Silver Springs is one of Florida’s oldest attractions

Bella Moscone – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Florida is known for its famous theme parks with millions of people visiting each year. Many Mustangs may visit attractions such as Disney World, Universal Studios or Busch Gardens this summer.

But what were Florida’s best vacation spots before 1971, when Disney World opened?

Silver Springs is a national park in Ocala.  It was a popular visiting destination for over a century, opened in 1878.

Bok Tower has attracted Florida tourists for almost 100 years

The popular vacation spot was due to its refreshing clear waters and swimming spots. In fact, according to Florida Back Roads Travel, “The clear waters of Silver Springs made it ideal for movies featuring beautiful women in swimsuits.”

The movie “Tarzan the Ape Man” (1932) was filmed there and in the late 1950s and 60s more than 100 episodes of “Sea Hunt” were filmed in Silver Springs.

Florida, being known for its reptiles such as gators and snakes, the 1949 opening of Gatorland, Orlando was a thrill for many tourists.

“Growing up in Orlando in the 1960s there was only one attraction in Central Florida and that was Gator Land.” Florida Back Roads Travel’s  Greg May recalls.

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“The star exhibit in those days was ‘BoneCrusher,’ a 16 ft. Florida Keys crocodile,” he writes.  He add that  Gatorland has also been referred to as the “Gator Capital of the World.”

Bok Tower is another “Old Florida” vacation spot. Opening in 1929, Bok Tower Gardens is a garden and bird sanctuary located in Lake Whales.

The landmark was dedicated as a gift from President Calvin Coolidge to Dutch immigrant, writer, publisher, and humanitarian Edward Bok.

To this day, old Florida vacation spots still hold a lot of value and charm, even when compared to new big attractions.