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Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

FLORIDA1
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Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

Just wondering if anyone has a suggestion for a place to take a pleasant break between Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. This will mean leaving the turnpike, of course. I'd like to have lunch, stretch the legs, walk a little, maybe see something interesting. Any ideas? Thanks!

Fort Lauderdale, FL
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1. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

I would say Fort Pierce or Port St. Lucie or Vero Beach may be options but honestly, I don't know enough about those destinations to actually give you information about what to do in any of those cities. Sorry.... You could, however, also post on their forums to see what information they can give you.

Vero Beach, Florida
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2. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

Assuming you're taking the turnpike (best option, considering nasty traffic and major road construction on I-95 in Brevard County), Vero Beach is about 30 minutes from the Turnpike.

Ft. Pierce is closer, and you can drop by the inlet (park on north side, good restaurant at the harbor, little Smithsonian aquarium on the south side).

Stuart has a compact downtown reasonably easy of access from the turnpike.

The Turnpike's Jupiter exit provides a direct ride on state road 706 (Indiantown Rd) east to oceanfront Carlin Park, a very nice public facility (and, if recollection is correct, a very expensive purchase some years ago). I recommend this option.

For a more urban option, PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens, northern Palm Beach County. Or you could drive south from Jupiter Park and go back inland on PGA to the Turnpike.

FLORIDA1
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3. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

Thanks for the info!!! How about Blowing Rocks Preserve? Is it much farther away, and is it worth the trip this time of year? Thanks!

Fort Lauderdale...
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4. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

Blowing Rocks is really worthwhile in my opinion only if you can go during the time of high incoming tide , because that is the only time the rocks actually "blow" and it is spectacular to see. Other than that it is a nice peaceful nature preserve with a boardwalk running through it. I am also not sure what the parking situation may be like during tourist season- probably OK during the week- on weekends I am not so sure- it is a fairly small parking area - at least it was last time I went and I recall getting one of teh last parking spaces available.

I recommended it to our frequent UK visitor Sue , and if she sees this she will likely post and tell you that she happened to hit a time when the rocks were not "performing " and it was a bit of a let down for her. It's not the time of year, it's the time of day that matters and you have to be lucky enough to check tides for Jupiter Inlet or somewhere close to Blowing Rocks and see if high tide is occurring when the preserve is open.

Some of our posters up in the Palm Beach /Jupiter area may be able to tell you about some of the other parks in their area- I know there is Dickinson State Park, but I haven't been there in a long time and don't remember what it has to offer.

Morikami Japanese Gardens are beautiful, but they are in north Boca Raton/Delray Beach , which is almost at the end of your trip..

Vero Beach, Florida
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5. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

Blowing Rock is just a short drive north from Jupiter. As a Nature Conservancy preserve, it's a showcase for restoration of native coastal vegetation. It's fairly easy to check moon phase and tides to see what the water level might be, and any number of surf forecast sites for probable surf.

Bolton, United...
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6. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

We have been to Blowing Rocks on 2 occasions both at high tide, but the rocks didn't blow for us on either occasion. It's a nice place though with a short nature trail and an information centre.

Here's a link to the tides web site

saltwatertides.com/dynamic.dir/floridaatlant…

I hope the rocks blow for you!

Ipswich, United...
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7. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

We'll be making the same trip in April - we're looking at stopping off at Ft. Pierce and visiting the Manatee Center;

http://www.manateecenter.com/

I'm not sure what if any cafes are there though if you want lunch - I guess there will be something nearby - Google maps shows a few restaurants in the vicinity.

Brandon, Florida
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8. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

At the Ft. Pierce exit there will be more restaurants than you can shake the proverbial stick at. Head in the direction towards I-95 - probably only a mile or two.

FLORIDA1
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9. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

Thanks! The Manatee center in Ft. Pierce looks great, but their website says they are closed on Mondays. Does any one know if you can see any manatees there when the center is closed? Or, is there a park nearby where you can view the manatees? Thanks!

JENSEN BEACH
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10. Re: Break on drive from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale

DON"T eat at one of those restaurants off of the Turnpike or I 95. Visit Fort Pierce Manatee Center (saw 3 there last wk). A short walk away is PJ Cobbs with good food and views. I would head across the causeway. A newly opened Tiki Bar/Restaurant is On The Edge. Awesome views of fishing boats and sailboats coming in and out of the inlet. Pelicans and seagulls flying by and fishermen on the docks. Very good fresh seafood specials, salads, burgers etc. After that stretch your legs at the aforementioned inlet park. Great way to break up the trip down to Ft Lauderdale and see a whole different part of Florida! After visiting the inlet park I would ride along the beach southward. Take the bridge over to Jensen and take Jensen Beach Blvd to US 1 which will route you back onto I 95 or the Turnpike.