Step back in time at the House of Refuge at Gilbert’s Bar in Stuart. The House of Refuge is the only one remaining of the original 10 havens built for shipwrecked sailors along the Atlantic coast of Florida. These houses played a critical role when ships dominated the trade markets of the world. The House of Refuge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers fantastic scenery and photo opportunities.
A road trip for conservationists must definitely include the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a 20-mile stretch between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso. Best known for sea turtle conservation, this area is a natural habitat for 25 to 35 percent of all loggerhead and green sea turtle nests in the United States. It’s also a nesting area for leatherback turtles, a very rare kind of sea turtle.
Visit Titusville to explore the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, which displays a collection of aircraft carriers and artifacts of all types from around the world, from preWorld War I to the present.
Located in Volusia County’s Port Orange, Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens combines a history, nature and garden visit all rolled into one. The historic remains of the sugar cane refinery, leftover from the 1800s, is adorned with kitschy dinosaur statues throughout the park, ensuring fun for the entire family. The gardens are visually appealing, which is why many choose this site for marriage ceremonies. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it. Donations are accepted.
Take an inland trip to the Stetson Mansion in DeLand. This gorgeous Victorian mansion was the winter home of the famous milliner John B. Stetson and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour this spectacular home and note the intricate parquet floors and more than 10,000 sparkling leadglass windowpanes.
ABOVE: Aerial view of Fort Pierce. OPPOSITE: Tanger Outlets in Daytona Beach.