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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Community Cafe / Need help with Florida vacation
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    Need help with Florida vacation

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    HalfBakedCappy
    Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:46 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I am hoping Sarasota or other Floridians will chime in here.

    DH and I are thinking of going to FL in 2-3 weeks for a vacation. What we are thinking is that we would fly to Miami and then rent a car and drive to the keys for a couple of days. We would then like to go through the Everglades and up the west side of FL and fly home from an area there.

    I am interested in knowing the temperature this time of year. Also looking for ideas of things to do or see.

    Any info you can give me will be appreciated.
    seashell
    Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:45 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I live on the SE coast of Fla. (Palm Beach County). February is a real toss up. So far, our winter (?) has been very mild. February can continue to be mild, or a cold front can move in . It is anyone's guess. At least it will more than likely be sunny and mild. Sarasota is a beautiful area, and although I prefer the beaches on the Atlantic, the Gulf beaches are beautiful. The seafood is delicious. Have fun and I hope the weather is great.
    Sue Lau
    Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:47 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Google "florida map" and clcik on the google map. If you click the tab to the right you can select "weather".
    Personally, I'd fly in to Key West, rent a car and drop it on the way out (drive to Miami, take the trail over to the west to around Marco Island, then drive up to Fort Myers to fly home).
    Ducky
    Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:06 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Others can provide better details on where to fly into or out of and specifically what to see.

    I visit south Florida around this time of year for a week or so. Weather can be quite varied. I think this year it has been fairly warm so far. One thing though, the chances of snow are extremely slim. icon_lol.gif

    Have a nice vacation.
    Madame Blueberry
    Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:50 am
    Food.com Groupie
    I live in SW FL. The weather has been unseasonably warm this winter, though once in a while a cold front will come through and it will be chilly for a day or two. I would check the weather forecast closer to your arrival, and bring clothes that you can layer, in case it gets chilly.
    If you and your DH enjoy scenic drives, you would probably prefer to fly into Miami and drive to the Keys, rather than go straight to the Keys. To fly to the Keys, you'll have to switch to a tiny plane anyway. Personally, I avoid those tiny planes, but maybe you would think they're fun. icon_smile.gif
    What kinds of things do you and your DH enjoy? Do you like to go to the beach and look at scenery, do you like to go to museums, or do you like to do touristy things like amusement parks, etc?
    HalfBakedCappy
    Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:26 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Madame Blueberry wrote:
    I live in SW FL. The weather has been unseasonably warm this winter, though once in a while a cold front will come through and it will be chilly for a day or two. I would check the weather forecast closer to your arrival, and bring clothes that you can layer, in case it gets chilly.
    If you and your DH enjoy scenic drives, you would probably prefer to fly into Miami and drive to the Keys, rather than go straight to the Keys. To fly to the Keys, you'll have to switch to a tiny plane anyway. Personally, I avoid those tiny planes, but maybe you would think they're fun. icon_smile.gif
    What kinds of things do you and your DH enjoy? Do you like to go to the beach and look at scenery, do you like to go to museums, or do you like to do touristy things like amusement parks, etc?


    Thanks for the info. Our thoughts are to fly into Miami and probably spend the night and leave for the Keys the next day. We are thinking we would drive to Key West and stay there for a couple of days. We love the beach. DH loves to get out and drive so we do a lot of that on a vacation. Just drive and look at things. If we see something that interests us we stop. We definitely want to go through the Everglades and are interested in taking an airboat tour. I want to see an aligator! icon_rolleyes.gif Oh, and eat all of the seafood I can possible stuff in my mouth for the whole time I am there!
    Madame Blueberry
    Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:39 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Sue Lau already mentioned Marco Island, which is in the Naples area. In the Ft. Myers area, you would probably like Sanibel Island, which has beautiful beaches that are famous for shelling, the Sanibel Lighthouse, the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, where you would likely see an alligator or two, kayak and bicycle rentals, etc. There are bike paths all over the island. From Sanibel, you can also go over to Captiva Island, another upscale island. They have a famous restaurant called the Bubble Room, which I haven't been to, but everyone says is worth checking out. Fort Myers also has the Edison-Ford Winter Estates, which is great if that sort of thing interests you. www.edisonfordwinterestates.org The Sarasota area is also very nice- Mote Marine is a nice stop for a few hours. I'm sure chef Sarasota can give better advice on that area, so I'll leave that to her! If I think of anything else, I'll let you know. icon_smile.gif
    HalfBakedCappy
    Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:11 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Madame Blueberry wrote:
    Sue Lau already mentioned Marco Island, which is in the Naples area. In the Ft. Myers area, you would probably like Sanibel Island, which has beautiful beaches that are famous for shelling, the Sanibel Lighthouse, the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, where you would likely see an alligator or two, kayak and bicycle rentals, etc. There are bike paths all over the island. From Sanibel, you can also go over to Captiva Island, another upscale island. They have a famous restaurant called the Bubble Room, which I haven't been to, but everyone says is worth checking out. Fort Myers also has the Edison-Ford Winter Estates, which is great if that sort of thing interests you. www.edisonfordwinterestates.org The Sarasota area is also very nice- Mote Marine is a nice stop for a few hours. I'm sure chef Sarasota can give better advice on that area, so I'll leave that to her! If I think of anything else, I'll let you know. icon_smile.gif


    Thank you very much. This is exactly the type of information I was looking for. I'll do some studing on the info you have given me. icon_biggrin.gif
    SarasotaCook
    Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:43 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Hi, sorry I missed this this other day.

