Where the Florida Locals Go

When it comes to visiting a place like Florida, it might be in your best interest to know where the locals go. Since Florida relies on tourists, there are many places that are overlooked when it comes to visiting. Touristy destinations usually only want one thing from you: your money! Clever tourists look for the locals.

Why Look for the Florida Locals?

Tourists often seek out local experiences for a variety of reasons:

1. Authentic Experience: Eating, shopping, or visiting places where locals frequent offers a genuine and authentic experience of a place. It allows tourists to get a real feel for the culture, traditions, and everyday life of the destination, which is often not available in the main tourist hubs.

2. Better Value for Money: Tourist-centric places can sometimes be more expensive. Local spots might offer better deals, quality products, and genuine crafts, giving tourists more bang for their buck.

3. Unique Finds and Discoveries: Venturing to local haunts can lead tourists to discover hidden gems not found in guidebooks or popular travel websites. This can be in the form of unique food items, artisan crafts, or off-the-beaten-path attractions.

4. Less Crowded: Popular tourist attractions can sometimes be overcrowded, leading to long wait times and a less than pleasant experience. Local spots are less likely to be crowded, allowing for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

5. Direct Economic Benefit: Supporting local businesses directly benefits the community. Money spent in local establishments is more likely to stay in the community, supporting the local economy and the people who live there.

6. Richer Stories and Conversations: Interacting with locals at their favorite spots can lead to meaningful conversations, personal stories, and insider tips that enrich the travel experience.

7. Experimentation and Adventure: Trying local foods, visiting local attractions, or shopping in local markets can be an adventure. It allows tourists to step out of their comfort zone, try new things, and create memorable experiences.

8. Greater Cultural Understanding: Engaging with the local community and participating in local customs and traditions fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of the culture.

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Where are the Florida Locals?

Here are some of the places where you’ll find us locals:

1. Enchanting Springs and Natural Parks

Ginnie Springs: Located in High Springs, this is a paradise for those who love freshwater activities. Crystal clear waters offer an ideal setting for tubing, snorkeling, and diving. Moreover, the underwater cave system here is among the best in the world, drawing divers from all over.

Ocala National Forest: Spanning over 600 square miles, it’s a haven for hikers, campers, and nature enthusiasts. The forest houses several natural springs, including Juniper Springs and Alexander Springs, where locals escape the hustle and bustle.

2. Pristine Lesser-Known Beaches

Blowing Rocks Preserve: On Jupiter Island, this natural preserve boasts a shoreline of limestone formations, a rarity in Florida. During high tide, waves crashing against the rocks create spectacular plumes of ocean spray.

Caladesi Island State Park: Accessible only by boat, this island offers an untouched beach experience. With white sand and turquoise waters, it’s a favorite for those in-the-know.

3. Cultural Hubs and Historical Sites

Ybor City: Situated in Tampa, it’s the historic and cultural heart of the city. Known for its Cuban influence, you can find hand-rolled cigars, authentic Cuban food, and vibrant nightlife here.

St. Augustine: As the oldest city in the U.S., St. Augustine is rich in history. Wander through its cobblestone streets, visit the Castillo de San Marcos, or take a sip from the Fountain of Youth.

4. Authentic Culinary Experiences

Joe’s Stone Crab: In Miami since 1913, this establishment serves some of the best stone crab claws, a must-try delicacy when in Florida.

Cuban Sandwiches in Little Havana: Miami’s Little Havana offers a range of authentic Cuban eateries, where you can enjoy the classic Cuban sandwich, a perfect blend of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. There are many restaurants where you’ll find these sandwiches and the locals.

5. Charming Small Towns

Matlacha: An artist’s enclave located on Pine Island, it’s filled with brightly colored art galleries, shops, and seafood restaurants. It’s a treat for those who appreciate art and culture.

Safety Harbor: Nestled by the western shore of Tampa Bay, it’s renowned for the Safety Harbor Spa and Resort. The town’s Main Street is dotted with unique boutiques, eateries, and hosts frequent art festivals.

