11 Reasons You’ll Fall in Love with Anna Maria Island

The first time I hopped out of the car, walked through a sand dune, and onto a beach on Anna Maria Island, I knew I had found something truly special. The small stretch of sand was dotted with a handful colorful beach umbrellas, the water was calm — a bright, clear shade of turquoise reminiscent of the Caribbean — and a gentle breeze was coming off the gulf water.

Since that first visit several years ago, I’ve visited numerous Florida beaches, but none quite match the charm or magic of Anna Maria Island.

While I’d love to keep my paradise a secret, that’s just not my style. I love this beach and want to share it! Here are 11 reasons I fell in love with Anna Maria Island, and why you most certainly will too. Continue reading “11 Reasons You’ll Fall in Love with Anna Maria Island”

Day Trip Guide: St. Augustine, FL

Since moving to Central Florida in 2012, day trips have sort of become my jam. Living in a state where people regularly come for their yearly vacations means an endless supply of things to do, and I’m making a commitment to explore more this year and in the future. Day trip guides feature locations accessible in 2.5 hours or less that are small enough to be enjoyed in just one day.

St. Augustine, FL

The Basics

St. Augustine, located on the East coast south of Jacksonville, is the oldest city in the United States. Ornate buildings, narrow cobbled streets, and rich history can be found at every turn and there are numerous attractions to visit.

You could easily spend a week in St. Augustine visiting every attraction, but if you’re visiting for the day (still totally worth it!) you’ll want to do some prior planning and choose just a few activities. I recommend arriving early (8:30-9:00am) as many of the attractions are closed by 5pm. Plan for a 2 hour drive (each way) from Orlando. Continue reading “Day Trip Guide: St. Augustine, FL”

Find Your Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast

In my book, Florida’s West coast beats out the East every single time. While I grew up visiting East coast beaches like Emerald Isle, NC and Tybee Island, GA (and do have a soft spot in my heart for those locations) there was just no competition once I saw the calm, clear, gulf waters of Anna Maria Island, FL for the first time.

The beach is, and likely always will be, my happy place. It’s where I go when I need a day to unwind or gorge on fresh seafood (read: fish tacos) or want to go to a place in which I feel less guilty eating ice cream for lunch. The relaxed mood and sun tan are just nice side effects. Below are some of my favorite gulf coast beaches, suitable for your next weekend trip: Continue reading “Find Your Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast”

6 Awesome Day Trips You Can Take from Orlando

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: day trips are my JAM! I love getting in the car early in the morning (preferably with a bag of caramel creams…gotta have snacks) and arriving to a new destination a few hours later.

This year, I’m really committed to traveling more on a local scale, especially since there is so much to be seen in Florida. This is why I love day trips – they give you that novel feeling of being somewhere new, but you can sleep in your own bed at night and will spend a significantly less amount of money than you would say, jet-setting to Bora Bora. (Still on my list though.)

Below is a list of six day trips easily accessible from Orlando. Whether you’re a beach lover, foodie, adventurer, or history buff there’s definitely something for everyone on this list. Continue reading “6 Awesome Day Trips You Can Take from Orlando”

Day Trip Guide: Dunedin, FL

Since moving to Central Florida in 2012, day trips have sort of become my jam. Living in a state where people regularly come for their yearly vacations means an endless supply of things to do, and I’m making a commitment to explore more this year and in the future. Day trip guides feature locations accessible in 2.5 hours or less that are small enough to be enjoyed in just one day.

dunedin-fl-day-trip-guide

The Basics

If you’re looking for a great spot to explore on foot, enjoy the arts, prefer local eats over chain restaurants, and like cities that are full of character and big on community, Dunedin may be just the place for you.

Dunedin, FL is a small city in the Tampa Bay area with Scottish roots (Dunedin comes from the Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland). It’s home to Florida’s oldest craft brewery, a popular Mardi Gras celebration, Honeymoon Island State Park, and a vibrant arts community. Coming from Orlando, plan for a 2 hour drive each way. Continue reading “Day Trip Guide: Dunedin, FL”