After 26 years of living in Florida, I think I just found my favorite city. I love everything about St. Petersburg. The art, nightlife, beach life, and local shops are just a few of the reasons we keep going back. I have been to St Pete before but I guess I never really explored it much. We recently took a couple trips over here and we like it so much we even talked about moving to that side of town. It's such a quaint yet lively city. Keep reading if you want to know about some of our favorite spots!
This bar takes me back to Miami. It has a very tropical vibe as you can see by the decor. It looks like one of those small motels you find by the beach. It has an outdoor and indoor bar. The colors and neon signs draw me in. It has a very inviting atmosphere which is probably why it gets pretty packed. Their cocktails stick to the tropical theme. They even have some frozen drinks to really give you that beach-y feel. This is the bar you go to to enjoy a fruity drink and chill setting with friends.
Monday - Friday 4pm-3am
Saturday - Sunday 11am-3am
I love how chill this spot is. It's located downtown but a little bit away from all of the commotion of the main street. My favorite part about it is the big lawn. It's the perfect spot to grab a beer and hang out. Sometimes they even have outdoor movies you can enjoy on one of their lawn chairs. They also have a wine cellar next door if beer's not your thing. If beer is your thing, you'll love this place. They have an extensive craft beer menu from IPA's to ales to ciders. People come with their friends, family, dogs, and even their kids. It's somewhere everyone can hang out and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather.
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - Thursday 12pm-10pm
Friday - Saturday 12pm-12am
Sunday - 12pm-10pm
If you find yourself wandering the streets of St Pete and want a light lunch, then this is the place to go. This is a multi concept space showcasing local food, drinks, desserts, and more. They have a vegan bakery, sandwich spot, and a bar with fresh juices, cocktails, wines, and beer. It's the perfect spot to come to if you're a little indecisive. Upstairs they have a small shop with local goods like hand soaps, lotions, perfumes, purses, and more. This seems to be a popular location and ideal atmosphere for people who want to come study or work from their computers.
Sunday - Wednesday 8am-8pm
Thursday - Saturday 8am-11pm
My Cuban self fell in love with this little spot. It's located next to all of the bars so it's the ideal place for those post drink munchies. I love their cortadito for a little pick-me-up while I'm exploring. Although they're not a traditional Cuban spot, their flavors don't fall short. Their lechon sandwich is so good you won't even notice it's not your moms cooking. If you're feeling a little healthy, right next door they have "Bodega Juice" which is a juice bar that serves fresh squeezed juices and smoothies in a variety of flavors.
Sunday -Wednesday 11am-9pm
Thursday - Saturday 11am-11pm
If you know Duncan and I, then you know we're suckers for cool, vintage bars. I found this place through Instagram and seeing it in person did not disappoint. The decor is so funky but it's my favorite part about this place. They have backward lamps, a wall full of books, and mismatched furniture. The wall of books actually serves a purpose other than looking really artsy. It's meant to soften the noise so that you're able to comfortably chat with friends without having to compete with the loud noises of regular bars. Other than the cool decor, they have a super knowledgeable bartender making really unique drinks. Duncan loved their take on the Old Fashioned. If you pay attention you can see the bartender adding smoke to some drinks and getting super crafty with each order. This bar is definitely a must if you're in the St Pete area.
Sunday & Monday - Closed
Thursday - Saturday 5pm-1am
Now for the real reason everyone comes to this beautiful city - the art. I feel like St Pete has really immersed itself in the art world. Every time I go, there's a new mural to discover. I love walking between buildings, behind restaurants, and past parking lots to find all of the cool art that surrounds the city. There's so much to see and something new popping up each month. It makes the city so colorful and vibrant. I love that it gives artists a chance to express themselves so boldly. When you come to St Pete, it's one of the things you have to see for yourself.
In conclusion, we absolutely love this city. The art, unique restaurants, local shops, and vintage bars draw us in. It has such an inviting atmosphere and character of its own. It's definitely one of my favorite cities in Florida and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves an artsy city with a tropical vibe.
The Orlando bar scene is evergrowing with speakeasies, holiday themed bars, and craft breweries. Going to a bar has become so much more than just drinking. It's about socializing in a setting you enjoy. Whether you prefer a chill night or more lively one, this city has it all. There's truly something to fit everyone's needs.
