- Historic Sites
Historic Florida Travel Guide
TORREYA STATE PARK
The park is the home to the Gregory House, a fully furnished antebellum plantation. Andrew Jackson’s armies crossed a river running through the park during the First Seminole War in 1818. The remains of a Confederate gun pit are visible.
AIR FORCE ARMAMENT MUSEUM
The museum features an extensive collection of planes and aerial weapons, including a WWII-era B-17 bomber. It also houses a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, first tested in 2003, which is often referred to as the “Mother of All Bombs” for its unrivaled explosive power.
FORT BARRANCAS & FORT PICKENS
During the Civil War, the Confederacy held Fort Barrancas while the Union held Fort Pickens. Well before that, the British and Spanish had built fortifications atop the bluff on which Fort Barrancas now sits. The postwar Fort Pickens held Geronimo, the Chiricahua Apache warrior who surrendered to the federal authorities in 1886.
(850) 455-5167, (850) 934-2600
HISTORIC PENSACOLA VILLAGE
The village includes the T. T. Wentworth, Jr., Florida State Museum, which covers nearly 450 years of history, while the Discovery Gallery inside the museum engages young visitors. The 8.5-acre village complex also contains the 1832 Old Christ Church, the 1871 Dorr House, and other museums, including the Pensacola Museum of Industry and the Pensacola Museum of Commerce.
NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM
The museum’s 300,000-square-foot building houses 150 Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aircraft, including a number of A-4F Skyhawk jets that served in Vietnam. The most visited museum in Florida also contains a flight simulator and an IMAX theatre.
Pensacola historical MUSEUM
The museum contains the Army/Navy Gallery, the Maritime Gallery, the Multicultural Gallery, the Native American Gallery, and the Forts/Civil War Gallery. An interactive touchscreen kiosk displays 18th-century maps and focuses on the 1781 Spanish siege of Pensacola, as well as the history of nearby Fort George.
Plaza ferdinand vii
The plaza, named for a colonial-era king of Spain and located near the Port of Pensacola, was the site of west Florida’s acquisition by the United States in 1821. Today a monument to Andrew Jackson, who accepted the territory from the Spanish, stands on the plaza grounds.
SANTA ROSA BEACH
wesley mansion and eden gardens state park
The 19th-century mansion contains an extensive assortment of original Louis XVI antiques, while the grounds feature the ornamental gardens once popular among wealthy Victorian-era elites.
Back to TopNorth Central
dudley farm historic state park
The living-history farm, located west of Gainesville in Newberry, is a plantation complex that consists of 18 buildings, including the house in which the Dudley family resided, complete with the original furniture. Living-history actors reenact the duties of the farmers who worked the fields between the 1850s and the 1940s, from cultivating crops to caring for livestock.
Goodwood Museum & Gardens
The museum, once one of the area’s finest antebellum plantation houses and later a stately late-19th-century residence, features some of the state’s earliest frescoed ceilings. The garden has been restored to its landscaping of the early 1900s.
Letchworth-Love Mounds State Park
The 46-foot-tall Letchworth-Love Mound, built between 100 and 900 C.E. by members of the Weedon Island Culture, is the tallest surviving Indian mound in Florida. Interpretive signs and guided tours lead visitors through the mound’s history. The park is in Monticello, to the east of Tallahassee.(850) 922-6007
mission san luis
San Luis is Florida’s only reconstructed colonial Spanish mission. Living history presentations and hands-on exhibits illustrate the strong influence of Spain on the state’s colonial history. A council house and periodic reenactments of native ball games bring Apalachee Indian culture alive.(850) 487-3711
museum of florida history
The museum analyzes and interprets the state’s history through portraits of Seminole Indians, World War II uniforms and weapons, and exhibits about the first Native American inhabitants of the Tallahassee region, Spanish shipwrecks, and the use of the steamboat as a 19th-century means of transportation.(850) 245-6400
natural bridge battlefield historic state park
Because of the Confederate soldiers’ courageous stand at Natural Bridge Battlefield in 1865, Tallahassee remained the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi that was never captured. Reenactors fight the battle on the first weekend in March.
Back to TopNortheast
Beaches Museum and History Center
The center contains a number of railroad buildings built when 19th-century oil tycoon and transportation pioneer Henry Flager ran the Florida East Coast railroad company, a steam locomotive dating from 1911, and the 1903 Pablo Beach post office. The museum contains traveling exhibits, an archives reading room, and the “Shore Stories” permanent exhibit, which explores the history of the six beach communities in the area. The museum is in Jacksonville Beach, east of Jacksonville.(904) 241-5657
FORT CAROLINE NATIONAL MEMORIAL
The French established their first permanent North American colony here in 1564 at St. Johns Bluff. A visitor center provides background about the Timucuan Indians who inhabited the area for 1,000 years before the arrival of the French, the religious persecution that led the French to consider establishing Fort Caroline as a retreat for Huguenots, and the Spanish onslaught that destroyed the settlement only a year after its founding.(904) 641-7155
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
On February 20, 1864, the rolling fields of Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park served as the site of Florida’s largest Civil War battle. Interpretive signs recount the battle, which resulted in a Confederate victory, and a monument pays tribute to the 2,807 casualties.(386) 758-0400
CASTILLO DE SAN MARCOS NATIONAL MONUMENT
Since 1672, the Castillo de San Marcos has guarded the northern gateway to St. Augustine along the Matanzas River; today it remains the only intact 17th-century fort left standing in the United States. Reenactors in dress dating from the colonial period and a museum help visitors learn about the Indians, African Americans, English, Spanish, and Americans who have interacted here over five centuries.