6. Florida’s Scenic Byways

The A1A Coastal Byway: Stretching from Fernandina Beach to Flagler Beach, this drive offers breathtaking ocean views, beach access points, and charming coastal towns. Since many open areas have now become cluttered with condos, there are a number of places along this scenic and iconic highway where there are no views of the ocean.

Tamiami Trail Scenic Highway: Connecting Tampa to Miami, this route takes you through the heart of the Everglades, showcasing Florida’s unique wetlands and wildlife.

While you’ll find the locals shopping in the malls and markets, most of the time, we avoid the touristy things for the less crowded and coveted places. If you go find a restaurant with a crowded parking lot, look at the tags. If they’re Florida plates, then come in and dine with the locals.

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Five of the Top Historical Places in Florida

Florida, often celebrated for its sun-kissed beaches and thrilling theme parks, is also a treasure trove of history and culture, and these five historical places tell stories. From the oldest European-established settlement to islands filled with stories of famous writers and presidents, the Sunshine State offers a wide array of historical sites to explore. Here, we take you on a tour of the five top historical places in Florida that resonate with the past’s intrigue and charm.

1. St. Augustine: A Portal to the Past

Steeped in over 450 years of history, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S. Its cobblestone streets and Spanish colonial architecture evoke the era of explorers and pirates.

  • Castillo de San Marcos: Explore this monumental fortress, built in the 17th century, and feel the whispers of battles fought long ago.
  • St. George Street: Wander through shops and cafes housed in historical buildings, preserving the spirit of the past.

2. Key West: An Island of Legends

Key West, the southernmost point in the continental U.S., offers a blend of Caribbean flair and American history.

  • Hemingway’s Home: Visit the house where Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his famous works and discover his fascinating life.
  • Mallory Square: Experience the rich cultural heritage of Key West with daily sunset celebrations, street performances, and local crafts.

3. Pensacola: A Meeting Point of Cultures

Known as “The City of Five Flags”, Pensacola’s history is marked by the influence of Spanish, British, French, Confederate, and American rule.

  • Fort Pickens: A part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, this preserved fortification offers insight into military history.
  • Historic Pensacola Village: Immerse yourself in Pensacola’s diverse cultural heritage through restored buildings and interactive exhibits.

4. Miami: A Fusion of Historical Traditions

Beyond its modern glitz, Miami is home to sites that reflect the rich tapestry of Native American, Hispanic, and African culture.

  • Coral Castle: A mysterious architectural marvel built single-handedly by Edward Leedskalnin.
  • Freedom Tower: An emblem of Cuban immigration to the United States, standing as a beacon of hope and freedom.

5. Tampa: A City Shaped by Industry and Innovation

Tampa’s industrial past and vibrant present are best experienced through its historical landmarks.

  • Ybor City: Explore the historic Latin quarter, famous for its cigar factories and rich Cuban heritage.
  • Henry B. Plant Museum: Step into the Gilded Age and discover Tampa’s transformation through railroads and shipping.

Conclusion: Embark on a Historical Adventure

Florida’s historical sites are windows to different epochs, cultures, and stories. These five top historical places in Florida beckon history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike to delve into tales of exploration, ingenuity, and cultural convergence. Whether it’s the literary legacy of Hemingway or the enigmatic Coral Castle, Florida’s historical landscapes promise an enriching and unforgettable journey through time.

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Best Festivals in Florida: A Celebration for Every Season

Florida, the sunshine state, is renowned for more than its pristine beaches and theme parks, and here are some of the best festivals in Florida. We have a myriad of captivating festivals that unite the locals and attract the tourists. The festivals are mini celebrations all year long; we have the perfect festival weather here. From music and food to art and culture, there’s an event that caters to every taste.

Here are some of the best festivals in Florida

SunFest: Florida’s Largest Waterfront Music and Art Festival

Held in West Palm Beach every year in the first week of May, SunFest attracts a crowd of over 175,000 music and art lovers. SunFest presents a five-day marathon of live performances by internationally acclaimed artists spanning different music genres. The festival’s floating stages create a unique waterfront ambiance, enhanced by the art district offering a vast range of visual treats.

