Florida’s reputation as a destination for breathtakingly beautiful beaches and thrilling amusement parks is widely known. Yet, there are an abundance of lesser-known activities to discover in the Sunshine State that will surprise you.
The empty halls of buildings, silent neighborhoods, and abandoned hotels and resorts, along with their ancient ruins and mysterious artifacts, to spark a surreal & breath taking experience.
Florida’s charming beach towns are the domain of sun-worshipping beachgoers, while the old, creaky buildings and churches are surrounded with spine-tingling tales of creepy crawlies and restless spirits.
While Honeymoon Island, Siesta Key, South Beach, and Palm Beach may be known for their romantic allure, a trip to The Neff House or Glades Correctional Institute promises to be an extraordinary and unforgettable experience that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
In these abandoned homes and ruins, you can not only feel the goosebumps rise on your skin, but also taste the rich history that surrounds them.
So let me introduce you to the most desolate and abandoned corners of Florida with list of 15 Insane Abandoned Places In Florida You Must Visit!
15 Insane Abandoned Places In Florida
1) Bongoland Ruins (Port Orange, Florida)
Location: 950 Old Sugar Mill Rd, Port Orange, FL 32129, United States
When you take a walk through the serene Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens, keep your eyes peeled for some fascinating sights – like a prehistoric sloth hiding amidst the trees or a T-Rex with a bit of a wonky grin. These remnants are all that remain of Bongoland, a peculiar and fleeting amusement park.
The gardens are open every day from 8 in the morning until 5 in the evening, and a donation of just $1 is appreciated to help maintain the park.
Plus, both parking and entry to the park are completely free! Be sure to grab a map when you arrive so you don’t miss a single dinosaur on your stroll through this remarkable oasis.
2) Annie Lytle Elementary School, Jacksonville
Location: Jacksonville, FL 32204, United States
With a history spanning different names and epochs, the school now stands as one of the most desolate places in the Sunshine State.
It met its unfortunate closing in 1960 after a fire breakout inside this building in year 1995, with the classrooms and cafeteria bearing the brunt of the damage.
Today, the once-bustling halls of Annie Lytle Elementary School has graffiti garbage covered halls. The absence of an auditorium ceiling only adds to the ominous atmosphere, and the place is notorious for spooky horror stories.
But a word to the wise: never venture into the premises uninvited, lest you risk being taken to jail.
3) Upper Sugarloaf Key
Location: Above Saddlebunch Keys in the Lower Keys and below Cudjoe Key
Deep in the wilds, surrounded by trees and marshes, lies Upper Sugarloaf – the most deserted house in the Florida Keys. Here, you can uncover remnants of Caloosa, an ancient civilization.
Beside the house, you can see 2-4 feet tall stone piles that the tribes created for ceremonial purposes. The artifacts of shells present there are very recent.
Unfortunately, this place is off-limits to the public nowadays,in other words-closed now, but you can still hike to the rocky mounds or ridges to catch a glimpse of this abandoned spot.
4) Splendid China
Location: Four Corners, Florida, United States
Once a vibrant attraction featuring over 60 miniature replicas of famous Chinese locations, the Splendid China theme park now lies in ruins, abandoned since its closure in 2003.
The theme park, which opened in 1993 as a replica of the Splendid China theme park in Shenzen, China, was owned by an agency of the Chinese government, leading many locals to criticize it as propaganda due to its portrayal of Tibetan and Mongolian structures.
The park faced repeated protests and even a campaign to ban school field trips to the park.
The park also faced challenges with its performers. In 2018, the park was demolished and replaced with a housing development. Today, the site has been transformed into the Margaritaville Resort Orlando. Finally, the Splendid china that opened in 1993 closed on December 31, 2003 forever.
5) Aerojet- Dade Rocket Facility
Location: Aerojet Dade Rocket Facility – Homestead, Florida – Atlas Obscura
Back in 1963, the U.S. Air Force offered Aerojet General a $3 million contract to send astronauts to the moon, aiming to beat the competition in spaceflight. Aerojet, a missile propulsion manufacturer, acquired land at the entrance of Everglades National Park to build a rocket.
In 1967, they conducted the final test firing, resulting in the creation of the largest solid-fuel rocket ever fired, with an impressive 6 million pounds of thrust.
Unfortunately, NASA decided to go with Aerojet’s competitor, leaving the workers jobless and the site abandoned. Today, it stands as a testament to the archaeology of space, a reminder of how the space race once dominated American innovation and technology.
If you’re interested in exploring abandoned places in South Florida, this is one location that should not be missed.
6) Old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge
Location: Big Pine Key, FL 33043, USA
Taking a walk across the Old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge is an invigorating experience, offering breathtaking vistas of the ocean and sky.
