- AAA Community
- On The Road
- Car Care (formerly Ask Pete)
- Auto News
- Automotive Questions
- Road Trips
- Travel Ideas
- Travel Questions
- Planning and Recommendations
- Florida Trip Ideas
- Europe Trip Ideas
- Booking Tips and Advice
- Alaska Trip Ideas
- Diamond Spotlight
- Life Matters
- Life Matters Questions
- Member Stories
- Travel Insurance
- Local Happenings
- North Dakota
- Other Areas
- Our Current Sweepstakes
- Previous/Expired Contests
- List of Winners
- Suggestion Box
- Posting directions for Suggestion Box
- Member Ideas
04-25-2011 06:36 PM - last edited on 04-29-2011 01:47 PM by NickF
My husband was born in St. Augustine, FL. This little town truly has it all. The beach is one of the most beautiful I have seen. The old historic district is magnificent in the depth and richness of its Minorcan heritage. Visual and performance arts of the highest quality attest to St. Augustine's history as an "art colony". Many of the restaurants rival those of major cities - but small town Southern hospitality still abounds here. What more could you want?
When my husband and I retired, we were living in Boston, MA - where the bitter winters often caused us to long for the sunshine, sea breezes, and salt spray of FL. We were thrilled to be able to renovate my husband's boyhood home on Charlotte Street. Sadly, when we retired and moved into our newly renovated home, the Bridge of Lions was being renovated and the beautiful Lion sculptures at the foot of the bridge were not here to welcome us "home."
This year in March, the Lions were brought back to their original position - standing guard at the bottom of the bridge. What a thrill it was to capture the photo I've attached at sunrise on Easter morning. For us, it truly was an image of a "new dawn". The Lions are back to guard the Bridge and we are thrilled to be retired and living the life we envisioned in St. Augustine!
04-25-2011 06:36 PM
My favorite Florida memory is when i was about 9 and it was 1969. My dad had just got retired from the Air Force and moved the family to Florida. All four of us kids were so excited to visit Disney World for the first time. I don't think any memories are as great and the first time I went on a ride there and loved every minute of it.
04-25-2011 07:32 PM
Being a native Floridian, I thought I had seen and done it all. But seeing everything through the eyes of my children is so much more special. Even a simple trip to the local beach is better when done as a family. Nothing beats Disney as seen by your children.
04-25-2011 07:48 PM
My first and favorite memory of Florida was our family vacation from New York to Florida. Back in 1968 our family of 8 kids and my parents set off to Florida in our station wagon with all the luggage piled high on top of the car covered by our blue tarp. It was our annual two week vacation and this year mom and dad decided to go to Florida.After miles and miles of the license plate game, bribes with candy bars and bathroom breaks we finally arrived! there was the sign welcome to Florida the sunshine state! The only problem was there was no sunshine! I remember as we crossed into the state(my dad beeped the horn at every new state) it started pouring like crazy! The only thing this 9 year old remembers about the trip is my dad at the rest stop taking his shirt off and ringing it out as it was so wet! And the luggage on top was soaking wet; guess the tarp didn't work very well for the summer storms! Everything was drenched! Now that I live here, I carry an umbrella during the summer months.
04-25-2011 07:57 PM
Our children never wanted to go anywhere but to the beach so we went often to several spots in Florida but the most memorable was when we got to stay in a motel right on the beach. Across the street was a little strip mall with a ten-cent store that our 10-year-old son was dying to visit to spend his vacation money. So, we sat on our porch and told him to go down the steps, to the corner, then wait for the light, not speak to anyone, and go over to the store. We would be watching. He went down to the light and waited for it to change but did not cross. It changed again and he still stood there, then turned around and came back up to the porch. "What's wrong?" I asked. "There is a sign down there," he answered, " that says 'Look out for Presbyterians." He knew he was a Presbyterian.