Key West Fantasy Fest: A Ten-Day Costume Extravaganza

Key West Fantasy Fest: A Ten-Day Costume Extravaganza

Key West Fantasy Fest in late October, is a blend of Halloween, Mardi Gras, and Carnival, all rolled into one. This festival attracts visitors worldwide with its themed parades, costume contests, street fairs, and parties. The highlight is the grand parade, featuring lavishly decorated floats that make their way down Duval Street.

Miami Film Festival: A Haven for Cinephiles

Running since 1984, the Miami Film Festival takes place annually in March. The festival celebrates the finest in world cinema, offering a platform to both established and emerging filmmakers. Over 400 movies from 60 countries have been screened here, reflecting the diverse international culture Miami boasts.

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The Strawberry Festival in Plant City: A Family-Friendly Affair

The Strawberry Festival in Plant City: A Family-Friendly Affair

Every spring, Plant City hosts the Florida Strawberry Festival. This 11-day event, celebrated since 1930, honors the local strawberry harvest. The festival features live music, agricultural exhibits, rides, and of course, a vast variety of strawberry-themed food items. Don’t miss the traditional strawberry shortcake!

Gasparilla Pirate Festival: Tampa’s Historic Celebration

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is Tampa’s unique tribute to the legendary pirate José Gaspar. Held in late January, this festival commences with a staged pirate invasion, where hundreds of boats invade the city, led by the fully-rigged pirate ship, ‘José Gasparilla’. The day culminates in a large parade, making it an unforgettable spectacle.

Gasparilla Pirate Festival: Tampa’s Historic Celebration

Winterfest Boat Parade: The Greatest Show on H2O

The Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale is a December delight. Ranked as one of the top ten parades by the International Festival and Events Association, the event showcases lavishly decorated boats traversing the 12-mile route on New River and Intracoastal Waterway. The grandeur of shimmering boats against the night sky is truly enchanting.

Caladium Festival: Lake Placid’s Floral Spectacle

Caladium Festival: Lake Placid’s Floral Spectacle

Every July, Lake Placid organizes the Caladium Festival to celebrate its title as the “Caladium Capital of the World”. This festival features bus tours to caladium fields, arts and crafts exhibitions, wine tasting, and classic car shows. It’s a perfect event for flower enthusiasts and photographers.

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Florida Seafood Festival: A Seafood Lover’s Paradise

Apalachicola’s Florida Seafood Festival, held annually in November, is the state’s oldest maritime event. It offers visitors a taste of fresh local seafood, along with oyster eating and shucking contests, parades, and live music. This two-day festival attracts visitors from all corners of the world, eager to sample Florida’s finest seafood offerings.

Florida Seafood Festival: A Seafood Lover's Paradise

Local to me and ones we try to go to every year:

Grant Seafood Festival

The newspaper I worked for sponsors this every year, and as part of that sponsorship, we set up and manned a booth where we gave away our newspapers. We were not there in 2020 due to COVID-19, but that didn’t stop the show from happening!

Brevard Renaissance Fair

We’ve gone to this fair for several years now, and my fav is always the amazing music! Even though they joust – that’s always fun-, I’m there for the music.

My jousting photos
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The best festivals in Florida conclusion

Each festival in Florida brings its own unique flair, highlighting the state’s diverse culture, community, and landscape. From the buoyant beats of SunFest to the cinematic magic of the Miami Film Festival, there’s something for everyone in Florida’s dynamic festival calendar.

Come join us in the sunshine and feel the music, eat the fantastic seafood, and enjoy a shortcake dessert.

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Florida’s Unique Wildlife

Florida is home to a rich and diverse range of wildlife due to its geographical location and varied ecosystems that makes Florida’s unique wildlife something to marvel at. From the Everglades to the coastal regions, the state offers a plethora of fascinating and sometimes endangered animal species.

