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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bokeelia (Pine Island - Florida)

I had looked at Pine Island many time on the internet, thinking that I would plan it as one of our places to explore on the way to Sanibel. We had visited Matlacha before, but didn’t go past there.

We usually do “all girl” trips to Florida, but my husband was with me this time and I wanted to show him Matlacha. So, after looking around Leoma Lovegrove Gallery, we decided to drive to Bokeelia.

Funny thing, after you hit the island, all cell phone reception and GPS signals are lost….

Well, I wasn’t sure exactly where Bokeelia was or how to get there. As a matter of fact, I had no clue about any of the roads on the island. So, I pretended I knew where it was and guessed on telling my hubby where to turn! After about 3 miles:

Hubby: How much farther?

Me: Well, I don’t really know.

Hubby: What do you mean you don’t know?

Me: Well, I’m not really sure if we are even on the right road, I just know it’s north…

I won’t tell you the rest of the conversation. Let’s just say that a man without a map or GPS gets a little grumpy! 😐

We finally made it to Bokeelia. It was 13 miles from the main road where we turned for the record.πŸ˜‰

It was so peaceful and relaxing! I think the nice fishing piers and watching all the guys catching fish helped the hubby chill.  

Two fishing piers, a restaurant, and a gift shop pretty much make up the area. There are many adorable cottages and tons of palm trees everywhere though. 

So, if you are looking for a quite place to relax and view nature, Bokeelia is the place. Tropic Star also offers cruises to Cayo Costa, Cabbage Key, and Boca Grande leaving from the area.

    Happy Travels! 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens (Williston, FL)

Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens is what I would call the "New kid on the block" in the world of Florida tourist attractions. It has only been opened to the public recently (2014), so not very many people know about it.

It is a botanical garden located in a 100-year-old abandoned lime rock quarry. Dr. Raymond Webber’s love of plants and desire to create a unique garden has led to one of the most interesting gardens in Florida.          

Enjoy an over view from the rim and then descend down steps into the garden for a closer look at unique waterfalls, ponds, plants, and islands. The islands are connected by a maze of wood and concrete bridges.

Need to know:

This jewel is hidden at the end of a rough dirt road, so keep going!

Be sure to wear mosquito spray in the summer months!

If you are into snorkeling or diving, be sure and visit Devil's Den about 1/2 mile down the road.  


Open: Monday - Tuesday and Thursday - Sunday

Closed: Wednesday 

 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM


Adult: $12

Children (6-13 ): $7

Free for children under 6 


4990 NE 180th Ave
 Williston, FL, 32696

Happy Travels! 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Where to Cave Snorkel (Florida) Devil’s Den

Florida is so full of amazing places, but this one is in the top few for me! It kind of feels like you are in a place you are not supposed to be, if that makes sense. It is so beautiful, yet a little eerie.

The water is clear, turquoise, and illuminated with light pouring through a hole in the top of the cave. Once in the water, you are surrounded by ancient rock formations with stalactites dating back 33 million years.

The water remains 72 degrees year-round. On cold mornings, steam can be seen rising through the small opening in the cave top. This is why early settlers named it Devil’s Den.

Access to the spring is limited to those who are snorkeling or scuba diving. You must have scuba or snorkel gear to enter the spring area. It can be rented at the visitor center if you don’t have your own.


Monday – Thursday   9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday – Sunday   8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission Fee:

Monday - Friday: $15.00/person
Saturday, Sunday, & Holidays: $20.00/person
*Admission fee does not include mask, snorkel, and fins which are required!
Check here for information on equipment rentals.


Devil’s Den is less than a 2 hour drive from Walt Disney World in Orlando or Tampa, Florida.


Devil's Den Spring
5390 NE 180th Ave
 Williston, FL 32696

Happy Travels! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens (Matlacha, Florida) Real Florida Vibes

If you said to me,” I am going to be in Florida and can only make one stop”, this is where I would send you. Seriously, this place is awesome! It captures the personality of Florida perfectly! It’s Quirky, colorful, and fun.

Every time I take a trip to Florida with someone new, I feel like this has to be one of the stops. I tell them, “Just so you can get the feel of Florida”. I have yet to have anyone not be impressed. I mean, how could you not love it? It is just a happy place to be!

Oh yeah, I purchased an amazing flamingo print this visit! It is absolutely beautiful!!!

If you want to learn more about the gallery and gardens,here is an older post.


You drive through Matlacha to get on to Pine Island. It is about a 40 minute drive from the Fort Myers/Sanibel Island area and a 3 hour drive from Miami International Airport.


4637 Pine Island Road NW
Matlacha Island, Florida 33993

Gallery Hours:

10:00 am - 5:00 pm
11:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Happy Travels! 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Top 15 Beaches in Florida to Find Shells

Let me start by saying that I am a little bit obsessed with sea shells! I think I would rather find shells than money. Well, maybe if money was on the beach…

I have thought about making this post for a while, but I knew it was going to take a lot of thought and time to get it together, so I put it off. Well, I finally have it together! I figured you all were worth the effort. 😊

The places are not in any particular order and are from all over Florida. I have found shells on many more beaches, but these are the ones that they are consistently found on. Also remember, weather, time of year, and time of day all play a role in how many shells are present.


