Central Florida Trip Advice for March
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Full_Curl 23-Jan-23
Swampbuck 23-Jan-23
bghunter 23-Jan-23
Dollar 23-Jan-23
Ziek 23-Jan-23
bghunter 23-Jan-23
Lewis 23-Jan-23
nchunter 23-Jan-23
BOHUNTER09 23-Jan-23
Zbone 23-Jan-23
BOHUNTER09 23-Jan-23
Grey Ghost 23-Jan-23
Lewis 23-Jan-23
bghunter 23-Jan-23
Hackbow 24-Jan-23
Hackbow 24-Jan-23
bigswivle 24-Jan-23
bghunter 24-Jan-23
Dollar 24-Jan-23
DonVathome 24-Jan-23
Buffalo1 24-Jan-23
320Bull 24-Jan-23
timex 24-Jan-23
dizzydctr 24-Jan-23
Arrowsmith 24-Jan-23
bghunter 24-Jan-23
Full_Curl 24-Jan-23
bghunter 24-Jan-23
Full_Curl 24-Jan-23
Swampbuck 24-Jan-23
Swampbuck 24-Jan-23
bigswivle 24-Jan-23
bghunter 24-Jan-23
bigswivle 24-Jan-23
Zbone 24-Jan-23
Shuteye 24-Jan-23
bghunter 24-Jan-23
Hackbow 25-Jan-23
From: Full_Curl
23-Jan-23
I’ve seen threads on here in the past similar to this and have gotten some great information from them so I thought I’d give it a try. I have an Osceola turkey hunt booked for mid-March south of Orlando to complete my slam and I would like to piggy back a vacation onto the trip for my wife and I. We are planning on heading down a week before the hunt and would like to hear some suggestions of some fun things to see and do in the area other than Disney and the big parks (Sea World, Universal, etc.). We would like to maybe see the coast? We enjoy outdoor activities. Fishing? Good food? Sampling small town bars/restaurants? Music? Anything within about a 2-3 hour drive of Orlando would be fair game. We were excited to check out bike week in Daytona but we’ll be there the week after that. Any suggestions from others than have done it or know the area well would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

From: Swampbuck
23-Jan-23
How far south of Orlando are you going, it’ll give a better idea of which coast to head to

From: bghunter
23-Jan-23
Jon,

I sent you a pm. I spend a lot of time in Fl.

From: Dollar
23-Jan-23
Go to Cape Canaveral area and see the launches.It happens fequently

From: Ziek
23-Jan-23
Book an airboat ride in the Everglades. We went north of the park in the Francis S Taylor WMA.

From: bghunter
23-Jan-23
I did a bass fishing airboat trip that was a blast. Cost a small fortune, but was worth it.

From: Lewis
23-Jan-23
Sarasota Bradenton area great beaches great seafood and great fishing inshore or offshore depending on the weather and the St Johns River system is pretty cool Good Luck Lewis

23-Jan-23

Altitude Sickness 's Link
If you like car and motorcycle racing history. Great food and music in a family atmosphere. Try the north turn Eat on the ocean while listening to good music.

From: nchunter
23-Jan-23
Take your wife to Sanibel Island. One walk and you will see more shells then you will see in a lifetime. Beautiful place to visit

From: BOHUNTER09
23-Jan-23
Bok tower is a pleasant way to spend a half day 40 miles south of Orlando. Also airboat rides for alligator viewing are in the same area

From: Zbone
23-Jan-23
Agree Sanibel is gorgeous...

From: BOHUNTER09
23-Jan-23
Sanibel suffered damage from Ian. May not be open for tourists

From: Grey Ghost
23-Jan-23
Sanibel got destroyed by the hurricane last Oct. I wouldn’t recommend it. My buddy who manages the oldest inn on Sanibel says he can’t imagine when it will return to normal. I’d head to the east coast.

Matt

From: Lewis
23-Jan-23
Grey Ghost x2 Santibel got slammed but you have a load of opinions Good luck Lewis

From: bghunter
23-Jan-23
Not sure if you will be there during Spring break, but here are a few options

Crystal river/homassa area:

Snorkel with Manatees. Bowfish for fresh and saltwater species. Shark fishing and other saltwater species.Several excellent resturants there too. Nice small town feel.

Rainbow river: snorkel or kayak it. Also great restaurants.

Downtown winter Garden (north end) good restaurants and small town charm. Not a big area, but nice if you happen to be in area.

Tampa Bay: Aquarium, river walk area and Yabor City.

If you feel like tourist stuff Old Town on Friday or Saturday Night for the car cruise. It is not a fancy spot by any means, but if you are into old cars they have some pretty cool ones. Very tourist, but also a lot of locals.

I think Clearwater escaped major damage of the hurricane. Good restaurants and beautiful beach.

From: Hackbow
24-Jan-23

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My wife and I spent about 8 days in Central FL a couple years ago. We kayaked and fished the Oklawaha river and just kayaked the Silver river. There are glass bottom boat tours of the Silver River at the Silver Springs Resort that would be nice. We had a friend "guide" us.

Mt. Dora is a cool little town with some GREAT restaurants, bars and shopping. Our favorite was The Goblin Market Restaurant and Lounge.

St. Augustine was worth the drive for us but we have friends there. It was packed with spring break people and the overflow from Bike Week.

Also, the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is supposed to be great. Our friends say to time it as late in the day as you can to see the most. Info at link.

https://www.sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation/lake-apopka/

From: Hackbow
24-Jan-23

Hackbow's Link
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

From: bigswivle
24-Jan-23
Agree Sanibel is gorgeous.