The iconic wildlife found in Florida:

Florida's unique wildlife is both menacing and adorable.
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More of Florida’s Unique Wildlife

Florida’s unique wildlife also includes the following:

  • Florida Key Deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium): Found in the lower Florida Keys, the Key Deer is a small subspecies of the white-tailed deer. It is considered endangered making it protected by conservation efforts.  
  • Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja): Known for its striking pink plumage, this wading bird lives in Florida’s marshes, mangroves, and coastal islands.  
  • West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris): A subspecies of the manatee, the West Indian Manatee enjoys Florida’s springs, rivers, and coastal waters.  
  • Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens): This friendly, blue-feathered bird calls Florida’s scrub habitat home. This makes it a state specialty and a focus of conservation efforts.  
  • American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus): Unlike its cousin, the alligator, the American crocodile calls the saltwater habitats in the southern parts of Florida home, including the Everglades.  
  • Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis): This small woodpecker resides in pine forests and creates cavities in living pine trees for nesting. It’s the only species that exhibits this behavior.
  • Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus): The Florida Black Bear roams the forests and swamps, primarily in the northern part of the state.

These are just a few examples of the incredible wildlife found we Floridians call ours. The state’s diverse ecosystems provide habitat for many species. Making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and a critical area for conservation efforts.

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Surviving Summer: How to Beat the Heat

Summer is long days, and sunlight brings on extreme heat, so knowing how to beat the heat and enjoy summer is helpful. The sweltering temperatures can be uncomfortable and harmful to your health if not handled correctly. While this post is included in my Florida section, with the heat waves radiating across the country right now, this is true for anyone experiencing summer today.

Tips on how to beat the heat and enjoy summer without wilting:

Beat the Heat by Staying Hydrated

First and foremost, staying hydrated is crucial. Dehydration is one of the biggest dangers of hot weather, leading to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Make sure to sip on water throughout the day, even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Infusing your water with fresh fruits like strawberries, lemons, or cucumbers can add a refreshing twist that encourages more frequent sipping.

It’s also worth noting that what you wear can significantly affect how you feel. Choose clothing that is light in color and loose-fitting. Such clothes reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it, keeping you cooler. Additionally, fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin, such as cotton, can help regulate your body temperature.

Beat the Heat by Staying Inside

One of the most straightforward ways to beat the heat is to stay out of it as much as possible, especially during the peak hours between 11 am and 3 pm. This could mean planning your outdoor activities early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun isn’t as strong.

While indoors, consider closing your blinds or curtains to prevent the sun from heating your rooms. If you don’t have air conditioning, fans can provide a breeze and promote evaporation, which cools the skin. Don’t underestimate the power of a cool shower or bath, either. These can help bring down your body temperature and provide immediate relief.

Smaller Meals

Eating smaller, more frequent meals can also help you feel cooler. Digestion generates body heat, so eating large meals can make you feel hotter. Opt for light, water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and salads. These not only provide hydration but are easier to digest.


Lastly, don’t forget to take care of your skin. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and wear a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outdoors.

Beating the heat doesn’t mean you have to hide away all summer. By implementing these practical strategies, you can maintain your cool and make the most of the warm weather. Remember to listen to your body and take it easy when needed. Let’s all stay safe this summer. Happy summer!

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5 Things We Love About Florida

There are a lot of things to love about Florida, but here are five favorites of most all of the Floridians I know. Myself included.

5 Things We Love About Florida
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10 Tips on Dealing with the Humidity in Florida

You know the saying, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity”, well the humidity in Florida takes that saying to an entirely whole new level.

Living in Florida means dealing with high humidity levels year-round. There are only a few days out of the year that we aren’t in a humid climate: when we have a Nor’easter and after a hurricane.

The rest of the time, here are some of the tips on how we deal with humidity in Florida:

Humidity in Florida can be managed

1. Invest in a dehumidifier: A dehumidifier is a useful appliance that helps remove excess moisture from the air. Place it in areas prone to high humidity, such as bedrooms or living rooms. Running a dehumidifier can significantly reduce the muggy feeling and prevent mold and mildew growth.

2. Use air conditioning: Air conditioning not only cools the air but also helps to remove moisture. Set your AC to a comfortable temperature and ensure it is properly maintained to optimize its dehumidifying capabilities. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to regulate humidity levels more efficiently. K&N washable filters are very helpful in keeping the expenses down. I have two of these because I live in a very sandy, dusty area.

3. Proper ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial in humid climates. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry areas to remove moisture at the source. Additionally, ensure your home has adequate airflow by keeping windows and doors open when weather permits, using fans, or installing ceiling fans to circulate air. Damprid is helpful in the bathroom and laundry room.

