Archive for July, 2012

Jacksonville’s Little Talbot Island Offers Free Adventures

This question may be hard for you to answer, but I’m going to ask it anyhow.

When was the last time your whole gang enjoyed a fabulous day in the sun—for five bucks?

Surf up to Little Talbot Island (by Jacksonville) for that day in the sun. Drive your car to the beach, take a dip in the calm waters of the state park and then enjoy a picnic by the shore.

And that’s just the tip of the sandbar.

The park offers fun and free adventures every Saturday this July, from nature hikes to critter expeditions to shark teeth lessons. Gotta love these deals!

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Little Talbot Island Offers Free Adventures this July

This question may be hard for you to answer, but I’m going to ask it anyhow.

When was the last time your whole gang enjoyed a fabulous day in the sun—for a paltry five bucks?

I didn’t think you could remember! But if it sounds like a tempting deal, read on!

Just surf up to Little Talbot Island (by Jacksonville) for the aforementioned day in the sun. Drive your car to the beach, take a dip in the calm waters of the State Park and then enjoy a picnic by the shore.

And that’s just the tip of the sandbar.

The park offers fun and free adventures every Saturday this July, from nature hikes to critter expeditions to shark teeth lessons and more. Gotta love these deals!

Continue reading Little Talbot Island Offers Free Adventures this July »

Light of the Moon Tour at Pensacola Lighthouse

It’s a little spooky, a little unusual, and off-the-charts cool.

I’m talking about a Light of the Moon Tour at Pensacola Lighthouse (2081 Radford Blvd, NAS, Pensacola, FL 32508). In this adventure, you climb to the top of the lighthouse for a breathtaking view of a moonlit Pensacola Bay. But that’s just the tip of the sandbar.

You’ll follow in the footsteps of TAPS from the SyFy channel, and hear hair-raising tales of ghostly encounters. Don't be surprised if you feel an unexpected chill — after all, this is one of America's most haunted lighthouses.

Tour times are 8:15 and 9:30 p.m. on July 13, 2012.

There’s even more news to twirl your beach towel: This family-friendly event won’t leave your wallet wailing. The price for adults is $15, and the price for kids from 7-12 is $7.

Smells like fun to me.

Continue reading Light of the Moon Tour at Pensacola Lighthouse »

Spooky, Cool & Fun! Light of the Moon Tour at Pensacola Lighthouse

It’s a little spooky, a little unusual, and off-the-charts cool!

I’m talking about a Light of the Moon Tour at Pensacola Lighthouse (2081 Radford Blvd, NAS, Pensacola, FL 32508). In this adventure, you and your gang will climb to the top of the Pensacola Lighthouse for a breathtaking view of a moonlit Pensacola Bay. But that’s just the tip of the sandbar.

You’ll follow in the footsteps of TAPS from the SyFy channel, and hear hair raising tales of ghostly encounters. After all, this is one of America's most haunted lighthouses.

When can you do it?

Now we’re cooking with gas!

Tour times are 8:15 and 9:30 p.m. on July 13, 2012.

There’s even more news to twirl your beach towel: This family friendly event won’t leave your wallet wailing. The price for adults is $15, and the price for kids from 7-12 is $7.

Smells like fun to me!

Continue reading Spooky, Cool & Fun! Light of the Moon Tour at Pensacola Lighthouse »

Anything-that-Floats Race Paddles into Key Largo

Boats made of milk jugs, saran wrap and T-shirts? Or old bikes? Really?

You’re supposed to build a floating vessel out of them?

They aren’t the first building materials that would occur to me for a boat. But then, few of us understand the minds of our Florida Keys neighbors. They’re always coming up with new and wacked-out ways to have fun — and this one is a doozy!

The Anything that Floats Race, Regatta, and Fireworks paddes into Key Largo (Blackwater Sound, mile marker 104, bayside), Aug. 17-18, 2012, and it's one cup-of-crazy you don’t want to miss!

Here’s how it works. You make a homemade vessel out of stuff that you can find around your house, grab your oars and head to the festival. Suggested materials for building your hopefully seaworthy boat include:

  • Cardboard
  • Wood
  • PVC
  • Duct tape
  • Milk jugs
  • 5-gallon buckets
  • Saran wrap
  • Old T-shirts
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Pool noodles

Which begs the question: What can’t you use? Now, that list is considerably shorter. No motors, inflatable rafts, foam or pool toys are allowed.

Prizes will be awarded for:

  • Fastest vessel
  • Best costumed crew
  • Best hard-luck story
  • Most creative vessel

My favorite category?

The "vessel containing the most participants that still floats."

If you don’t want to enter the race, you can join the regatta on Blackwater Sound or cheer on your favorite team from land. At sunset, enjoy live tunes from local bands. The evening sparkles to a close with fireworks over the water.

Here's more news to twirl your beach towel: The race is free to enter. Oh, come on. You know you want to do it!