Every date night has its own vibe. Sometimes we want to go somewhere intimate and sometimes we prefer the more social scene. This brewery fits somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.
It's pretty small but a cozy place to hang out with friends, drink some good beer and have some meaningful conversations. You can tell this is the spot to come to after work or on the weekends to wind down. My dark side loves the grim reaper decor hanging throughout the place. This spot is anything but dark though, it's very lively with people enjoying each others company with a good craft beer in hand.
If there's a cider on the menu, I have to get it so I ordered the Mango Cider (so good). It was the perfect blend of sweet and light. Duncan got the Punks in the Waiting Room which is a light house lager, something we usually go for.
Monday & Wednesday Closed
Tuesday & Thursday 3-10pm
The views alone are worth a visit to this Ivanhoe brewery. There's something about sipping a beer while watching the train go by that's so relaxing. I came here for the Guavacation (a guava beer) and it did not disappoint. If you have a taste for sours, then you'll love it!
As far as date nights go, I would say this place is more casual. It's the place you go to if you just want to meet up for a drink last minute. Right next to the brewery there's a slope that leads up to a parking lot. It overlooks the train track. We went up there and watched as the sunset and trains rode past us. It's such a beautiful hidden gem, I would've missed it if we didn't explore around the area.
Monday - Thursday 4pm-10pm
This is the ideal bar for an intimate date night. It's dim lighting, minimal decor, and soft background music sets the mood for you. I always enjoy their cocktails which range from $7-$10. I usually go for the Humming Bird, a very light and refreshing drink.
They have a patio out back equipped with string lights and an air stream. I've never been while the airstream is open, but they also serve drinks there occasionally. This is the optimal weather to enjoy cocktails outdoor. This bar is definitely on the more classy side so it's best for those days you want to dress up a bit.
Monday - Friday 4pm-2am
Saturday - Sunday 12pm-2am
Mathers Social Gathering
We're suckers for speakeasies. We love the vintage decor, quiet environment, and perfectly crafted cocktails. Mathers Social Gathering is definitely one of our favorites. We won't give away how to get in (that's the fun part), but I will tell you a huge hint is in these photos. Once inside, you'll notice the exposed brick, dim lighting, mix-matched furniture, and displays of old school pictures that are hung up on the walls. The building itself was constructed in the 1800s and was once home to a post office, music school, and a medical office.
Every drink is a unique concoction of goodness. I love the refreshing taste of their Frosé. On certain days, they have a burlesque show which is as much of a popular occurrence here as it was back in the day. The bartenders stick to the theme with their dress code, suspenders and button downs. This is the spot you come to if you want an intimate date night with a historic atmosphere and good drinks.
Monday & Sunday Closed
Tuesday - Saturday 4pm-2am
There isn't any other bar like this in Orlando, which is why we love it so much. Not only is it a speakeasy, but it's a rooftop speakeasy! In order to get in you have to get the password. If you don't know about this bar, it's very easy to miss it. You have to enter another bar to get to it.
Once inside you'll feel like you took a step into the past. The building itself is believed to be one of the oldest still standing in Orlando. Andrew Hanson acquired it in 1894 for his "Hanson Shoe Repair Shop". It's small and intimate which allows for just a few people inside at a time. You can tell that a lot of thought and work is put into the drinks. We love to come here when we're in the mood for a chill night downtown.
Monday - Thursday 8pm-2am
Saturday -Sunday 8pm-2am
There isn't a holiday I love more than Halloween. When I heard they were opening up a Halloween themed bar in Orlando I lost it. My favorite holiday ALL YEAR LONG!?? There's nothing that brings more joy to my heart. When I first stepped into the bar, it exceeded my expectations. A wall of masks greets you at the door and every corner has decor from a classic Halloween movie. The bartenders play the part of witches and every drink is like their own little potion. On some days, there's a performance on the main stage with a singer taking classic songs and giving them her own dark twist.
As if I didn't already love this place, they recently opened up a hidden bar inside. Again, I won't tell you how to get in but the pictures above have a huge clue. Once inside, you'll notice there's no drink menu. The bartender will make you a drink according to your taste. There's also a card reader on some nights. It's much darker in there and kind of gives you the chills in the best way. This bar is a must if you're into the darker things in life.
