Every year we make a few gift ideas for Florida travel in our holiday gift guide, some new, some tried and true. This year, we look at a few must-haves for travel to and through Florida.
Editor’s Note: We have an affiliate relationship with Amazon and Hotels.com and may realize a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.
First things first.
With all the craft breweries in Florida (there are more than 500), you need to bring your own growler to sample all the Sunshine State has to offer.
This 64-ounce Nightfall Easy-Pour Growler by Stanley, a new variation on Stanley’s classic insulated growler, and it’s a must for your camping trip or your day at the beach. Will keep your liquid refreshment cool for up to 24 hours. $49 on Amazon.
The usefulness and versatility of a lightweight backpack (or daypack) cannot be overstated. Use as your personal bag (it fits under your seat) or as your carry-on.
When you arrive, stuff a towel, a book and a coverup for the beach. Pack a dry change of clothes for a hike or paddle. Lots of zippered stash pockets and a holder for a water bottle.
There are many great daypacks out there. I love this 20-liter ultralight by Eddie Bauer. $28 on Amazon
Packing Cubes by Eagle Creek.
Whether camping, backpacking or packing a suitcase, packing cubes are your friends. Compress clothing, organize toiletries and hide the tangle of electronics gear. Shirts and shorts rolled up into one cube, socks and underwear in another.
I stash a one-night-stand “overnighter” cube in my daypack, which serves as my airline carry-on, in the event the rest of my luggage doesn’t make it to the destination. This starter set of 3 sizes sells $28 on Amazon For overnight kayak trips, try the water-resistant cubes for $34 on Amazon.
I purchased this highly rated Aukey Power Bank for a trip to Italy, and I can’t even count the number of times it came in handy for recharging my iPhone, a digital camera, Kindle and iPad.
My iPhone eats up juice shooting photos and videos, so this battery pack ensured I could recharge to stay in touch with roaming family members or call an Uber. Aukey makes various sizes, but 10,000mAh worked for me. $30 on Amazon. Bump it up for long trips in the woods. Please note: This is one of those items TSA likes to see you carry on, not in hold luggage.
Personally, I prefer hardcover,. But for travel, it’s tough to argue against a 6.5-ounce Kindle that holds 100’s of books in a compact space with a screen that’s comfortable to read.
The waterproof Kindle Paperwhite is probably the best choice for Florida’s beaches and backwoods. Stick to the lower-cost “Special Offers” version, which delivers offers to your screen only when your Kindle is idle. $129 on Amazon.
Darn Tough Socks.
I’ve lived in South Florida for 40 years and rarely wear socks. Flip flops, loafers, boat shoes. No socks. But when hiking, camping and off-road biking, you need wear socks to keep feet dry and protected from the elements. One pair of Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew socks will do the trick. One pair. Rinse and hang to dry overnight. Made of merino wool, these socks are guaranteed for life. Made in the USA. Light hikers are $20 on Amazon.
Here’s the full line of Darn Tough Socks for $15 – $26 on Amazon
For travel or camping, this soft pillow made by Wenzel is a good choice for your next expedition, and it rolls up tight to save space (stuffs to 10″ x 6″).
The large size and flannel cover make for a comfortable night’s sleep on an airplane or at a campground. $9 on Amazon
Here’s a Hypoallergic alternative I use when I travel, and while it doesn’t pack down nicely like the Wenzel, I do manage to stuff it into my backpack: 14” x 20” Aller-Ease pillow that easily fits in carry-on travel bags. $13.68 on Amazon.
There have been three generations of GoPro’s since this 2018 model, but the Hero5 is still the No. 1 seller in action video cameras, and the price has been reduced.
The Hero5 still has what it takes for outstanding 4K video, and waterproof up to 33 feet of water. Embraced for its light weight and quality images, the GoPro will deliver on your trip to the coral reefs off the Florida Keys.
Mount it on your dive mask, kayak, jet ski, bike, boat, surfboard, helmet, wakeboard, kiteboard or car with optional accessories. Weighs just 2.6 ounces. $170 on Amazon (Limited time)
Frameless Dive Mask for GoPro by Octomask
Octomask is pretty much the gold standard in snorkeling masks that work with GoPro cameras, and it’s priced accordingly. But if you want the best mask you can get for shooting videos handsfree while snorkeling or diving on coral reefs, the buck stops here.
100% guaranteed to fit. Ultra-soft silicone skirt is made from high-quality silicone for one of the best fitting masks you have ever had. $80 on Amazon. Does not include the snorkel.
Men’s Rain Jacket / Windbreaker
Winter is Florida’s dry season, so you could probably get by with a $5 poncho in your daypack. There are times, though, when winter temperatures, while mostly mild, can be unpredictable, and the breezes off the ocean range from tropical to a chilly spray.
Columbia Sportswear makes a variety of “breathable” waterproof jackets in a variety of colors. A good pick would be their Watertight II Hooded Rain Jacket that sells for $60 and up on Amazon.
This is Florida, remember? Carry this handy repeller in a holster or set it on the patio table to create a 15-foot mosquito protection zone around you. Scent-free and DEET-free, portable and lightweight.
No open flame, no smoky candles, no mess. Not a gimmick. It really works. I keep two of these in my travel trailer and two on my patios at home. $11 to $23 on Amazon
The Florida Atlas and Gazetteer will take you to places you’ll never find on your smartphone, tablet or state road map, and the detailed large-format maps even drill down to forest service roads in Florida’s national and state parks, forests and wildlife preserves.
You’ll find off-the-track campgrounds and recreation, bike trails and secret, secluded beaches. The bible for traveling in the Sunshine State. $19.50 on Amazon.
Notes from the editor:
The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning a trip, especially to areas hard hit by hurricanes.
This page may include affiliate links from which we earn modest commissions if a purchase is made. Most links are courtesy links for the benefit of readers and earn nothing.
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Bob Rountree is a beach bum, angler and camper who has explored Florida for decades. No adventure is complete without a scenic paddle trail or unpaved road to nowhere. Bob co-founded FloridaRambler.com with fellow journalist Bonnie Gross 12 years ago.