Florida is a densely populated state in the Southeastern region of the United States.
Even though it’s only the 22nd-largest state, it’s the 3rd-most populated with a population of over 21 million inhabitants.
This is because it features multiple metropolitan areas with over 1 million inhabitants, including Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and Miami.
Regardless, the state features the largest tropical wilderness in the United States, the Everglades, which is home to a large number of wild animals.
The southern part of the state has a tropical climate, the only in the country apart from Hawaii which is located far away in the Pacific Ocean.
The “Sunshine State” features some amazing feats of architecture, so let’s check out some of the most famous buildings in Florida.
1. Vizcaya Museum
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is the current name of one of the most famous buildings in Florida that was originally referred to as “Villa Vizcaya.”
The mansion is located on a lagoon called “Biscayne Bay” which is situated in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami. It covers an area of 43 acres (17 hectares) and features an opulent mansion and Italian Renaissance-style gardens.
The Renaissance building was inspired by the villas in the Tuscany region of central Italy, the north place of the Renaissance. It was commissioned by businessman James Deering (1859-1925) completed between 1914 and 1923.
Today, the mansion and its magnificent gardens are open to the public. The museum is owned and operated by Miami-Dade County and can easily be accessed via the Vizcaya Station just north of it.
Official website: Vizcaya
2. Walt Disney World
One of the largest theme park complexes in the United States can be found in the heart of Florida near the cities of Kissimmee and Orlando.
Walt Disney World originally opened in 1971, 16 years after the opening of the original version in Anaheim, California. The original park to open in this amazing entertainment complex was the “Magic Kingdom.”
This was followed by a large number of additional parks and entertainment facilities including 3 other theme parks, 2 water parks, over two dozen themed resorts, and even several golf courses.
This has resulted in Walt Disney World becoming one of the most famous theme parks in the world, and the version that is located in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista is one of the most-visited attractions in the United States.
Official website: Disney World Orlando
3. Sunshine Skyway Bridge
If you’re into technology and engineering miracles, then the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is one of the most amazing buildings in Florida.
This enormous cable-stayed bridge has a total length of 6.7 kilometers (4.14 miles) and spans Lower Tampa Bay.
It connects the cities of St. Petersburg with the community of Terra Ceia, just southwest of the large city of Tampa, Florida.
This magnificent bridge was built to replace an older version of the bridge that was completed in 1954, but which suffered two maritime disasters within a few months in the early 1980s.
The current bridge was completed between 1982 and 1987 and was officially renamed the “Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge” after the former Governor of Florida.
4. Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center is located on Merritt Island, a relatively small island off the east coast of Florida. It’s the main facility to support human spaceflight and has been since 1968.
The entire complex consists of over 700 buildings which cover an area of 580 square kilometers (144,000 acres).
One of the most fascinating buildings in Florida is located here as well. This immense building is called the Vehicle Assembly Building, stands 160 meters (525 feet) tall, and is used for stacking NASA’s largest rockets.
The entire complex features a visitor center that has numerous exhibits on display and which teaches tourists everything they need to know about space travel and the operations at the Kennedy Space Center, a must-visit attraction while you’re in Florida.
Official website: Kennedy Space Center
5. Castillo de San Marcos
Florida is home to the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, a structure known as the “Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.”
It’s located in the city of St. Augustine in the northeastern part of the state. This amazing building was constructed in the late 17th century between 1672 and 1695 when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire.
The fort was briefly renamed Fort St. Mark when the British controlled Florida between 1763 and 1783 but was restored to its original name, only to be renamed Fort Marion when Florida became part of the United States in 1821.
The structure became a national monument in 1924 and was only deactivated from military duties in 1933. Today, it’s the most important tourist attraction in the region.
Official website: Castillo de San Marcos
6. Fort Jefferson
Dry Tortugas National Park is located just west of the Florida Keys, an archipelago located off the southern coast of Florida.
The closest city is Key West which is located about 109 kilometers (68 miles) east of the so-called “Dry Tortugas Islands” located in the Gulf of Mexico.
Apart from preserving some of the most fascinating coral reefs on the planet, abundant sea life, and the 7 Dry Tortuga Islands, the national park is also home to one of the most fascinating structures in the United States.
This building is called Fort Jefferson and is an unfinished coastal fortification that is considered to be the largest brick masonry building in the Western Hemisphere.
The fact that this building was built with 16 million bricks and that it can only be accessed by boat or by seaplane make this one of the most unique tourist attractions in the world.
Official website: Dry Tortugas
7. Ernest Hemingway House
The Ernest Hemingway House served as the residence of the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) in the 1930s.
It’s located on the island of Key West in the Straits of Florida, right across from the Key West Lighthouse. It’s considered to be the most popular tourist attraction on the island.
The building wasn’t built by Hemingway because it was constructed in the year 1851 and commissioned by rich salvaged Asa Tift (1812-1889).
The structure features a French Colonial architectural style and has been a private museum since 1964. It allows you to take a peek in the house where Hemingway wrote several famous novels.
Official website: Hemingway Home
8. Coral Castle
Coral Castle is the life work of an eccentric individual named Edward Leedskalnin (1887–1951). He was a Latvian immigrant who emigrated to the United States while he was in his twenties.
According to the legend of Coral Castle, the man acquired some supernatural abilities which allowed him to move around blocks that each weigh several tonnes.
He spent 2 years building this fascinating structure in Florida which can be found in between the cities of Homestead and Leisure City in Miami-Dade County.
The claims of not using any tools to shuffle around the stones can’t be verified because Leedskalnin didn’t allow anybody to watch him work. The total weight of the stones exceeds 1,000 tonnes (1,100 short tonnes).
Official website: Coral Castle
9. Bonnet House
The Bonnet House is another historic mansion in Florida and can be found in Forth Lauderdale in the utmost southeastern part of the U.S. state. It is named after the Bonnet Lily, an aquatic plant that is common in the area.
The building is also referred to as the “Bartlett Estate,” a reference to the family who built the Caribbean plantation-style home in the 1920s.
The owner, a self-taught architect, and artist named Frederic Clay Bartlett (1873-1953) spent the winters here until he died in 1953. It was owned by his second wife, Evelyn Fortune Lilly/
The entire estate covers an area of 35.4 acres (14.3 hectares) of which 100 feet (30 meters) face the beach. It has been open for visitors since the 1980s.
Official website: Bonnet House
10. Freedom Tower
The Freedom Tower is not only one of the most amazing towers in Miami, it’s also one of the most distinctive buildings in Florida. It’s located on the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College.
The building was completed in 1925 and originally served as the headquarters of “The Miami News,” one of the most important newspapers in the city. It was therefore known as the “Miami News and Metropolis Building.”
The tower was named “Freedom Tower” because it once served as an important location to process Cubans fleeing to the United States. Today, the building is used as an art gallery for contemporary art.
Official website: Freedom Tower (NPS)