Articles written by: Bonnie Gross

Bonnie is co-founder of Florida Rambler.

She spent four decades searching for places to enjoy the natural beauty and fascinating history of Florida. After a long career at the Sun Sentinel, including as executive producer of its website, she started sharing her experiences here in 2010. She lives in Fort Lauderdale with her husband and travel partner David Blasco.

Trail along Tiger Creek Preserve

Exploring the Lake Wales Ridge: Central ‘highlands’ with old-fashioned flavor

Central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge is made for exploration. It offers rolling hills, forests, streams, quaint small towns with lots of places for hiking, kayaking and camping.

You could spend an hour just browsing all the stuff at the Grumbles Antique and Garden Shop in Dunnellon. (Photo: David Blasco)

More than the Rainbow River; Dunnellon is a good base for exploring

Dunnellon is known for its spectacular Rainbow Springs and River, especially during tubing season. But there are more reasons to visit in cool weather, including another exquisite river– the Withlacoochee — several good restaurants, and trails for both hiking and biking.

Lightner Museum decorated during St. Augustine Nights of Lights (Photo courtesy FloridasHistoricCoast.com.)

Where to celebrate the holidays in Old Florida: Best holiday light displays

Every community has decorations for the winter holidays, but these three Florida destinations stand out. Their Old Florida settings complements their over-the-top holiday decorations. Each has millions of lights plus lots of special events.

Weeki Wachee Springs: Kayaking, manatees and mermaids

Weeki Wachee Springs: Kayaking, manatees and mermaids

The Weeki Wachee is being overwhelmed with visitors. It’s partly because of a viral video of people on SUPs watching a herd of manatees float by. But it is also because of this: It is SO BEAUTIFUL, as I was reminded when I paddled it last week.

Kayaking the Rainbow River. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Rainbow River: Pure spring water makes kayaking, tubing tops

Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River are among Florida’s top tubing and kayaking spots. People love this waterway because of the pure, clear water and the spectacular natural setting. In winter, it’s a peaceful place to kayak and perhaps see otters and birds. In summer, it’s full of tubes doing a four-hour float through a cool paradise.

Tours open for season of historic Nike missile base in Everglades National Park

Tours open for season of historic Nike missile base in Everglades National Park

In the middle of Everglades National Park is the best preserved Nike missile base in South Florida, a relic of the Cold War and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Today it reminds us of those days of John F. Kennedy, fallout shelters and Bob Dylan protest songs.

The view at the Miami Circle Park is spectacular

Six places to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in Florida in November

I had lived in Florida a long time before I discovered the rich and often tragic history of native Americans here. Here are six parks, museums and events that tell those stories.

Caps Place is the oldest restaurant in Broward County. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Cap’s Place: Historic South Florida restaurant is like a time capsule

It’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Broward County, and, thankfully, nothing has changed in years. It’s a rustic old wooden shack now surrounded by mansions and yachts. History and atmosphere make it worth the splurgy prices — and the food is good.

Cinnamon rolls at Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead: 80 cents each and irresistible.

Knaus Berry Farm: Beloved sweet spot in Homestead re-opens Oct. 31, 2017

The true sign of fall in South Florida: Lines start forming at Knaus Berry Farms. This 50-year-old institution south of Miami has generations of devoted fans. It’s a good stop for an Everglades trip or a day exploring the Redland.