Sunrise to Sunset in One Day
One of the many wonders of Florida...
Other than Hawaii, Florida is the only place in the United States where you can see the sunrise and the sunset over the ocean in one day.
The sun as it starts to rise
Up so early!
One of the great things in Florida is that you can watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean and set over the Gulf of Mexico all in the same day! This summer we went on such a road trip and stopped at a few fun places along the way. Keep in mind when taking this road trip to plan each stop accordingly so you don't lose track of time and can enjoy every stop.
We drove from Orlando to Anastasia Island, near St. Augustine, the night prior. It is a 2 hour drive and this way we could get a full night sleep instead of waking up at 2 am. After waking up at the break of dawn, we walked to the beach and watched the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. We hung out for a little bit and got our feet wet in the warm water. Although it was early in the morning, there were lots of joggers, walkers and other people watching the sun rise. We even saw a marriage proposal, how romantic! After the sun was all the way up, we set off for some breakfast.
We stopped at Georgie's Diner and since they open at 7am, it's perfect timing with the sunrise. Georgie's Diner is a small locally owned restaurant with very good food. They have huge pancakes, that were as round as a dinner plate and just as thick, and eggs any way you can think of to cook them. They have lots of different kinds of omelets and fruit with yogurt options if you are watching what you eat. When we arrived at 7am, it was pretty empty. But when we were getting ready to leave, about 45 minutes later, the place had filled up.
And so it begins! :)
Mosquitoes...Florida's unofficial state bird!
After breakfast we took a short 30 minute drive to the Washington Oaks State Park where they have a beautiful garden and it is along the ocean. Make sure you have your camera ready to take lots of pictures. The garden is full of different types of flowers and they even have a fenced off rose garden. There are koi ponds and small fountains and lots of trees. Although there is not a place to go swimming here, there is a great place to go salt water fishing. The park is quiet and very nice, however, I must warn you to make sure you bring plenty of bug spray! There are lots of mosquitoes!! We did not bring mosquito spray and spent our entire time running and swatting at them. However, this is a great place to walk off the big breakfast from Georgie's Diner.
Time for a quick swim
After a trip through the Washington Oaks State Park, we drove about an hour and stopped at Wekiwa Springs State Park to cool off. Wekiwa Springs is a great swimming area since it is shaped like a huge pool. It is crystal clear and very cold! Do not attempt this spring in the harsh Florida winter when it can get as cold as the springs, 70 degrees! There are no benches or other places to sit along the spring, so you might want to bring a folding chair. At this point you are halfway through the state of Florida.
Once we left Wekiwa Springs State Park, we drove over to Ybor City in Tampa and had a great Cuban Sandwich at La Segunda Central Bakery! The restaurant is owned by a Cuban family and they make the bread for their sandwiches there daily. They close at 3pm so be sure you get there early. They don't have tables so you can't eat inside, but we just ate the sandwiches in the car. The kids really enjoyed that!
Ringling Brothers Circus Museum
The end is in sight
After the wonderful Cuban Sandwich, we headed off to Sarasota where we visited the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum. They have two different buildings you can go to and they have all kinds of figurines from when the circus first started till it ended in 2017. They also have a great room for the kids where they can get into the little cars, walk on a tight rope and stand on part of an elephant statue. It was a great little place to visit. The kids had a lot of fun there. Keep in mind that this museum closes at 5pm. We arrived about 4pm and they gave us a huge discount. So if it is around 4, go ahead and check it out.
After the museum, we headed to The Salty Dog for dinner. This was a good place to eat that was on the intercoastal, the body of water that outlines Florida. Man vs. Food also had a show at this restaurant, which is why we chose this place to eat dinner. The Man vs. Food show ate a deep fried hotdog there, which we tried. It was okay, but the seafood was much better because it is freshly caught in the gulf.
After dinner we crossed the bridge over the intercostal and headed to Siesta Key to watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Once again, we dipped our toes in the warm water while watching the sun get tucked away. This was a beautiful and relaxing way to end the day-long road trip.
This is a trip you can do if you are visiting Orlando already. Anastasia Island was about 2 hours from Orlando. Siesta Key is also 2 hours from Orlando so we just drove home that night after the sunset. It was a long trip that took about 15 hours to complete. It's a good idea to do this trip over the summer when the days are longer so you have time to do everything in one day. The kids had a lot of fun and the memories made will last a lifetime! :)
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico
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