Five Weird Things to do in Northern/Central Florida

27 Mar

by Kristen

I didn’t visit Florida until I was 30-years old because I had assumed it was a culturally vapid place filled with strip malls and Mickey Mouses. Once I drove over the border, I discovered the problem had been me. Do a little research on that strip mall and discover J.C. Penney himself bought 150,000 acres in Northern Florida for what turned out to be a failed agricultural utopia. Look deeper into Mickey and learn of the creepy experimental Disney community (of 10,000 residents) that drops fake snow in December. This state is weird! Cultural? Questionable. But distinctly American? Whether you like it or not, yes. So check your Debbie Downer attitude at the Welcome Center (first exit off the highway, free OJ, go there), loosen up, and have some fun on the weirder side of the Sunshine State.

Ponce de Leon wants you younger, not hungry.

1. Go to a Natural Spring/Make your own Pancake Station – De Leon, FL

Florida is up to here in natural springs, so go to one claiming to be the real Fountain of Youth and offering a make-your-own-pancake station. Take a dip in some of the coldest water I have ever been in (second only to trying to swim in Maine at any time of the year), then warm up next to a griddle table and start pouring your pancakes. Why do these two things go together? Because it is how Ponce de Leon used to celebrate after a long day of conquesting. Well, probably.

Not Main & Wall St.

2. Visit the Psychic Capital of the World – Cassadaga, FL

Founded in 1875 when a medium from New York received a message from his Indian spirit guide, this town remains the psychic capitol of the world. Put on your ankle length skirt and dream catcher earrings to stroll the streets filled with palm readers and energy reorganizers. The town was featured in an X-Files episode and a Bright Eyes album, so whether you are a nerd or really depressed, you have to see this place for yourself.

Pirates, known for their land battles.

3. Pirate Reenactment- St. Augustine, FL

Once a year, seemingly normal people everywhere dress up in their pirate garb and take over St. Augustine. This town is worth visiting anyway because it is historic and beautiful, but your experience will be heightened if you get to watch battle reenactments (you know, that famous pirate battle you learned about in World History), drink weird cocktails out of steins, and shop at Thieves Market.

4. Pecan Park Flea & Farmers Market – Jacksonville, FL

There are tons of flea markets in Florida, but this one is the largest and has an adjoining RV campground and beer garden. Because of those last two things, it feels more like a gypsy village than a shopping venue. Enjoy the live music, local vegetables, and all sorts of odd booths and trinkets. Get a beer, eat a pickled pig’s foot, and look at some taxidermy.

O, Lando!

5. Get your Geek on – Orlando, FL

Don’t count Orlando out just because Disney and Sea World make you feel dirty and claustrophobic. Much like Las Vegas, this city hosts a lot of conventions and while I wouldn’t normally think that means a good time, in Orlando it can. You haven’t lived until you’ve been to a Star Wars convention and just this weekend the center is hosting MegaCon, a comic book, science fiction fest. Sure, the center also welcomes the Florida Association of Public Purchasing Officers, but it is still worth checking out the calendar of events.


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2 responses to “Five Weird Things to do in Northern/Central Florida

  1. easylifestyles

    March 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I love to travel and I really enjoy reading your blog very much. Thanks for sharing this post. Feel free to check out our website.

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  2. Mike roch

    April 9, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    This blog is great, but I still can’t tell if it’s pro Florida or not.
    Yes the welcome center is right when you get in florida. If you can find it amits the “we bare all” “fully nude” sighns and stripclubs littered across the state line, who know it could be only on the 75 side. Once found The actuall welcome center does have that get you all pumped up about the sunshine state attiude! Although for the sunshine state it always seems to be Fu(king raining! I would assume the visitor center has has to offer orange juice because floridas other major camoditie is illegal Spanish immigrants. (not Spanish like Spain. Spanish like riding crammed I’n the back a lo rider van and drinking a big gulp Spanish, or like driving a honda with a cd printed with your countries flag hanging from your rear view mirror Spanish.)
    So yes orange juice had to be the first choice. Florida offers that small cup of OJ to those vacation horny torrists as if they were wearing black Nikes and about to be led on a mystical path to happyniess. While the whole time not knowing if it’s really fresh squeezed or just made concentrate.


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