Be on the beach as early in the morning as possible. Watch the sun come up! 

There are more shells on the beach in the winter months.

Storms make for great shelling after they settle down.

Leave any shells that are occupied by critters.

1. Fort De Soto Park

The hot spot for shelling in this park is behind the fort. The shells are good size with lots of variety. Odd thing is, I have never seen any shells to speak of, in any other area beside the fort beach.


Fort De Soto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.
Tierra Verde, FL 33715

2. Sand Key Park

Sand key Park is located just across the Gulf Blvd bridge from Clearwater Beach.  It is the only beach in the Clearwater area to find shells.  I love the light colors, size, and patterns of the shells found there!


Sand Key Park
1060 Gulf Blvd
 Clearwater, FL

3. Boca Grande 

The southern end of this barrier Island is a jewel of a place for finding shells, starfish, and sand dollars. Find out more in a post I made here.


Port Boca Grande Lighthouse
880 Belcher Rd
 Boca Grande FL 33921

4. Tigertail Beach 

Located on Marco Island in Naples, this is a great beach for finding a variety of shells and sand dollars. Find out all the details on how to get out to this beach in a post here.


Tigertail Beach
430 Hernando Dr
 Marco Island, FL 34145

5. Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is known as one of the best shelling places in the world. The island's sloping incline and East West positing make perfect conditions for sea treasures to wash upon the beaches without damage. Here is a post on which beaches are the best.


Sanibel Island
Periwinkle Way
Sanibel, FL 33957

6. St. Andrews State Park

Find shells, starfish, and sand dollars on this gulf coast beach. There are also some smaller shells in the lagoon area. 


St. Andrews State Park
4607 State Park Ln
 Panama City Beach, FL 32408

7. St. George Island

Once you get to the island, turn left and head to the state park. Drive as far as you can go and park. Then, walk left along the beach. There are shells all around the park, but the best selections are in this area.


St George Island State Park
1900 E Gulf Beach Dr
 St George Island, FL 32328

8. T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

Located in Port St Joe, this is a quite area for shelling. The biggest shells are on the gulf side, but they can also be found in the bay area. I hear that shelling by snorkel on the bay side is great, but I saw a sign that said something about alligators, so…..😨  someone can just me know...


T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
8899 Cape San Blas Rd
 Port St Joe, FL 32456

9. Mexico Beach

The beach behind the Driftwood Inn area is the best. Good sized shells, small pieces of coral, and sand dollars are among some of the treasures you can expect to find.


Driftwood Inn
2105 US-98
 Mexico Beach, FL 32456

10. Cayo Costa Island

Cayo Costa is always great for shelling. The bad part is that it is only accessible by boat. You can read about Cayo Costa and how to get there here.

Physical Address:

4 Nautical Miles West of Pine Island (26.685789, -82.245381)
Cayo Costa, FL 33922

11. Honeymoon Island

Follow the road to the North Park Beach area. Park as far to the right as you can and enter the beach there. Walk right (north) down the beach. This is where you will find the most shells. Piles of them at times. I have found tons of turbinate shells in this area. Actually, this is the only beach I have ever found the on. Read more about Honeymoon Island here.


Honeymoon Island
1 Causeway Blvd
Dunedin, FL 3469

12. St Augustine

I hate to give away my secret place in St Augustine! I love this place not only for the shells, but it is quiet, not crowded, and a cheap place to stay in the area. Vilano Beach in front of the Ocean Sands Beach Inn. You need to cross a road to reach the beach, but it is not busy. I have found conch shells 12 inches long laying on this beech! See why I didn’t want to give this place away!? πŸ˜‰

* Update: February 2019
This beach is still a good place to find shells, but the hotel has changed. I have stayed at this place many times before and loved it. We did not find the cleanliness of the room to be great and it was in need of maintenance. It is still a good price and it looks like they are trying to update it, so maybe it will be better soon.


Ocean Sands Beach Inn
3465 Coastal Hwy
 St. Augustine, FL 32084

13. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

John D McArthur is a Beautiful beach with tons of shells. The unique thing about this place is that the beach is a long way from the parking area. There is a very long bridge crossing the Lake Worth Cove and then another long walkway to the sand. There is a tram that will carry you across the bridge, which makes it a little better.


John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
10900 Jack Nicklaus Dr
 North Palm Beach, FL 33408

14. Little Talbot Island State Park

Nice wood walkway from the parking, area over the dunes, to the beach. Great place to find a variety of shells. Quiet and not a lot of people.


Little Talbot Island State Park
12157 Heckscher Dr
 Jacksonville, FL 32226

15. Stump Pass Beach State Park

Great place to find shells, but can get crowded. Go to the gulf side early morning and you will find the best ones. We have found tons of conch shells here.


Stump Pass Beach State Park
900 Gulf Blvd
 Englewood, FL 34223

Check out my videos of these beaches on YouTube.

Have fun enjoying these beautiful beaches and happy shelling!