Historical Vacation Destinations Part 2: Matlacha, Florida

Historical Vacation Destinations Part 2: Matlacha, Florida

Historical Vacation Destinations Part 2: Matlacha, Florida

By Hannah M.

Island Living in Historic Matlacha, Florida

A historic gem with an abundance of Seminole culture, Matlacha (Mat-la-SHAY) is a prismatic and peaceful paradise. The legacy left by the Seminole tribe is scattered throughout the tiny town, making Matlacha a historical hotspot full of fun adventures. This matured fishing village, nestled on a small island between Cape Coral and Pine Island, brings a charismatic charm unlike anywhere in the world and promises a serene stay.

What to do in Matlacha

  • Bridge at Matlacha Pass

Not only is this historic utopia full of fascinating culture, it is a fisherman’s dream! The bridge over Matlacha Pass (nicknamed the “World’s Fishing-est Bridge”) is famed for the abundance of aquatic life. The currents sweeping under the bridge brings an array of fish that draw in locals and visitors alike. Take in Matlacha’s aesthetic with a peaceful stroll down the bridge lined with local anglers casting their lines in “Matlacha Reeboks”; these tall white rubber boots are an essential part of the coastal lifestyle here.

  • Shopping and More

This vibrant and cheerful island gives you a sunny welcome to their tasteful art community. Matlacha is scattered with vintage Floridian style homes, fishing boats moored just outside the doors, art galleries, shops, and a tranquil atmosphere throughout. The serene seaside experience is reminiscent of Florida Keys without the hustle and bustle. If you were searching for the perfect peaceful getaway, Matlacha is the place to be!

Matlacha home to a variety of creatives and artists, including international artist Leoma Lovegrove. You can observe her dazzling and unique paintings in Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens; her vibrant Impressionist-Expressionist style paintings are just the start of the artwork you must see while in Matlacha!

A Historic Slice of Heaven

This historic, colorful town is a tropical slice of heaven and a must-see when visiting Florida. Matlacha Cottages has a variety of places you can stay, most located directly on the water. An artist’s paradise, Matlacha’s tranquil and exquisite landscapes draw you in the second you step foot on this island; you won’t want to leave this historical heaven-on-earth!

Original Article Here

Sarasota: An Artist’s Dream!

Sarasota: An Artist’s Dream!

Sarasota: An Artist’s Dream!

Hannah M.

 

An Itinerary to Sarasota’s Art Community

Sarasota, Florida is renowned for the art found there, as it is home to a plethora of artists and creatives. An artistic utopia, Sarasota is known all over the world by artists and aspiring alike. To be expected; this enticing city situated right on Sarasota Bay has top-tier art colleges and an array of alluring galleries. Need some ideas on how to get creative and fully experience Sarasota’s local art? Below are some highlights on where to start your complete artist’s retreat!

The Ringling Art Legacy

The heart of the creative culture found in Sarasota started with John and Mable Ringling. Avid supporters of the art community at the turn of the twentieth century and imperative to the eventual evolution of Sarasota’s creative atmosphere, you will find their original collection of unique art in The Ringling, the State Art Museum of Florida. As well as the Ringlings’ personal collection, the museum holds a variety of other galleries, including a spectacular Modern Art gallery.

The Ca’ d’Zan

Are you more interested in a practical application of art? Sunny Sarasota has something for every type of creative! For those more interested in the architectural or historical aspect of Sarasota’s art scene, the Ringlings’ home should be on the must-see list. The Ca’ d’Zan, on The Ringling campus, was constructed per Mable Ringling’s personal design influences. Tours are available to see this exquisite 5-story, 41-room mansion up close. Travel back in time while exploring the unique grandeur of this mid-1920’s mansion!

Before the tour is complete, be sure to stop by Muse at The Ringling for a delicious dinner and impeccable views; located in Mable Ringling’s famous rose garden.

Ringling College of Art and Design

The impact the Ringling’s had can be seen all throughout Sarasota; including The Ringling College of Art and Design, founded in 1931 in honor of Sarasota’s most prominent supporters. From student galleries to experienced artists around the world, the art found at this institute is unlike any other. All galleries on campus are open to the public and offer a wide perspective on the art community not only in Sarasota, but across the world. The new Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts center displays an even wider variety of art with a glass art studio consisting of Basch’s personal art collection and an assortment of glass art from ranging artists.

