Last updated on July 3rd, 2020 at 05:13 am
Ten years ago, we launched a website about all the places we had discovered to enjoy in unique and fabulous natural Florida.
Blogs come and go, but we think FloridaRambler.com has grown because people crave a connection with nature, increasingly hard to find in over-built Florida.
FloridaRambler.com is all about you and places you can go, but for this occasion we want to share our origin story.
Bob Rountree and Bonnie Gross had worked together at the Sun-Sentinel for decades, on both the print side and online. Separately, they had spent all their weekends doing the stuff a Florida Rambler does.
Bob and his wife Kathy have always loved beaches, boating, fishing and camping. When they met at a beach party in the early 1980s, Bob was an avid Hobie Cat sailor at the 16th Street Beach in Pompano. Their first beach camping trip together was St. George Island State Park when its campground first opened in the mid-1980s, and perhaps their most memorable beach camping experiences took place on the outer islands of Everglades National Park. At the turn of the century (that sounds so old!), they bought a travel trailer and started exploring many more of Florida’s amazing state parks — fishing, bicycling and kayaking along the way.
Bonnie was always hunting up good places to bike, hike and paddle. When she and her husband David Blasco bought a house on the South Fork of the Middle River in Fort Lauderdale in 1979, Bonnie bought David a canoe for his birthday, and they began paddling the waters of Florida. Long before kayaks and SUPs became ever-present, they tied that canoe to the car roof and explored waterways around the state, initially with their two daughters and then on their own when the girls went off to college.
The sorry state of the news industry meant both life-time journalists retired young. Bob retired first from the Sun Sentinel. In 2010, when Bonnie took an early retirement package, she bought the url FloridaRambles.com and planned to start a website about the Florida places she loved going.
Fortuitously, at that very moment, Bob posted on Facebook that HE was going to start a website about outdoor travel in Florida.
Bonnie said: “That’s what I’m doing, too. Let’s work together.”
Bob said: Florida Rambles sounds like somebody who doesn’t get to the point — not a good thing for a journalist. How about Florida Rambler, which puts the focus on the person, the rambler?
We hammered out the details over beers and spiced shrimp at Fort Lauderdale’s Southport Raw Bar 10 years ago, and published our first stories on July 15, 2010.
For the first few years, our audience was small, but readership slowly grew, and over our first decade, FloridaRambler.com has reached more than 8 million readers.
Most gratifying, when we travel, people recognize us. They know and read FloridaRambler.com.
We earn a little money to fuel our travels (thanks to Mediavine, our advertising representative). But mostly we love reporting and writing about our never-ending discoveries of amazing places to go in Florida.
Because of FloridaRambler.com, we’ve camped in the Dry Tortugas, rented a houseboat in Flamingo, road-tripped to the Keys several times a year, paddled dozens of great rivers, biked all the best trails in the state and camped in dozens of great parks. We’ve discovered fascinating off-the-beaten-path historic sites and spotted wildlife from eagles to manatees to sharks. (Still waiting to see our first panther.)
We thank you for coming along with us. It’s been a great ride.
In honor of our 10 years, we wanted to share with you our top 10 stories over those 10 years:
- Road Trip: Florida Keys Mile-Marker Guide
- On a budget? Key West on the cheap isn’t easy, but here are tips
- Six things to Do in Ocala National Forest
- 14 best Florida Keys beaches; where locals know to go
- Key West chickens: Noisy, colorful and just like Key West
- Our 15 favorite kayak trails in Florida
- Tamiami Trail: Scenic drive explores Florida Everglades
- Best tent camping in the Florida Keys
- Get your feet wet in these 19 Florida springs
- Best snorkeling in Florida without a boat
Thanks for taking us along on your trips, and keep rambling.