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.

The Little Mermaid

Sierra Club trips offer kayak itineraries to inspire your Florida vacation plans

If you’re dreaming of a Florida kayaking vacation, consider making plans inspired by trips offered by the Sierra Club.

Hillsboro Lighthouse seen from the inlet

Climb a lighthouse on April 20 for Florida Lighthouse Day 2013

Florida lighthouses are so spectacular, you don’t need an excuse to visit one. But sometimes we take our favorite spots for granted. So here’s a good reason to give some love to a lighthouse: April 20 is Florida Lighthouse Day and folks who care about lighthouses are planning special opportunities for visitors.

Our picnic site amid cypress trees and knees on the Ocklawaha River.

Ocklawaha River: Kayak or canoe a river that was saved

Environmentalists have won a few battles in Florida and paddling the Ocklawaha is a good reminder. This is a wild, untouched river that was once destined to be lost forever. Today, it is a beautiful spot to explore.

The prototype Flamingo eco-tent

Everglades National Park tests cross between tent/cabin at Flamingo

Everglades National Park is testing a new structure called an eco-tent. It’s a prototype of lodging that could be coming to Flamingo. Right now, you can rent the eco-tent and be part of the experiment.

Orchid lovers will enjoy the gardens, which burst with bromeliads and tropic vegetation.

Key West Audubon House: Fascinating characters, enchanting spot

One of the prettiest places is Key West is the Audubon House, also known as the Geiger House, and its gardens. Like the best spots in Key West, the Audubon House is full of fascinating stories with larger than life characters. It also features a great collection of Audubon’s work in Florida.

Skippers Dockside in Key Largo includes a view of a wide canal with boats, pelicans and, the historic African Queen steaming past.

Tiki bars you’ll love in the Florida Keys

If you want to savor the flavor of the Florida Keys, spend a little time at a tiki bar. Our favorites profiled here are unpretentious waterfront spots where you’ll get good fresh fish, fried everything and a big serving of Keys atmosphere.

Hogfish Grill: Where Key West locals go for fresh fish

Hogfish Grill: Where Key West locals go for fresh fish

Everyone wants to discover that funky inexpensive spot where locals go. In Key West, that would be Hogfish Bar & Grill on Stock Island, which wins raves for fresh off-the-boat seafood.

Lobby of historic Hotel Jacaranda in Avon Park.

Jacaranda Hotel: Affordable historic Avon Park inn

Here’s an interesting stop far off the beaten path: The Jacaranda Hotel opened in 1926 and has been providing comfy rooms and good food ever since. It’s located in the historic district of Avon Park, a little town in the middle of the state’s cattle and orange-grove country.