4. Avoid hanging wet clothes indoors: Hanging wet clothes indoors can contribute to increased humidity levels. Instead, utilize a clothes dryer or set up a designated drying area with good ventilation, preferably outdoors. We have more than enough sun to find a day to hang the clothes out on the line. Because we’re not an industrial state, our air is clean, which makes the sheets smell so good.

The Florida lifestyle may not be what you think it is. Read the myths here.

Prepare your home for the humidity in Florida

5. Seal windows and doors: Ensure windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent excess moisture from seeping into your home. Inspect and repair any gaps or cracks to keep the humid air out and maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

6. Use moisture-absorbing products: Place moisture-absorbing products like silica gel or desiccant packs in closets, cabinets, or other areas prone to moisture buildup. These products help absorb excess moisture and prevent musty odors and mold growth.

7. Keep surfaces clean and dry: Regularly clean and dry surfaces prone to moisture accumulation, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Wipe down countertops, sinks, and shower areas to prevent mold and mildew growth. Walls in the bathroom can be prone to mildew build up, and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will clean it right up.

8. Avoid excessive water usage: Be mindful of excessive water usage, as it adds moisture to the air. Limit the length of showers, repair any leaks promptly, and avoid overwatering plants or using humidifiers unnecessarily.

9. Use natural ventilation methods: Take advantage of breezy days by opening windows and doors to let fresh air circulate through your home. Natural ventilation can help reduce humidity levels and provide a refreshing atmosphere.

10. Embrace moisture-resistant materials: Opt for moisture-resistant materials when furnishing your home, such as mold-resistant paint, moisture-resistant flooring, and water-resistant fabrics. These materials are designed to withstand high humidity and minimize potential damage.

Hurricane season is upon us. Can you read a hurricane map?

Hopefully, these tips will help you keep the humidity in Florida under control. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, dress for the climate, and keep your home comfortable.  Florida humidity can be managed, making living in Florida enjoyable.

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3 Myths About a Florida Lifestyle

There are at least 3 myths about the Florida lifestyle, and I’m here to bust up a few of them.

First, we’re not always at the beach; we work just like you. While you’re saving all of your money to come to Florida, we’re saving all of our money to get out of Florida. Seriously, there’s only so much sun, fun, and sand you can take before you start to hate the sight of palm trees and the smell of coconut oil.

But that isn’t really a myth so much as a belief. Have you seen our pale legs sticking out of our shorts? We don’t have time to lounge about the pool or the beach. At least not in the daylight.

Myths about Florida Lifestyle: It’s Always Sunny

Okay, I fell for this one when I moved here in the mid-1980s. I didn’t even pack a coat when I left Illinois in June for my new life in the tropics – see topic #3 for more on that. I had the impression – wrong, I might add – that Florida had no winter. That it was some perpetual sunshine party.

Let’s step back and look at the whole state of Florida.

The panhandle has an average temperature of 68º and around 52.4 inches of rain annually. I landed in Fort Walton Beach and camped along the Gulf. The wind was blowing, and I was sure it was a hurricane and I was gonna die.

It can, does, and will snow in the panhandle of Florida. Coats are recommended.

The northern part of Florida gets cold. Winter temperatures around Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Gainesville can get in the 30s. Sometimes – but rarely – that’s a high. Freeze, both hard and frost advisories, can reach as far south as the Vero Beach and Okeechobee areas. Lake Okeechobee is considered South Florida, and every so often, there are freeze warnings for the area that last around 7 hours.

It’s not unusual to see smudge pots in the orange groves to keep the trees from freezing in Central Interior Florida.

The sun doesn’t always shine; some days are as gray as the Midwestern winter skies, and some days, it rains for days on end. It snowed in West Palm Beach one day in 1977, and there were flurries in Miami and Homestead. Our ground doesn’t freeze like it does up north, so our snow doesn’t stick. Nonetheless, it’s a myth that it’s always warm and sunny in Florida.

Check out this book on traveling to Orlando, Florida for tips, tricks, and hidden places to visit.

Drink your coffee from one of my flamingo coffee mugs.