    First the weather: Feb can be dicey. But, you are most likely to have sunshine and temps in the 70's. We do get cold from and cold days, but they are very short lived. South FL, tends to stay warmer; Many fronts come through, but the southern portion does stay a bit warmer.

    Flying in to Orlando or Miami, and flying out of Tampa or Orlando are your best bets. Flying in to Key West is very $$ You could also fly into Jacksonville, and stop at St Augustine which is really beautiful; It is such a historic town, the Old Fort; it is a beautiful area. Then you could drive down the East coast to Melbourne where the Space Station is. After Miami, a drive to the keys is absolutely beautiful Key Largo, Marathon, Key West, Looe Key are all amazing. You can snorkel at John Pennekamp state park on Key Largo which is amazing; and there are also glass bottom boat rides; for those who love the water and don't dive. It's a bit of a drive through the Keys, but if you haven't gone, it is very beautiful. Key West can be very touristy, but also very colorful and fun.

    Then back up the Keys through the Everglades. Not much to see driving through; but a few places offer the airboat rides which can be fun for those who have never done it.

    Naples, very pretty, Ritzy, classy, beautiful area. Captiva Island, Sanibel, all very gorgeous beaches and shopping; Great Dining all along the coast. Naples has many exclusive shopping areas as well.

    There are many everglade tours available in Naples; also, boat cruises; and even sailboat cruises which are lots of fun. They usually offer wine or champagne, some appies and a cruise on a 40' sailboat around the area. They also have the Lionel Train Museum, cool little place and it's free.

    Ft Myers, just north of Naples; lots of things. I think already mentioned the Edison Ford Winter Estates/Museum. Very nice. A Cypress Preserve Natural Area;

    Then to Sarasota (my Home). We have Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium; Great fun, wonderful Aquarium. And, I can get you FREE tickets. Also the world renown, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. It is truly stunning. We also have the John and Mable Ringling Museum. Famous by the John and Ringling Barnum and Baily Circus; also, the museum holds the larges collection of Peter Paul Reubens paintings.
    Again, many wonderful places to eat. Nothing like eating right on the beach. And Siesta Beach was named #1 for is soft white sand 4 years in a row. Also, St Armands Circle is known for 'Classy' Upscale shopping; but they also have fun friendly restaurants and shops. The Columbia Restaurant is a great place right on St Armands. Spanish couisine and famous since the early 1900. They are known for their 1905 salad and their cuban sandwiches.

    Also, right next to Mote Marine is a Bird Sanctuary which is wonderful to walk through. And there is the Salty Dog restaurant across the street. It sits right on the water and they have wonderful blackened fish sandwiches, grouper, burgers, etc. Rustic, and all outdoors

    There is also the Crowley Museum and Nature Park which highlights FL settlers.

    Myakka State park is also beautiful. Just east of Sarasota. Beautiful state park, tours available or paddle down the waterway, or walk the paths to see alligators. But also one of the largest freeline bridges above the tree tops. A canopy bridge. It is breath taking.

    Anna Maria is also beautiful, just north of Sarasota; Great quiet beach and shopping.

    You could then fly out of Tampa or Orlando for the best price. Tampa is just 45 from Sarasota, Orlando about 2 1/2 (traffic depending). Sometimes you can fly directly out of Sarasota too, just depends if you can get a good price.

    Of course, you can do 1/2 day or even 3 hr fishing trips from any place.
    -----------------------------

    Hope that helps, let me know if I can get you any other info. Happy to help. Even the 60's and 70's is better than some of the bitter cold going around.
    SarasotaCook
    Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:49 am
    Food.com Groupie
    FOOD, the most important tip!

    Try FL lobster tails, not the same as Maine, but tasty.
    And in the Keys, Conch Chowder, a MUST
    Conch Fritters
    Key Lime Pie, the real stuff
    Blackened Fish Sandwich
    Alligator Bites
    Hearts of Palm Salad
    Stone Crab Claws
    Blue Crab
    SarasotaCook
    Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:58 am
    Food.com Groupie


    One of my favorite restaurants. The Sand Bar Restaurant in Anna Maria Island, just north of Sarasota. Fantastic food, right on the water, a band at night on the weekends. It is beautiful and delicious.

    http://sandbar.groupersandwich.com/

    -----------
    This is Phillipi Creek Oyster Bar right in Sarasota. Not on the beach, but on the water. Inexpensive, great seafood, relaxing, fun; and make sure to get pot of Broasted Oysters - they are the best.

    http://creekseafood.com/

    HalfBakedCappy
    Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:08 am
    Food.com Groupie
    SarasotaCook wrote:
    Hi, sorry I missed this this other day.