04-25-2011 09:23 PM
My favorite Florida memory is the time I went to Siesta Key in Sarasota FL. We stayed in a hotel right next to the beach. Every morning my family and I went to beach while it was still cool and swam in the crystal clear water. During the day we went from beach to pool. At the end of the day we went to the beach and sat on the pure white powder like sand and watched the sun go down over the water. And at night we would go to the pool and float on the water and look up at the sky that was loaded with stars
04-25-2011 09:26 PM
In 1972, my mom's parents took me to Florida for the first of a lifetime of visits. We visited Disney World and I walked on the beach and saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Many years later in 1995, I was able to return to Florida (Orange Beach) with not only that same set of grandparents, but also my parents, my dad's parents, my husband and children, and my only sister and her husband and children. My grandparents were in their 80's, and to have all four of them there together with four generations was very special. My grandparents are all gone now, but the wonderful memories I have from Orange Beach in 1995 live on.
04-25-2011 09:42 PM
The Bok "singing" Tower in Lake Wales - Central Florida is one of the most peaceful places in Florida. Beautiful gardens surrounds the tower. This is one of my favorite memories from Florida.
04-25-2011 09:51 PM
My most memorable trip to Florida was the time when I lived in Nebraska and I took my youngest daughter and my grandson for the first time on a road trip to Disney! My grandson loved the ride in a rented van, hotel stays, pools, but most of all it was so great to see his face when we entered Disney! Priceless!
04-25-2011 09:53 PM
My husband took me on a guided kayaking tour of the Indian River Lagoon and Haulover Canal on April 18th, 2009, 9 months after major surgery to remove a rare form of cancer called GIST. This picture was just 5 months after my last drain came out and 5 months after starting chemo. We saw several dozen manatees, they got so up close and personal I can tell you they need breath mints. This was a reminder of how fantastic life can be and the beauty that can be found in our own backyards.
04-25-2011 09:57 PM
My favorite Florida memory was enjoying an outdoor concert at Jannus Landing in St. Pete. The air was filled with the excitement of the crowd listening to the band. And luckily, the weather wasn't terribly hot that night.
04-25-2011 10:03 PM
Some time ago, I was able to bring my two children to Disney World for a week of great times. We escaped the early snow storms of Ohio to enjoy great family time and wonderful warmth and sunshine of Florida. Such great times were repeated with the family until they grew up and have too many commitments to make a it an all family outing again. Makes those memories all the more precious.
04-25-2011 10:10 PM
I've lived in florida my whole life, so I guess you can call me a florida cracker, but my favorite memory would have to be when I was 17 years old staying with my cousins at their beach house in new symerna. At a park near by where theres a river we would swim with the manatees. They are beautiful gentle giants. I love them
04-25-2011 11:29 PM - edited 04-25-2011 11:30 PM
The impending birth of my first grandchild was due in 5 months. Having had 5 children myself I told my daughter her carefree life was to change forever. Before she became a mother I decided she, my youngest daughter and myself had to take a girl's vacation. I grabbed a map, closed my eyes and pointed to a destination, hoping it was somewhere warmer than our Massachusetts. We landed on Tampa. We went to our local AAA in Fairhaven, MA and got every brochure, guidebook and advice from a AAA agent & booked. On departure day headed to the airport we were decked in sweats and jackets. We landed & got our rental car, the heat hit us we hit the restroom to change to tanks & shorts. For just a 3 hour flight it felt like we were in another world. We couldnt believe the 92 degree heat by noon, the bluest of skies, the beautiful palms, and white sand beaches.