Sarasota’s Most Creative Neighborhoods

Towles Court

Sarasota’s hidden gem, Towles Court’s Old Floridian homes and aged brick streets bring a whimsical charm to this small, serene town of artists. Home to a diverse group of designers, art therapists, jewelry makers, potters, cafes and many more, this vibrant community will be a favorite! Make sure to plan your trip around the third Friday of the month; Towles Court hosts monthly Art Walks with live music, great food, and much more.

Gillespie Park

Are you hoping to improve your skills as an artist during your retreat? Gillespie park is a historic downtown village that also hosts monthly Art Walks and other events. If you were looking to hone your craft, stop by The Artful Giraffe for classes taught by the local artists themselves!

Rosemary Historic District

All aboard for the artist’s dream getaway! Next stop: Rosemary. Another hidden gem, but more modern than Towles Court, Rosemary Historic District is a contemporary community that is home to many different types of designers. For those looking for the architecture hotspots- this is it! Sarasota Architectural Salvage features exclusive furniture and art you don’t want to miss.

Exploring Sarasota’s Art Community

No matter what your ideal vacation is, there’s no end to the adventures in store for you in Sunny Sarasota. Sarasota is full of hidden gems just waiting for art lovers to discover. Following this quick guide to Sarasota’s art community, you’re ready to set off for the quintessential artist’s getaway!

Original Article Here

Family Fun at Coral Cay Adventure Golf

Family Fun at Coral Cay Adventure Golf

Family Fun at Coral Cay Adventure Golf

By Hannah M.

 

 

Adventure Awaits at Coral Cay!

A popular hot spot of fun for all ages in Naples, Florida is Coral Cay Adventure Golf. No equipment necessary, just bring the whole family and be ready to play the day away! With a variety of holes and challenges, this is sure to be an unforgettable adventure that the whole family will enjoy.

Fun on The Course

No matter the time of year, Coral Cay Adventure Golf offers an entertaining tropical paradise for all.

With two courses to choose from to play at your leisure, the enticing botanical gardens featuring tranquil waterfalls, caves to explore, and other aquatic details promises a delightful day for everyone. There’s no need to rush the fun, Coral Cay allows you to come back on a different day to play the second course if you’d like! With a total of 36 mini golf holes and ranging challenges, this is the perfect way to unwind and have a great time with the whole family!

Beyond The Course

Once you’ve finished the course, the adventure isn’t over! Head over to the concession stand to recharge with a snack or refreshing ice slush. If you’re ready for round two, Coral Cay offers specials and deals that are redeemable at a later day. Take your chances at the crane machine and other fun games! Look no further for the perfect place to plan your party; Coral Cay Adventure Golfs hosts various parties and events with exciting surprises that are sure to bring an exceptional time. This Mini Golfer’s Dream is a delightful adventure you won’t want to miss out on.

Unforgettable Adventure For the Whole Family!

Coral Cay Adventure Golf is open year round; if you’re planning a cozy holiday retreat, make sure to put this mini golf adventure on your must-do list! With discounts and specials available on Coral Cay Adventure Golf website, the whole family is sure to have an unforgettable experience in this tropical mini golfing paradise!

Original Article Here

Discover Sarasota’s Safari Wilderness!

Discover Sarasota’s Safari Wilderness!

Discover Sarasota’s Safari Wilderness!

By Hannah M.

Safari Wilderness

Have you been looking for the ideal vacation spot with endless adventures? Sarasota, Florida has many fascinating attractions, but perhaps one of the most exciting is the Safari Wilderness less than two hours away! Located in Lakeland, Florida, this ranch is home to over 500 unique animals with breathtaking Florida landscapes. An array of species that reside here, originating from South America, Africa, and Asia in beautiful natural habitats will take your from the perfect Florida day trip to an unforgettable global adventure!

The Adventure Begins!