Myths about Florida Lifestyle: Alligators in Every Back Yard

Okay, this one is borderline true, depending upon where you live. Have I had one in my backyard along the East Coast of Florida? No. But I have seen them in the same area in canals, retention ponds, riverside, lakeside, and lounging on golf courses around where I live.

Most people with gators in their backyards live along man-made canals and golf courses with lakes. Gators will eat people and pets, so it goes without saying, don’t take a selfie with one (see idiots with cameras in Yellowstone standing by bison), and they are fast, so give them a lot of room. They can hit 35 MPH on land and 20 MPH in the water. Can you? Oh, and they can climb, too. Ladders, trees, fences, etc.

They are fascinating creatures but best left to admire from a distance – like from another state.

My tropical pillow looks great in your beach house. Take it with you when you go back north.

Another Myth: It’s Tropical

Another awesome and disappointing myth is that we all live a tropical lifestyle with rum runners in each hand, flowered shirts, flip flops, and hibiscus flowers stuck behind one ear. Okay, that might be the parking lot of a Jimmy Buffett concert, but not really how we live here if we live here year-round. Now, I am not talking about those retirees who are baking themselves around a poolside trying to get the color of a kidney bean, but those people who keep the retirees living their lives of comfort and sometimes excess.

Money people also spend a lot of time wandering around in floral skirts tut-tutting the sorry state of affairs should they accidentally cast their eyes upon a lowly servant-type person. They might be carrying a martini or a fruit drink, but they are usually in their backyard broiling in coconut oil around their pool, so they aren’t noticeable. If you see one, they’ve gotten out and will go back home soon.

The rest of us are happy to be able to wear casual clothes like jeans to work and comfortable shirts like a polo shirt rather than suits and ties or dresses and heels. There is a more casual lifestyle in Florida that does seem to permeate more traditional businesses like banks and doctor’s office.

Where are the tropics?

Only the bottom half of the state is considered tropical I think Vero Beach has said it’s the top of the tropics, but anything south of midway is more tropical. Driving in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami is a lot different than driving where I live around Vero Beach. You have to watch where you drive down there because their roads are filled with homeless iguanas, large lizards, crabs with sharp pinchers, and even boa constrictors and pythons. It’s an unwanted pet dumping ground where even the cutest little lizard can grow up and take your face off. I only have to contend with raccoons, opossums, armadillos, egrets and Sandhill cranes.

Those of us still working all look foreign because we’re not dressed in flowered shirts, flip flops, board shorts, and carrying a cocktail. If you see us, be nice; we’re tired and just want to go home and lay on a pool float face first.

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Here are some of my fav getaways in Florida when I’m not working.
Looking for something to do in Florida? Try your hand at treasure hunting.

Exploring Hidden Gems: Treasure Hunting in Florida

Florida, the Sunshine State, is not just known for its beautiful beaches and theme parks but also for its rich history and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. From sunken ships to buried pirate loot, Florida offers an exciting treasure hunting experience for adventurers of all ages.

I am thrilled to live in one of the most treasure filled spots in Florida. It’s so rich in treasure that it’s named The Treasure Coast. Yet, it doesn’t yield the most treasure.

Whether you’re visiting Florida or live here, let your inner adventurer out and make plans to claim some of your own treasure.

Key West, Florida
Southernmost point in the Continental United States – Key West – Look! Only 90 miles to Cuba!

Treasure Hunting in Key West

Key West, the southernmost point of the continental United States, has a long history of pirate activity. The area’s clear waters and numerous shipwrecks make it a popular destination for treasure hunters.

Take a guided snorkeling or diving tour to explore the underwater treasures, or visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum to learn about the famous Atocha shipwreck and see the recovered artifacts. Key West is a true treasure trove waiting to be explored.

St. Augustine Florida, a good place to treasure hunt
Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

St. Augustine Treasure Hunting

Known as the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is steeped in history and legends. The city’s cobblestone streets and ancient architecture create an ideal setting for treasure hunting. Explore the Castillo de San Marcos, a historic fort that witnessed many battles and rumored hidden treasures.

Another intriguing spot is the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, where you can join archaeological digs and potentially uncover relics from the past. St. Augustine offers a blend of adventure and history for treasure hunters.

