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Manatees, Rockets and Ghosts: Top 12 Unusual Things to Do in Florida

Are you looking for the most unique entertainment? An adventure that will blow your Instagram feed and make your friends jealous of your vacation? We've rounded up the top 12 vacation options in Florida that you won't soon forget.

Photo: IStock

1. Bioluminescent kayaking tours

Topping the list of unique things is bioluminescent kayaking tours. This night tour will take you to the famous Indian River Lagoon and watch the water glow with a vibrant blue-green glow. Remember the movie Avatar, where every time they take a step, the glowing plants light up? Well, it's the same, except you light it up with a splash of paddle. Here you can find both regular kayaks and family rafts and the exciting experience of bioluminescent kayaking. Tours depart every night throughout the year. In summer you will see luminous plankton, in winter - luminous ctenophores, writes B.K. Adventure.

2. Rocket launch

When SpaceX took over the launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center, it revitalized the Florida space industry. If you're traveling to the Orlando, Daytona Beach, or Cocoa Beach areas, it's worth checking the Space X launch schedule online to see if you can include it in your travel plans. There is nothing better than the roar of takeoff. One of the best places to view is the Canaveral National Seashore, which boasts miles of pristine beaches. If you get the chance to see a night launch, don't miss it - it's just amazing.

3. Snorkeling in the Devil's Lair

This prehistoric cave is part of Florida's magnificent spring system and is within walking distance of Ginny Springs, Silver Springs, and Manatee Springs. Free swimming is prohibited in the Devil's Lair, but snorkeling and snorkeling are allowed.

This unique spring cave is open daily and snorkeling equipment costs only $10 plus the cost of admission. There is a campsite on site, as well as many other camping options at other nearby springs. Remember, the water in the springs has a constant temperature of 72 degrees (+22 Celsius), so this is a great place to cool off in the summer in Florida.

4. Swimming with manatees

There are two places in Florida where you can swim with manatees. The most famous is on the Crystal River. There are many tour operators that organize manatee snorkeling tours throughout the year, but the best time to go is from January to March when the manatees enter the warm waters of the river. Another place to go snorkeling with manatees is near Blue Springs Park.

5. Dry Tortugas

This national treasure will require some advance planning, but it's well worth it. Dry Tortugas National Park is an old fortress in the Caribbean off the coast of Key West. You will need to take the morning boat to get there. Once on the island, you can enjoy snorkeling, exploring and relaxing on the beach on one of the most pristine and historic islands in the world.

6. Everglades Huts

Want to see how the natives of Florida lived some 500 years ago? Spend the night at the Everglades Huts. These thatched huts are designed for true adventurers as they are located in the heart of the Everglades. They are built by the local Mickosuki tribe, but are similar to those made by the Kalusa and Aiy, who also lived in the region in ancient times.

7. Florida Springs

The Florida mermaids were once a major tourist attraction at Weeki Wachee Springs in the 60s and 70s. A mermaid show was open at Weeki Wachee Springs until recently, but don't worry, you can still see real mermaids - manatees - most of the year. These are not the only places you should visit. There are too many to name them all, but Ginny Springs, Rainbow Springs, and Rock Springs are all great lakes. In the summer, Rock Springs has tubing where you can swim for hours in crystal clear waters.

8. Airboats

If airboats weren't invented in Louisiana, then they certainly were in Florida. With a huge river running through the center of the state, an airboat ride is a must-have adventure in Florida.

You can find airboat rides from the northern border near Jacksonville to the limits of southern Florida. This is a great way to see alligators, swamp snakes, and wading birds, as well as amazing native plants in Florida's waterways.

9. Haunted houses

You haven't seen the real Florida until you visit the oldest city in the US - St. Augustine. Founded by the Spanish after Juan Ponce de León discovered Florida in the 1500s, this charming old town boasts many haunted sites. If you want to stay overnight in a haunted house, try the Casa Blanca Inn. There are many haunted guesthouses in old St. Augustine, so take your pick. Be sure to check out one of the nightly ghost tours.

10. Nudist beach

Florida's state motto used to be "it's different here," and this is certainly noticeable on beaches 11-13 in Playa Linda on the Canaveral National Coast (near Titusville). This long stretch of beach is part of the national park system and the views from anywhere are magnificent. If you don't like nudists, don't worry, beaches 1-10 are great options for family holidays.

11. Monkey Jungle

The novelty of the "Monkey Jungle" is that people are "locked" in the paved paths while they watch the monkeys play in their free habitat. So it was conceived when an animal behaviorist brought a group of monkeys to the Everglades in Florida, but could not put them in a cage, writes Wander Wisdom.

12. Spiritualist Camp

In Cassadagh, Florida, you will find a real spiritualistic camp with classes, excursions and meetings with real mediums. The city is mostly built around spiritualism, and the city has bizarre signs and "ghost crossings". For the curious or those who see the high value of kitsch in it, a visit to Cassadaga can be very interesting. The city is close to the Orlando/Daytona Beach area, so it's easy to stay here for a more traditional vacation.

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