If you happen to nonetheless are uneasy about getting on an airplane or a cruise ship (or paying the excessive costs), it could be time for a Florida staycation.

Two lately up to date journey books — Visiting Small-City Florida and 100 Issues to Do in Tampa Bay Earlier than You Die — provide good concepts for staycations and day journeys, so you may reap the benefits of dwelling in a spot that vacationers flock to. Most of their solutions keep away from the large, well-known points of interest, providing native gems which might be off the crushed path.

Journey guides can have a brief shelf life, so it helps that each books revisited and up to date their suggestions and journeys. Tampa native Bruce Hunt lately launched his fourth version of Small-City Florida, providing bite-sized profiles and restaurant and purchasing suggestions for “79 of Florida’s most attention-grabbing small cities.”

The Ozona Village Hall historic site marks where the first homesteaders began arriving at the turn of the 20th century.
The Ozona Village Corridor historic web site marks the place the primary homesteaders started arriving on the flip of the twentieth century. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Kristen Hare, a journalist with the Poynter Institute and contributor to the Tampa Bay Instances, simply launched the third version of her information to dwelling like a vacationer within the Tampa Bay space. The premise is a bucket record concept that took on a better resonance for her in the course of the pandemic.

“Whereas that wink on the bucket record felt cute with the primary and second editions, in the course of the pandemic it has taken on a brand new sense of urgency for me,” Hare stated. “Life is brief. Nothing is assured. How we spend our time — and the individuals we spend it with — is as much as us.”

Some solutions from the authors coincide. Think about Small-City Florida’s suggestion to search out tiny Ozona.

“Palm Harbor has grown up round Ozona, however the little village nonetheless manages to hold on to its quiet, quirky attraction,” Hunt writes. You’ll discover a scenic part of the Pinellas Path bike overpass and a few good meals at Ozona Pig and Molly Goodhead’s Uncooked Bar, housed in a circa 1919 home. For purchasing, Antiques and Uniques subsequent door to Ozona Pig “has a treasure trove of classic collectibles.”

Antiques and Uniques, the shop next door to Ozona Pig, has a treasure trove of vintage collectibles and Florida-themed interior decorations.
Antiques and Uniques, the store subsequent door to Ozona Pig, has a treasure trove of classic collectibles and Florida-themed inside decorations. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

As with most of the small cities in Hunt’s ebook, it solely takes a day to see its sights. However Ozona is near a few of Hare’s day journey solutions. In close by Tarpon Springs, the affect of its Greek immigrants and sponge divers make a go to “really feel extra like a world journey,” Hare writes. Don’t miss the Spongeorama Sponge Manufacturing facility for purchasing and its setting for historic films, take a tour by water on the St. Nicholas Boat Line and get nice Greek meals at Mykonos restaurant.

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100 Issues to Do in Tampa Bay

Different solutions from Hare’s ebook that may be was a staycation for a few days embrace:

Lakeland: Get to the Polk County city for lunch at the Joinery food hall with a spread of distributors and sit on the patio overlooking a phenomenal lake. Take a tour of Florida Southern College, the one campus architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed. Close by purchasing on Kentucky Avenue has enjoyable retailers like Scout and Tag and the Lloyds of Lakeland vintage store. There are additionally nice eating places all alongside Kentucky.

Williston: Situated about 30 miles northwest of Ocala, it’s horse nation with rolling hills. “It ought to be on anyone’s bucket record to snorkel or scuba dive at Satan’s Den, a pure spring inside a cave,” Hare stated. Reservations upfront are required to swim within the 72-degree blue water. Make reservations at 352-528-3344 or devilsden.com. Cedar Lake Woods and Gardens, on the identical road as Satan’s Den, is a beautiful botanical backyard with waterfalls, swans and numerous ranges to stroll round historical dwell oaks and plush gardens.

North Port: Soak within the Heat Mineral Springs, 12200 San Servando Ave., on this spot about an hour south of Tampa. “It’s a hoot. That is Outdated Florida at its oldest,” Hare stated. At 85 levels, the water smells a bit funky due to the sulfur, and Hare recommends bringing a pool noodle to drift within the deeper sections — it’s presupposed to be nice for the pores and skin. “It’s like a Florida spa day.”

