Tell me "what not to miss" while I am in FL for the next 4 weeks...

  1. I'll be driving all over the state for the next 4 weeks, from jacksonville to miami to key west to tampa and pensacola and all points in between....tell me the best sights/restaurants/bargains / in your locale..... Please !
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   EarthChild1130
    Well, I don't live in Florida but I spend quite a bit of time in St. Augustine a few times a year...I don't know where to start in St. Augustine...IMO it's one of the most beautiful places in this country...it's so OLD but everything's so well preserved! Let's see:

    1) The St. Augustine Lighthouse is GREAT! You can climb it and look out over the ocean and the town of St. Augustine.

    2) The Castillo de San Marcos is the old fort in St. Augustine, down the road from the Bridge of Lions (also a must see)...it's fascinating and there's TONS of history!

    3) The Fountain of Youth is pretty cool too.

    4) There's a little alley in downtown St. Augustine...I believe it's called St. George Ave. or something like that...it's open to foot traffic only and has some wonderful little shops!

    As for restaurants, my most favorite is the Lighthouse Restaurant, across the road from the Lighthouse...reasonably priced, very good seafood!!

    I live about an hour from Pensacola, Florida, so if you want info on that place, just give me a yell!
  4. by   psychomachia
    Quote from passing thru
    I'll be driving all over the state for the next 4 weeks, from jacksonville to miami to key west to tampa and pensacola and all points in between....tell me the best sights/restaurants/bargains / in your locale..... Please !

    stay away from any South Florida restaurant that advertises an "early bird" special...
  5. by   EarthChild1130
    Oops! I went back and re-read your OP and you did mention Pensacola! LOL You can go to the Navy base , NAS Pensacola, and tour the Aviation Museum, and Fort Barrancas, both of which are open to civilians...Pensacola Beach is much more fun than Pensacola, and there's a wonderful Zoo there, and some bars, but I'm not a bar-hopper so I don't know anything about them...IMO the best restaurant in Pensacola is The Oyster Bar...it's a little pricy but their calamari is fabulous!!

    Have fun!
  6. by   nurseunderwater
    You've got to eat at my uncle joeys restaurant in Islandmorada (on the way to Key west) it's called-you guessed it- Uncles...

    South Beach - the news cafe and the strand are places to see and be seen and the food is great.

    lantana beach - john G's is the best place on the planet for breakfast...right on the beach (south of west palm)

    everglades national park - airboat rides, nature walks

    if you are near ocala....great state park with canoe rentals and beautiful clear spring water.

    the beaches in hollywood are nice.. and they still have the 1950's style funky beach hotels...

    in key west there is a wonderful B&B called http://www.simontoncourt.com/ stayed there 2x...love it! just checked the rates...guess they went "up-town"

    if i think of anything else....i'll post again...

    xxoo
    Kate
  7. by   Benton
    Enjoy what you see and be in that moment. Don't worry that you are missing something or you will...that moment. Have a great trip!

    PS: Nurseunderwater posted the canoe rentals at State Park in Ocala (Junniper Springs). There are gators on the back-half of that seven-mile canoe trip, don't tip the canoe! The springs are beautiful, though.
  8. by   caroladybelle
    Itcheetucknee Springs - jump in an inner tube and float for hours in crystal clear cold spring water down the river. (Near high springs, above Gainesville).

    The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor (other locales but that is the original with mosaics and Flamenco dancing. Great Cuban food, the Paella and Filet Mignon is to die for, and they have awesome Sangria.

    Sand Key Beach...below Clearwater Beach...consisted listed as one of the best beaches in the USA.
  9. by   passing thru
    Thanks for all of your great suggestions ! I've printed everything.....how will
    the weather in late june affect seeing the everglades?
    I want to see the Cuban area of Miami and shop their shops....any main part not to miss?
    We are taking a 14 and 12 year old....decided to turn business into a vacation,....no Disney World.......
    We want to see the seashore, everglades, snorkel key west and key largo , and are there manatees? anywhere in June-July?
    Anyone been to Homossassa Springs?
    Or St. Joseph?
    Whats your take ?
    Keep the suggestions coming.... !
  10. by   psychomachia
    Quote from passing thru
    Thanks for all of your great suggestions ! I've printed everything.....how will
    the weather in late june affect seeing the everglades?
    I want to see the Cuban area of Miami and shop their shops....any main part not to miss?
    Whats your take ?
    Keep the suggestions coming.... !
    June is usually the "rainy" season, especially in the 'glades. You'll find that you can almost set your watch by the afternoon storms that build up and move east to the populated areas. I would opt for a morning visit, or late afternoon / sunset after the rain. If you're in the Miami area and want to see that area of the everglades, go to "Shark Valley" (http://www.southalley.com/sharkvalley.html). You can bike around and see the wildlife close up. Also try Flamingo Park (http://www.nps.gov/ever/visit/planning.htm)