    First the weather: Feb can be dicey. But, you are most likely to have sunshine and temps in the 70's. We do get cold from and cold days, but they are very short lived. South FL, tends to stay warmer; Many fronts come through, but the southern portion does stay a bit warmer.

    Flying in to Orlando or Miami, and flying out of Tampa or Orlando are your best bets. Flying in to Key West is very $$ You could also fly into Jacksonville, and stop at St Augustine which is really beautiful; It is such a historic town, the Old Fort; it is a beautiful area. Then you could drive down the East coast to Melbourne where the Space Station is. After Miami, a drive to the keys is absolutely beautiful Key Largo, Marathon, Key West, Looe Key are all amazing. You can snorkel at John Pennekamp state park on Key Largo which is amazing; and there are also glass bottom boat rides; for those who love the water and don't dive. It's a bit of a drive through the Keys, but if you haven't gone, it is very beautiful. Key West can be very touristy, but also very colorful and fun.

    Then back up the Keys through the Everglades. Not much to see driving through; but a few places offer the airboat rides which can be fun for those who have never done it.

    Naples, very pretty, Ritzy, classy, beautiful area. Captiva Island, Sanibel, all very gorgeous beaches and shopping; Great Dining all along the coast. Naples has many exclusive shopping areas as well.

    There are many everglade tours available in Naples; also, boat cruises; and even sailboat cruises which are lots of fun. They usually offer wine or champagne, some appies and a cruise on a 40' sailboat around the area. They also have the Lionel Train Museum, cool little place and it's free.

    Ft Myers, just north of Naples; lots of things. I think already mentioned the Edison Ford Winter Estates/Museum. Very nice. A Cypress Preserve Natural Area;

    Then to Sarasota (my Home). We have Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium; Great fun, wonderful Aquarium. And, I can get you FREE tickets. Also the world renown, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. It is truly stunning. We also have the John and Mable Ringling Museum. Famous by the John and Ringling Barnum and Baily Circus; also, the museum holds the larges collection of Peter Paul Reubens paintings.
    Again, many wonderful places to eat. Nothing like eating right on the beach. And Siesta Beach was named #1 for is soft white sand 4 years in a row. Also, St Armands Circle is known for 'Classy' Upscale shopping; but they also have fun friendly restaurants and shops. The Columbia Restaurant is a great place right on St Armands. Spanish couisine and famous since the early 1900. They are known for their 1905 salad and their cuban sandwiches.

    Also, right next to Mote Marine is a Bird Sanctuary which is wonderful to walk through. And there is the Salty Dog restaurant across the street. It sits right on the water and they have wonderful blackened fish sandwiches, grouper, burgers, etc. Rustic, and all outdoors

    There is also the Crowley Museum and Nature Park which highlights FL settlers.

    Myakka State park is also beautiful. Just east of Sarasota. Beautiful state park, tours available or paddle down the waterway, or walk the paths to see alligators. But also one of the largest freeline bridges above the tree tops. A canopy bridge. It is breath taking.

    Anna Maria is also beautiful, just north of Sarasota; Great quiet beach and shopping.

    You could then fly out of Tampa or Orlando for the best price. Tampa is just 45 from Sarasota, Orlando about 2 1/2 (traffic depending). Sometimes you can fly directly out of Sarasota too, just depends if you can get a good price.

    Of course, you can do 1/2 day or even 3 hr fishing trips from any place.
    -----------------------------

    Hope that helps, let me know if I can get you any other info. Happy to help. Even the 60's and 70's is better than some of the bitter cold going around.


    Wow! Thanks for all the info Sarasota. I am going to have DH read your posts and see what he thinks. Thanks so much for your help. If I have any questions, I'll contact you. Thanks again.
    SarasotaCook
    Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:41 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Very welcome
    Chicagoland Chef du Jour
    Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:56 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    SarasotaCook wrote:


    One of my favorite restaurants. The Sand Bar Restaurant in Anna Maria Island, just north of Sarasota. Fantastic food, right on the water, a band at night on the weekends. It is beautiful and delicious.

    http://sandbar.groupersandwich.com/

    .


    This restaurant is FABulous!
    SarasotaCook
    Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:58 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Chicagoland Chef du Jour wrote:
    SarasotaCook wrote:


    One of my favorite restaurants. The Sand Bar Restaurant in Anna Maria Island, just north of Sarasota. Fantastic food, right on the water, a band at night on the weekends. It is beautiful and delicious.

    http://sandbar.groupersandwich.com/

    .


    This restaurant is FABulous!
    Yep, thx, I totally agree with that. Good food, unique, pretty, on the beach. Can't really complain. Happy Hour too.
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