INSIDE FLORIDA: Camping and Sightseeing
JOURNEY THROUGH FLORIDA WITH ME
Visit the Florida that I love. Don't forget your sunglasses and hats when you come with me to explore places that most tourists never experience. Camp in campgrounds along gorgeous ocean and gulf fronts. Get the inside scoop on the Florida that the locals like to visit. Let me introduce you to some of our favorite spots for shopping and sightseeing. Please join me while we soak up the sunshine that is Florida.
Along Florida's Nature Coast - Get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the peaceful areas along the Nature Coast.Click thumbnail to view full-size
HELPFUL LINKS TO CAMPING INFO
- Woodall's Camping Information
Search for RV Parks, Campgrounds, RV Dealers, Service Centers, Camping Activities, Attractions, and more.
- Road Trip Journal
If you are an RV or Motorcycle enthusiast, then this is the site for you. Packed with lots of helpful information and articles.
- RV USA Forum
Get into entertaining and informative discussions on this site for RVers for newbies and experienced.
Cool Camping Gear
No matches? No problem. You'll always be ready to light that campfire and have it ready for roasting the hot dogs.
Light up the party or campsite with these LED string lights. Lending an air of ambience as well as safety to the area.
What's camping without roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the campfire? Mmmm..get out the mustard!
What a versatile must-have piece of equipment for camping. Make delicious fruit piess, breakfast sandwiches, and treats with the pie iron.
FREE DISNEY EXPERIENCE - No, Not Fr*e Tickets To Disney World
Wouldn't we all love free tickets to Disney World? (Hey, if you know someone who works there you might beg some tickets from him. Workers get them as a perk for working at Disney.)
If actually going to the many fabulous World Parks at Disney is out of your budget range this season, you can still enjoy the fun, excitement, and beauty of the Disney creations.
Drive over to the many hotels and take a tour. Walk through the lobbies and experience the Disney ambience. Purchase a drink or lunch/dinner at the restaurant. Sit in the elegantly appointed lobby and be entertained by the exquisite grand piano. Shop in the hotel retail stores. Oh, I forgot, we are talking a free trip. Well, you can window shop, but Disney marketers have a way of making window shoppers into spending shoppers. They certainly know how to merchandise.
Travel on over to Downtown Disney. (Check out the info in the Fun in Florida section below). You can experience great restaurants, gorgeous lakeview, musical presentations, and of course, lots of shopping. Parking is free though..hee hee.
CHOOSE A DISNEY BOOK
If you can't go to Disney this season, you can read about it. Choose an entertaining and informative book.
HISTORIC BOK SANCTUARY - Home of the 205 foot Gothic and art deco carillon
Sanctuary is the perfect word to describe this peaceful park near Lake Wales, FL. Dutch immigrant Edward Bok established this landscape garden and soaring singing carillon tower on Florida's highest point as a gift to the American people. The Sanctuary was dedicated in 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge allowing visitors from all over the world a Sanctuary where they can stroll along the remarkable paths or sit and contemplate the beauty of Nature.
The Carillon is a towering structure which is a masterpiece of stone work as well as the home of beautiful music. There are concerts from the 60-bell carillon daily.
The museum on the property contains information about the formation of the gardens, the construction of the carillon tower, and Edward Bok's life. Take in the tour of the 1930's home of 20th century industrialist, C. Austin Buck. The Pinewood Estate is adorned in early 20th century Christmas decorations for the holidays and offers seasonal tours throughout the year.
Admission: $10. Adults; $3. Children 5-12. Free under 5
LINK TO HISTORIC BOK SANCTUARY
- Historic Bok Tower
For more information about this historic garden and carillon, click here.
BOK TOWER VIDEO
Homosassa Springs State Park - Tour this park for a look at Florida wildlife.
Located on Florida's Nature Coast, Homosassa Springs State Park is a lush, Florida landscape filled with wildlife native to Florida. This is a place that rehabilitates and releases injured animals. If they cannot be released, the park will care for them and allow people to view the animals in their natural environment. The only non-native Florida animal is Lu, the hippopotamus, who is a retired movie star celebrating his 50th birthday this year. By special decree from then Gov. Chiles, the mighty hippo, who is not a Florida native, was allowed to stay when the state purchased the park.
Take the quiet boat ride from the park entrance to the viewing area. Stroll the paths, take in the manatee show, the alligator and hippo show, and the wildlife encounters. This is an attraction that all ages will enjoy.
Link to Homosassa Springs State Park
- Homosassa Springs State Park
Visit this Florida State Park link for information about this wildlife park.