COLONIAL SPANISH QUARTER
The quarter offers a glimpse of St. Augustine when it was a remote Spanish outpost in the early 18th century. Costumed interpreters perform blacksmithing, carpentry, and other trades common in 1740. Also open is the Taberna del Gallo, a reconstructed tavern dating from the 1740s.
DOW MUSEUM OF HISTORIC HOMES
The nine houses in the museum, which date from 1790 to 1910 and include the William Dean Howells House, where the famous author and pioneer of literary realism lived in 1916, are accompanied by five exhibit galleries that delve into the local history of America’s oldest continuously occupied city.
FORT MATANZAS NATIONAL MONUMENT
The Spanish erected the fort on a small marsh island in the early 1740s to protect Matanzas Inlet, which offered a rear entrance to English and French warships wishing to attack St. Augustine. It is accessible today by guided boat tours.(904) 471-0116
GOVERNMENT HOUSE MUSEUM
First built in 1598 by the Spanish, the House served as the residence of several Spanish governors, then as a courthouse and post office under the U.S. government through the 19th century. Today it hosts a Florida history museum containing coins from shipwrecks, archaeological materials, and other exhibits depicting life in St. Augustine from the first settlement in 1565 through the colonial period and to the beginning of the 20th century.
OLDEST HOUSE MUSEUM COMPLEX
Built in St. Augustine between 1702 and 1705, the Gonzalez-Alvarez House is the oldest standing Spanish colonial residence in the state. The complex encompasses a fruit garden and five buildings including the Museum of Florida’s Military and the Manucy Museum, which features local Florida history, weapons, and genealogy. St. Augustine.
ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM
The 165-foot-tall lighthouse boasts beautiful views of the St. Augustine area, while the museum presents artifacts and exhibits on northeast Florida’s maritime history, including displays on the Coast Guard and shipwrecks.
Back to TopCentral West
CRYSTAL RIVER ARCHAEOLOGICAL STATE PARK
Anthropologists theorize that the park served 7,500 Native American visitors annually for 1,600 years before the first Europeans arrived. The complex contains burial mounds, temple mounds, and a plaza area. Stairs lead to the top of the largest mound for scenic views of the surrounding area.(352) 795-3817
Florida Holocaust Museum
The museum honors the millions of people who died in the Holocaust with a series of temporary exhibits and permanent displays, including a boxcar used by the Nazis to transport Jews to Polish concentration camps. The museum is in St. Petersburg, to the southwest of Tampa.(727) 820-0100
The village, located to the west of Tampa in Largo, offers hands-on demonstrations of activities such as blacksmithing and basket-weaving that bring 19th-century Pinellas County alive.(727) 582-2123
Tampa Bay History Center
Opening in December 2008, the center will feature displays covering the past 12,500 years of regional history, from the Native Americans who flourished here for thousands of years through the explorations of Europeans and beyond. An exhibit on the early cigar industry in the Tampa Bay region will showcase original advertising posters and cigar boxes.(813) 228-0097
Back to TopCentral
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
In 1835, Seminole warriors killed 105 U.S. soldiers on the park’s grounds, including Major Francis Dade, for whom Florida’s most populous county, Miami-Dade County, is named. The visitor center contains displays about the battle, which kicked off the bloody Second Seminole War. Battle reenactments occur every January.(352) 793-4781
Bok Tower and Gardens
The late 19th-century publisher Edward Bok, whose women’s magazines helped bridge the gender gap, commissioned architect Frederick Law Olmsted to design these gardens. Philadelphia architect Milton B. Medary designed and built the Gothic-inspired tower and bells.(863) 676-1408
Hannibal Square Heritage Center
The center, located to the north of Orlando in Winter Park, contains thousands of photographs and oral history accounts of the African American community of West Winter Park. Also on site are two art galleries, a digital photography studio, and the Family History Research Library.(407) 539-2680
Orange County Regional History Center
The center’s many exhibits look at Florida’s past, from Indian prehistory, through pioneer times and the turbulent Seminole Wars that rocked the state in the first half of the 19th century, to 20th-century history. Close by is the Orlando Fire Museum, featuring a number of antique fire engines.(407) 836-8500
Museum of Seminole County History
The museum’s 22 galleries draw from a large collection of artifacts, including photographs, documents, 19th- and 20th-century furniture, and the archaeological remains of Indian civilizations, to help illustrate the history of Seminole County, the longtime gateway to Florida.(407) 665-2489
Back to TopCentral East
Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science
Located in Cocoa near the Kennedy Space Center, the museum features exhibits and dioramas addressing subjects ranging from prehistory, including the nearby excavation of 6,000-year-old skeletons, to NASA’s exploration of space.(321) 632-1830
Kennedy Space Center
