Travel Guide to Florida - - CENTRAL EAST FLORIDA -

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 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.

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