Experience Natural Florida at Blue Spring and DeLeon Springs State Parks
Manatees, wildlife along St. John's River, kayak trips, hiking, AND pancakes!
Blue Spring State Park is a manatee refuge. The warm springs draw the manatee there when the river water drops below 70 degrees about mid-November-March. Watch the manatee lazily float in the clear water with their youngsters. The enormous animals delight people of all ages. Blue Springs is 2,644 acres of natural Florida so there is plenty of wildlife to watch even when the manatee are not present.
Tent and RV campers can set up in the Sandpine scrub campground within easy walking distance of the river and spring run.
After enjoying Blue Spring, run on up the road to DeLeon Springs State Park. You can enjoy a dip in the 72 degree spring and fabulous pancakes you grill yourself at your table at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant, open 9-5 on weekdays and 8-5 on weekends, serving until 4:00. Call 386.985.5644.
More Information on Blue Spring and DeLeon Springs State Parks
TAKE A WINERY TOUR FOR A DIFFERENT TASTE OF FLORIDA
I know. I know. When you think of Florida, you think of oranges. But Florida has sixteen wineries scattered from Alva to DeFuniak Springs. Florida vineyards produce about 180,000-250,000 gallons of wine each year. Winemaking in Florida can be traced back to 1585 when the French Huguenots discovered the native, wild grape, muscadine, near Jacksonville. Research and science have combined to produce award winning wines. Now you can benefit by taking a drive through the Florida countryside to visit these wineries and taste the delightful flavors.
You may be surprised to discover bottles of blueberry, orange, grapefrut, strawberry, raspberry and Key lime wine on the shelves at Florida Orange Groves and Winery in St. Petersburg. Get real adventurous and try wines made from Ruskin Tomatoes and carrots.
- Florida Orange Groves and Winery
St. Petersburg--A winery devoted to a special Florida taste of wines made from Florida grown fruits and vegetables. Blueberry, Key lime, Ruskin tomatoes and carrots are just a few of their award winners.
- Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards
Clermont--The stucco Spanish style headquarters for Lakeridge Winery reminds the traveler of the Napa Valley in California. Grapevines grace the gentle rolling hills around the winery. This entertaining and informative place to visit offers tours ex
- Florida Grape Growers Association
For information, addresses, products, and more about member Wineries, check this site.
Civil War Reenactments in Florida
Amazing is the only word to describe the Civil War Reenactment of the Brooksville Raid. Every January this event draws over 1500 reenactors, horses, caissons, canon to Brooksville, FL where a huge battle is staged on Saturday and Sunday. Vendors selling apparel and dry goods of the Civil War era are open for business come rain or shine.
Reenactments are held all winter in Florida locations.
Get in touch with this era of American history by attending a reenactment. You can step back in time for a more thorough appreciation of the fighting men and women in the War Between the States.
- Florida Reenactors Online
Check here for dates and locations of the next Civil War Reenactment in Florida.
Books about the Civil War in the United States
Did you know the reason the War Between the States is called the Civil War is because a commission made up of members from the North and the South met before the war started to agree to certain rules on how to conduct the war. They were being civil about the War.
Included in the list are books about the Civil War.
A Visit to a Hydro Farm - Hydroponic growing vegetable
We visited this one acre farm in Ruskin, FL in March 2011. With hyrdroponics, one acre of ground grows the same amount of vegetables as six acres of traditional vegetable farmland.
Manatees, the Gentle Giants
Books on Manatees
Because the gulf waters cool in winter, the manatees make their way into warmer waters such as springs and discharge pools near hydro electric plants. It may be cool for you to get out and see these magnificent creatures, but grab that sweatshirt and pull on the long pants for an amazing sight. Don't miss the opportunity to see the manatee in natural surroundings.
Cedar Key, Relax and Recharge
Step into a different Florida. Get away from the crowds and hustle bustle of the major tourist attractions. If you want to escape, go to Cedar Key, FL, a little fishing town on the largest island of the Cedar Keys. Located three miles out into the Gulf of Mexico, this little gem is a haven for artists and writers. Visitors can pop in and out of the shops and galleries on the streets in the historic district. I especially enjoyed the quaint bookstore with post-it notes attached to the books with a quick review of the book. The variety of artwork including photos of wildlife and water scenes are outstanding as are the paintings, leather work, ceramics, jewelry, and more.
If you love seafood, then you will be in heaven with freshly caught delights from the waters around Cedar Key, prepared in the world class restaurants hugging the shore and eateries around the area.
