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Thread: Florida Travel Wish List

  1. #1
    Senior Member Blackford Oakes's Avatar
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    Default Florida Travel Wish List

    As My father said: "We have such a beautiful country, why travel anywhere else ? "

    Along those lines, it's pretty much been mainly Florida vacations the last 13 years.

    My first excursion here was Destin. An eight hour drive from Orlando with a pit-stop at the Florida Caverns. When you realize that's the equivalent of a LA to San Fran drive, you know there's plenty to do in-state.

    We've taken as much advantage as to get to know and understand the state better. Notwithstanding, we still have a bucket list with items unchecked.


    Though I've been to Amelia Island, that remains unchecked as we foolishly only did one night. We're going to rectify that soon next week staying there for a few nights. This time, prepared an aware of it's history, one that interests me more than St. Augustine.

    I've pretty much touched all regions of Florida but have many spots I've missed.

    Amongst the things I want to do, probably visiting Crystal River is next on my list. There I can get some camping in, and swim with Manatees. The Sea Cow resides there year round but there is a season where 800 of them are in the same spring.

    Dry Tortugas is also high on my list. As I'd like to experience it more than one night, going Spartan will get camping checked again.

    I'm pretty weak on WPB area credentials. Minimal time there and I'd like to explore the Kennedy's Bunker on Peanut Island. Maybe if I get a good rate at Boca Raton Resort, we'll spend decent time there and do excursions. Also never been to Del Rey Beach. Every time I roll into Miami and right after the $14 toll on the Turnpike , Boynton Beach is calling me like Sirens. I don't know what's there.

    I'd also like to explore the beach region N of Tampa. Crystal River will get me within striking distance and I like the sounds of Honeymoon and Treasure Islands.

    Lastly, I'd like to do Tallahassee. My niece lives there with here first law firm gig, and she's always asking us to visit.


    I'm sure I'm leaving some stuff out..... Mt. Dora comes to mind for Antiques. A short day excursion for us.

    As a Floridian, what places do you have on your list ?

    The only city I've eliminated from consideration is Daytona Beach. We usually divert from The 95 and catch A1A there on route to Ponte Vedra or St. Augustine. No appeal at at. Cocoa is also a no-go zone for me. Matt will opine otherwise. It's my nearest beach but I'm still pissed at Brevard County because they hauled me in on my 50th birthday just for being happy and surviving a few Hurricane drinks at that establishment on Alan Sheppard Beach. I rap I beat in court but still accessed court fees over $400. Total BS

    In all, our landscape is limited but full of treasures. Even if you live in the (305) paradise, one must get out and explore.
    Last edited by Blackford Oakes; 04-13-2016 at 09:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Jess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    I love Naples, anywhere in the Keys, St Augustine. I have visited Sanibel, Tally, Cocoa, daytona etc. No real wish list other than to spend more time on the West Coast. Luckily Naples is less than 2 hours away and worth the drive for the day for the dolphin filled sunsets.

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    Senior Member Blackford Oakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess View Post
    I love Naples, anywhere in the Keys, St Augustine. I have visited Sanibel, Tally, Cocoa, daytona etc. No real wish list other than to spend more time on the West Coast. Luckily Naples is less than 2 hours away and worth the drive for the day for the dolphin filled sunsets.
    I haven't dedicated time to Naples. I've driven through to get to Marco Island, which I don't like. Heard the beaches there are awesome.

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    Senior Member Marc Middleton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Gotta hit up Little Gasparilla - its an island only accessible by boat on the West Coast. Get a house on Homeaway.com for a few nights and experience the tranquility.

    If you've never been to Daytona, its a must stop. Usually during Bike Week is when I tell people to go, lots of street parties and stuff plus you can drive on the sand.

    I dislike Cocoa as well.

    not sure why Boynton Beach calls your name, its nothing special, just another town. Delray isn't much except maybe an art festival a few times a year. They have some B&Bs you can stay in near the beach.

    Haven't done the Tortugas but I've heard great things. I believe there is a ferry ride from both Naples/Marco Island and Key West.

    Destin is the only real beach I haven't been to in all of Florida and its on my list for sure.

    Anna Maria Island was great, definitely worth grabbing a house or villa for a week and relaxing. Beautiful beach, plush sand, small town feel, free trolley from Bradenton Beach to Ana Maria.

    Keys are great - I'd like to get a villa in Duck Key once. Key west is always fun, Islamorada if you don't feel like making the whole drive.