    Other parts of Miami worth seeing:

    Fairchild gardens - an amazing collection of tropical plants / palms. It took a real beating during hurricane Andrew, but has been rebuilt. (http://www.fairchildgarden.org/)

    Miccosukee Everglades Tours - alligators, Indians, and airboats - what more could a kid want (http://www.miccosukeetours.com/mainsite/)

    Vizcaya Museum - if you're into art / history / architecture then this place has it all - probably the most beautiful building in South Florida (http://www.vizcayamuseum.org/). Also check out the Deering Estate (http://www.deeringestate.com/)

    Metrozoo - bring you're sunscreen and water (http://www.miamimetrozoo.com)

    For all that's Cuban, head to Calle Ocho which is 8th St in Little Havana - the food is authentic and much better than pollo tropical. (http://miami.about.com/cs/maps/a/calle_ocho.htm)

    Up the road in Broward County / Ft. Lauderdale:

    Seminole Tribe Museum - (http://www.seminoletribe.com/museum/)

    The Bonnett House - historical home, art collection, and some cool monkeys living on the grounds (not sure if they're still there) (http://www.bonnethouse.org/)

    Museum of Discovery and Science - also has an IMAX theater and is near the downtown shopping/entertainment district on the New River (http://www.mods.org/)

    Butterfly World - an amazing collection - bring your camera (http://www.butterflyworld.com/)

    Of course there are plenty of beaches, parks, shopping, etc. Even though the "snowbirds" have gone home, I would drive carefully and defensively - South Floridians drive about as well as they vote...

    If you're heading through Palm Beach County, let me know and I'll include a few places to see there.

    I don't know if you plan on heading up the east coast, but the Kennedy Space Center is worth checking out - (http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/)
  11. by   passing thru
    Thanks a lot ! I love your comment they drive about like they vote ! ha ha

    A good laugh to start the day, I'll remember that. I've copied all of your note. I think two weeks isn't nearly long enough ! I'm sure we will be back.

    My trip starts at Jacksonville and I am traveling straight down the coast to Miami, and plan to take a week to get there. Yes, we are planning to go to Cape Canaveral.
    Then Miami to Key West, several days at K.W. and Key Largo. Then, back towards Miami, thru the 'glades to Sarasota/ Tampa, and on towards Pensacola.
    We plan another week traveling the west coast from Miami to Pensacola.
    We love trees, swamps, beaches, all nature stuff.

    Thanks for the Little Havana tip.... that's a definite.
    Well, I'll get off of here and go check the sites you listed.

    Keep those suggestions coming y'all.

    Where do you take your family??

    What's your ""must see"" place in your area?
  12. by   SWFlorida
    When you cross the state from Miami to Naples you can either go the alligator alley route or old 41. The views on alligator alley are nice and there is the Indian reservations gas station half way thru. Id almost suggest old 41. A bit of a slower drive but you pass thru some interesting places and see some of the swamp areas. On the west coast you may want to go to Sanibel.

    A little known local secret is Cayo Costa. (just north of sanibel island) Its a barrier island that is only accesible by boat, its a state park. You can take the boat from Pine Island. It has possibly one of the best beaches in the world, hardly any crowds. In the summer you may have ten people on the beach, and its about 4 miles long. Best shelling anywhere. You'll see Eagles, hawks and all kindsof critters living naturally. Bring a lunch and some sodas, no place to buy em there. You can do a google search on cayo costa if you like. Its part of the reason i moved to Florida 12 years ago.
  13. by   passing thru
    WOW ! Certainly sounds like a "must see" ! I'm going to look it up now.
    Is the boat available to transport us to cayo coasta any time of day? how long is the boat ride? How is security traveling thru the glades?
    We are leaving June 16th .... thanks for the info....feel free to give more suggestions..
  14. by   SWFlorida
    The boat ride over to Cayo Costa is about 1/2 hour. You'll see the jumping dolphins (this is the area where the original Flipper from the tv series was caught) The boat leaves around every hour to and from the island. Bring sunscreen and something to carry shells back in, like a sack. Traveling thru the glades is not a big problem with security. Its just a road. If you mean problems with gators getting you, dont worry even if you flew off the road into the water they would probably be scared and swim away. Old 41 is a nice comfortable drive with little old towns and even the nations smallest post office at Ochoppee, while alligator alley is a straight line highway and can get pretty boring after the first 1/2 hour.

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