Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

State Park in Weeki Wachee Springs

Since 1947 tourists have been lured by the siren song of Weeki Wachee Springs, one of Florida's original roadside attractions. Esther Williams, Danny Thomas and Elvis Presley have all sat in the glass-paneled underwater theater and watched as pink-tailed mermaids perform pirouettes while turtles and fish swim past. The three daily half-hour shows (at 11am, 1:30pm and 3pm, though times vary seasonally) remain gleeful celebrations of nostalgic kitsch, particularly the mainstay, The Little Mermaid.

While there's no mystery to the trick – the mermaids hold air hoses as they swim and gulp air as needed – there's an undeniable theatrical magic to their effortless performances. The park also offers a sedate riverboat cruise and a modest, weekend-only water park, plus picnic areas. Perfect for an afternoon's entertainment.

Prices are reduced in the off-season when the water park is closed.