Not anymore

From: bghunter
24-Jan-23
Hacksaw,

Thanks for the post on Apopka wildlife drive. On one of our trips we will check that one out. I wanted to look at houses up that way anyways.

From: Dollar
24-Jan-23
https://www.yahoo.com/news/rebuilding-ian-heres-much-florida-160018596.html

From: DonVathome
24-Jan-23
I LOVE Key West Havanna Cabanna hotel/pool. I also have had many great fishing trips with "Fired Up" charters out of Cape Canaveral. I always book a full day ocean fishing for 2 people.

From: Buffalo1
24-Jan-23
San Augustine, World Golf Hall of Fame, Cape Canaveral

From: 320Bull
24-Jan-23
Wekiwa springs state park is a really nice way to spend a day. You can rent kayaks and paddle the river there. Lots of wildlife to see we bought some cheap fishing rods at the walmart and fished with some limited success. If you paddle a short distance just outside the park is a bar restaurant that you can stop at and grab lunch. I highly recommend it. I believe there are many places similar to it I just have only been to Wekiwa

From: timex
24-Jan-23
Crystal River glass bottom boat ride

From: dizzydctr
24-Jan-23
Florida is a beautiful state. While not a Gator fan, I graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville 50 years ago. Now there are too many people and too much traffic for this old country boy. I personally would kill my Osceola and head home quick as I could. On the way north I would stop in Fort White and take my family tubing down Ichetucknee Springs. Beautiful.

From: Arrowsmith
24-Jan-23
Further north but I checked out the Fred Bear Museum. Bass Fishing Kissimee area with AJs Freelancer charters (I've done 3 trips all great), As stated, the Old Towwn car cruise is cool on fri or saturday (near disney), Crystal River manatees kayak tour, Clearwater Beach is awesome. The pier there after dark has some entertainment. The Hilton next door has outdoor tiki bar on beach. For more "wild" music and nightlife the south end of Clearwater Beach has Shepherds Tiki Bar. In between, and to North and South of pier are all sorts of restaurants, stores, and touristy places for different levels of vacationing. Most all are walkable from anywhere on beach. We enjoy lunch at the upper deck of Crabby Bills overlooking the gulf. There is also a great marina across from the pier that has charter boats lined up with prices n specials displayed. Have a great trip n hope you get your bird.

From: bghunter
24-Jan-23
If you can, you can hit French's on the North end of Clearwater beach. It sits right on the gulf. Get a spot outside in the sand and watch the sunset. Also best grouper and best prices for Grouper in clearwater.

Jimmy's Iguana bar is cool, he has several of them one with a roof top next to the Marina. We hit the one on the south end. He is from Wauwatosa in WI and always packer fans and WI people around.

From: Full_Curl
24-Jan-23
Thanks for all the responses! We'll be staying in the Polk City area, about 40 miles southwest from Orlando.

From: bghunter
24-Jan-23
You are well within driving range of pretty much most of what was mentioned

Be advised I4 and Hwy 27 can be nightmares.

I would suggest the 429 bypass if you can to get to some locations.

From: Full_Curl
24-Jan-23
Awesome responses!! Thank you to everyone. This site never disappoints whether I draw a OIL tag or take a trip to Florida. I'm going to have to take sometime and go through each of these responses and come up with a plan. Good info on the hurricane damage to look out for. Thank you again and please keep the info coming if there is anymore.

From: Swampbuck
24-Jan-23
Florida sucks. There’s nothing to see here, please move along. Yours truly, The Florida Crackers. Lol

From: Swampbuck
24-Jan-23
Hope you slam out, St Augustine is a really cool historical spot, a bit of a drive. Cape Canaveral , Mosquito lagoon area is nice as well, also St Pete has some nice beaches and there’s always Tarpon Springs sponge docks. Either way you’re driving, good luck and enjoy

From: bigswivle
24-Jan-23
Thanks for all the responses! We'll be staying in the Polk City area, about 40 miles southwest from Orlando.

Lots of stuff to do within 2-3 hours of there. Pretty much the whole state minus the panhandle and Miami

From: bghunter
24-Jan-23
If you are in Winter Haven, stop by Andy's drive in. It is nothing fancy just an old school hamburger drive inn and Ice cream stand that's been there forever. I love those old places.

Heck George Jones even has been there.

From: bigswivle
24-Jan-23
Heck George Jones even has been there.

He got a DUI on his lawn mower(?can’t remember) in Polk city

From: Zbone
24-Jan-23
Hackbow - Is that a Macaque monkey running loose wild in Florida, or inside some kind of enclosure? I know Florida is troubled with invasive species but first I'd heard of wild monkeys...

From: Shuteye
24-Jan-23
Check out Paradise Air sports, not far from Orlando. See if April is there. She and my son Jim have a climbing wall business and both are pilots. April has Duke, the Bush's bean dog and travels all over the world with him. Either April or Jim can tell you everything you want to see in Florida. April trains dogs and has done dozens of movies. They can also take you on a hang gliding flight. Tell them you know Lex Price.

From: bghunter
24-Jan-23
Forgot to mention if you get up to Homasassa. Check out Crumps landing, cool place to sit and have a drink. Then you can see Monkey Island from there too.

From: Hackbow
25-Jan-23
Zbone - yes, rhesus macaques. The guy that ran the glass bottom boat tours at Silver Springs Resort managed to get some and put them on an island. He apparently believed they would add to the appeal of his tours and they would stay on the island. They didn't.

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