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - Saturday 7pm-2am
Sunday - 12pm-2am
A craft beer bar with food trucks sounds like our ideal spot, which is why we love A La Cart so much. It has an open-air pavilion which gives you the option to sit indoors by the bar or outdoors in their courtyard. They have multiple mobile food vendors, so there's something for everyone to enjoy. We love getting food from Steak It Easy, a Brazilian barbecue food truck.
Inside, they have a bar with 15 taps. It's constantly rotating so every time we come, we get something different. They're always hosting events like Movie Mondays or Trivia Tuesdays. Sometimes we like to come here with our laptops to get some work done while sipping on a beer and enjoying the weather.
Sunday - Thursday 1130am-10pm
Friday & Saturday - 1130am-11pm
This bar is an antique car lovers dream. There are over 60 classic and rare vehicles for you to admire as soon as you walk through the door. It's truly impressive to see so many old school cars in one place. They even have a billiard table made from an old Mustang. You can play pool or vintage arcade games for free while enjoying an exceptional drink. I had an Aperol Spritz and Duncan opted for the Gold Rush, both very refreshing and light cocktails. We went during their happy hour which is from 4-8pm.
If you explore a little more, you'll find the rooftop. It's an open space with a bar and tons of seating. Rooftops aren't very common in Orlando, probably because it's always way too hot, but it's the perfect night time setting during this time of year. This bar is definitely on the more classy end of the spectrum so casual dressy attire is encouraged. It's the best spot in Orlando to take the car lovers in your life.
Monday - Thursday 4pm-11pm
Friday - 4pm-2am
Saturday - 11am-2am
Sunday - 11am-11pm
As Orlando grows, so does its night scene. Duncan and I love going to new bars after a long work week. It's the best way to wind down and enjoy the city life. Let us know about some of your favorite bars!
We discovered something cool recently and have been so excited to share it with you guys! Resort Pass is a website that allows you to book a day pass to a hotel or resort. You basically get all of their amenities for a starting price of $25! It's the perfect daycation.
Keep reading to see some of the places we've visited with the Resort Pass.
Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate
Like we stated before, a resort day pass gets you amenity access to luxurious hotels. We saw pictures of Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate and the lazy river sold us. How can we pass up an opportunity to relax in clear water and gorgeous weather? It's an 850-foot lazy river so you have plenty of time to kick back and enjoy the sun beaming down on your face. They even have a double tube if you're making it a date day.
The wave pool is also something that caught our eye and enticed us to come here. You just sit on a tube and let the waves take you away. We spent most of our day here catching a tan, talking and attempting to sit properly on the tube. The wave pool makes you feel like you're at one of those expensive water parks except it's way less crowded.
The Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate pool was also a good time. Duncan got to do his two favorite things - shooting hoops and being in water. There was also a slide that dropped you right into the pool. It's pretty dark in there but a fun thing to do if you're looking for a little thrill.
Not pictured is the adult-only pool. It's a peaceful area with water fountains shooting into the pool and a nice backdrop of the immense golf course. We highly reccomend it if you're leaving the kids at home and want to enjoy a relaxing day to yourself.
This Resort Pass was only $40. It includes everything I mentioned above plus complimentary parking, an arcade room and tennis and basketball courts. It's the perfect escape for such a low price.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
They Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress pool looked so picturesque that we had to get a day pass to see it. It's a huge resort sitting on a private lake near the theme parks. I love that you can swim through the caves and into the waterfalls. For a second, I didn't feel like I was in Orlando. We grabbed a chair that was isolated from everyone else right underneath the caves and relaxed to the sound of water falling and sight of the sun beaming through the cracks.
You have to get your Instagram model pose on this bridge suspended above the pool! With this resort day pass you get access to a half acre outdoor pool with 12 waterfalls, 2 whirlpools, poolside food and beverage service, a white sand beach and water sports on the lake, a rock climbing wall, game room and boat and bicycle rentals. Parking is also complimentary unless you decided to do valet. All of this was just $25!!!
Pro tip: Make sure to eat before you come because they don't allow outdoor food/drinks and it's a bit pricey at the hotels.
We had such an amazing experience with Resort Pass. We definitely want to check out the other hotels that are on there. It's the perfect way to enjoy Orlando's beautiful hotels without breaking the bank.
We love traveling to places that are close to Orlando. One of our favorites is Tampa. We've been there a couple of times and we always have the best time. It's a little far but Drake gets us through the hour and a half car ride. It's a city with such a cool scene and unique spots. Here are a few of our favorites!
