Val's View: Planning a Staycation
Posted on 12 April 2022
Explore Sunshine State Destinations
Now that we can begin to get back to the freedom of travel, what better way to start than with a low-commitment option? By this, I mean traveling in Florida, my home state!
There are plenty of options to choose from. We have everything from natural wonders like springs to destinations that are off-the-beaten path like super fun mountain biking trails.
photo by Done By Alex on unsplash
Historic and Celebrated Hotel Spots
Miami’s renowned Biltmore Hotel was built back in 1926- you can just feel the nostalgia in the architecture. There are even Roman-style statues lining a gigantic pool! It is like stepping back in time to a beautiful era of synchronized swimmers and bathing beauties.
And speaking of gorgeous pools, you can also visit the Venetian Pool nearby to cool down. This pool is fed by a natural spring water aquifer that hovers around 72 degrees. Every day during the spring and summer months, the pool is drained to keep the water fresh and crisp (I know all this because my hubby was a lifeguard there back in the ‘80s).
The elegant oceanfront National Hotel in Miami Beach is a throwback to a bygone era of Art Deco design. This hotel boasts original furniture and even terrazzo flooring. The infinity pool lined in palm trees and spacious cabanas will have you feeling like royalty, and the two restaurants and three bars ensure you won’t need to travel far during your stay.
photo via coralgables.com
Wanna Go For a Ride?
Head to the hills- in Ocala, that is! At Santos Trailhead and Campground, there are 80+ miles of mountain bike trails for beginners and skilled riders alike. Love a challenge? You can experience epic drops carved from an old quarry. There are also hiking opportunities available on the Florida National Scenic Trail that winds its way through this area.
For more mountain biking on Florida terrain, check out Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, which is built on the footprint of a top-secret WW2 radar training army base called Camp Murphy. Both novices and expert mountain bikers will love the Camp Murphy Trail which runs alongside ancient sand dunes.
photo via floridahikes.com
Hit the Water
Paddle boarding is easier than you think and great for coordination and balance. Here are a few of the prettiest spots you can paddle at:
- Bahia Honda State Park in the Keys is gorgeous and reminds me of snorkeling with my son when he was a kid.
- Grayton Beach State Park has 3 coastal dune lakes right on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
- Daytona Beach has 23 miles of white sand beaches. This special place was my home as a little girl for a time and I have many fond memories of building giant sandcastles along the shoreline. It’s a great spot for a spontaneous getaway.
photo by Autumn Kuney on unsplash
Apalachicola National Forest is a vast expanse lined with Atlantic white cedar trees, the perfect place to celebrate wilderness. Visitors can challenge themselves by canoeing through the twists and turns of the New River.
If you prefer to sightsee from a very cool lighthouse, take Bryant Pattan Memorial Bridge to the Cape St. George Lighthouse. If you decide to climb the 92 wooden stairs, wear comfy shoes to reach the top of this beauty! Once you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to grab some food at the Owl Cafe in the heart of downtown Apalachicola. This seafood-serving gem offers shrimp, grouper, and of course, local oysters.
A nice spot to stay and unwind is the Water Street Hotel and Marina. It has full kitchens and private verandas facing the Apalachicola River. The last place on the list to visit is Orman House Historic State Park with an authentic home from 1838 and adjacent botanical gardens.
photo via thetravel.com
On the Road Again
If you're the independent type, an R.V. is one way to seek out and discover new places. We have a Winnebago Revel van for short road trips. It sleeps two, but it's tight. I say rent before you buy when it comes to recreational vehicles. Road trips can be stress-busters for some people, but for others, they can be stress-inducers! To get the best experience for all, do a little planning first. The good news about traveling via RV is that you save on accommodations and can use that extra cash to splurge on nice meals.
photo by Alex Plesovskich on unsplash
Prep yourself before taking off on your trip and get a good night's sleep before you depart. Trips are meant to be memorable, so pack a good attitude. From aquariums to adventure islands, there are tons of things to do without venturing very far. So pack your bags and take a leap of faith! If you need to spruce up your wardrobe while on the road, Anthony’s Ladies Apparel has 12 stores across Florida, all stocked with stylish resort wear must-haves. Happy trails!