    Ride a motorcycle around Lake Okeechobee and go up to the Dam is a 1 time must-thing to do. Maybe stop at a fish fry along the way, see the old 'indiantown'.

    Ride up Ocean Dr in Palm Beach to see all the million dollar homes and then stop in Jupiter at GuanaBanas or Square Grouper on the water and eat/drink.

    Lots to do !

  5. #5
    Senior Member Blackford Oakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Middleton View Post
    Gotta hit up Little Gasparilla - its an island only accessible by boat on the West Coast. Get a house on Homeaway.com for a few nights and experience the tranquility.

    If you've never been to Daytona, its a must stop. Usually during Bike Week is when I tell people to go, lots of street parties and stuff plus you can drive on the sand.

    I dislike Cocoa as well.

    not sure why Boynton Beach calls your name, its nothing special, just another town. Delray isn't much except maybe an art festival a few times a year. They have some B&Bs you can stay in near the beach.

    Haven't done the Tortugas but I've heard great things. I believe there is a ferry ride from both Naples/Marco Island and Key West.

    Destin is the only real beach I haven't been to in all of Florida and its on my list for sure.

    Anna Maria Island was great, definitely worth grabbing a house or villa for a week and relaxing. Beautiful beach, plush sand, small town feel, free trolley from Bradenton Beach to Ana Maria.

    Keys are great - I'd like to get a villa in Duck Key once. Key west is always fun, Islamorada if you don't feel like making the whole drive.

    Ride a motorcycle around Lake Okeechobee and go up to the Dam is a 1 time must-thing to do. Maybe stop at a fish fry along the way, see the old 'indiantown'.

    Ride up Ocean Dr in Palm Beach to see all the million dollar homes and then stop in Jupiter at GuanaBanas or Square Grouper on the water and eat/drink.

    Lots to do !
    Some common ground here.

    I'll have to look Gasparilla. Been to the restaurant of same name on Sanibel and there's the festival named after him in Tampa. Arg !!!!

    Duck Key I believe goes by other names. Cruised it and it's fabulous. It's the high-end portion of the Keys, unless you own one of a few island dots you see along the way S.

    Lake Okeechobee is intriguing. I've taken HWY 27 once to Miami once. I've I'm not mistaken, it's supported by concrete on it's southern edge. Looked scary. Heard it's great for camping.

    I'm going to take a pass on Daytona Beach. I usually off ramp 95, cross the bridge and enjoy A1A onwards to St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra. Just seems that beach town has seen better days. Very weary. I start relaxing once we x into Ormond.

    As advertised, Destin's water is deep emerald. I actually stayed in San Destin which is community across HWY 80 and the beach. Destin seemed too developed an area. It's beach and Orlando outlets for hicks. Luckily Fort Walton was only minutes away, and Seaside was an interesting neighborhood to visit.

    Boynton Beach is an inside joke. It's the ~ $14 toll booth and psychological barrier Miami is near. My wife is already tired when I tell her" let's go to Boynton Beach " when we cross that threshold.

    As far as places to visit, Florida hasn't yet let me down.

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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    From visiting iconic Central Florida locales like the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where you can enjoy a private lunch with an astronaut, to exploring unspoiled wetlands by airboat and kayak, this trip checks more than a few “must-sees” off your travel wish list

  7. #7
    Senior Member Blackford Oakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    If I wasn't a transplanted Floridian, I'd have KSC definitely on my list. Ideally a visit corrsponding with a rocket launch. You can actuslly get closer to those than when the Space Shuttle was in operation. I've lunched with an astronaut only because my godson requested it. You actually get a speech or lecture from one without forking out the extra mula.

    As far as if I was visiting Florida, I'd explore it first not through aerial feats but by those who did it in the 16th centuary. In my opinion, St. Augustine is should by Florida's major point of interest as it was when Flagler made it the top U.S. destination at the turn of the 20th centuary.

    Unfortunately, he didn't reem MB worthy enough back then. Not to say he didn't have a presence in Miami. I stare where he worshipped at my western balcony every time I'm there at breakfast.

    I've stated this before and will again now, if Flagler believed in Miami Beach back then, it would be an awesome sight TODAY. That said, you can add MB to your must-see list. Excellent beach but some here attest to " people watching " as the main thang.

    If you ask me, Ocala is way underrated and probably my best experience as a tourist if you're into the equine.