Treasure Hunting at Amelia Island

Amelia Island, located off the northeast coast of Florida, has a rich history of pirate raids and buried treasure. With its pristine beaches and dunes, it provides a picturesque backdrop for treasure hunting.

Visit the Amelia Island Museum of History to learn about the island’s pirate lore and then head to the beach with your metal detector. You never know what you might find buried beneath the sand – from ancient coins to lost jewelry.

Indian River lagoon where treasure hunting is serious business.
Sunrise at the Sebastian Bridge over the Indian River in Sebastian, Florida ©jcleveland

Treasure Hunt Indian River

The Indian River, stretching along the east coast of Florida, has been a popular site for treasure hunting for centuries. It runs between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland, and the Sebastian Inlet connects the two. The area was frequented by Spanish galleons and pirates, leaving behind a trail of lost treasures.

Join a guided boat tour or rent a kayak to explore the riverbanks and hunt for artifacts. From hidden coves to mysterious islands, the Indian River offers endless opportunities for treasure seekers. The treasures have been known to wash up from the Atlantic Ocean when we’ve had a big hurricane. It’s not unusual to see people find Spanish coins on the beaches.

Metal Detecting on the Beach is one of the best ways to find your own stash of Spanish coins. You’ll need a metal detector and some inspiration.

More about the Mel Fisher museum located in Indian River

Hunt for Treasure in the Ocala National Forest

Located in Central Florida, the Ocala National Forest is not only a haven for outdoor enthusiasts but also holds a mysterious allure for treasure hunters. Legend has it that during the 1800s, a gang of outlaws known as the Ashley Gang buried their loot within the forest’s vast expanse.

Venture into the forest’s dense foliage, armed with a metal detector and a keen eye, and you might stumble upon a hidden stash of gold or other precious items.

Dry Tortugas National Park Treasure Hunting

For a unique treasure hunting experience, head to the secluded Dry Tortugas National Park. Situated about 70 miles west of Key West, this remote island paradise offers a fascinating blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue.

Explore the remains of Fort Jefferson, a 19th-century coastal fortress, and search for hidden treasures among its walls and corridors. With its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, Dry Tortugas National Park is not only a treasure hunter’s dream but also a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

Treasure Hunting in Crystal River

Crystal River, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is renowned for its abundant marine life and captivating natural springs. However, beneath the surface of its inviting waters, lie secrets waiting to be discovered. The area is known for its historical shipwrecks, making it a prime spot for underwater treasure hunting.

Whether you’re scuba diving or snorkeling, keep a lookout for artifacts and remnants of ancient vessels. Crystal River offers a unique blend of adventure and underwater exploration for treasure seekers.

Egmont Key State Park Treasure Hunt

Situated at the mouth of Tampa Bay, Egmont Key State Park is a hidden gem for treasure hunters. Accessible only by boat, this secluded island is steeped in history and holds the potential for exciting discoveries.

Explore the remains of Fort Dade, a military fortress from the late 19th century, and search the shoreline for seashells and relics washed ashore. With its pristine beaches and intriguing history, Egmont Key State Park offers a tranquil and rewarding treasure hunting experience.

Pensacola beach

Pensacola Beach Treasure Hunt

Pensacola Beach, located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is not only a popular vacation spot but also a treasure hunter’s paradise. With its long stretches of sandy beaches and turquoise waters, it’s no surprise that the area has a history of shipwrecks. Take a stroll along the shoreline, particularly after storms, and keep an eye out for washed-up artifacts or even pieces of Spanish galleons. Pensacola Beach is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.

Not into treasure hunting? Here are four great places in Florida to visit instead.

Hunting Treasure Suwannee River

The Suwannee River, winding through North Florida, holds a captivating charm and a touch of mystery. Known for its legends of hidden pirate treasures, this picturesque waterway offers a unique treasure hunting experience.

Rent a kayak or canoe and navigate the river’s gentle currents while scanning the riverbanks for clues and hidden caches. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature as you embark on a treasure hunt along the Suwannee River, uncovering stories from the past.

