This past week I went on a two week trip to Florida with my whole family. My family has a staunch anti-Disney policy (I couldn't care regardless) so we spent a lot of time doing Disney alternatives while traveling the sunshine state. Here are some of my favorites!
The Florida Welcome Center
A great place to go to is often the first place you see in Florida: the welcome center! It has photo ops like the welcome to Florida sign (because the real one is on the highway on a bridge), fresh orange juice, and lots of guides to all the different parts of Florida.
Plus, you can ask the people working there about good places to see and eat!
Yes I fed a gator in Tevas.....what of it?
Gatorland is less of an amusement park and more of an experience. There are tons of gators everywhere (duh) and lots of experiences to do. There's a zip line that's been rated one of the best in America.
While I didn't go for the zip line, my whole family did sign up to feed alligators and we feed the birds in the bird sanctuary! Both were pretty fun and thrilling!
The Kennedy Space Center
When bae needs space.
The Kennedy Space Center is full of amazing one of a kind experiences that you can only see in Florida. You can take a bus tour to see the sight of all shuttle launches and rocket launches.
zip line tons of artifacts and cool things from NASA, including the shuttle wreckage which truthfully, made me cry to see in person. Plus, you can touch a moon rock! That's pretty cool!
The Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach
The best attempt I can make at surfing.
The Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach is known for being one of the biggest surf shops in the country. It's open 24/7 in case you need a tee shirt at say....3 AM.
But don't laugh, we went at 12:30 and the place had a fairly large amount of people in it. It's two stories high and full of fun things that aren't shirts and surfboards.
Ask around your hotel or online for coupons, our hotel gave us a 10% of $50 purchase that really came in handy.
See a NASA launch.
That's a rocket!
The main reason we went down to Florida in the first place was to see a rocket launch! We ended up seeing the Falcon 9 get launched from Jetty Park, right across the Banana River from the launch pad! We also extended our stay to see the Parker Solar Probe, but unfortunately, the flight got delayed a day and we couldn't stay one more day.
Regardless, check the schedule for launches on NASA's website, seeing one in person is life changing!
Hobe Sound Beach
Hobe Sound Beach is an insanely beautiful beach that happens to have the most beautiful water. We went to multiple public beaches and this was by far the prettiest. One thing this beach had that many didn't? Whole shells. When going to the beaches surrounding Virginia, most shells found are partially broken.
Not the ones here! They're intact and have multiple types!
Eating in Little Havana
When in Miami!
Little Havana in Miami is a beautiful and unique part of the state. We traveled to so many places in the state that felt so starkly ~country~ in comparison to here which was so built up and industrial. This place is rich with history and so interesting. Definitely go to Little Havana for Cuban food! I completely recommend Versailles Restaurant which is an institution in the town, plus very affordable!
Kayaking in the Keys.
The Aquatic lady.
Kayaking in the Florida Keys is one of the most beautiful experiences I had on the trip. Apparently, the same place we kayaked had recently had manatee babies swim there. Unfortunately, we did not see any manatees while out, but we saw beautiful schools of fishes, starfish, and mangroves go through.
It was an amazing experience I recommend for everyone to do at least once! Plus the rentals were not terribly expensive!
Daytona Beach gift shops.
These were so hot that I burned my hand (actually) on a manatee statue.
The gift shops in Daytona Beach are out of this world. When I say they have just about everything, I'm not exaggerating. Want two pigs having sex salt and pepper shakers? They got it. Boob mug? They have it.
Completely random and slightly trashy makes for the perfect combination.
Caballero Rivero Cemetery
My mom and dad love visiting cemeteries. Because my grandfather is buried at Arlington, many of the graves are standard issue. While it seems morbid, visiting cemeteries truly gives me a feeling of serenity.
Walking around and reading people's stories and seeing the way their families chose to remember them is an interesting and unique experience.
This cemetery is special because many families are from a Catholic background so the whole place is full of Catholic imagery. Word to the wise? When visiting cemeteries, be very respectful. Mind the graves and keep your voice down. I've seen one too many people act silly while visiting. Not cool.