    But ya, MB deserves to be on the list. Enjoy......
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    Senior Member FredTheCatTravels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Camping overnight on the Dry Tortugas is definitely on my bucket list.

    I think that may be it.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Blackford Oakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Quote Originally Posted by FredTheCatTravels View Post
    Camping overnight on the Dry Tortugas is definitely on my bucket list.

    I think that may be it.
    Dry Tortugas piqued my interest as a teenager when I first heard of it's existence. It was during the weekly showing of [I]Firing Line[I] when I heard William F. Buckley utter that destination. The name alone sounded exotic and apparently remote as that is where Dr. Mudd, the physician who treated John Wilkes Booth was apprehended there. Not sure how they found him there.

    Moving fast foward... I had to look into it when I moved to FL and it remains a place I have yet to visit. I'm not a camping person but that seems the only way to appreciate it vs the the sameday turn aound boat service.

    Next on my list is Crystal River. I think March is the optimal time to go, but might have to look it up. There's a hydro electric plant nearby that wanms up the water to a Manatee's liking. You can be snorkling with literally 600 teeming Manattes in season.

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  10. #10
    Moderator Jess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    I did the dry tortugas in July... we didn't camp overnight as I had a nice hotel in KW. But... I did not do the boat trip as it is a long trip. On Gus's advice I did the sea plane for the day. Totally awesome! We flew over ship wrecks, turtles, sharks, sting rays... and had the whole day in the dry tortugas. I loved it there.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Blackford Oakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess View Post
    I did the dry tortugas in July... we didn't camp overnight as I had a nice hotel in KW. But... I did not do the boat trip as it is a long trip. On Gus's advice I did the sea plane for the day. Totally awesome! We flew over ship wrecks, turtles, sharks, sting rays... and had the whole day in the dry tortugas. I loved it there.
    Do you remember the duration of that excursion and cost ? It sounds dear si I might have to bite the idea of camping.

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    Senior Member FredTheCatTravels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    The camping thing is so intriguing to me because how many people get to ever spend the night on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere with no one else?

    Can you imagine the stars? Or swimming in the moonlight? Or touring that haunted, scary ass fort at midnight? Or drinking wine in front of a campfire 70 miles from civilization (if that is what you want to call Key West)?

    I just can't get it together enough to plan this.
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  13. #13
    Moderator Jess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackford Oakes View Post
    Do you remember the duration of that excursion and cost ? It sounds dear si I might have to bite the idea of camping.
    I believe for the both of us it was $600. We had hours there, snorkeled all round the island, and the best part is the plane leaves well after the boat leaves for the day so you get a lot of time alone on the island.

    It is costly, but I think well worth it. I will post some of the images on our social media this week for you.

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    Senior Member Blackford Oakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess View Post
    I believe for the both of us it was $600. We had hours there, snorkeled all round the island, and the best part is the plane leaves well after the boat leaves for the day so you get a lot of time alone on the island.

    It is costly, but I think well worth it. I will post some of the images on our social media this week for you.
    That sounds reasonable and only around $125 more person if you elect to camp.

    A similar case I had to study years ago was to train or heicopter to Machu Picchu. It was for my seconf visit as I did the Inca Trail the first time. The helicopter option was no benefit as it arrived the same time as the train. If you were doing a one day excursion, you still had to come back on the train as afternoon winds are too risky and not offered. So in comparing the two, the seaplane makes sense if camping is something you don't want to do, It's not cheap either way.

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    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    I'm actually headed to Crystal River in 2 weeks, and am totally swimming with the manatees. A must for all Floridians. Just don't try and ride one.

    I'm thinking Dry Tortugas is gonna have to happen this winter. I did a big story on it and I've never been but it sounds amazing. The camping especially.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Blackford Oakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meltzer View Post
    I'm actually headed to Crystal River in 2 weeks, and am totally swimming with the manatees. A must for all Floridians. Just don't try and ride one.

    I'm thinking Dry Tortugas is gonna have to happen this winter. I did a big story on it and I've never been but it sounds amazing. The camping especially.
    You lucky dog. Lets us know please if the fishing is good up there and what else is happening.

    Looks life your opening up the prime season wgich is Nov-Mar.


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    Moderator Jess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florida Travel Wish List

    I have swum with a manatee completely by accident. It swum up next to me when I was in Key Biscayne state park. Scared the crap out of me.

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