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.

Schnebly Redland's Winery & Brewery has an inviting outdoor area for trying the wines and beers.

A day exploring the Redland: Agriculture and rustic charm thrive near Miami

The historic agricultural area surrounding the Homestead entrance to Everglades National Park offers so many cool experiences — a park where you can see and sample exotic fruits, free tours of a spectacular orchid grower’s estate, a local tropical-fruit winery and famous fruit milkshakes and cinnamon rolls.

(c) Can Stock Photo

Five romantic things to do in Florida’s outdoors

Make Valentines Day plans now. From a comfy B&B to a vast and perfect beach, here are five natural, wild and thoroughly romantic places Florida Rambler style.

Gilbert's Resort, the first lodging once you cross into the Florida Keys, is a great place to watch a Florida Keys sunset. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

36 hours in Key Largo: Gilbert’s Resort and kayaking the wreck at Garden Cove

For a quick trip to the Keys, consider Gilbert’s Resort. The upgraded 1950s-era motel and tiki bar is the first lodging you reach on the road to Key Largo. Then, kayak nearby Garden Cove and discover its picturesque sunken barge, a good place to snorkel.

Largest Civil War re-enactment in Southeast occurs near Jacksonville at Olustee Battlefield Historic Park Feb. 14-16.

Civil War buffs: Florida’s biggest battle, Olustee, re-enacted Feb. 16-18, 2018

At Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park near Jacksonville, Florida’s largest Civil War battle will be re-enacted, with gun smoke, booming cannons and cavalry. Three of the famous “Colored Regiments” were among 10,000 troops that fought here.

Pigeon Key, as viewed from the old bridge

Pigeon Key: Island on Seven Mile Bridge has scenery, history

As you cross the Seven Mile Bridge, you pass the little green island with yellow cottages and palm trees surrounded by dazzling blue water. Stop and visit: Pigeon Key is one of a kind. It offers fascinating history, tropical beauty, even great snorkeling.

Jan. 19-21, 2018: Homestead Rodeo, where wild west meets the south in the tropics

Jan. 19-21, 2018: Homestead Rodeo, where wild west meets the south in the tropics

Homestead rodeo is the southernmost rodeo in the continental United States. You may be surprised to learn that Florida has a rich history of rodeos in its small towns.

2018 free days in national and state parks

2018 free days in national and state parks

Florida residents are lucky. No matter where they live in the state, a national park is only a few hours away. National Parks are a bargain, but even more so on “fee free days.” Here’s the list for 2018.

At Shark Valley in early January, this pair were so close, you had to walk to the other side of the paved path to avoid crowding them. (Never crowd a Mama Gator!) There were six oher young gators in the grass around Big Mama.

Shark Valley at Everglades National Park: Great bike trail; terrific wildlife

This entrance to Everglades National Park has one trail, but it’s so special that Shark Valley is hard to top. It’s an especially great place to bicycle. Flooding closed this section of the park from September until mid-December, and water levels are still high.