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Florida in February must dos

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Sep 21st, 2010, 06:39 PM
  #1
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Florida in February must dos

We're traveling to Florida for two weeks the first half of February and looking for ideas. For the first few days, we're staying with our friends who live on Siesta Key; after that we need an itinerary. We're active empty nesters (son in college) who love great food, nature, beaches, and historical/lcultural sites. We're traveling from Seattle, so trying to get better weather for a couple of weeks, of course. We would likely fly in and out of Orlando. Our Siesta Key friends are not very enthusiastic about the Keys, but we're still wondering about driving down there and have heard good things about Naples, Sanibel, etc. If you had 8 to 10 days to "do" South Florida with the above interests, how would you spend it? We have a healthy budget, but we're not that into large resort chains, so recommendations for smaller inns and resorts would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Sep 22nd, 2010, 04:38 AM
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Sorry this will be short, but:

Sarasota -- Ringling Museum
Sanibel and Captiva -- Darling Nature preserve and explore
Ft Myers -- Edison house
Naples -- explore gorgeous beaches, attractive neighborhoods from Gordon Drive to Vanderbilt Beach and on, perhaps, to Bonita Springs
US 41 east -- Everglades City and Chokoluskee
Keys -- I wouldn't miss it, but avoid Key West at Mardi Gras
Miami -- a really great city, like going abroad without the hassle of customs and immigration.

I hope Neopatrick is on the forum. I can't remember the name of a really cute looking motel on 41 somewhat near the downtown public library. It has been remodeled in Caribbean style with a metal roof and is well-located. Lots of places to eat nearby.

Are you getting a really good fare into Orlando? It isn't particularly warm in that part of Florida in the winter, and unless you are into Disney, there is little of what makes Florida a good place.
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Sep 22nd, 2010, 06:01 AM
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If they're looking for nature, Ackislander, there's a great deal to do in Central Florida. Sadly, most people look no further than Disney. They miss out on kayaking in Cocoa Beach's Thousand Islands, fabulous birding at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, the undeveloped and unspoiled beaches of the Canaveral National Seashore, viewing the manatees in the spring at Blue Springs State Park, and enjoying America's first wildlife refuge at Pelican Island. Average temperature in Central Florida in January is in the low 70's.

voyager, since you are starting your visit in Siesta Key, I'd visit Sarasota (The Ringling home, Ca d'Zan, and the Marie Selby Botanical gardens are worth visiting), Sanibel/Captiva, Miami (favorites: Vizcaya, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, the walking tour of the Art Deco District, the Miami Metrozoo). I love the Keys (in an way, they remind me of the San Juans, though much, much flatter )and there are plenty of smaller, "Old Florida" places to stay in the Keys. Wherever you'll be, enjoy the weather! As a native Washingtonian now living in Florida, I can assure you it will be a pleasure.
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Sep 22nd, 2010, 06:04 AM
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saving for future trip
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Sep 22nd, 2010, 07:38 AM
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These are all great ideas. I thought it would be interesting to visit the keys, so I am glad to hear those thoughts echoed. We really aren't doing Disney, so the Orlando choice was just proximity to Sarasota and a city served by Alaska Airlines. Maybe it makes sense to fly into Orlando and out of Miami.

Would love suggestions on best foodie neighborhood for a place to stay in Miami. Not looking to take in the urban beach scene there...more interested in a low-key area with good food.

We have about 14 nights to divide up. Anyone want to suggest travel bases other than Siesta Key and Miami?

Siesta Key 4 nights
??? 4 nights
??? 4 nights
Miami 2 nights

321go, since you're originally from Washington, you might have a sense for the types of places we might like. We usually vacation in Hawaii if we go somewhere warm in the winter, so we're newbies on trying to do the same in Florida.

I greatly appreciate everyone's contributions!
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Sep 22nd, 2010, 06:09 PM
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ttt
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Sep 22nd, 2010, 06:23 PM
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I would spend 3 nights in Naples, 4 nights in the Keys, perhaps one of them on Islamorada where I would get a reservation at Chanticleer South, a wonderful French restaurant, and 3 nights in Miami, maybe one more if you have an early flight out.
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Sep 23rd, 2010, 08:42 AM
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Thank you, ackislander. That is the type of direction I was looking for on the itinerary.
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Sep 24th, 2010, 12:57 PM
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you might want to check flights to Tampa and/or St Pete, closer to Siesta
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Sep 26th, 2010, 06:26 AM
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Just want to recommend Captain Curt's in Siesta Key and second the suggestion for the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Ft. Myers.
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Sep 26th, 2010, 06:06 PM
  #11
 
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An article on Siesta Key from today's St. Petersburg Times:

http://www.tampabay.com/features/tra...xation/1123251
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