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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park (Unique Beach and Formal Gardens) Florida

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is located along State Road A1A on the east coast of Florida near St Augustine. The park is between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River and is divided into two areas; garden and beach. A1A separates the two.

The beach area, located on the eastern side of the road, provides a parking area with a walkway leading over the sand dunes to the beach.

The beach is mostly brownish- orange sand with small shell fragments as you get closer to the rock outcroppings. Take shoes to wear! 

Once you get to the beach, the rocks are located a little way down the beach to the left.

About half way there, you will begin to see piles of shells.

The majority of the shells are located close to the rocks.

This is the largest outcroppings of coquina rock on the Atlantic Ocean.

Located on the west side of A1A, along the Matanzas River, is 20 acres of formal gardens nature trails.

The rose garden is a treat for the scenes with over 150 rose bushes.

Citrus groves at Washington Oaks date back to the late 1700’ s.

The pay booth is located on the garden side and will issue you a car tag that can be used for parking on the beach side as well.

Located:  20 miles (37 minutes) south of St Augustine and 35 miles (46 minutes) north of Daytona Beach

6400 N Ocean Shore Blvd
Palm Coast, FL 32137

8am-sunset, daily

$5 per vehicle

Happy Travels!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Experiencing The Fairways Inn of Naples: A Review from Naples, Florida

A last-minute trip to Naples left us with very few options for lodging. I found a couple of places for over $600 a night, but they didn’t even look worth a third of that price from their web sites! I finally ran across The Fairways Inn, with one room available.

Getting to The Fairways Inn of Naples

The Fairways Inn is located in North Naples. It is 131 miles (2-hour drive) from the Miami airport and 32 miles (34-minute drive) from Fort Myers. The closest beach (Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park) is an easy five-minute drive.

103 Palm River Boulevard, Naples, Florida 34110

The Resort

Located at the edge of a quite neighborhood, the hotel has an old Florida charm. The choices of lodging are rooms, suites, and Kitchenettes.

 The Check-in

The check-in was old style and included a handwritten sign in and metal door key. The process was slow, but pleasant.

 Our Suite

We stayed in the two room Efficiency. It had been recently remodeled and was very clean.

Parking was right at the door, which we loved!

Hotel Grounds and Amenities

The grounds are one and a half acres of tropical gardens. Many places to sit and relax, a shuffle board court, and an oversize pool are nestled within the lush landscape. It was the perfect mix of complete solitude and visiting with other hotel guest.

Other amenities include:

Complimentary bottle of water in room

Shuffleboard court

Complimentary wi-fi

Pet-Friendly Rooms

Dining and Drinks

Dining onsite is a light breakfast served in the garden pavilion each morning from 7 to 10.

Overall Impression

The place is older, but the rooms are spotless and the grounds are well maintained.

The location is perfect to attractions, shopping, dining, and the beach. All are within a 20-minute drive.

The price is unbeatable for the area. Rooms run less than $200 while most of the rooms in Naples start at $350.

We would recommend a stay and would love to go back ourselves.

Happy Travels!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Discovering Homestead, Florida: Top Things to Do While Exploring

 Between Miami and the Florida Keys is the often overlook town of Homestead, Florida. I know some people stop over for the night on the way to the Keys, but very few take the time to explore the area.

We were traveling from Naples to Key largo and had most of a day to do nothing, so we decided to take a look around Homestead. Our first stop was the Coral Castle. I had read where some people thought it was a waste of money, but we loved it. You can find my post about our visit here.

After leaving the Coral Castle, we headed to find a Buddhist temple that was hidden about eight mile out of town in the middle of a farming community. We passed so many crop farms. Once you get about a quarter of a mile from the main downtown area, farms are all you will see.

 A lot of the main houses are beautifully landscaped with flowers and palm trees. Running vines with bright orange flowers covered a fence running along the front of a farmhouse we drove past. We could not resist stopping for a pic!

The Wat Buddharangsi Buddhist Temple of Homestead,  Florida was even more beautiful in person! It is open to the public most of the time. They even hold festivals and events and invite the public. I have heard that the monks are welcoming and will instruct you on meditation if you so wish. We walked around without ever see anyone. I would love to go back during one of the events!

We wanted to visit Biscayne National Park Institute, but ran out of time. Hopefully we can get there on our next trip through.

Homestead is also a good place to stay as a cheaper alternative to lodging in the upper Florida Keys. It is only 30 mile from Key Largo.

Happy Travels! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Unwind in Luxury: A Review of The Pearl Inn in Rosemary Beach, Florida

The Pearl is a luxury boutique hotel located in the charming seaside town of Rosemary Beach. We checked in and sipped on complimentary wine while our car was being parked.  Our luggage was delivered to our room while we relaxed from our long drive. We could not have asked for a better reception.

The Old World European architecture of the Pearl is unique to find in the Florida Panhandle.

It was cool the day we were there, but we still enjoyed the pool and rooftop lounge.

 Nice boutique shops, small restaurants, and beautiful beach houses located around the hotel.

The use of the three community pools comes with the romm rental. Unfortunately, one of the pools was closed for renovations and this one was very dirty. I'm not sure if it is just not cleaned during off season or what. It was heated, so we could have used it.

The beach is just a couple minute walk from The Pearl.  Beach chairs and umbrellas are complimentary.

Things to know before you go:

The area around the Pearl is very busy, all the time!

There is no parking at the hotel. You must use valet parking. There is not particular place they park your automobile, just wherever they can find a spot on the side of the road.

It is an adult only hotel.

The Pearl Hotel is located:

24 miles (40 minute drive) from Panama City
32 miles (50 minute drive) from Destin
115 miles ( 2 hour drive) from Pensacola

Address: 63 Main Street, Rosemary Beach, FL 32461

Overall, we were pleased with our stay. We would like to go back when it's not off season and see if things will be a little better.

Happy Travels!