We were sitting around planning our next adventure when we started to consider what we love about Florida. And the answer is – quite a lot. At first we tried to prioritize our list. But that turned out to be a fool’s errand. So instead, we thought we’d present them here in no particular order.
Sunrises and Sunsets
We have watched the sunrise and sunset many times and it never gets old. We have stood and watched the sun go down over lakes, rivers and the Gulf. There have been great sunrises we have witnessed over the Atlantic, orange groves and even race tracks. Each one is different, unique and beautiful.
We blogged about Sunrises & Sunsets and the bottom line is – each has its own unique beauty. And for us, nothing beats a sunrise or sunset in the Sunshine State.
When we think about what we love about Florida – we have to include the beach. As we learned in the 12 Coasts of Florida, no other state has as diverse a coastline as we do. There are the white sand beaches of the Gulf along the Emerald Coast and the Suncoast. There’s the flora and fauna of the Nature Coast and the Adventure Coast. And of course there’s the Atlantic coast with its great wave action.
Walking the beach, swimming, diving, boating or any number of different activities just give us a wonderful sense of well being. It’s a matter of getting near the water and having our toes in the sand. We think there’s a great restorative quality to sunshine and salt air.
And there are beaches around some of the great Florida lakes and beachside fun along our rivers and streams as well.
The Natural Florida
As delightful as a day at the beach can be, we can tell you that the interior of the state has a natural beauty all of its own. A hike through one of the state parks is a peaceful experience. Most have facilities to cook or camp.
We also have enjoyed a relaxing weekend on the St. Johns River where we sat and watched the birds. Then there was our picnic at Patterson Park where we had lunch and enjoyed all the beauty of nature the Sunshine State has to offer.
Although there are some great malls in Florida, we prefer the shops we have found in many of the historic districts. We have shopped beautiful Deland, Englewood, Stuart, Tarpon Springs, Melbourne and Historic Cocoa Village among others. We always find a wide variety of shopping options. There are curio shops, specialty stores, cute clothiers and a wealth of mom and pop operations where we have discovered treasures to take home.
In addition to the stores, we found many of the downtown areas had interesting streetscapes. Of course we also found some great places to stop and have a bite along the way.
Great Dining Experiences
Naturally, finding interesting places to eat is one of our great joys. We do our best to explore an area to find unique restaurants. These are places that not only pay attention to the dishes they are preparing, but also give a great dining experience.
We have listed a few in our five greatest breakfast places so far and eight restaurants on the Ridge you owe it to yourself to try. But there are others as well. The Bake Chop in Deland, Bob’s Train in Sarasota, The Wild Turkey Tavern in Avon Park and of course Cafe Evergreen in Venice.
Fun & Funky Places
What we love about Florida is that there are so many quirky and fun places to visit. To that end, we have found some great little places that are fun and unusual. One of our first trips was to the Monument of the States in Kissimmee. It’s not a big attraction – but there’s not another one like it.
Another great find was Solomon’s Castle in Hardee County. It is a compendium of the wild and wacky – all enclosed in a handmade castle. We also had a great opportunity to visit and enjoy a selection of minor league baseball games that were major league fun.
And There’s More
The best part is – we’re not done yet. There’s so much of the Sunshine State we have not yet experienced. There’s the Panhandle with the Emerald Coast and the Forgotten Coast. We have not yet visited the Florida Keys and all the funky fun that is the Conch Republic.
We plan on taking some of the back roads trips that will carry us through some of Florida’s tiny towns. There are many botanical gardens in the state we have not yet visited – as well as a wide variety of historical sites that are calling our names.
There’s so much to consider when we ponder what we love about Florida – and so much yet to discover.