Articles written by: Bonnie Gross

Bonnie is co-founder of Florida Rambler. The former executive producer of Sun-Sentinel.com, she enjoys hiking, biking and paddling with her husband David Blasco. They live on the Middle River in Fort Lauderdale. Bonnie Gross on Google+

Rhesus monkey at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Kayaking Silver Springs: Exquisite trail for kayaks is highlight of Silver River

The new Silver Springs State Park near Ocala gives kayakers their first chance to launch at the famous springhead and paddle an exquisite waterway that has never been open to kayakers before.

Eight Key West restaurants for authentic local flavor

Eight Key West restaurants for authentic local flavor

Key West has so many restaurants that it’s hard to make a decision where to eat. Next time I go, though, I have an intriguing list of restaurants filled with local color and character– and I’m sharing it with you. It comes from a fellow blogger who ate his way through Key West recently.

The Everglades Rod and Gun Club on the Barron River. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Everglades City Rod and Gun Club: Visit the past

Remarkably unchanged, this century-old hotel is on the market for $12 million. It’s a jewel in a remote town surrounded by untamed Everglades. We recently stayed in the atmospheric lodge. He loved it; she didn’t. But we agree on this: It’s an exceptional place to visit.

Kayaking to Indian Key in Islamorada (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Indian Key: Kayak to Florida Keys history — and snorkel too

If you’ve ever dreamed about exploring a deserted tropical island, here’s your chance: Take your kayak down to the Florida Keys and paddle out to Indian Key State Park. Here, you explore jungly ruins and snorkel along a rocky shoreline.

The beach is rocky but beautiful with good snorkeling. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Key West hidden gem

What took me so long? Like a lot of visitors, I had overlooked Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park on my visits to Key West because it is tucked away out of site. But the historic fort and great beach are worth discovering.

Oak arches over the kayak trail on the St. Lucie River South Branch

St. Lucie River: Beautiful kayak trail deserves discovery

The St. Lucie River is not a well-known kayaking destination — and it should be. It’s wild and gorgeous — a jungly forest of old live oaks thick with airplants and Spanish moss. After paddling about two hours, you reach a remote area where you can picnic and take a hike.

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve: Free, wild & five minutes off I-75

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve: Free, wild & five minutes off I-75

Next time you travel Florida’s west coast on I-75, take a five minutes detour in Fort Myers to discover a magnificent slice of old Florida – a 1.2 mile boardwalk through an unspoiled cypress swamp called Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve.

Kayaking the Alafia River near Tampa

Alafia River: Kayaking through tame rapids a half hour from Tampa

This cypress-lined Alafia river has an unusual feature for Florida: Rocky shoals that create fun rapids to kayak. It’s near hiking trails, springs and a very nice paddling trail at Little Manatee River State Park.

The Florida Keys  Brewing Company in Islamorada

New things to do on Islamorada, a great stop in Florida Keys

There are excellent reasons to stop in Islamorada on your Florida Keys trip, including a cluster of cultural attractions. A new top-notch museum in Islamorada has a Clyde Butcher photo exhibit this summer.

An antique train trestle on the Little Manatee River is a good place for a lunch break. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Little Manatee River near Tampa: Great for kayakers, hikers & campers

Just 45 minute from Tampa/St. Pete, the beautiful river, state park and region is a natural haven that can keep you busy exploring for days. There’s an outfitter to make trip-planning easy, plus it offers cabins and camping.

Cortez: Charming fishing village, perfect place for classic seafood shack

Cortez: Charming fishing village, perfect place for classic seafood shack

This authentic fishing village near Bradenton is the perfect place to find classic Florida seafood shacks — open air, casual with the freshest fish.

Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne

Cape Florida on Key Biscayne: Top beach, lighthouse & sangria

This state park is more natural than it has been for decades. Enjoy the terrific beach and tropical hammock, tour the historic lighthouse, dine at restaurants with great views and walk or bike trails.

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