The single-track bridge was originally built in 1905 by Henry Flagler and later carried out by Joseph C. Meredith and William J. Krome. Bahia Honda Bridge was constructed with a steel truss to support 24 feet of the Big Spanish Channel. It was the primary mode of transportation to the Lower Keys.
If you are looking for abandoned places in Florida, Old Bahia bridge trail is a great option where you can enjoy hammock swings under the canopy of large sea grapes or enjoy gentle air.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma destroyed the bridge, leaving only the ruins behind. A new four-lane bridge was built in the 1980s, rendering the original railroad bridge as a desolate structure. Nonetheless, you can come here to appreciate a stunning panoramic view of the area.
7) Howey Mansion, North Citrus Avenue
Location: 1001 Citrus Ave, Howey-In-The-Hills, FL 34737, United States
The Howey Mansion, also known as “The Florida Alps”, “Howey-in-the-Hills”, or the “Floridian Hotel”, has undergone renovations.
Ernest Hemingway admired this mansion by quoting, “The rich are different”. Now, the mansion is now one of Florida’s many abandoned homes.
Despite not being a well-known destination, the Howey Mansion has a captivating history that allows visitors to experience the past firsthand.
William John Howey hired architect Katharine Cotheal Budd from New York to design the mansion, which covers 7,200 square feet. Though Howey passed away in 1938, his wife continued to live in the mansion until 1981. In 1983, the Howey Mansion was registered as a National Historic Place.
The following year, Marvel Zona purchased the mansion, but she was given bad advice by her financial advisor and was unable to repay the mortgage. She eventually had to vacate the property, which remained abandoned until a Dallas-based mortgage company took ownership in 2015.
The mansion boasts 20 rooms with beautiful arched doorways surmounted by fanlight screens and ornamental designs. The mansion also features stunning multi-colored stained glass with intricate peacock feather designs, as well as stained glass outlining the doors.
It’s a must-see for anyone looking to marvel at beautiful architecture and rich history.
8) Hopewell, Hillsborough County
Location: Hillsborough County
Hopewell was an area for Tuner Plantation during the 1800s and was home to slaves, although its history in pre-Civil War plantation involvement is not well-known.
The community was called Callsville in the 1870s but later renamed Hopewell by J.R. McDonald, who hailed from Alabama.
In 1903, the plantation was divided into small homesteads, with McDonald hauling merchandise from Tampa and working with pioneer citrus growers who had groves.
He constructed one of the finest vernacular houses in 1903 and donated land for constructing a church and cemetery. However, today, it’s an infamous abandoned ghost town in Florida.
Nevertheless, the town has a few more abandoned buildings and treasures that offer a thrilling experience.
You will love the history, my friend! The Hull House, one of the oldest buildings, is now covered with vines and trees, creating a spooky atmosphere that is sure to give you the chills.
9) The Miami Marine Stadium, Miami
Location: On Virginia Key, Miami
The Miami Marine Stadium was built back in 1963 on Virginia Key as one of the earliest stadiums in the USA intended for powerboat racing, water sports, and concerts.
It was designed by a 27-year-old architect named Hilario Candela who was born in Cuba, and is considered one of his best works of public architecture. The stadium roof was an impressive 326-foot-long plate with seating for 6,566 people.
Although it’s now one of the creepiest spots in Florida, no one in history had ever designed something like this before.
Sadly, the stadium was closed in 1992 due to environmental damage, extensive graffiti, political pressure, new restrictions, and rising competition.
Today, it is merely a memory of the ESPN All-American Challenge Series, Bill Muncey Invitational, Performance Craft and other events that once took place there.
Hurricane Andrew caused a foundation crack, which led to the complete shutdown of the stadium. It is now included in the list of Most Endangered Historic Places.
10) Cape Romano Dome House, Marco Island
Location: On the Gulf Coast of the United States, south of Naples in Collier County
Have you ever laid eyes on igloo-like houses floating 300 feet away from the shore? The Cape Romano Domes is an exceptional piece of modern architecture that can only be reached by water. These dome-shaped homes were built back in 1981.
Bob Lee’s visionary beach home, complete with self-sustaining and solar-powered designs, is a marvel of modern architecture. But sadly, due to Hurricane Lan, it failed. These bubble homes smashed down and rendering them uninhabitable ruins.
Cape Romano Domes, a series of six interconnecting homes spanning 2,400 square feet, is now an abandoned site in Florida, offering a real-life sci-fi experience. It’s an intriguing place to explore and ponder the untold stories of every home.
Though it’s a pity that there are no plans by the authorities to renovate or repurpose the homes, it’s still worth visiting to take in the breathtaking Stonehenge-like structures that adorn South Florida’s shoreline.
Visit to this place will always remind you about how everything (including homes)around has some unheard stories left to listen.
