Coral Castle

Top choice in Everglades National Park

‘You will be seeing unusual accomplishment,’ reads the inscription on the rough-hewn quarried wall. That’s an understatement. There is no greater temple to all that is weird and wacky about South Florida. The legend goes that a Latvian man got snubbed at the altar, came to the USA and settled in Florida, and handcarved, unseen, in the dead of night, a monument to unrequited love.

This rock-walled compound includes a ‘throne room,’ a sun dial, a stone stockade (an intended ‘timeout area’ for the child he would never have), a telescope of sorts trained precisely on Polaris, and a revolving boulder gate that can be easily opened with one hand. Even more incredible: all this was built by one small man – the 5ft-tall, 100lb Edward Leedskalnin – working alone without heavy machinery. He accomplished all this using pulleys, hand tools and other improvised devices, and it took him 28 years to complete his great rock masterpiece.

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