Visiting here, I found myself amazed that places like Anna Maria Island survive — a low-rise beach town with quaint cottages and a spectacular beach. Daytrippers will be happy to learn they can skip the weekend traffic and parking hassles with an affordable new ferry service from Bradenton.
Black Caesar was a pirate of some renown who roamed the Florida Keys, or so goes a legend worthy of mention during Black History Month.
There’s a good reason Boca Grande is a favorite among the rich and famous: It’s beautiful, unspoiled and preserves the charm of Old Florida. It makes a satisfying daytrip, especially on a bike. Another plus: The historic lighthouse at the southern tip just reopened 16 months after being slammed by Hurricane Ian.
Mount Dora has a lively downtown and a well-preserved historic district on a pretty lake. It’s a walkable small town with good dining and shopping. This weekend is its big Arts Festival
What we like just as much: There is great kayaking and biking nearby.
Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs has survived since 1936. Now it’s a small but serene spot to enjoy glorious flora, colorful birds, gators and more. It’s located on Old 41 Road, a pocket of Old Florida that is having a renaissance.
Shangri-la Springs is a historic hotel surrounded by eight acres of gardens with fountains, ponds, towering trees and the original spring the town is named for. You are welcome to visit the grounds or have breakfast or lunch at its restaurant, which serves produce from its organic garden. It’s an Old Florida hidden gem!
Who doesn’t love the Florida State Fair? From livestock tents to magical midway — and food! Lots of food! And some of it is not good for you, which is, of course, the appeal of a state fair.
No doubt about it: Key West is expensive. But despite its small size, Key West is packed with things to do and see — and some are even free. Here are 10 places to go where you’ll soak up Key West culture without opening your wallet.
Load your bikes on your carrier and head north to Old Florida. Along this bike trail, you can stop and hike a bit and maybe even see gators, wild horses or even bison in Paynes Prairie. This pretty paved trail also lets you use your gears on a hill or two.
Here’s a great weekend getaway for bicyclists. The appealing West Orange Trail, a 22-mile rail-trail, goes right down the middle of the lively main street in Downtown Winter Garden. Stay in the Historic Edgewater Hotel for a great base with Old Florida charm.
In January, the strawberries, citrus, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are ripe. Our guide helps you find farms where you can go in the fields and experience where food actually comes from when you’re exploring Florida’s backroads.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is known for its iconic mermaid show and water park. The gorgeous spring-fed river is also a great place for kayak and SUP rentals, although the route from the park has been shortened.
The Peace River in Arcadia has been a beloved paddling destination for decades. It’s an easy, tranquil paddle and it’s also outright gorgeous. It’s a great river for groups, families and beginners.
In Dunedin, we love bicycling the Pinellas Trail, but this charming Tampa Bay area town has more to offer, with eight breweries plus great restaurants and coffee shops in its walkable historic downtown. Twenty minutes away are two excellent state parks with award-winning beaches.
Cap’s Place is Broward’s oldest restaurant, where rum-runners and gamblers reigned, and presidents and celebrities visited. It’s a rustic old wooden shack now surrounded by mansions and yachts. History and atmosphere make it worth a visit.
Many lights go on this weekend! There are three Florida destinations we love for their quaint Old Florida settings and over-the-top holiday lights and decorations. We’ve added several more spots for viewing holidays lights too.
Fort Myers Beach was a charming Old Florida town, but Hurricane Ian blasted it. More than a year later, much damage remains and you see it everywhere. But a big Margaritaville resort is opening in December, which can help turn things around.
Christmas, Florida, is an old-time roadside attraction that is a throwback to another era. It’s close to the outstanding Orlando Wetlands Park.
For more than 60 years, a non-profit devoted to historic preservation has convinced the owners of some of the most interesting homes in Key West to open them to visitors for a good cause. For four winter weekends, you can tour historic homes and support historic preservation in Key West.
Kayaking the Chaz on the central Gulf Coast takes you over turquoise springs, down twisty creeks, and you might just see a manatee, otter or bald eagle. This is one of Florida’s premier kayaking rivers.