11) The Devil’s Chair, Cassadaga
Come and check out the large brick barbeque pit by Lake Helen – Cassadaga Cemetery, where you can try communicating with the Devil or hear his voice. And, don’t forget to bring a beer for the beast.
According to local legends, sitting on the “Devil’s chair” at midnight could result in the Devil himself communicating with you. Some even claim that if you leave a can of beer, it will be empty by the next morning.
While many visitors have reported hearing voices, the voices reportedly stop once they stand up from the chair. How strange!
Cassadaga is also known as “The Psychic Center of the World” and is home to many spiritualists. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the spooky tales surrounding this haunted place in Florida are sure to give you goosebumps.
Are you brave enough to take a seat on the infamous spine chilling chair?
12) Fort Pickens, Gulf National Seashore
Back in the 1800s, Fort Pickens was built as a military fort by French engineer Simon Bernard to protect Pensacola from invaders.
The fort has a complex with five structures guarding the coast, with canons aimed to protect the eastern landward side and its counterparts.
In the 1830s, Apache chief Geronimo and his warriors were kept imprisoned in this spooky place, and it’s believed that their spirits still linger there.
Fort Pickens is not a place for the faint-hearted, but it offers a spine-tingling experience for thrill-seekers.
Visitors have reported seeing strange lights, hearing footsteps, and witnessing the ghosts of soldiers, among other spooky occurrences.
For those interested in history, Fort Pickens offers a glimpse into the past, with its 21.5 million bricks telling a story that can only be found in history books.
Moreover, the fort is located along the 1,000 mile-long Florida National Scenic Trail, making it a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts.
13) The Colony Plaza Hotel, Orlando
Please note: The Colony Plaza Hotel was demolished on May 9th, 2009. However, if you’re interested in spooky photography, you’re wholeheartedly welcome to visit the spot.
Back in 1968, the Colony Plaza Hotel was built, providing a luxurious stay for Disney employees. With amenities like a swimming pool, lounge, and tennis court, the hotel quickly became a favorite among Disney officials.
In fact, it was the first hotel in Orlando to receive a liquor license for serving on Sundays!
Before the opening of Walt Disney World, the hotel gained much fame and attention from the press. However, 15 years before its demolition, the State declared the fire sprinkler system unstable, causing the hotel to close its doors.
Over time, the hotel was overtaken by plants, transforming the once-clean pool into a swampy home for algae and birds.
The poolside bar decayed into a rusted skeleton, with broken chairs and creepy graffiti adorning the walls.
Today, The Colony Plaza remains one of the most abandoned places in Florida.
14) Greenwood Cemetery, Orlando
Location: 1603 Greenwood Street, Orlando, Florida 32801
Note: You can join a free 4-mile walking tour under the moonlight to explore Greenwood Cemetery, which is a combination of natural beauty, rich history, and spine chilling atmosphere.
Established in the 1880s, Greenwood Cemetery has a significant number of graves, which might explain the numerous ghost stories associated with the place.
Visitors have reported seeing ghostly children running and laughing around tombstones, only to disappear moments later.
Legend has it that not all souls are at rest in this cemetery!
The cemetery’s ambiance is set by massive oak trees, Spanish moss hanging from the Cypress trees, and the nearby Greenwood Urban Wetlands, all of which contribute to making Greenwood Cemetery one of the most haunted places in Florida.
Locals claim to have heard phantom melodies, smelled mysterious fragrances, and seen floating apparitions and Fred Week’s mausoleum.
Visiting Greenwood Cemetery is a unique way to connect with the past, witness the overgrowing crypts, and immerse oneself in the peaceful surroundings.
15) Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, Marianna
The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, previously known as the Florida State Reform School, has a dark history that still haunts the area to this day.
Established in 1897, it was renamed in 1957, but reports of cruel and inhumane treatment of the young students started surfacing as early as 1903.
Boys were restrained with iron rods and subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Some were tortured and killed, and even after six deaths, the school continued to operate with little change. In 2013, 55 bodies were discovered on the premises, leading to the school’s closure.
Locals have reported strange occurrences such as hearing cries for help and seeing blood on the walls, and a strong smell of urine and whiskey.
After Hurricane Michael, the abandoned Arthur G. Dozier School stands as a chilling reminder of the past.
You may not have thought of abandoned places in Florida as being romantic, but I’m here to tell you that it’s time to turn that idea on its head. Let’s add some spooktacular to your romantic adventures!
The old mansions and buildings that dot the Florida landscape have a certain magnetism that’s hard to resist. As you explore the state, you’ll come across plenty of these fascinating places.
And let me tell you, the beauty, mystery, and uniqueness of these spots is nothing short of breathtaking. There’s an eerie feeling that’s hard to put into words, but it’s an experience that you simply must have before it’s gone. Believe me, it’s worth it!