Devil’s Den, a natural spring inside a cave in Williston, "should be on everybody's bucket list," said author Kristen Hare. 
This caption has been updated to correct the location of this photo.
Satan’s Den, a pure spring inside a collapse Williston, “ought to be on all people’s bucket record,” stated writer Kristen Hare.
This caption has been up to date to appropriate the placement of this picture. [ Kristen Hare ]

Visiting Small-City Florida

Hunt is now on his fourth version of Visiting Small-City Florida, which he first produced in 1997 as “the antithesis of the Disney information.”

From North Florida to the Florida Keys, he focuses on cities which have fewer than 15,000 individuals. He likes to search out mom-and-pop diners, historic common shops and previous accommodations nonetheless in enterprise that provide a window into Florida historical past.

A superb instance is Evinston. Take a street journey to go to Cross Creek, about 22 miles south of Gainesville, that at this time remains to be as rural and scenic as when writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings immortalized it in The Yearling and Cross Creek. Reread the basic books and tour the Rawlings home that continues to be as she left it. Then do some vintage purchasing in close by Micanopy, the place there are historic homes and a cemetery price seeing.

Hunt then suggests you drive round Orange Lake to the opposite aspect of Cross Creek to search out the little village of Evinston. “There’s nothing there besides the Wooden and Swink common retailer. Nevertheless it has been there since 1882, and it’s actually cool and nonetheless a functioning common retailer,” Hunt stated.

A pelican rests on a piling during sunset at Cedar Key , a small community on the west coast of Florida known for its scenic beauty and fishing industry.
A pelican rests on a piling throughout sundown at Cedar Key , a small neighborhood on the west coast of Florida recognized for its scenic magnificence and fishing trade. [ FRED FOX | Times (1997) ]

Different solutions:

Apalachicola: He’s a fan of the Panhandle and suggests Apalachicola, lengthy often called the oyster capital of Florida (though oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay is at present suspended till 2025).Perhaps spend a number of days renting a home on close by St. George Island with its fairly seashores. “It’s very laid again with some good meals and vintage retailers. And so they’ve finished a reasonably good job of protecting the historic really feel of Apalachicola’s downtown.”

Dade Metropolis: The east Pasco County city is changing into a foodie vacation spot. Moreover the well-known Lunch on Limoges — Florida Cracker Kitchen, there’s the native staple Olga’s Bakery and Deli, in addition to Inexperienced Door on eighth and Steph’s Southern Soul Restaurant. Along with its well-known vintage purchasing, Dade Metropolis has many meals gems price exploring, Hunt stated.

The pier at Apalachicola is a scenic, quiet location often overlooked by Florida visitors lured by the state's much bigger tourist spots. The extra travel is worth the effort for anyone wanting to experience Florida as it was before all the highways, high rises and high-end development.
The pier at Apalachicola is a scenic, quiet location usually neglected by Florida guests lured by the state’s a lot greater vacationer spots. The additional journey is well worth the effort for anybody desirous to expertise Florida because it was earlier than all of the highways, excessive rises and high-end improvement. [ MELISSA NELSON-GABRIEL | AP (2015) ]

Cedar Key: A few two-hour drive north of Tampa Bay, there are nice galleries, eating places like Tony’s Seafood and Steamers Clam Bar, and rustic settings to calm down and go fishing or kayaking. The historic Island Lodge has been restored to its former glory, and its eating room is understood for its native Florida seafood dishes.

Books

Visiting Small-City Florida

By Bruce Hunt

Pineapple Press, 283 pages, $19.95

100 Issues to Do in Tampa Bay Earlier than You Die

By Kristen Hare

Reedy Press, 142 pages, $17

Creator appearances

Kristen Hare: The Tampa Bay Instances contributor will be part of radio present host Ernest Hooper concerning the new third version of her journey ebook 100 Issues to Do In Tampa Bay Earlier than You Die at 7 p.m. April 22 at Tombolo Books, 2153 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free; RSVP at tombolobooks.com/events.

Hare may also be in dialog with Instances columnist Stephanie Hayes at 3:30 p.m. April 24 at Oxford Change, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Tickets are $5 at oxfordexchange.com/pages/calendar.

Correction: An earlier model of this report had an incorrect location for an image of Satan’s Den, a pure spring in Williston.



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