Things to do in Florida and surrounding area

Old Jan 26th, 2014, 01:51 AM
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Just returned (this morning) from a 2-week road trip through Central and Southern FL, incl. a sidetrip to Key West.
From my tourist's perspective, I was glad that we spent a considerable time browsing through the abundance of State Parks on floridastateparks.org. You will always find good infos on hiking, also many short hikes on safe boardwalks.

While probably everybody knows the Everglades NP or Big Cypress Swamp and drives thru on US 41, we had our best "wildlife encounters" a bit off the beaten track, i.e. at Myakka State Park (near Sarasota) or the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (near Naples).

I have to admit that even with its touristy appearance, Key West still is a beautiful place to visit (especially when you stroll a bit away from Duval St, or rent a bike to tour the island on your own).
Kennedy Space Center IS impressive. IMO, the general bus tour which is always included in general admission already gives a great overview.
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 05:13 PM
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I have lived in Fl 25 years on the east coast and have been to the gulf many times but I love the Ocean over the Gulf. Our inlets are beautiful if you want a little calmer water. New Smyrna Beach has one of the nicest inlets going and the Ocean also. Red tide on our side of the state is very rare. The inter coastal is stinky at times. NeoPatrick, Cocoa Beach gets the tar balls. If you go to NSB you get sunrise and sunset.
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 10:05 AM
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"Cocoa Beach gets the tar balls."

Not true, tar balls are definitely not confined to cocoa beach. I have seen them at NSB and Daytona beach.
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 12:47 PM
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If you make it to Key West, I'd recommend taking the trip over to the Dry Tortugas national park. Visiting Hemingway House is really interesting as well.
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 06:03 PM
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gmoney, I have never seen them there so guess I go to the beach the right time of day. You live in Orlando so what beach do you go to that is so perfect. The tar balls are a product of oil spills so what are you going to do, we just jog around them because they are hell to get off your shoes.
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Old Jan 28th, 2014, 06:13 PM
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Cowboy, did you go to Playalinda beach? It is a great beach and the Canaveral seashore is very well kept. Glad you did the tour. Did you see any pigs or gators on the bus tour? So many people pull over to watch them in the canals but they are quick. Glad you went to Key West. It is like our second home. My husband was stationed there and we go as often as we can now since we can stay on base. Finnegan's Wake is our go to bar since it is closet to the gate and love vegetarian 1/2 price Wed.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 03:57 AM
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flpab,

I don't believe I ever said anything about a perfect beach. I was just pointing out that you can get tar balls on any beach, not just Cocoa Beach! For what it's worth we typically go to Daytona Beach Shores on day trips since it is convenient and we have a particular spot that has everything we want. (bathrooms, showers, not crowded, easy to park).

And yes they have tar balls!
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 08:50 AM
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I got stung by Man O War jellies on the Atlantic Coast. I will never go there again. . And isn't It New Symrna that makes the news most years with the number of shark bites in the spring...baby sharks learning to feed and not yet discerning? . Sorry flpab I'm just playing with you and those sharks are just making juvenile mistakes.

Key West is a great idea. I love that place...and really loved our Hemingway house tour. By all means, get off the beaten path there into the older residential areas. It's great bike riding or just walking. Sarasota has Ça d' Zaan (sp) the restored Ringling home and accompanying art museum and circus museum, as well as beautiful beaches. I enjoy the beach drive from St Armand's Circle north to Anna Maria Island. You will drive through an extremely wide range of demographics, and from "new Florida" to "old Florida". St Pete has tremendous downtown, getting better and better every year. (Too bad about the #^%*~€
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 02:06 PM
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Keep meat tenderizer with you for stings. It works for fire ants and jelly fish. I think we were crazy as kids because we never stayed out of the water no matter what was floating. It is the surfers that get bit the most because of their feet dangling but it is a very small ratio.
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 11:38 AM
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flpab,
Yes, we did see some gators on the KSC bus tour. But: If we had known how many gators we would see on our, we would almost not have cared to look But we did not make it to Playalinda beach as KSC was sort of sandwiched into our drive from Orlando to St. Augustine.
Actually, due to cooler weather (as a ranger later explained), we stumbled over sun-bathing gators almost everywhere. On a byway through the Everglades, one of us almost literally stepped on one - not really, but he was almost on the gravel road, probably 5ft away from the car.
But in any case, it was one marvellous trip.
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