From the Florida’s hidden beaches to Key West on the cheap, readers chose these top stories in 2022, all of which are updated and relevant for your planning in 2023.
Top 75 Florida events, fairs & festivals
We started festival coverage a decade ago with a popular list of seafood festivals (now No. 2). But that list left out some of our favorite festivals celebrating Florida’s culture and history, like Hemingway Days in Key West, or the arts, like Cedar Key’s Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, or the water, like the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. This spinoff festival calendar now has a life of its own, and it’s updated for 2023.
Florida Seafood Festivals Calendar
Nothing says Florida like a seafood festival, and our seafood festival calendar took off like a rocket when first published more than a decade ago. We update the calendar every few weeks as new festivals emerge, existing festivals change dates and venues, while some festivals die. Stay tuned in 2023 as the traditions continue.
What makes Sanibel special – and 9 ways to experience it
Sanibel Island took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian in 2022, and the popularity of this story is proof that this tropical paradise off the coast of Fort Myers has long been one of Florida’s premier destinations. While the island is off-limits to visitors right now, expect it to rebound better than ever in the not-so-distant future.
6 things to do in Cedar Key, charming, historic, off-the-beaten path
This charming little Old Florida island, with fewer than 1,000 permanent residents, has a fascinating history (it’s Florida’s second oldest town) and dozens of interesting old buildings. You won’t be stopping at Cedar Key on your way to someplace else. The closest cities are 60 miles away, across wetlands and farmland, but it’s worth the drive. This story explains why.
Favorite secluded, quiet beaches in South Florida
It’s easy to find a beach in South Florida. It’s harder to find a secluded beach, a beach where you experience a sense of discovery and delicious isolation. The seemingly endless skyline of high-rise hotels and condos, beachfront mansions and T-shirt shops on South Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts belie the real Florida as it used to be. But it’s there, and we’ll help you find these treasured beach destinations.
9 Old Florida towns make great getaways
Our readers gravitated towards Old Florida in 2022, and we noticed the trend. Perhaps you tired of unbridled development drowning almost every beach town, villages becoming cities, and theme parks sucking up once-rural suburbs of Orlando. But there are a few destinations that still taste of Old Florida, and we take you there.
Anna Maria Island: Things to do in an Old Florida beach town
It’s a surprise and a delight to find places like Anna Maria Island still around – a low-rise beach town where a few quaint cottages survive in a largely residential community. On Anna Maria Island, “things to do” means walking the beach or watching wading birds and dolphins at the shore. One of a small number of beach towns that are throwbacks to another era.
Our 15 favorite beaches in the Florida Keys
You might not think of the Keys as a beach destination. Natural beaches are rare in this 110-mile string of islands. The shoreline is craggy coral, and reefs disrupt the natural flow of sand to shore. Resort hotels create their own beaches by trucking in sand, but they are off-limits unless you are a guest. There are public beaches in the Florida Keys, some even natural. We’ve visited 15 public beaches we think you’ll love.
23 best Florida bike trails: Our favorites for scenic bicycling
With year-round bicycling weather, plenty of natural beauty and a flat terrain that makes riding easy, opportunities for a scenic ride are growing every year as new trails are being built on abandoned rail lines and forests open up more opportunities off-road. Florida Rambler Bonnie Gross has been exploring these trails for 30 years, and here are 23 of her favorite trails.
Key West on the cheap isn’t easy, but here are tips
A Key West vacation won’t be cheap — no matter how many tips you read or how much you plan. In 2022, Key West’s average hotel room rate was about $300 a night — among the highest in the country. It’s not easy to visit Key West on a budget, but it is possible. We’ve done it, and you can too.
Looking for more ideas?
Camping across Florida: We found the best campgrounds for RV or tent.
Kayak and Canoe: Explore scenic Florida on these fabulous paddle trails
Hiking and Bicycle trails: Paved rail trails to nature trails.
Old Florida: These historic destinations should be on your bucket list.
The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning visits.
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Veteran journalists who worked together at Fort Lauderdale’s SunSentinel newspaper, Bonnie and Bob founded FloridaRambler.com in 2010 to explore the natural, authentic Florida, writing about their natural interests in hiking, biking, paddling, RV and tent camping, wildlife, unique lodging, dining and historic places.
Thursday 29th of December 2022
You're the best source of information about any location in our state. You've been there, tried out things to do, places to go, sites to see and places to stay and given us positive feedback. In our 38 years in north FL, we've visited much of our many locations and always consult your Rambler when planning. We also learn about places we new little about.
I've passed along your web site to many friends who also roam.
Thanks and please keep up the important work you do.
Happy New Year.
Thursday 29th of December 2022
Thank you, Carole! We think the key to our success is writing from personal experience, and we're so happy you notice!