As the weather cools down here in sunny Florida, it’s time for a little bit of local wanderlust! Living near Orlando means there is never a shortage of things to do, but the places I’ve really fallen in love with over the years have nothing to do with the popular tourist attractions. I’m always a fan of uncovering a hidden gem or two!
A few months back, I shared some of my favorite hidden gems in Lake County. This time around, we’ll travel a little farther north to Volusia County for a few more must-visit spots. Volusia County is home to beautiful state parks, historic sites, and (if you travel northeast enough) the beach! (This makes this South Florida native very happy.)
Let’s dive into a few of my favorite Volusia County finds!
1. The Turnbull Ruins (New Smyrna Beach, FL)
Located at Old Fort Park just across from the marina in New Smyrna Beach, the Turnbull Ruins are the abandoned coquina rock ruins of a mystery building (warehouse? mansion? no one is really sure) built by Andrew Turnbull in the 1700s. The building was never completed, but the ruins are pretty incredible to explore. The Turnbull Ruins feel almost maze-like, and are such an unusual hidden gem worth visiting on your next trip to New Smyrna.
2. The Psychic Capital of the World (Cassadaga, FL)
Whether you’re a fan of all things spiritual or you’re simply curious, Cassadaga is a must-visit. I’ve covered Cassadaga more extensively here on the blog before, but this unincorporated town is home to astrologers, psychics, mediums and more. Visit Cassadaga for a tarot reading or to add to your crystal collection. The town is also home to the Hotel Cassadaga, where you can schedule a reading, grab a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant, attend events, and do a little shopping.
3. Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens (Ormond Beach, FL)
This little museum in Ormond Beach not only features some cool pop-up exhibitions, but is home to a beautiful botanical garden that is free to visit. This “urban oasis” includes local and exotic plants, water features, a gazebo and even a few animal friends. (During my last visit, we saw quite a few turtles! 🐢) After your visit, pop over to Wild Rabbit Bistro for a healthy and delicious lunch (with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options).
4. Green Springs Park (Enterprise, FL)
Green Springs Park is my happy place! This green sulphur spring is so beautiful, it feels almost unreal. Located in Enterprise (next to DeBary), this park offers some incredible natural trails, along with benches and a playground for family-friendly fun. This park is also part of the ever-growing Spring-to-Spring Trail, which (as its name suggests) stretches from spring to spring and is great for a walk or bike ride. To learn more about Green Springs – and other cool places to celebrate nature and wildlife in Central Florida – click here.
5. The Casements (Ormond Beach, FL)
Did you know that John D. Rockefeller owned a winter home right here in Central Florida? The Casements are located near the Halifax River in Ormond Beach, and they are open for free guided and self-guided tours! I’ve visited the homes of Henry Flagler and other titans of industry from that time period, so I was amazed to see how unassuming Rockefeller’s estate really was compared to his peers. After touring the home, wander over to Rockefeller Gardens Park to watch the ducks or head over to Fortunato Park across the street, where you can find the remains of the historic Hotel Ormond!
6. Downtown DeLand (DeLand, FL)
This historic downtown is the perfect place to spend a weekend afternoon! Visit one of the many antique shops (the three-story Marketplace at Rivertown is my personal favorite), get your sugar fix at Pat & Toni’s Sweet Things, or even check out the latest art exhibition at the Museum of Art.
This post is an incredibly small sampling of fun things to do in Volusia County, but it should give you plenty of inspiration the next time you’re wondering how to spend your weekend! What are your favorite hidden gems in this region?