Our first lunch was in Tarpoon Springs, the sea sponge town. We chose a open door Greek restaurant whith gigantic salads heaping with feta cheese and joined in when the staff screamed, " Oopah!". We marveled at how clean the streets were, how friendly the people and retail workers were, and how older people looked lively and "young". Our week was over way to soon but we vowed to return. Well, we never made it back to Tampa but after that trip I knew I wanted to move to Florida and 4 years after that trip I did, to Orlando, and I love it. Some of my children are also making plans to move here after having visited. Terry, Ashlee, & Sierra
04-26-2011 12:01 AM
After spending a year with the flu, bronchitis and even pneumonia in Chicago - I had to come to Florida on business. I was passing through Sarasota and stopped to wade in the water on Siesta Beach. It was dusk and the beach was almost deserted. I looked up and a pelican flew overhead; almost simultaneiously a fish swam by, and then my heart started thudding in my chest. I said to myself that it was okay - I could die now in paradise, or go back to Chicago and die before winter. (I had been sick enough the prior year that that was even a possibility.) A light bulb went off in my head......two weeks later I moved lock, stock and barrel to Sarasota.
04-26-2011 01:58 AM
I have several favorite Florida memories: Taking my son & some of his class mates to Disney the first year that Disney opened.
Fishing on the Lake Worth, FL pier and swimming at the Lake Worth beach.
Just enjoying the great Florida weather.
04-26-2011 08:51 AM
It has a bit of everything you could want for a fun day or vacation spot, beautiful state park and beaches, history, beautiful historical architecture, lots of different recreational activities from horseback riding on the beach to fishing, hiking, and kayaking, fun attractions, waterfront strolling, wonderful restaurants and shopping. My husband and I have been there many times and we still have not seen and done everything! Can't wait for our next trip there.
04-26-2011 09:38 AM
Wow so hard to choose. Scuba Diving in West Palm Beach. We had just spent a week diving in St Kitts, in the Caribbean. We were immensely disappointed in the fish and marine life there. A couple of days after returning we went diving in West Palm Beach. We dove Flower Garden and were amazed at the size and quantity of marine life there. Huge angelfish, grunts, Goliath Groupers, eels, pufferfish, lobsters, butterfly fish, snappers, parrotfish and every other type of tropical fish you could imagine. The Gulf stream comes closest to land in the West Palm Beach/Riviera Beach area and the marine life that you see there is far better than the Keys. We have located a great dive boat Sandy's Sunday. We stay at the Doubletree Hotel where you get hot chocolate chip cookies and sleep on thick soft bedding. They have a shuttle to City Walk where you can shop, eat a nice relaxing meal, listen to live comedy or even take in a movie. It is a great place to visit.
04-26-2011 10:27 AM
When I was 9 years old we were living in Jacksonville. My parents took us on a family vacation to the Everglades. Along the way we stopped in Bradenton, Florida for a picnic at the Borden Plant. My dad left us with our mom while we ate and enjoyed some Borden's ice cream. When we returned to Jacksonville we discovered that the reason my dad left was to sign papers for a new business he was purchasing and we were moving to that area.
04-26-2011 11:55 AM
Going to Silver Springs and the Weeki Watchee Mermaid Show as a kid. Now as an adult I have been back to see the Mermaid Show at Weeki Watchee, and it brought back many good memories of some of the "original" Florida attractions that are worth seeing today as well!
04-26-2011 12:28 PM
I remember many moons ago, going to Silver Springs in Ocala, Florida. My family and I went on the glass-bottom boat. I must've been around 6 and my brother 10. We had bread and were feeding the fish when all of a sudden I see a baby alligator coming towards my brother's hands with it's mouth wide open!! I screamed and he pulled in his hand just in time... what a scare we all got!! It's been over 35 years and don't ask me what the fish under the boat looked like but I can describe that gator from head to tail!!
04-26-2011 01:36 PM
When we were on vacation in florida, (back in the late 50's) We would come to the Busch Brewery. The park didn't exist at that time. One of the features of the brewery then was having the longest escalator in the U.S. plus the largest flock of flamingos in the USA. My dad always had us stop there so he could sample the free beer. Me too. (Don't tell my mom.)
04-26-2011 01:43 PM
Staying on St. Pete. Beach every May from 1956 to 1974. I remember putting on my bathing suit every morning and staying in it until dark. I can still smell the salt air and hear the seagulls. I was lucky enough to meet the man I would marry on the beach and I have lived here ever since. How great is that?
