Cemeteries may not be what people think of when they think tourism, but some of them have become Florida attractions in their own right with thousands to visit.
Filled with history, nature and drama, even small cemeteries have so many stories to tell. While the typical Florida cemetery isn’t a place any regular tourist would ever go, there is still much to see in most of them that speaks of many unique qualities of the state.
The three main cemeteries in St. Augustine’s old city are proper attractions (National, Huguenot & Tolomato) as is the Old City Cemetery in Tallahassee, the Key West Cemetery and St. Michael’s Cemetery in Pensacola.
Other Florida cemeteries are beautiful, strange, sad and even funny. I’ve spent dozens of hours in a few hundred Florida cemeteries so if you’d rather not visit them, you can view the history and beauty through the lens of my camera and my descriptions. This page will serve as a portal to the Florida cemeteries I’ve visited.
Interesting objectives when visiting cemeteries:
1) Find the oldest grave markers.
2) Visit the graves of famous individuals, if there are any.
3) Look for the unusual markers or gravesites.
4) Find as much nature as possible.
For number 1: It’s fascinating to see some of the graves that date from the founding of the cemetery. This is actually hard to do, especially in the older cemeteries in Florida. Early graves may no longer have their markers because the climate here is hard on stone, metal and especially, wood.
For number 2: Of course, most cemeteries don’t have famous people, but many do include the people who made significant contributions to the town or city associated with the cemetery.
For number 3: This might be the most fun. As common as professionally-made markers are, many cemeteries have homemade markers as well as professional ones that are unique in telling the life story of the individual. I’ll always show these when I find them. I am constantly surprised at the creativity expressed to honor loved ones.
For number 4: That’s pretty easy. Lots of birds call cemeteries home and they are great places to look for insects, lizards and the occasional armadillo, raccoon or opossum. And don’t forget the flowers and trees!
The interesting story behind a type of grave marker that appears in many Florida cemeteries:
Woodmen of the World – WoodmenLife