pecans
- One Candy Shop Coffee Mug
- One Recipe Card
Visit stuckeys.com for more info.
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!