We discovered Armature Works on our first visit to Tampa. We loved that there was a place with so many unique food options. We have eaten at AVA (a pizza spot) and Ichicoro Ramen. Our favorite thing to get is the Frozen Kirin from Ichicoro. It's a frozen, light beer - a deadly combo for a lightweight like me but soooo good. Not going to lie, it can be a little on the pricey side so prepare to spend some dough.
The best part about this place is that it has a view of the river. They offer to-go cups for your alcoholic drinks that you can take with you while you stroll through the riverwalk. The second time we visited they had their first "Heights Night Market" which features artisans artists and makers selling handmade goods like jewelry, art, furniture, woodwork, and more. It's such a cool little spot and every time we go we talk about how badly Orlando needs something like this.
Definitely check it out if you're ever in Tampa. They recently added a rooftop and it just made this place more magical. Keep reading if you want a little more info.
Look at those tostones! M. Bird is a new restaurant at Armature Works. Its food is inspired by a Caribbean and Mediterranean fusion. They have entrees but their focus is more on small, shareable plates. We got the Vaca Frita Tostones and Jerk Chicken Eggrolls. Do yourself a favor and get the tostones, I promise you won't regret it.
The best part about this whole experience is the rooftop. You know Duncan and I love a good rooftop. The view of Tampa's waterfront and growing cityscape is the reason we came up here — the good food was just a bonus. We couldn't help but snap a few pics of the pretty scenery.
The restaurant is 21+ only so make sure to leave the kids at home. There is a covered patio just in case it rains (which is pretty much all the time). This restaurant is the perfect setting for a romantic date or a girls night out.
I know I say that everything here is my favorite spot but SERIOUSLY this is actually my favorite spot in Tampa. Sparkman Wharf has pretty much everything you need for a perfect day outside. There's a waterfront view, music, food, craft beer and a huge lawn for play or relaxation.
Duncan and I got some drinks from their bar, Fermented Reality Biergarten. A biergarten is the German word for an outdoor area in which beer and local food are served, typically at shared tables. This place provides you with great beer and a sense of community. I also love that they use reusable plastic beer cups.
We spent our time here playing giant checkers, relaxing on a swing and enjoying the calmness of the area. They hold events like movies on the lawn, game watching parties and often have live music. It's a great place to come to when the weather is perfect and you just want to relax, drink a cold one and eat good food.
Tampa Museum of Art
Duncan and I have been to a couple museums in different states but none of them have impressed us as much as the Tampa Museum of Art. Let's just be honest some museums can be a little boring and repetitive but this one wasn't like that at all. When we visited it had the prettiest art work we've seen so far. As soon as you walk up the stairs, you're immersed in art. The Aphordite Reimagined sculpture by Patricia Cronin is a beautiful mix of stone with translucent limbs. The exhibits are constantly changing so you can keep visiting and witness something new every time.
Like most things, the museum is right by the riverwalk. Students get in free if you show a school I.D. Regular adult tickets are $15.
Tampa has so much to offer but these are just a few of our favorite things. Its an ever-growing city with a lot of character. I love discovering something knew every time I visit. Let us know in the comments below what some of your favortie spots in Tampa are.
If you find yourself looking for something to do on a Saturday morning look no further. This historic downtown is the perfect place to spend your weekend off. The city of Winter Garden has a little bit of everything to make for a perfect day.
We started our day at the farmers market. They are only open Saturdays from 9am-2pm (830am-130pm during the summer). Like every farmers market, it's full of fresh produce and handmade products. We highly reccomend Tamale Co if your'e hungry. It was soooo hot that day so we decided to get a Mango Colada from Mango Kings. Their line was one of the longest ones and I can see why. It was the freshest frozen drink I've ever had. They have tons of options made from fresh mango and I'm sure they're all just as great. It was the perfect start to our day and fueled us enough to continue adventuring this cute town. It's also important to mention that parking is FREE at the parking garage right next to the market.
