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From Tampa to Jacksonville: Quirky Tourist Attractions in Florida

Road tripping in Florida is an epic experience. Drifting down the road as the landscapes seamlessly change from lush Everglades to thick forest, and then to sandy coastlines is an unforgettable experience.

Another claim to fame for Florida is the fun and quirky people. Floridians move at their own pace and to the beat of their own drum. So it should come as a surprise to find that Florida has some strange and quirky sights to stop and see when road tripping.

A few of the most famous (and most bizarre) quirky attractions are located on the drive from Tampa Bay to Jacksonville.  Let us check them out. SO buckle up and lets look at one of the best places to visit in the United States.

Best Time to Road Trip Between Tampa and Jacksonville

The best time to visit Florida might change depending what you want out of your trip. For road tripping the best time is March – September. However, during the summer is one of state’s peak tourist seasons.

How Far is Tampa from Jacksonville

How far is Jacksonville from Tampa Florida? Well, it is not too far. Tampa is about two hours from Jacksonville by car.

However, there is a big difference between the two cities. Jacksonville is much larger and has more to offer in terms of amenities and entertainment. Tampa is a smaller city and is more focused on tourism. While Jacksonville may be the better choice for those looking for a more exciting and varied city experience, Tampa has its own charms.

The city is located on the Gulf of Mexico, but far away from all the best things to do in Galveston TX, and has beautiful beaches. You could even compare it to Tulum vs Cancun. It is also home to a number of popular tourist attractions, such as the Busch Gardens theme park.

Hindu Temple in Tampa

Our first quirky thing to see in Florida is just 10 miles north of Tampa. Check out of your tampa hotel and hit the road. As you, rush down the road admiring the flat landscape and thick vegetation slowly a shape forms on the horizon. As you get closer, you can see it is a pyramid getting larger and larger until you reach this Hindu temple. This temple is available for various public events, tourist, and is maintained by priests who still conducts services in Sanskrit.  The temple is beautifully out of place and worth a visit if you are in the area, especially if you’ve never visited a Hindu temple before.

jacksonville hindu temple

There are many Hindu temples in Jacksonville, and each one is beautiful in its own way. The Jacksonville Hindu Temple is no exception.

Located on the south side of town, the Jacksonville Hindu Temple is a place of worship and peace for all who enter. When you first walk in, you are greeted by a large statue of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is the Hindu god of new beginnings, and he is also known as the “remover of obstacles” (I wonder what he thinks of our quotes about new beginnings).

He is a very popular deity in Hinduism, and is worshipped by millions of Hindus all over the world. The Jacksonville Hindu Temple is a place of peace and beauty, and it is a place where you can feel the presence of the divine. If you are ever in the area, be sure to check it out!

Go Shopping at Hong Kong Wille’s

Who doesn’t like to appreciate art while on a road trip, as well as check out  quotes about the road? The best place on our route is Hong Kong Willie. This stop takes garbage art to a new level. This odd little shop is comprised of fishing related “junk” found in the ocean.  It has some crazy art pieces like a tree made out of fishing lines and water buoys. The quirkiness of Hong Kong Willie’s is a short and unforgettable stop on your way to Jacksonville.

The St. Johns River

The St. Johns River might not be as quirky as some of the other stops on the list; however, it is worth checking out. This river is the definition of massive. It is 310 miles long, 3 miles wide, and travels through 12 countries all of which makes it the longest river in Florida. It is separated by two massive basins that cover over 2,000 miles. The area is lush green and beautiful. However, the coolest thing about the river is because most of the water is sourced from the mountains it flows from North to South.

Jack Kerouac House

On the way to Jacksonville, there is a good chance that you will make a pit stop in Orlando. First, take a couple of fun filled days to explore the theme parks. I mean what is a visit to Florida without a day at Harry Potter World, a great place to Travel as a family.. After you are theme parked out, I suggest making a quick stop at the house of the famed American writer, Jack Kerouac. This legendary authors book On the Road which encompasses traveling America by car, played a huge role in my life as a traveler. Kerouac’s was one of the voices of the beat neck generation, and he shared a deep love of driving across America so making a pit stop at his house is only fitting.

Carmine Oddities Boutique

This odd little shop contains some truly quirky sites. You can see things like two headed mummies, crazy taxidermy, and other strange trinkets. This stop is not for everyone, but if you have a taste for the unusual, it is the perfect stop for you. Carmine Oddities Boutique is located in Orlando.

Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve

Our last stop is the Timucua environmental and historical preserve. This park covers thousands of acres of wetlands and coast just north of Jacksonville. This park is an ecological wonder, and it contains an incredible history. It is named after the Timucua that was a native people that lived in the area for thousands of years.  A couple of popular things to do in the park include walking the trails to see the cast variety of nature and ride horses on the beach. It is the perfect little day trip from your Jacksonville hotel, and a nice way to end this road trip.

The drive from Tampa Bay to Jacksonville is filled with beautiful scenery, fun adventures, and quirky sites. These are some of the craziest sites and Florida and stopping at any of them will make for a fun filled afternoon.

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