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where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

suffolk
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where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

Hi We are in Dallas 12 to 17 March and wanted to add another week in Florida, either before or after. I understand that after is very busy cos of Spring Break, which we want to avoid.

Can you help us choose somewhere to stay in Florida please, as we are lost where to start? We like wildlife, natural beauty, little quaint interesting places to explore, relaxing, boat trips. Would be interested in specialist wildlife trips to learn more about local wildlife.

Would consider either a hotel or rental appeals too, nothing fancy. Want to keep budget low as possible.

Not sure which airport we would fly into from Dallas, assume would then hire a car. At end, would fly bac to UK.

Been to Orlando and spent a day at Clearwater years ago, loved the pelicans diving into water. Would appreciate any advice.

Fort Lauderdale...
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1. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

Look at Naples,Marco Island, Key Largo or Homestead.

Melbourne, Florida
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2. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

March will still be a little on the cool side otherwise I would suggest the northern part of Florida and visits to our naturals springs. If beaches are not a priority Cedar Key, Homassassa Springs, Matlacha & Pine Island are off the beaten path old Florida areas. Places like objets suggested which could include visits to the Everglades would have some beach options. I would not stay in Homestead tho. I would stay in Kendall, Miami or in Key Largo. Actually anywhere in the upper / middle keys would work too. Key West gets some spring breakers but its not a major destination for them.

Orlando
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3. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

With everything on your list except for the low price: Sanibel Island. Fly into Ft Myers.

The Sarasota/Bradenton islands are also a possibility, but I don't think many flights do into Sarasota. A bunch will go into Tampa about 60 miles away. They will also not be cheap.

Tampa, Florida
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4. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

I also would second the suggestion of Sanibel Island. Nice beaches, noted especially for shelling. It is also the home to the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where there is a drive to view the wildlife or hiking trails.

The closest airport is Ft. Myers, but you could also fly into Tampa. Tampa has flights back to UK. The drive from TIA to Sanibel is about 2.5 hours possibly more depending upon traffic.

Edited: 26 August 2013, 17:51
Vero Beach, Florida
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5. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

Southern Florida will be at its busiest, with highest prices and crowded facilities.

Will you be driving? That matters a lot.

If you can tolerate the mobs, Naples or Sanibel would be a good base, with access to areas like the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (a magnificent bald-cypress strand) and a number of parks and nature areas on the coast, plus the Big Cypress region.

An alternative might be northwestern Florida, perhaps based at Destin or even Apalachicola (there's several airports in the region, from Tallahassee to a new NW Florida Airport to Pensacola. It will be spring up there, and attractions range from temperate-zone wildflowers (Atamasco lilies and columbines at Florida Caverns State Park) to temperate hardwoods (Torreya State Park), pitcher plants (Apalachicola National Forest or Garcon Point east of Pensacola, a spectacular sight), and a number of pristine beaches (Topsail Hill State Park, etc.). If you could arrange a boat ride on one of the rivers, it would impress. In the department of weird geology, there's Falling Waters State Park, a waterfall plunging into what looks like a mineshaft; actually a limestone sinkhole. Where there's sinkholes, there's springs. Wakulla Spring State Park SE of Tallahassee, is spectacular, even if its water quality is declining.

UK
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6. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

your time of year will still be Spring break high prices.

To have decent weather/temps/water temps the furhte south the better.

So, the 4 islands of Sarasota (AMI, Longboat, Lido and Siesta keys) Sanibel/Captiva and perhaps even one of the keys might suit best.

Personally I would Not consider northern FL (east or west) in march if looking for a beach/warm weather holiday. You can save money on accommodation by staying in rentals over hotels, and/or staying on the mainland instead of a barrier island,

Vero Beach, Florida
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7. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

Climate summary for Panama City, Fla.

…fsu.edu/products-services/…panama-city

Saint Marys, Ohio
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8. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

You may want to fly from Dallas into Orlando. If you want to avoid the spring breakers, then I recommend visiting north Florida (but stay away from Panama City/Destin) From Orlando some places to check out are Crystal River and/or Cedar Key; drive north along Hwy 98 and visit Wakulla County - Wakulla Springs, the St Marks Lighthouse, the Fort de San Marcos, have lunch at the Cantina in St Marks or Ouzts Too for some local flavor, rent a canoe and take a trip along the Wakulla River (lots of manatees, alligators, other wildlife); go to Apalachicola - eat some oysters and browse the shops, head over to St George Island and stay the night at the Buccaneer Inn. Visit Port St Joe/Cape San Blas - canoe/kayak in St Joe bay to see lots of interesting marine wildlife. The area called the "Forgotten Coast" is beautiful and there is a lot of wildlife to see in this area.

JENSEN BEACH
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9. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

You could fly into Orlando or West Palm Beach. Areas like Hutchinson Island are very uncrowded even at Spring Break. Lovely beaches with lots of pelicans, gulls, ospreys. Dolphin play in the whales. Manatee can be observed at the Manatee observation center in nearby Ft Pierce (10-15 min drive). Ft Pierce also has a great jazz greenmarket on Saturday mornings. Local Farmers bring citrus and produce, bakeries and individuals bring all sorts of baked goods, ethnic church groups sell all sorts of goodies. Live music is great. Nice little downtown to stroll around. Also small town Jensen beach is close by with it's open air restaurants and Thurs evening Jammin Jensen. Go to Conchy Joes and sit out on the patio to enjoy a great lunch and plenty of wildlife in the river. Head 15 miles west and take an airboat ride. St Augustine and it's beaches would be another great area but will be crowded and the water not warm enough for swimming.

10. Re: where to stay in Florida? wildlife peaceful, beautifu

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