The center offers a glimpse into the history of America’s space program. Visitors can see—and sit in—replicas of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules in the Rocket Garden. A Saturn V rocket, the kind used to send 12 Apollo missions into space between 1967 and 1973, is also on display. There are guided tours out to the Mercury and Gemini launch sites from which America experienced some of its first successes in space.(321) 449-4444
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse
Built in 1887, the 175-foot lighthouse is the tallest in the state and contains a museum that explores Florida history, lighthouse life, and shipwrecks. The lighthouse is in Ponce Inlet, to the south of Daytona Beach.(361) 761-1821
Laura Riding Jackson Home
Poet and writer Laura Riding Jackson, whose life spanned most of the 20th century, lived primarily here in her east Florida home, which today serves as a museum of her life and times.(772) 569-6718
Back to TopSouthwest
BIG CYPRESS INDIAN RESERVATION
The museum, dedicated to preserving the traditions of the Seminole Indians of southwest Florida, contains exhibits in its main building as well as a living-history Indian village at the end of a scenic nature trail on the reservation.(877) 902-1113
De Soto National Memorial
The monument marks the probable spot where Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto landed in 1539. Nearby at Camp Utiza, a living-history site, visitors can watch reenactments of de Soto’s landing, as well as tour a Native American village.(941) 792-0458
SOUTH FLORIDA MUSEUM
The Museum’s dioramas include three-dimensional reproductions of Ice Age mammals, artifacts from the first Spanish explorers who brought the state’s native peoples in contact with Europeans, and a replica of a 16th-century Spanish chapel.(941) 746-4131
THE EDISON AND FORD WINTER ESTATES
Standing along with nine National Register Historic buildings on the grounds of the former winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford is a 15,000-square-foot museum with changing special exhibits, such as a display on Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1878.(239) 334-7419
COLLIER COUNTY MUSEUM
The museum’s extensive collection includes a 1910 Baldwin steam locomotive used in the cypress industry, Jazz Age swamp buggies unique to south-west Florida, and a WWII-era Sherman tank. Three historic structures are located on the grounds, including the field laboratory of pioneer environmentalist Frank C. Craighead, deemed the “scholar of the Everglades” by Governor Reubin Askew in 1976.
Back to TopSoutheast
AUDUBON HOUSE & TROPICAL GARDENS
During his 1832 visit to the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas, famed ornithologist John James Audubon lived in the house, walked its gardens, and produced 18 new drawings for his “Birds of America” folio. Visitors can wander the same pathways he did, as well as view the collection of 19th-century European antiques and 28 first-edition Audubon works.
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Ernest Hemingway finished the final draft of A Farewell to Arms and composed The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber during his eight-year stay in this Key West house. Visitors can tour his writing studio and the grounds.
The remote, Civil War-era island fort held prisoner Samuel A. Mudd, the doctor who provided medical treatment for Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Visitors can tour the fort, scuba dive, snorkel, and learn about the many shipwrecks in the surrounding area, including the 1622 wreck of vessels in a Spanish treasure fleet. The fort is on the Dry Tortugas, to the west of Key West.
Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum
Between 1946 and 1952, President Truman spent his winters at the Little White House, which has now become a museum with exhibits ranging from a look at the 1948 election to the state of the world at the close of the 1940s.
Cape Florida Lighthouse
The lighthouse overlooking Biscayne Bay was first built to a height of 65 feet in 1825. It was burned down during the 1836 Seminole War and rebuilt in 1856 to its present height of 95 feet. The lighthouse is in Key Biscayne, to the east of Miami.
Gold Coast Railroad Museum
The museum houses an extensive collection of train cars, including the “Ferdinand Magellan,” a Pullman railcar commissioned for use by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Agricultural industrialist James Deering built this Italianate mansion in 1916, living here during the winters until his death in 1925. Visitors can tour 34 decorated rooms with 15th–19th-century antiques and walk in the 10 acres of formal gardens. Vizcaya has hosted Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II of England, and the Summit of the Americas.
Henry M. Flagler Museum
The Whitehall Mansion, originally built in 1902 by Henry Flagler as a winter home, today serves as a museum that chronicles the life of the co-founder of Standard Oil. The 22 rooms that are open to the public are ornately decorated in the same Gilded Age style as when Flagler lived there. Docents lead daily tours through the first floor of the mansion, including the Grand Hall, which features a double staircase and paintings on the ceilings. The museum's collection includes the railway car in which the Flaglers traveled to the site every winter.
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
The 105-foot-tall lighthouse, which dates from 1860, now serves as a museum offering exhibits that deal with Florida pioneers, maritime history, and Native American culture. The lighthouse is in Jupiter, to the north of Palm Beach.