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Secret Florida

Southend
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Secret Florida

This sounds crazy but if you don't ask.....

OH and I did Florida (all the usual, Disney, Cape Canaveral, Everglades etc) 25 years ago with the kids. May be going back as a stop-off to Mexico next winter - so 4 or 5 days - not quite sure yet.

DON'T want to do all the usual things or what we did before. We are now into walking / gentle hiking, national parks, easyish cycling, occasional sit on the beach, pretty little towns/villages, not huge shopping malls, ritz 'n glitz and hoards of people. Are there any bits to Florida which are charming rather than brash (and don't get me wrong, we loved all stuff with the kids) now we're older and quieter (ha! ha!)?

Fort Lauderdale...
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1. Re: Secret Florida

Saint Augustine might be worth checking out if you havent done so already. You might also check and see the school calendar for the dates you plan on visiting. Ive been lucky enough to visit some places during the week the locals go back to school, we were the only ones around.

Pensacola and other parts of the Pan Handle are very nice, just choose your spot wisely.

Orlando
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2. Re: Secret Florida

When you start getting into North Florida during the winter, you run the risk of some chilly days if a cold front blows through.

Gentle hiking is about all you will get in Florida as the biggest hills we have are over in Clermont. There is a huge bike trail in western part of Orange County called the West Orange Trail. It connects with others in the area. There are several good state parks. You may try www.floridastateparks.org . I would also look the the Canaveral National Seashore.

There are some cute coastal towns: Flagler Beach, Vero Beach, Pass A Grille (on the other coast), Cedar Key (further north on the West Coast). Mt Dora is a small town inland. St Augustine is a little touristy, but it is a really neat town. Maybe look at places like Jupiter further south or Sanibel Island in the southwest part of the state.

Edited: 11 February 2013, 12:37
Halifax Nova Scotia
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3. Re: Secret Florida

What about Sanibel Is? Gorgeous beaches (but interesting--all those shells), a lovely Wildlife Preserve...I remember going to a park with an estuary where you could (sort of) see manatees in the wild (you'd catch a glimpse of them coming up to breathe), with nice nature trails. Oh! I see surffish has suggested it as well. :)

Southend
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4. Re: Secret Florida

Thanks everyone,

Looks good so far. I shall do some more investigating based on what you've said.

Altamonte Springs...
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for St. Augustine
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5. Re: Secret Florida

Here is some of what I think you are looking for: …coverleaf.com/southernlivingflorida/…pg19

Marietta, Georgia
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6. Re: Secret Florida

I agree with Cedar Key. It's old Florida and off the beaten track. Look at Cayo Costa State Park....I've never been there, but have always been intrigued by it. Also, in the Keys we rented a house on the water in Big Torch Key..it was definitely away from the crowd. There are out of the way places along the Suwannee river as it goes to the Gulf....off of the tourist's radar.

Orlando
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7. Re: Secret Florida

I forget to ask, where you are going in Mexico. There are a couple of spots that I have been that are beautiful and had some very nice people. There are others that aren't so safe.

Southend
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8. Re: Secret Florida

First time to Mexico, thinking of Yucatan as (apparently) relatively safe, but south of Cancun and all the high rises. Probably stay a while in Tulum or similar, and then maybe head down into Belize for 2 or 3 days (not sure, weighing that one up still!), then back into Mexico, through Valladolid, stay in Merida for 4 or 5 days, then head back to Cancun and then back to Orlando. The Florida stay is because our local airport here in the UK has a flight to Dublin now and a connecting flight to Orlando (we hate the trek up to London Heathrow, has to be the worst airport in the world). The only thing that worries me a bit is that the weather will be chilly in Florida (and maybe even in Mexico?) in January. Don't mind the 60s and not too worried about not sitting on the beach or swimming but would be nice if it were warmish and sunny.

UK
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9. Re: Secret Florida

We quite enjoyed Clearwater Beach (nice town and beach, great pier in the evening), Siesta Key (great beach and very pleasant town), Ponce Inlet (fish tacos!) and the inlet harbour, and Lake Kissimmee National Park.

Orlando
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10. Re: Secret Florida

I did a short day tour to Tulum. The beach and the ruins are beautiful. The guide we had was great. Some of the vendors were a little aggressive.

I would also look at Cozumel. I have been there three times now. It is safe, the people are very nice, and it is cheap. If I can help, let me know.

An average day in the Orlando area during winter is the low 70's, but there usually isn't an average. It can be in the 50's. It can be in the 80's. It is all over the place. It can and does freeze overnight once in a while. Today, I believe it will be in the 80's.

You will have a much greater change of cold weather to the north of Orlando. It can be as much as ten degrees colder in Jacksonville and as much as ten degrees warmer in Miami. I don't believe it gets very chilly along the Mexican Coast.