Plant Street Market
After the farmers market we walked over to our favorite place. If you like to support local businesses then come to Plant Street Market. It's a local community market with 20 vendors selling natural, organic, and handmade products. You can get mini donuts, fresh pressed juice, bbq food, and so much more. We love the donuts at Sir Benji's and fresh juice from Press'd. There's so much here that you have to take multiple trips to try everything out. Crooked Can Brewery is also here and is always packed with people having a good time. Their hand crafted beers and overall fun atmosphere keeps it full on Saturday mornings. The beer options are endless (Mr.Tractor is one of our favorites). There aren't a lot of food halls like this in Orlando so this place is a must if you're in town
The Whole Enchilada
We walked from Plant Street Market to this cute taco spot a couple of blocks away. Who doesn't love a good rooftop? The Whole Enchilada rooftop is a taco lovers heaven. The antique, colorful wooden furniture and full bar made me want to stay there forever. We ordered some burritos downstairs that they brought up to us and had a refreshing mango margarita from the bar(I guess mango was the theme that day). Their drinks were pretty inexpensive which is always a plus in my book. If I can spend every morning like this I would. If you decide to go on a weekday they have Taco Tuesday deals that you can check out here. It's the perfect place to wind down. These pictures don't do it justice so if you want to check out more of this place make sure to look at our Winter Garden highlight on Instagram.
I love that everything is within walking distance here. It allows you to admire the pretty brick buildings and cobblestone streets as you stroll to the next location. Winter Garden has the charm of a small town but convenience of a big city. I love spending Saturday mornings here with Duncan. There's so much to try that it's impossible to ever get bored of it. Let us know in the comments what your favorite thing to do here is!
We found our little piece of paradise in this hot summer weather. Epperson Lagoon encompasses the Florida lifestyle. It's a huge seven acre pool with sandy beaches, a bar, music, and activities for everyone. It's located about 2 hours north of Orlando (in the Tampa Bay area) which is a bit of a drive but I'd definitely do it again.
We bought our tickets early online because space is limited. It's $20 per person for the entrance. All of the activities are sold separately but it's all still cheaper than going to a water park. We paid $10 extra each for all-day access to the big slide. They have a deal that if you decided to do the rock wall, slide, and floating obstacle course you just pay another $20 per person. So for $40 you get access to the lagoon and all of its activities. Kayak and paddle boarding are separate from this and will be an additional $10 each.
The first thing we did when we got in was go to the bar (duh). I suggest you do this before you find your seat. We got a bucket of beer so we didn't have to keep coming back to the bar. It was about $32 for six beers. We then went straight to the beach area, easily found two seats, and just drank and relaxed for a couple of hours. You're not allowed to bring in your own food or drinks but they have a couple of spots to eat on site. We had a turkey sandwich on cuban bread that hit the spot.
We weren't able to do the floating obstacle course because there was a bit of a wait (again, get your tickets early) but we did the slide a handful of times. It added some excitement to our otherwise relaxing day. I'm not a huge fan of the beach because the ocean scares me and community pools can get a bit overcrowded. I love being able to come here and float without worrying about running into someone or worse, a hungry shark. It's a hidden tropical paradise.
Click here to get your tickets!
I boarded the Titanic as a first class passenger ready to see what all the talk around this unsinkable ship was about. Duncan embarked on this journey as Mr. Charles Edward Dahl, a third class passenger who was traveling alone. It was our real life Jack and Rose moment (with a happier ending of course).
You enter the exhibit as passengers on the ship. Room after room you journey through this historical but tragic event. Artifacts recovered from the ship give you a glimpse into the lives of the passengers onboard. There are hairbrushes, bottles, mirrors, pots, and so much more that belonged to the people who were apart of this horrific moment in history. It makes you feel as if you're in the 1900's and makes the story of the Titanic more personal.
We all know about the sinking of the ship but it's these details that the museum adds that make it seem more real. There's a part of the museum where you can hear the signal the Titanic released giving its coordinates along with the message "sinking". There's a replica of grand staircase which was used by first class passengers to move through the upper decks. It's the most beautiful feature on the ship and getting to see it in person didn't disappoint. There's also a room where you can feel an iceberg as cold as those in the water that night.
I don't want to give away too much because I'll spoil the fun of going to see it yourself. Give yourself about 2-3 hours to walk through the entire exhibit. Admission is $21.95 per adult and you can do an audio guide for $5 more.
By the end of the walk through the exhibit you enter a room and find out if your character lived or died. Luckily, Duncan and I both lived. The number of people who died outnumbered the people who lived by hundreds. Over 1500 people lost their lives that night. This exhibit does an excellent job at honoring these people and showing visitors what it was like to be in their shoes.
