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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I will be traveling to Florida for a business trip/vacation the end of April. No Xterra, just a rental car.

So other than Orlando theme parks, give me a few touristy destinations you locals like. I like more outdoorsy destinations than urban. Places like http://coralcastle.com/ come to mind. I have a week and three days to explore. I will be in Jacksonville for work and plan to at least drive to Key West, so the entire state is fair game.

Kennedy Space Center is already on the list.

Thank You.
 

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Kennedy Space Center is awesome - if you are already out there check out Merrit Island for a nice nature reserve. You can drive through parts of it, or hike. I've seen everything from gator to birds, to dolphins and manitees there.
 

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This is on the West coast side of Florida
You can do the air boat ride thru the everglades
Tampa Bay Bush Gardens and Zoo
Clearwater Beach
A ferry will take all the way from Naples to Key West
Enjoy..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, Disney parks vs Busch & Universal Studios. What do you guys like better?

Also considering a trip to the Dry Tortugas. Worth the ferry or plane price? I am not a snorkeler and not the best swimmer. I can't see spending 6 hours on a tiny island if I take the ferry.
 

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Never been to Busch gardens, so I cant comment in it. I say Busch gardens and Universal Studios wonder and around in Florida.

Disney its a must if you haven't been there anytime before or haven't been there in a long time. Great place to bring memories back thats it.


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wherever you go you'll be doing a ton of driving.

And driving always makes me hungry, don't forget to buy some Cajun boiled peanuts and deep fried gator tail, at whatever off the highway vendor you find.

Also, Florida beaches are nice, but in college we did a lot of tubing and canoeing. Florida has a ton of natural springs and rivers that have manatee, fish and wildlife that make it a good adventure to explore the back woods (cue the banjo music).
 

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Get ready for tolls. Because you're going to be here longer than a couple of days, look into a quick investment for an e-pass. Saves an easy couple of hours in Toll lines during your tenure here.

It is spring break season, as well; so get ready for increased traffic and copious amounts of intoxicated young'ns everywere you go (at least for vacation destination spots, ie the keys).

East Coast:
-St Augustine is a must, make sure to hit the lighthouse, the fort, and historic downtown
-Gatorland is always an interesting adventure.
-The I-drive corridor has all the touristy spots in Orlando (sans the "MAJOR" theme parks.) If you're looking at hitting a theme park, good luck. They're all packed and overpriced right now.
- Cape Canaveral is a definite. Make sure to get a visitor's tour of Kennedy. I grew up on the other side of the bridge, it was my life as a kid.
- Adventure through the Everglades if you have an opportunity, some of the last bits of "old florida" that remain partially untouched and uncommercialized.
- In the keys, check our Robbies at Islamorada and hand feed the Tarpon, always pretty need.

West Coast:
- Fort Myers for historic homes (Thomas Edison everywhere!), feel free to check out Captiva and Sanibel while you're there, absolutely gorgeous.
- Tampa/St Pete area, if you have time, do a half-day guide for a fishing adventure if you can swing it, nothing beats gulf coast fishing.
- Gainesville? Forget it. Nothing but trash there... (GO NOLES~!!!!)
- Tallahassee, visit The Capitol, go to the top and see allllll the landdddd!!! (I live here now, great little college town.
- From Tally go south and visit St Marks, beautiful. Then take 98 west and...
- visit Apalachicola and Carrabelle area, neat little fishing towns.
- Continuing on 98/90/I-10 you eventually get to Crystal Beach, Destin, Panama City, etc... Consistently rated the United Stated top beaches.

Any questions, shoot me a PM! I travel the state frequently.
 

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If you're going to Key West, you could take the charter boat or sea plane out to the Dry Tortugas and see Fort Jefferson. It's a massive fort (the largest brick structure in the western hemisphere) about 70 miles west of Key West. There's also numerous dive/snorkel charters that do runs out to the coral reefs.

I'm originally from Jacksonville and used to go to the Keys every summer.

EDIT: I see you already mentioned the Dry Tortugas. You don't have to swim/snorkel if you don't want to. The fort is massive and can take a few hours to see everything there is to see in it.

Between the 3 parks you mentioned, I like the Universal Parks the most as they have the best rollercoasters (IMHO).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So here is the plan so far:

Fly into Orlando, then head to Jacksonville via Daytona. Tour the track and work up the coast to Jacksonville.
Spend 2 1/2 days in Jacksonville for a conference. catch whatever I can in the evening. The hotel is on the St. Johns River.
Then head to Tampa after the conference. Route unknown. Spend a day at Busch Gardens. Was told by co-workers to not miss visiting Mon Venus.
Then head down the west coast to the Everglades/Keys for 2 days. Haven't decided on the Dry Tortugas yet. Would like to take a boat ride in the keys to see a shipwreck though.
Then start the trek north hitting the east coast beaches and Lake Okeechobee staying at Jensen Beach.
The next day make my way to Cocoa Beach along the coast.
Then Orlando area for the rest of the stay. Cape Canaveral and Universal Studios.

I decided against Disney since the thrill rides are minimal and the Universal 3 day ticket is half of what the Disney is.
 
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