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.

Photo by stephg67 via Flickr

Azaleas bloom at Ravine Gardens; celebrated in festival March 3-4, 2018

It’s spring in Florida: Azaleas are blazing in white, lavender, pink and red at a Florida state park with a rich history.

Marathon Seafood Festival: Fresh stone crabs

Marathon Seafood Festival: March 10-11, 2018

The Marathon Seafood Festival calls itself the Original Marathon Seafood Festival to emphasize it’s the real deal – indigenous and authentic. Marathon is a fishing town, and you don’t get fish any fresher than here, unless you catch it yourself.

Armadillo races at 2015 Swamp Cabbage Festival. Photo courtesy Pete Cross.

Swamp Cabbage Fest marks 52 years, Feb. 24-25, 2018

You can get gator tail and swamp cabbage at this festival. But the real reason to go is to revel in a last corner of small town America in Florida — beauty pageants, high school bands, armadillo races and a rodeo.

Fort Myers Beach shrimp boat by Albert Heaps via Flickr

Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival, March 10-11, 2018

This isn’t frozen shrimp or imported shrimp or farmed shrimp. The huge boiling pots at the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival are filled with fresh, right-off-the-boat Gulf pink shrimp. Members of the Lions Club have perfected the cooking technique over 50 years of Shrimp Festivals.

(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.