I've always struggled with my feelings towards zoos. It always felt like these animals were trapped for our entertainment but I realized this is not always the case. I recently educated myself more on what they do for the conservation of animals. It's not easy for some of these animals in the wild. They are losing their habitats and being killed by humans for a number of reasons. So many of these beautiful creatures we share this earth with go extinct because of us. Zoos help to conserve these animals and take them off of endangered species lists.
The Brevard Zoo supports international conservation programs. Some of their initiatives include scrub-jay translocation efforts, Sea Turtle Healing Centers, and Restore our Shore programs. They work towards making environmentally friendly changes that protect wildlife. It is apparent that everyone working here really cares for these animals. Every where we went there was a staff member eager to tell us about the animals that live there. It's one of the best experiences I've had at a zoo and taught me a lot about all of the different species that call Brevard Zoo their home.
This was the first thing we did when we got to the zoo. It was about 2:15 p.m. and they told us that giraffes are easiest to see between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm so we ran. We had the amazing opportunity to feed Johari, their newest giraffe. He was born on October 19th which happens to be my birthday! He was so sweet and loved sticking his 18-inch tongue out for the lettuce pieces we were giving him. The feeding platform is leveled with these tall animals so you get to be really close to them as they eat off of your hand. Each feeding is $2, a small price for such an unforgettable encounter.
Johari isn't the only giraffe living here, there are eight of them at the zoo. They are free to roam in their spacious habitat that resembles their home in the wild. Most of them are Masai giraffes. This species has declined by 50 percent in the past three decades due to habitat loss, human hunting, and droughts. The Brevard Zoo is a proud partner with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation which is an organization on the front line of giraffe research and protection. They work together to save the world's tallest animal from extinction.
Lorikeet & Cockatiel Feeding
This is my second favorite part of the zoo. You get to interact with all types of birds by feeding them. You are given two choices — on one side the birds are gentle and will just eat off of the stick you're giving to them and on the other they are more aggressive and will climb all over you. We decided to do both sides so that we can experience the difference. If you have a fear of birds I recommend doing the more tame side. I personally loved having the birds lands on my arms. It was fun getting to interact with them that way and watch them bicker over who gets to dig their beaks into the small nectar cups.
The nectar cups and seed sticks are available for $1 each outside the aviary. Once inside you will see rainbow lorikeet, roseate spoonbill, cockatiel, scarlet ibis, and kookaburra. There was also a duck who somehow snuck in and acted like he was one of the birds so that he can get in on the feast. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to feed him but some people snuck him a few bites anyway. It's such a cool experience to get to be so close to these flying creatures and watch them take food right from your hand. I highly recommend this as well if you come to the Brevard Zoo.
I haven't been to many zoos that have kangaroos here in Florida so to get to see them so close was exciting for us. They paid no mind to us and were just lounging around eating their corn leaves. The ones pictured above are the Red Kangaroos. They come from Australia and feed off of grass and leaves. They don't like to be touched so just admire them from afar. The fence is open and at any moment one of them could walk right through but they stayed away. It is the largest of the kangaroo species but they didn't seem intimidating. They looked peaceful sleeping together and sharing their dinner.
My favorite part about this zoo is that they created a home for the animals that resembles their natural habitat. The animals look happy and free to roam. Aside from exploring the animal habitats, there's zip-lining and a kayak ride through the zoo. Duncan and I opted for the package that included a giraffe feeding, bird feeding, and train ride for only $23.95. There are a lot of packages to choose from. Click here for the website to get more information. Let us know if you decide to go and tag us in your pictures #roamsick
Sometimes we ignore the small towns around us because they don't seem like they have much to offer. Williston has a population of about 2,000 people. It's not somewhere I would typically visit or even be interested in. What drew us to this city are the unique spots we heard about. It's about two hours away from Orlando but you can do all of these in a day.
Florida has so many springs but this one is definitely the most unique due to its location. To get to it you have to walk down a flight of stairs into a cave. The cave is illuminated by a hole at the very top that lets in natural light. The water is so clear that you can almost see the bottom right as you enter. While you're swimming around exploring the cave, there are small fish swimming right next to you. In order to get access to this spring you must either snorkel or scuba dive. There's an option to rent snorkeling gear for $10 and scuba gear for $40.