04-26-2011 02:12 PM
One of my favorite Florida memories is boating down the Intercoastal in New Smyrna Beach and enjoy the afternoon with friends on what is called "Disappearing Island" by Ponce Inlet. The kids get to swim, play in the sand, everyone can take the kayak out, too, and we get to barbecue hotdogs and hamburgers and relax for the day.
04-26-2011 03:14 PM
It was a few years ago. My son and I went up to St. Augustine. We had never been there and had heard it was really beautiful. It is! We stopped in Daytona on the way and had lunch in an old diner - the Starlight I think. Then we wwent out to the beach.
We stayed 2 days in SA and saw everything. We took the tours, saw the Castillo de San Marcos, ate at the A1A Restaurant and Microbrewery ( I recommend it), and had a great time. Then we went on to GA.
04-26-2011 03:51 PM - last edited on 04-29-2011 01:51 PM by NickF
We live in Miami, and for the past 40 years never put to much attention to the only Lighthouse in the Miami area, best known as Cape Florida lighthouse located at Bill Baggs State Park . There is the newly restored, 95-foot white-brick tower and a replica of the lighthouse keeper's 1825 cottage, with graceful coconut palms line the walkway toward the ocean and grand historic monument.
I went with my wife Beatriz riding our bicycles to the park to see the beautiful lighthouse at the southernmost tip of Key Biscayne. We climb the to the lantern room that let us see the views of the aquamarine waters, the ocean, the beaches, the tropical palms, the beautiful colors of the sky, the magnificent view of the city of Miami. Is something that once you climb to the top make you realize how beautiful Miami and the beaches are.
When you hear the story of the lighthouse and the war with the Seminole warriors and so on makes you feel like you really are in a historic place. Built in 1825 and burned in 1836. This is a must to all residents of Miami that I 'm sure have no idea of this beautiful place so close by. The ride was great the trails at the park the picnic areas all. We had a great day visiting the lighthouse.
Sergio / Beatriz Ochoa
04-26-2011 03:57 PM
It was a sunny day in January and our family wanted to see the manatee at Blue Springs State Park. At the time the park allowed you to swim in the boil area so we all took our swim suits since the temp was about 70 degrees. As soon as my husband stepped into the water a manatee came up behind him and hugged his leg. It was so amazing we couldn't believe how friendly they were and how large they really are. At one point we were surrounded by about 15 manatee just swimming along side of us. It's a day none of us will ever forget.
04-26-2011 04:00 PM
We were boating on the St John's River and jumped in for a swim. A Manatee came up to us and the kids were swimming with it. The Manatee kept coming back and wanted our attention. The kids were ecstatic to be swimming with a real Manatee.
04-26-2011 05:23 PM
Driving down US 1 make a right turn in Florida city, after Homestead and go to Robert is here"
is a family owned fruit ,vegetables, honey store . They have a place behind the store with animals including Galapagos turtles. You can drink water from a well. You can do this in your way to the Keys.
04-26-2011 05:43 PM
My favorite memory of Florida was visiting my Grandpa. The animals, plants, beach, humidity; everything was different here. I found that fascinating in itself. That, and grandpa would always take us out to eat, made for my faforite Florida memory.
04-26-2011 08:04 PM
As kids, my sister & I when given a choice of were we wanted to go on our family vacation, we always said Vero Beach. My parents would rent a beach house, and I remember us playing in the sand with Barbies and making sand castles.
04-26-2011 10:38 PM
I'll always remember my first snorkling experience at John Pennekamp State Park in the Keys. I'm not a great swimmer so was always afraid to go snorkling in the ocean off a boat. The lagoon at Jonh Pennekamp was more protected and had a dock anchored a short distance off shore so I could swim to it and rest. Because the area wasn't very deep I didn't expect to see much so was thrilled at the variety of beautiful fish and even a lobster that was in the area.