Text and Featured Photo by Sherry Taylor, Discover Maps of Daytona and NSB
As the third most populous state in the country and second most touristed behind California, Florida gets a surprisingly kooky rap. Contrary to the sunshine state’s moniker and popular belief, mass heat stroke is not to blame. Weird stuff happens wherever people happen.
Florida’s population has skyrocketed 11 times over 1940 census numbers to 21.7 million people today. Florida Man routinely makes international headlines, Skunk Ape stalks southern swamplands and “weird” exchanges hands like currency in the outskirts of Florida’s panhandle.
Weird and Unusual Attractions in Florida and Volusia County
During the Flora-Bama Mullet Toss, event goers hurl fish over state lines into Alabama for $15 each! Occasionally, like the live mermaids in Weeki Wachee Springs who are Florida employees, weird gets funded at state level but there is plenty of fun weird stuff happening locally.
Some family friendly and unusual places worth checking out: Strickland RC Raceway in Daytona Beach is the largest radio controlled dirt oval race track in Florida. Strickland boasts an off-road course that is fun for kids but oval track time is reserved for sport among serious remote control drivers.
A formidable community of garden gnomes and other faded lawn ornaments are living their retirement days on the river, two blocks south of the boat ramp at Sunrise Park in Holly Hill. The Gnome Tree of Holly Hill (pictured above and featured image) is a city permitted attraction started by a local couple in 2003.
There is a Drive-in Christian Church in beachside Daytona where parishioners lay on Amens by car horn and the ruins of a 1950s dino-themed park called Bongoland can be found nestled in the foliage of Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens in Port Orange.
Ponce Inlet resident Carol Schrader, curates a private collection of 71 hand-painted birdhouses on her property at the corner of Inlet Harbor Road and South Peninsula Drive. Most birdhouses hang empty as native sea and wading birds do not fit. Carol jokes, “Nobody sticks around even though I’ve lowered the rent and offered free breakfast!”
Lastly, Peter Wolf Toth’s Roadside Art Gallery captures attention in Edgewater with towering Native American sculptures carved in wood and outcroppings of colorful artwork.
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For more info on day trips throughout Florida, visit our travel page here.