Make sure to get there early so that you don't have to wait too long for your time in the cave. You can only be down there for two hours max so make the most out of it. The water is freezing cold (72 degrees year round) so if you're expecting something sunny and tropical then this isn't for you. It's definitely a spot to go to for those who crave adventure and something new. Admission is $15 person ($20 on weekends and holidays). For more information visit their website www.devilsden.com/home.html
Two Tails Ranch
As soon as I heard that there were elephants close by that I can interact with, I had to visit. Two Tails Ranch was built to board Asian and African elephants in need of temporary or permanent housing due to medical reasons, behavioral problems or even emergencies after hurricanes destroyed their homes. At the moment there are about seven Asian elephants housed there. Luke was the first one we got to meet. He painted a picture for us with his trunk and showed us how he cools off in this brutal Florida heat. The ranch keeper explained to us that Asian elephants are endangered and will probably be gone in the next decade. It makes me sad to think we may soon be living in a world without them and that this may be my last interaction with one.
Admission to the ranch is $20 and any activities with the elephants will cost extra. We chose to just feed them for $5 more. You aren't given much food and feeding them one carrot will leave you wanting to spend a little more time with these gentle animals. It was such a cute experience though and I highly recommend it if you want to get up close with an elephant. You can also get a photo with them for $25 but honestly we got pretty good pictures just feeding them. There's also an option to ride the elephants for $40 but it didn't really interest us. You have to schedule a tour in order to go. Make sure to schedule it well in advance because they sell out pretty quickly. Here is their website for more information: https://allaboutelephants.com
Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens
This was a random stop on our little day trip. I saw a couple of reviews about this place and it's literally right next to Devil's Den so we decided to check it out. Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens is a botanical garden full of waterfalls, koi fish, and over 50 gardens. It began as an abandoned limestone quarry but over the course of 27 years the founder, Dr. Raymond Webber, continued to build until it became this unique botanical creation. He donated it in 2014 and since then it's been open to the public.
I didn't expect there to be so much to see. There are so many levels. You can get a good view of the gardens from the top or get up close to them be staying low. There's a Japanese-inspired section with koi fish and a couple of waterfalls that fall into ponds. There's a lot of greenery sprinkled with color here and there. It's such an "Instagrammable" spot if you're looking to take cute pictures with beautiful backdrops. Admission is $12 per person and it's open seven days a week.
All of these places are a max of 10 minutes away from each other. If you plan it, you can do all of them in one day. I recommend going to the garden last because the other two require appointments and waiting times. All of these places are unlike anything else here in Florida. It's well worth the two hour drive from Orlando.
I know we already made a post about farms but we recently visited this one and it became our favorite one. We love that it doesn't just focus on one thing. There's a lot to do here and you go home with so much fresh produce.
The peaches were actually very hard to pick. There weren't a lot of ripe ones by the time we got there, so we really had to search. It was scorching hot walking though field but we managed to get a handful of good ones. The peaches are a lot tinier than I expected but still tasty. Even if you end up not finding any ripe ones, it's still cool to see these juicy fruits hanging on trees. The peaches are $4 per pound. Although this field was still developing, the blueberry field had plenty of options.
I loved seeing all the colors of the different stages of blueberries. Some were green, some were a light purple and some were a deep blue. We chose the darkest ones and the taste was something you can't buy in stores. The field goes on forever so there's so much to choose from. If you end up at this farm you have to try the frozen blueberry lemonade. It's sold in the store under the pavilion and it's so refreshing on a hot day. We took home an entire case of blueberries ($4 a pound) and enjoyed them with our waffles the next morning.
Across the peach field is a beautiful flower field. There are sunflowers and zinnias you can pick from. I chose some bright pink, red and orange ones that looked perfect in our rustic styled room. I'm not sure how much the sunflowers are but the zinnias $1 each. They provide you with scissors to make it easier to pick them.
There's so much to do here that we had to make a separate post for it. Southern Hill Farms holds events like yoga, festivals and 5k's. There's truly something for everyone to do. You can pick so much produce, enjoy a rooftop view of the fields, grab some food at the eatery, and if you are lucky you might even see a sunset as beautiful as this one. It's more than just a farm and we'll definitely be coming back now that we know all it has to offer.