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Video: How to Chill Out at Busch Gardens Tampa

We screamed through coaster rides, admired giraffes, zebras and rhinos grazing on the Serengeti, and Tom even experienced his first funnel cake. It was all part of the fun on our trip to Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. 

Next: a review of the coasters.

 

Continue reading Video: How to Chill Out at Busch Gardens Tampa »

Anna Maria, Longboat Key, Bradenton Offer Sweet Summer Deals

I’m as excited as a jiggled jellyfish.

Check out the "Your Summer, Your Way" program. At Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and Bradenton, you can snag:

  • free nights at 10 different properties;
  • a plethora of discounts, including 25 percent off weekly rentals;
  • Florida resident rates and even cash discounts. 

While savings are always super, what makes them even sweeter is that these are some of the Sunshine State’s most delectable destinations. Let me tell you a little more about them, so you can figure out which one sounds like your perfect cup of sunshine.

  • Anna Maria Island is a sliver of land seven miles long and so narrow at many points that you can see the Gulf and the bay at the same time. The sand is sugar-white, and its waters tend to be clear and calm. It’s laid-back, with an abundance of charm and character — an old-Florida sort of getaway. You can rent a Hobie Cat and go sailing, or pull up at a beachside café that’s open to the Gulf breeze and feast on a grouper sandwich. There are lots of oceanfront accommodations, and you couldn’t find a better place for the family or for romance. A trolley runs the length of the island – so, if you want, leave your car behind.
  • Longboat Key has miles of white-sand beaches nestled against the emerald waters of the Gulf. There is very little public beach access, so if you’re looking for a quiet destination, Longboat is it. This upscale destination is brimming with luxury resorts, tennis courts and golf courses, but it’s also easy on the eyes and easy on the spirit.
  • Bradenton is full of old-Florida charm. Fun things to do there include ‘horse-surfing’ in Palma Sola Bay and paying a visit to Snooty — the world’s oldest-living manatee — at South Florida Museum. And get this: Snooty is celebrating his 64th birthday on Saturday, July 21, 2012, and you’re invited to the party.

Continue reading Anna Maria, Longboat Key, Bradenton Offer Sweet Summer Deals »

Tips for Enjoying a Summer Beach House

I couldn’t agree more.

Fodor's Guest Blogger Michelle Doucette quotes in her recent article, “There are no two words that better capture the pure joy of summer than 'beach house.'"

Check out her Tips for Enjoying a Summer Beach House. There might even be some advice from yours truly…

(Is this my 15 minutes?)

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Tour the Ultimate Beach House in South Walton

I want to see it. But really, I want to live in it.

Welcome to the Ultimate Beach House – 15 years in the dreaming!

Each year, Coastal Living brings together a team of designers, builders and sponsors to whip up the perfect coastal destination home. This year is the program's 15th anniversary – dubbed "Coastal Living Idea Homes" — so, as you can imagine, they conceived something truly glorious.

They found their inspiration in the South Walton neighborhood of Rosemary Beach.

In Coastal Living’s words, "This neo-traditional town captured our hearts with its natural beauty, quaint town center and exceptional architecture. In a word, it was paradise, and nothing less would suffice.” The not-so-humble abode will be featured in the magazine's October 2012 issue, but if you’re visiting South Walton, you can sneak a peek at it from now until Oct. 7.

The details: You can buy tickets for the Home Tour of Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House (78 North Barrett Square Rosemary Beach, FL 32461) for $15 at the home's front door, where you also can view a scale model of the 5,000-square-foot residence. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Rosemary Beach Foundation.

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You’re Invited to Snooty the Manatee’s 64th Birthday Bash in Bradenton

"A full-grown manatee looks like the result of a genetic experiment involving a walrus and the Goodyear Blimp." ~  Dave Barry

Snooty is more than a famous Florida personality, he’s an icon. Born in cativity in 1948, the manatee was brought to the South Florida Museum in Bradenton as part of the 1949 De Soto Heritage Celebration. He’s the oldest-known sea cow in the world and, since his arrival, he has greeted more than 1 million visitors.

Snooty the Manatee’s 64th Birthday Bash and Wildlife Awareness Festival is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 21, 2012, at the Spanish Plaza at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.

Festival fun includes:

  • Wildlife presentations on Florida’s endangered species
  • Exclusive aquarium exhibits
  • Free drinks and nibbles
  • Games
  • Art activities, including a birthday card making competition
  • A personal appearance by Snooty

If you can’t make it to the festival, you still can join in the celebration online from anywhere in the world.

View a livecast of the event from 11:55 a.m. until 12:10 p.m. Museum staff, volunteers and event attendees will sing “happy birthday” to Snooty at noon.

Awww…

Admission to the festival is free; tickets to the museum are half-price.

You can even take a peek at Snooty right now! Check out this live webcam.

Fun fact: Snooty maintains his boyish figure by munching a healthy diet of romaine lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and fruit.

Continue reading You’re Invited to Snooty the Manatee’s 64th Birthday Bash in Bradenton »