North Florida attractions tend to be on the smaller
side -- things you can do in an hour or two, maybe half a day. There are
two exceptions, but for the most part, kick back and relax - that's what
vacations are for, right? I'll start in the north with Jacksonville, and
then move southward through St. Augustine.
North Florida Attractions are best visited anytime but the heat of the summer
(except for the water park). June, July and August are hot, steamy and
crowded. On the other hand, outside of the hot summer months, the weather
is milder and the crowds fewer. So you can take your time with the
attractions, and not feel like you're in a herd.
(Before we start, here's a piece of trivia for you --
North Florida contains the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United
States - St. Augustine.)
Adventure Landing: This is an amusement complex in Jacksonville. There are actually two of
them, one out east, towards the beach, and one west of the river. A water
park (Jacksonville Beach only), miniature golf, laser tag, arcade,
rollercoaster simulator, go carts, etc. Haven't been there, but it strikes
me as being a better place for kids than a kids-and-grownups kind of place.
Still, some people are young at heart! Jacksonville Beach, FL (904)
246-4386. Jacksonville, FL (904) 771-2803
Alligator Farm and Zoological
Park: If you like humongous, come see Maximo! He's a crocodile over
15 feet long, and well over half a ton. And don't forget to see the albino
alligators - legend has it that gazing at one brings good luck. All kinds of
shows and exhibits. I really enjoyed my day at the Aliigator Farm -- I never knew how many kinds of alligators and crocodiles there were! But I do recommend something -- go to this attraction in the cooler months. The alligators don't use deodorant, if you know what I mean. St. Augustine, FL (904) 824-3337
Potter's Wax Museum: I
enjoyed this attraction. There are all kinds of wax figures (over 160 at
last count) -- some you can tell are wax, some you swear are people in a
costume being very still. It's a great place to spend a couple of hours on a
hot summer day. St. Augustine, FL (904) 829-9056
Ripley's Believe it or
Not! Museum: I really think that the name says it all! Still, I'd
recommend a visit -- there are all manner of weird and wonderful things in
the museum. St. Augustine, FL (904) 824-1606
Sightseeing Trains: The
way to see St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city. 80 points of interest on
7-mile tour with stop off and on privileges at attractions. Haven't done
this yet, keep meaning to -- looks like it might be a nice tour. St.
Augustine, FL 32084 (904) 829-6545
Fountain of Youth: Yes, the fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon was
searching for, all those many years ago. Is it really the one? You'll just
have to go and find out. This is definitely an "educational attraction", but
still worth seeing (feed the mind). St. Augustine, FL (904) 829-3168
Horse-drawn Carriages, St. Augustine: Take a 2-mile tour around old St. Augustine the old-fashioned way - in a horse-drawn carriage! No reservations that I could tell, but you can catch up with one on San Marco, just a little east of Castillo de San Marco (also known as "the Fort"). They aren't exactly cheap ($85 per buggy which seats roughtly 4), but they are a leisurely way to view the Old City.
Marineland of Florida: Is finally open again, after a long closing for renovations. Originally established in 1937, it's probably one of the oldest attractions in the state, so it was
about time for an update.
All kinds of new shows! Between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, FL (800) 824-4218