Stepping from my front door and greeted by the frigid 24 degree morning air, I began to dream of warmer weather. And since there is only one place that seems to have pretty consistent warm temperatures while the rest of the US experiences a cold chill, means I’m dreaming of the Panhandle State.
I blame my family’s inability to visit all 50 states due to the fact that we are continually lured to the same states time and time again. And the promise of warm weather while the sky is dumping inches of snow on Ohio, means Florida is one of those states.
But warm weather and sunshine isn’t the only temptation Florida offers. Watch out road trippers- Florida has its share of roadside attractions too. That’s right. Fun and quirky, out-of-the-ordinary attractions that are sure to leave a lasting impression.
There’s a reason that I detour and drive miles out of my way when on a road trip, though my family begs me to stay the course. Roadside attractions are often free, fun and memorable. After all, how many people can boast that they’ve seen the world’s ‘horniest cow in America’ (don’t flee from my blog, I promise, I’m not the one to pen that nickname), a radioactive water fountain or a she-urinal? I had no idea such things existed!
I don’t know about you, but as I imagine the conversations that could take place at my next family gathering after viewing those attractions, a visit to Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands is becoming more and more tempting. So if you love the fun and unusual, and find yourself dreaming of the warm Florida sun, here are a few attractions you may want to add to your short list; I’ve added them to mine and hopefully I’ll get to see them sooner, rather than later.
Fun & Quirky Attractions in Charlotte Harbor
Lulubelle– This 3-horned cow amazed visitors at the Babcock Ranch for 24 years. Tourists can view the stuffed head that peers out of a Dutch door.
Punta Gorda’s Radioactive Water Fountain– This artesian well has evolved from a wooden trough for horses and cattle in the 19th century, to a stucco “Fountain of Youth”, but don’t drink from the fountain, health official’s detected levels of Radon in the 80’s.
El Jobean Depot– The former winter home for circus and carnival performers that has been used as a restaurant, post office, train station, jail and grocery store. The museum is now a museum and café that hosts bluegrass events.
Rooster Statue in front of City Hall– After Hurricane Charley, a lone rooster was adopted by city employees who welcomed the bird to join the City Council meetings. Sadly, the rooster was run over by a car so the residents erected a small statue in front of City Hall in remembrance.
A “She Urinal” at Dairy Queen– While you’ll find Dairy Queen Locations throughout the world, the Port Charlotte restaurant boasts a ‘She-inal’, one of 700 sold to businesses in the 1990’s. Not popular with female patrons, the urinal can now be seen, but not used, at this location off I-75 at 99 Kings Hwy.
Watch the sun with a twist– Stop by Englewood Beach most Sundays and watch the sun set to the beat of percussion instruments. As the sun dips lower, the beat increases with a frenzy until the sun vanishes in the Gulf of Mexico.
Along with the fun and quirky attractions in Charlotte Harbor, this Southwest Florida locale dishes up gorgeous tropical weather, sandy Gulf beaches, and amazing local seafood. You’ll find many attractions that are fun for the entire family, making a trip to Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands a good choice for a family vacation.
Have you visited Charlotte Harbor or the Gulf Islands? Which quirky attraction would you want to see?
Thank you to Charlotte Harbor Travel for the inspiration for this post. No compensation was received for this post.
© 2014, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.