Entering this wonderful wilderness paradise, a short boardwalk will take you over Florida’s second largest wetlands area, the Green Swamp. While waiting for your safari to begin (be sure to make reservations!) you will see a number of furry friends roaming – the sister Calico cats are the sweetest friends! You’ll even be able to see magnificent peacocks, with other birds in the aviary.

Animal Lover’s Paradise

Be sure to bring some treats along for the friendly ostriches, antelope, swamp deer and the others! There are a number of animals in this pet paradise which you will be allowed to feed – one of the most captivating are the gentle water buffalo. The llamas are especially friendly, so be prepared to have some sweet furry friends come right up to you for more treats. Nothing beats the ostriches need for treats, however; they have been known the chase after the safari bus in hopes of more treats – they don’t give up easily! As long as you have some food to offer, these gentle animals will want to be friends “fur”ever! With the wide array of different species residing here, it will be hard to pick a favorite, but once you meet the charming zebra you will be instantly infatuated. You may even see a baby zebra or two hiding behind their mother! These absolutely endearing and sweet-tempered creatures will steal your heart right away.

Don’t Forget!

On your Safari Adventure, you’ll want to have a few things on your list for your best adventure yet! Closed-toed shoes are highly recommended, even if you’re planning on taking the safari bus – you will find many grassy areas with dirt, so to avoid any unwanted accidents that may shorten your adventure, close-toed shoes should be number one on your list!

Have your camera or phone on hand and ready, you won’t want to miss any of the amazing animals you encounter.

This is going to be an unforgettable day adventure, so make sure you bring some snacks along for the journey!

Endless Adventure in Florida’s Wilderness Safari

When your two-hour safari adventures ends, be sure to stop by the gift shop area to memorialize your adventure. But before you head there, meet the casual camels, who are very photogenic and love to take photos when you say cheese. Don’t forget to get a shot of the mesmerizing peacocks and other birds in the aviary. Still craving more adventures in nature? The tour guides recommend returning, because of migration and weather, each tour is highly specialized and you will always be in for a new adventure.

If you’re looking for a different adventure deeper in nature, Safari Wilderness not only offers two safari tours a day, but camel voyages, a kayak safari, a sunset safari and unique personal encounters with the lemurs and guinea pigs. Are you a nature lover looking for the perfect place to party? Safari Wilderness has endless adventure options, including offering The Safari Lodge to be rented for special events. Buckle in and get your cameras ready for the nature lover’s retreat of a lifetime!

Original Article Here

Hooked On Fishing?

Hooked On Fishing?

Hooked On Fishing?

By Hannah M.

 

Reel in The Big One!

Are you getting ready for your fishing trip on the sparkling waters of St. John’s River or Lake George? Whether you’re a new angler or “reel” expert, good fishermen are always looking for new tricks to help lure the best catch. Reeling in the big one can be fishy business, but fear no fish! Here are some great tips that will have you ready to tackle anything!

Got Bait?

When choosing what kind of bait to bring for the ultimate catch, live bait is always preferred! Worms and smaller fish are most commonly used and proven to be most successful. Freshwater fishing? Here’s a basic beginner tackle box guide to start with!

Location is Key

Today there are many tools available to aid your fishing needs! Electronic fish finders are widely used and a certain way of leading you directly to the best fishing spots. If you’re new to the game, make sure you bring a topographical map to keep track of water depths and an electronic fish finder.

Keep An Eye on The Skies

Seasoned fishermen know that the weather affects fish habits. Cloudy days are preferred for fishing, as your catch is more likely to be lured by your bait. Sunny Florida doesn’t see too many of those days, however; just cruise to some darker waters for the optimal catch. Planning a night fishing excursion? Paying attention to the moon and its phases is key for night fishing – full moons are prime time for the best catch, while moonless nights are the least favorable for fishing. The brighter the moon, the better!

Stay Safe

Practice, practice, practice! Ensure you can confidently tie knots and handle the sharp hooks prior to departing on your fishing adventures. There’s so little time and so many fish – you don’t want to lose any time due to injuries! Keep your fishing trip fun and make sure you’re comfortable with your equipment.

What’s Your Catch?

You’re almost ready for the complete fishing trip! Make sure you’re familiar with the fish in the spot you choose! Here’s a list of fish found in the St. John’s River. Looking for the best bass in the state? Head to Lake George for some fantastic fishing.

