Historical Sites in Florida

Florida has a rich history of both Native American and European culture. Saint Augustine is the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States. The city is filled with Spanish architecture and important monuments and is a must-see for any history buff. Other historical sites in Florida include Native American sites, old military forts, beautiful lighthouses, and houses once belonging to important historical figures such as Ernest Hemingway and Zora Neale Hurston.

See Also: Historical Museums | Lighthouses

Caladesi Island State park is one of the few untouched islands along the Gulf Coast and it's only accessible by boat. Visitors can kayak through the bayside mangrove forest and walk along the beautiful shores of the beach. There's also a nature trail along the island where guests can see a multitude of animals in their natural habitats. Also on the island is the historic ruins of the Scharrer Homestead, once home to a family who lived in peace on the island. Myrtle Scharrer Betz, who lived in the home, called this place "paradise" in her memoirs. 

Visitors to this area can take a self-guided tour through the museum that houses displays from the mid 1800s when Florida hosted its first State Constitution Convention. The constitution became the Organic Law of Florida after four more constitution conventions and Florida was finally admitted to the Union as the 27th state. There are actual artifacts from this time period and an audio-animated mannequin demonstration of the debates and the process of drafting a state constitution. It's definitely a history lesson if you happen to stop by!

This National Historic Landmark is 61 acres of pre-Columbian, Native American lands with burial mounds, temple platform mounds, a plaza area, and a midden. For over 1,600 years, the site served as a ceremonial center for Native Americans and people traveled to the complex from great distances to bury their dead. It's estimated that 7,500 Native Americans may have visited the area every year. Aside from the history, this park is also great for bird watchers and fisherman. 

Listed as a historic place in Florida, visitors of this park can learn all about Florida farming from the 1850s to the mid 1940s through the generations of the Dudley family. The property consists of 18 buildings, including the farmhouse that still houses the original furniture, an 1880's kitchen outbuilding, a general store, post office, and a functional cane syrup complex. It's extra fun here since the park staff dress up in period clothing to go about their general chores, like raising the crops and tending to the livestock. If you've ever been curious to how a farm really worked more than one hundred years ago, this is a great throw back in time to check out. There are also some nature trails here that are perfect for hikers and gardens that are beautiful to enjoy when everything is blooming. 

Dudley Farm Historic State Park

Few people know that the prolific author, Jack Kerouac spent a short time living in the College Park region of Orlando when On The Road was published. It was here that he wrote Dharma Bums. The house is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it is home to the Kerouac Project, a program that offers residency to writers working on their own projects. The house is not available to tour due to the residency programs, but check out the website for special events that allow you access.

Perkins Block was a department store opened in 1890 with an opera house on the top floor. Today the opera house has been renovated and serves as a home for the performing arts in Monticello area.

The National Navy Seal Museum in Fort Pierce is the only museum in the United States that is dedicated to preserving the history and heroic attributes of the Navy SEALs. Starting with their creation to what they continue to do today, there is a vast amount of information to be learned through the artifacts and exhibits here. With old uniforms, both land and sea equipment, and hanging exhibits, this is a history lesson for those who love learning about the American military. Come check out where the Navy SEALs started and what they continue to do for the country. 

Navy Seal Museum

The Olympia Theater is Downtown Miami's Historic Performing Arts Center. It first opened in 1926 as a Mediterranean style silent movie palace.

The Sarasota Opera House opened in 1926 as a multi-purpose Mediterranean Revival style venue. It was purchased by the Sarasota Opera Company in 1979, and has been the home to their performances and many others ever since!

The Tampa Theatre is one of America's most elaborate movie palaces. It was built in 1926 featuring a romantic Mediterranean style so people could enjoy a beautiful environment while they watched the latest silent film. Today it is a not-for-profit foundation that hosts more than 600 events each year.

The Wells' Built Museum is located inside of the historic Wells' Built hotel, a hotel built by one of Orlando's first African-American doctors, William Monroe Wells in 1921. It was built to host black travelers who were not welcome in the segregated hotels in the area. Today it is a museum dedicated to African-American history in Central Florida.

Wells' Built Museum