Nature lovers will delight in visiting the federally protected bird sanctuaries and hiking the nature trails. Fishermen and women will appreciate the modern pier, pictured in the photo above, for catching all kinds of fish in the vast waters of the Gulf.
Links to More Information About Cedar Key
Lake Placid, FL
Town of Murals and Caladiums
Lake Placid, FL, located at the southern end of Highlands County on US Rte. 27, is delightful discovery. Located smack in the middle of citrus, cattle, and caladium farms, the small town has lots to offer visitors to this unique area. The 29 sparkling fresh water lakes are active centers for fishing, skiiing and boating, plus great sites for picnicking and hiking.
The main draw to the area is the extensive collection of murals in the downtown area. Go to the Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center on Oak St. to ask the friendly volunteers to help you. There is a 10 minute video on the murals and the original art collection can be viewed there. It's an easy walk around the town to see most of the murals. Get the $3.00 book with all the murals illustrated and information on the locations, artists, and the paintings.
Drive outside the city to see the fields of caladium plants where the landscape is alive with bands of colorful leaves stretching across the countryside. The Caladium Festival is held every August when the plants are at their peak of glory. The owner at Fancy Leaf Caladiums at Happyness Farms was friendly and helpful with all of our questions about these gorgeous plants who have no pests and require no insecticide treatment or fertilization.
Two interesting residents of this town--Dr. Melvil Dewey who invented the Dewey Decimal System for libraries loved the place so much that he spearheaded a movement to re-name the town to Lake Placid after Lake Placid, NY.
Presently Keith Stokes, aka Toby the Clown, established the Clown School in Lake Placid so that now the city claims to have more clowns per capita than any other town in Florida. Maybe that's why the residents are cheerful and friendly.
Escape to Lake Placid for a relaxing and rewarding day away.
Information on Lake Placid, FL
- Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce gives you more information about the town of Lake Placid, FL and the surrounding area.
Spending the Holidays in Florida? - Florida turns into an exotic, warm Wonderland to celebrate the holiday season.
Listed below are great places to visit on your holiday break. Shopping, entertainment and information available all year round is worth the trip, but the places shine during holidays with lights and decorations and special events.Here's a list of some of my most favorite places to visit in Florida. Leave a comment to let me know your favorite spots too.
- Mt. Dora, Florida
Mount Dora, FL settled on a lovely lake is the hub for winter activity. Beautiful lake and so many shops to explore in this quaint town.The festival of Lighting up Mt. Dora is one that people of all ages enjoy every year at the end of November. The m
- Downtown Disney
If you can't afford to visit Disney World, then head to Downtown Disney. This is such a fun experience for everyone. There is daily entertainment and lots of restaurants. Close by is the Lego shop with fascinating Lego characters built entirely of Le
- Celebration, Florida
Yes, Celebration, FL began its life as a planned community by Walt Disney. It is located near the Disney attractions. The neighborhoods are perfectly groomed and the feeling is as if you stepped back into an Andy Hardy movie. The Town Center not only
- St. Augustine, Florida
Nights of Lights is a two month celebration of the holidays. Click here for lots of information about the events at this famous, ancient Florida city. A St. Augustine Christmas is packed full of events from sparkling lights downtown, parade, boat par
- Christmas in Tampa 2011
Tamps, FL bustles with activities for family fun. Check it out here.
Baseball Spring Training Time in Florida - Find out when your favorite team plays.
You know it's spring when the major league baseball teams arrive in Florida for Spring Training. This is a great opportunity for fans to see their favorite players in action in an intimate setting instead of the enormous major league fields. Take time to cheer your team on this spring.
- Florida Grapefruit League Spring Training
The Grapefruit League includes the teams and locations in Florida for the spring training games.
- Official Site of Major League Baseball
This site gives you all the news, game scores, and info on the teams. Play ball!!!
- Tampa Bay Rays
Home games played at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, FL, except where noted. Go to the regular season schedule. Tickets and seating information too.
- Florida Marlins
Check out the latest for the Florida Marlins.
Florida Strawberry Festival..Yummy!! - Strawberry shortcakes piled high, carnival fun, and big name country stars in concert!
Plant city, Florida is the place to be for the nationally known Florida Strawberry Festival.
- Florida Strawberry Festival 2014
Plant City, FL is bustling during the Florida Strawberry Festival. Your eyes will pop when you see their famous strawberry shortcakes. Enjoy the fair food, fun and concerts February 287-March 9!