Fishing is a Reel Tough Job – You’re Ready to Tackle It!

Reeling in the big one is no easy feat, but with these excellent fishing tips, it’s sure to be an enjoyable and rewarding adventure. For a catchy fishing trip of a lifetime, rent a cabin or boat at Castaways on the River and get ready for your best adventure yet!

Original Article Here

Staying Safe While Having Fun on Vacation!

Staying Safe While Having Fun!

By Hannah M. 

Southern Florida is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Renowned for the alluring natural habitats, gleaming white sand beaches, calm rivers, and especially the intriguing wildlife. During your relaxing vacation in Southern Florida, you’re sure to run into the indigenous inhabitants- alligators. Below are some safety tips to keep in mind for an enjoyable vacation.

Sharing is Not Caring!

The most essential rule to keep in mind regarding alligators is to keep your food stored away. Do not feed them! Alligators have an instinctive fear of humans, which is favorable for us, as people are natural prey in the wild. Sharing your food can be dangerous, as it emboldens the alligator, and in turn, may look for other people in search of food. A good rule of thumb is to not feed any wildlife you may encounter.

Alligator Mating Season

Spring and Summer is alligator mating season in Florida, so be extra careful during these times. Alligator nests may also be found more frequently, so if you happen to run across one, do not disturb it. Mother gators are always nearby, so just keep in mind to give the alligators their space! Their temperament may change erratically, and you may see larger gators than normal – the best thing to do is not interact with them in anyway and give them plenty of space.

Keeping Your Furry Friends in Mind

It’s not the complete vacation without Man’s Best Friend! Everyone loves to bring their pet along for a cruise on the river or to splash in the waves. It’s easy to keep your best bud safe by keeping them leashed the entire time. Headed for a lazy day on the river? Make sure to keep your dog leashed when you dock, especially during alligator mating season.

Stay Away!

These magnificent creatures may appear passive and idle, but they move rapidly. A good rule is to always keep 60 feet between you and the alligator. If they hiss or lunge at you – back up! That’s a warning sign you’re too close.

Safety while Swimming

St. John’s River is a prime destination for boating, fishing and lovely water views. From the deck, under the warm Florida rays, you may be tempted to take a quick dip in the waters. A key safety rule to keep in mind on your vacation is this: If you can’t see your feet or arms while in the water, do not swim!

Swimming where you cannot see your arms or legs should be avoided, as gators frequent these areas.

There are many gorgeous, crystal clear springs that are accessible from St. John’s River, including Silver Glen Springs. The water is shallow and alligators are rare. Make sure to visit one of these breathtaking spots during your fishing trip!

Fishing Safety

Be careful where you pick your fishing spots – some gators will be attracted to the fish on a hooked line and may grab it. Fishing in areas that are heavy in vegetation or near the water’s edge is discouraged, as those are popular gator hang outs. If you’re fishing for a fresh catch for dinner and don’t want any surprise bites, just stay in open, clear water.

Have a Safe Vacation!

Geared with these quick and easy safety tips, you’re ready for your vacation on the river! Castaways on the River can help you plan for your essential vacation. With many different rental boats to choose from in the marina directly outside your hotel room or cottage door, relaxing on the river is a Florida Must-Do!

Original Article Here

An Evening on The Town: Sarasota Nightlife

An Evening on The Town: Sarasota Nightlife

The fun never ends in Sarasota!

Sarasota, the endless adventure and ideal vacation! If you’re looking to wind down after a day in Sunny Sarasota on the sparkling white sand beaches, there’s plenty of nighttime shenanigans to get in to. The combination of restaurants and bars offering happy hour and seafood specials with a breathtaking waterview makes Sarasota the place to be on The Gulf Coast! Mix in some live music from local artists and you’re sure to have a time to remember. The only dilemma you may face is deciding where go for the night. Below are Sarasota nightlife essentials, and regardless of where you choose, you’re sure to be in for a cool coastal time!

Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar  

Live music, over a dozen frozen daiquiri options, happy hour specials, and an amazing tree top view, Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar is a MUST DO! A deck overlooking The Gulf of Mexico and Lido Beach, with stunning sunset views from the second floor makes this an essential stop for your vacation.

Captain Curt’s Backroom Saloon

A more traditional way to wind down is Captain Curt’s Backroom Saloon. South Siesta Key Bar features nightly entertainment, plenty of TV’s to watch your favorite sporting event, pinball and foosball for entertainment and much more! Bingo Sunday’s are a sure way to have some fun with prizes offered all night long. Come relax with an ice-cold beer in Captain Curt’s warm and homey atmosphere!

Sharky’s on the Pier

Sharky’s, voted Florida’s #1 Beach Bar, is also a necessary experience. Directly on the Gulf of Mexico in Venice, Florida, Sharky’s offers dancing and live music on a large wrap-around deck. Finish the night with a cold one from the Tropical Tiki Bar and a walk down the pier.  

The Gator Club

If you want a place that features music and dancing, The Gator Club is the place to be. Nightly entertainment, Sarasota’s best known DJ, Ladies Night every Tuesday, The Gator Club promises to be an enjoyable evening.

Marina Jack

For a more sophisticated evening on the town, head over to Marina Jack, featuring a lounge and piano bar, with plenty of drink and food specials. This exclusive restaurant is a sure to be good time for the whole family- including your furry friends! Marina’s Jack patio is dog-friendly. Marina Jack also offers lunch and dinner time cruises for an unforgettable experience over the open water on their cruise ship, Marina Jack II.

So with these Sarasota nightlife essentials, you’re geared up for your most memorable vacation yet! There’s no end to the unique ways to spend your time in Sunny Sarasota, where the fun never ends.

Original Article Here

Escape the hustle and bustle!  Castaway for the day on Cayo Costa Island.

Escape the hustle and bustle! Castaway for the day on Cayo Costa Island.

If you’re looking for a hideaway from the excitement of Southwest Florida for the day, Cayo Costa Island State Park is the perfect oasis. This barrier island, accessible by boat or ferry, is tucked away near Punta Gorda and North Fort Myers, making it the ideal private retreat. This remarkable Gulf Coast location, renowned for the white sand beaches and shelling, is a seclusive and relaxing getaway.

Getting to Cayo Costa Island

Cayo Costa Island lies at the entrance of Charlotte Harbor, nestled between North Captiva Island and Boca Grande, and is reached by boat or ferry. If you don’t have a boat to visit this breathtaking island, Captiva Cruises, the official state park concessionaire, has you covered! The ferry accommodates all kinds of family fun, offering private cruises for special events and conveniently running from several locations including: Captiva Island, Punta Gorda, Boca Grande, and Pine Island.

Cayo Costa State Park Features

The ferry docks at the State Park and from there it is a short walk (a free tram service is also offered) to the captivating white sand beaches and shelling. Booking your trip in advance is encouraged and can be done by phone (239) 472-5100 or on the Cayo Costa Ferry website.

When you get to the island, you will certainly see some aquatic life, as the beaches are a sea turtle nesting area from May-September. These nests are marked with wooden sticks, so be sure to get some pictures, but not to disturb the nests, as they are protected by law.

What To Do On Cayo Costa Island

Once you dock on the island, you will see 9 miles of sparkling and immaculate white sand beach, untouched and ready to be explored. This island features sand dunes and peaceful pine forests with tranquil oak-palm hammocks tucked in with the mangroves. If you’re looking for the perfect picnic spot, the island is full of grassy spots hidden under the shade of palms or pine trees.

Cayo Costa Island has gems tucked all over and is considered to be one of the best beaches for shells in the world, so if you want a unique and memorable souvenir, look no further. The island  ends in over six miles of trails, which are perfect to enjoy fishing, biking, birdwatching or snorkeling.

If you want more time on this tranquil island, you can rent a cabin with bunk beds or bring your own camping gear for the full island experience and enjoy your fresh catch on the grills at the campsites.

Castaway For The Day!
Castaway For The Day!

McCarthy’s Marina in Captiva is your last stop on your way to Cayo Costa Island, so be sure to have picked up all of your essentials before you become a castaway for the day!

Original article here