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Where in Florida to visit

London
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Where in Florida to visit

We are planning a trip late June to visit Florida for the first time.

We are not sure where to go and had thought of the Gulf Coast, looking to get a house rental and take trips from there.

We do not really want to visit Orlando and all that has to offer, but are more interested in great beaches, interesting places to visit on day trips and anything anyone would like to sugest that we should see while there.

We have only really started looking but heard Naples area is nice - any other suggestions or reccomendations would be very much appreciated.

Thanks

Boca Grande Florida
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1. Re: Where in Florida to visit

Well, I live on the gulf coast (Tampa, Saraosta, Ft Myers, Naples). I work on Boca Grande Island just south of Charlotte Harbour. There are plenty of nice places on the Gulf Coast. Sarasota has lots to offer and has great vacation rentals out on Siesta Key (known for the sandy-white beaches). Of course, I'm partial to Boca Grande (since I work here everyday and feel like I'm on vacation). You can check out The Gasparilla Inn and Cottages, or check for house rentals, as the "snowbirds" are gone at that time of the year.

Ft Myers and Naples as nice, but not as "beachy" as Sarasota and Boca Grande.

Good luck! it's nice and HOT here that time of year! :) and there is load to do - beaches, fishing, sports, etc.

And it's far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando.

Minnesota
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2. Re: Where in Florida to visit

Hi Indi!

I have been to Florida over twenty times (though always in the winter). Like you, I'm not interested in the Orlando attractions and I'm married to a beach bum.

Ft. Myers Beach has lots and lots of nice places to stay on the beach. You can also tour Thomas Edison & Henry Ford's winter homes (right next door to each other). Sanibel Island is a short drive away and has a lovely beach atmosphere. Naples is wonderful but you won't find a lot of places on the beach since there are so many privately owned mansions beachfront. But I always enjoy going there.

St. Augustine on the east coast would be wonderful in the summertime. I find it too chilly in winter. It is more European with the old cobblestone streets and buildings & sidewalk cafes. San Marcos fort only costs about $2 to walk through. Nearby is a town called Fernandina Beach that I have always wanted to explore. It is more antique, victorian. I think I saw it on tv, you may want to Google it.

Our other favorite cities are on the east coast, Ft. Lauderdale & Miami Beach. In Fort Lauderdale you can take a water bus (used to be called a water taxi). Just like it's name implies, you catch it at any one of more than a dozen stops in the city, just as you would a bus. It costs about $5.00 for a one day ticket and you can ride as much as you want. The intra-coastal waterways of Ft. Lauderdale are quite interesting to see and experience. You will pass mansion after mansion with huge luxury yachts anchored right outside their doors. The waterbus drivers will run a commentary throughout the trip and tell you which homes Sonny & Cher, Lucille Ball, etc. used to live in and who lives there now. Most of the "bus stops" are at waterfront bars/eateries. Great value for the money! And Ft. Lauderdale beach is gorgeous! We generally stay at a small town just north of Ft. Lauderdale called Lauderdale by the Sea. It is smaller and more walkable than the city. They have a building code there that limits buildings to only three stories tall. And they have a nice pier as well.

Miami Beach is very cosmopolitan and exciting, but you probably knew that anyway. We never stay there because their oceanfront rooms are almost triple the cost of Ft. Lauderdale in the winter, and they are only about 20 miles away. But it is a fun day trip from Ft. Lauderdale. Check out the art deco district and the former home of Gianni Versaci. Google "Viscaya"; it is the former winter home of James Deering, built to appear 400 years old back in the early 1900's. They offer one of the best home tours I have ever taken . The grounds are lovely too. Not far away is Coral Gables, a day trip to visit Fairchild Tropical Gardens.

If you don't mind doing a little driving, Key West is really in a class all its own. The drive down a long chain of islands is quite entertaining. Key West has to be one of the most laid back places on earth. The small island is full of wooden victorian homes with wrap around porches. Most B & B rentals are geared towards couples, so you should check to see if children are welcome (if that's the case). This is probably the best area of Florida for snorkeling or scuba diving and also deep sea fishing.

London
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3. Re: Where in Florida to visit

Thank you for your help this is really useful.

If we chose Fort Myers, could we fly to Orlando or Miami?

I am trying to co-ordinate so my boyfriend and I fly from London and my Mum flies from Glasgow.

Are the journeys similar?

Thanks again

England-Grew up...
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4. Re: Where in Florida to visit

Indi - best goin into Tampa.

The ONLY non-stop flight from London to tampa is with BA

Minnesota
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5. Re: Where in Florida to visit

I always choose the cheapest airport. I use a search engine, such as travelocity.com and look up the flight times & prices using Orlando, Miami, Ft. Myers, Tampa & Ft. Lauderdale. I'm aware of a few more airports, such as Jacksonville but they never seem to be even close in price and convenience. I am not sure if all of the above mentioned airports are International.

Florida is one state where I don't mind booking an airport that is further than my destination if it saves me $$$$. I have flown to Orlando many times and driven down to Ft. Lauderdale because, perhaps, I saved almost $200 per airline ticket for a family of 5.

Are the journeys similar? I assume you mean distance from Miami to Ft. Myers and distance from Orlando to Ft. Myers. Miami will be the shorter trip. Orlando will be longer (and will also involve some tollways). Miami will be approximately a two hour drive on Alligator Alley before exiting in Naples and going north to Ft. Myers. Myself, I'd prefer this route as I feel there is less traffic and is more direct than going through Orlando and deciding which route south you'd take to Ft. Myers.

6. Re: Where in Florida to visit

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