Image by MasterTux from Pixabay

Florida’s rich history and diverse landscapes make it an incredible destination for treasure hunting enthusiasts. Whether you’re searching for pirate gold, ancient artifacts, or sunken treasures, the Sunshine State has something to offer. Key West, St. Augustine, Amelia Island, and the Indian River are just a few of the many places where you can embark on your own treasure hunting adventure. So grab your map, metal detector, and a sense of adventure, and set off on a thrilling journey to uncover Florida’s hidden gems.

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Florida Gardening Tips

Florida gardening tips for getting the most harvest from your efforts.

Who wouldn’t want a bountiful harvest from their garden like this. Ripe cherry tomatoes, green beans, peppers, onions, and she still had time to can her salsa. Oh how I imagined my first attempt at gardening would look like this.


Florida gardening tips would have helped me get past tiny carrots, under formed onions and whatever that onion thing is in the middle.

I could have used some Florida gardening tips before I started that could have helped me get bigger sweet onions – that looks like the exact same thing I took out of the bag as a starter – and better formed carrots and red onions. I won’t complain about the red potatoes. I got eight small potatoes, and we ate them all roasted in olive oil with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese, so YUM.

Florida gardening tips I wish I knew before planting


I started my plants in January, but it doesn’t take long to get too hot, so I don’t think I watered them enough. I also tried to feed them, but I don’t think I did that enough either, which might explain the mutant carrots. Even the rabbits didn’t want them.


I used the right garden soil, but it doesn’t hurt to check the soil. I started everything in those little compost pots and let them dissolve in the earth. They don’t do that. They kinda clump up and just stick out of the dirt.


Too much sun? Not enough sun? What is the right amount of sun? I read the package, but still either didn’t get it right or gave up. It’s hard to say, but my beans looked like dried up toothpicks barely hanging from the stem. I put the plants in pots, so I could move them around the yard as the season changed. I don’t know if I didn’t move them around enough.


I can say that I didn’t have any trouble with pests. Of course, there weren’t any vegetables to eat, but still, I will take a win when I can get one.

Florida gardening tips using raised beds

I chose to raise the beds for my garden, and this book is an excellent source of information on creating a raised bed garden.

Raised Bed & Container Gardening Handbook For Beginners: Successfully Growing Your Own Self-Sufficiency Garden with Healthy Vegetables and Fruits – Gardening Tips

  • 150 pages
  • #24 in Amazon Gardening and Horticulture
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Most people found this really helpful in building and maintaining a raised garden, and while it may have some grammatical errors, people liked that the book covered vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers.

If you’re more interested in building a flower garden using native Florida flowers, check out this post.

OLLE Galvanized Raised Garden Beds Outdoor Plant Boxes Outdoor Garden 17″ Tall Metal Raised Garden Bed

I am fortunate that my guy built me two big wooden beds for my potatoes, lettuce, milkweed, peppers and herbs, but if he hadn’t this is the type of bed I would have bought. Kinda looks like a horse trough to me.

  • Comes in five colors
  • 17-inches tall – lots of room for those root veggies like carrots and potatoes
  • Rust resistant
  • Safety edge – not cuts on your arms from leaning on the edges
  • Stays cool in the sun, so no burning yourself on a hot metal

People did find it a bit harder to assemble than others, but the color options made up for the complaints, and it’s very sturdy. It is not as high of quality as the Vego bed, but better colors. It comes with a plastic coating on the sides, and it’s a pain to take off. Leave the inside plastic coating since it is a pain.

COOLJOB Gardening Gloves for Women and Ladies

  • Multiple sizes and colors
  • Available in multi-pack
  • Breathable
  • One-size-fits all, but they have some weirdo finger lengths
  • They keep your hands clean, but they are a bit thin, so you might feel thorns if you’re weeding
  • Don’t use harsh cleaners on them because they react to strong cleaners by degrading the plastics making them sticky

I hate having dirty hands, so I go through a lot of gloves trying to find something that will keep my hands clean and dry while breathing.

Other Florida gardening tips include knowing your zone, doing a lot of weeding, use the proper fertilizer, and getting to know your local nursery and gardeners. Good luck, and I hope you get carrots that are not oddly shaped!