Map of the magical Florida Road Trip. Photo: Google Maps
Florida is filled with so many wonderful fairytale-like places. From wolves and castles to shimmering emerald-green water and forests, Florida itself seems like it is seemingly straight out of a fairytale. Located right here in the Sunshine State we even have a few caves and singing towers. The entire Fairytale Road Trip in Florida will take just over 11 hours of drive-time to complete, but you’ll likely want to stop and explore as much as you can. This trip can be perfect for a weekend adventure with family members, a romantic partner or close friends.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land known as Florida, a magical road trip began with…
Seacrest Wolf Preserve, Chipley
We begin our magical journey with a trip to see the wolves at Seacrest Wolf Preserve in Chipley, FL. Founded by Cynthia and Wayne Watkins in 1999, Seacrest Wolf Preserve, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to wolf and wildlife conservation. The Preserve is home to 30 wolves, including the gray wolves, Arctic-type wolves, and British Columbian wolves. Visitors to the preserve will be able to get up close with these gentle giants and learn all about why it’s important to protect and preserve wildlife in Florida.
Visit the Seacrest Wolf Preserve website for more information.
Florida Caverns, Marianna
Florida Caverns State Park is home to rare plants and animals that thrive only within the natural communities found in the park boundaries. The inside looks like something out of a fairytale storybook. The special natural features of this park are related to the karst topography characteristic of the Marianna Lowlands. These features include sinkholes, deep and beautiful blue springs, cliffs, bluffs, outcroppings and a large assemblage of spectacularly decorated limestone caves.
Please visit the Florida Caverns State Park website to learn more about the caves.
Castle Otttis, St. Augustine
If we’re talking about fairytales, we have to include a visit to an actual castle on our list. Castle Otttis (yes, with three T’s) in St. Augustine is one of the few castles built within the state. The castle was built by Ottis Sadler and Rusty Ickes between 1984 and 1988. The castle was modeled after Irish castles from 1,000 years ago. The purpose of the construction of such a structure was to create a work of art, one that would invoke the spirit of an old Irish abbey or Christian church.
Please visit the official Castle Otttis website for more information.
Ravine Gardens State Park, Palatka
Next stop on our road trip is the Ravine Gardens in Palatka. In 1933, Palatka, like most other communities in the U.S., was amid the Great Depression. Local paving contractor, Thomas Byrd Gillespie recognized that tourism was becoming an important economic force in Florida Out of this observation, the concept of Ravine Gardens was formed. The gardens were officially opened on July 4, 1933. At the time over 270,000 plants were planted in the formal gardens and along the slopes of the ravines. Today the park is a combination of formal and natural gardens. Come get lost wandering the grounds for hours and make sure you visit the tropical garden that was once the site of ancient ravines.
Cypress Gardens, Winter Haven
This enchanting botanical garden in Winter Haven, Florida once hosted Southern belles in hoop skirts and water ski shows. It has been around since the 1930s. Cypress Gardens faced stiff competition from the big Disney theme parks though and other big-scale attractions, closing in 2003 as a result. In 2011, however, it became a part of Legoland. Please visit the Cypress gardens website to find out why you should visit this place.
Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Bok Tower and Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida is about as magical as you can get. Imagine seeing Rapunzel trapped up in the beautiful Bok Tower letting down her flowing hair. The 250-acre garden and the 205-foot tall Singing Towner are sure to make you feel like you are in a fairytale. Carillon bells will sound from the tower daily, which is a beautiful and unique experience. Learn more about the history of Bok Tower by visiting the Bok Tower Gardens website.
Weeki Wachee Springs, Spring Hill
Our last stop on our journey concludes in Spring Hill, Florida. Weeki Wachee Spring is an enchanted spring where you can see live mermaids, take a trip on a riverboat cruise, learn about Florida wildlife, and swim in the pristine waters at Buccaneer Bay. You can also embark on a paddling adventure down the pristine waterway of the Weeki Wachee River. Learn more and about its history at the Weeki Wachee Spring website.
Chris began his writing as a hobby while attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Today he and his wife live in the Orlando area with their three children and dog.