Fun times in Florida

Hey Guys!

So, as most of you know by now, I am originally from Florida. I still have several family members living there including my Dad & 2 of my sisters.

This year, we decided we would pay them all a visit during the holidays.

So, the day after Christmas, we headed to Fl. The drive takes approximately 9 hrs from our house to where my family live.

We were fearful that the traffic would be horrendous with it being the day after Christmas, but turns out, there was hardly any traffic at all!

Since we left around 6 pm on Fri, we decided to stop half way and get a hotel. I hadn’t booked a room in advance as I wasn’t sure where we would end up wanting to stop.

Since we were traveling with our dog, I had to find a pet friendly hotel. So, I got on Expedia and searched for a room in a nearby town and found something fairly quickly.

Isn’t it great that we can book a room while driving down the road?! Technology sure has made our lives so much easier!

The next morning, we continued our drive.

We arrived in Fl around mid afternoon and headed to my parent’s house. They own a condo that sits right on Daytona Beach so my hubby and I were going to spend a few days there while my daughter stayed with her aunt.

After picking up the key to the condo & dropping our daughter off at my sister’s house, the hubby and I headed to the beach!

It took us about 1.5 – 2 hrs to get there from my sister’s house.

Once we arrived, we unloaded our luggage and headed to Hidden Treasures Rum Bar & Grill to eat dinner.

We had never eaten here before but it was recommended to us so we thought we would give it a try.

It has a lot of good reviews on TripAdvisor but I wasn’t impressed! There was only 2 other tables being waited on while we were there. I’m sure it had to do with the time of year.

I ordered the baked fish, collard greens and sweet potato tots…it was very average.

After dinner, we stopped and snapped a quick picture of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

The lighthouse stands 175 ft tall and was constructed in 1887.

We then headed back to the condo & called it a night.

The next morning we couldn’t wait to get our first glimpse of the ocean!

I love listening to the sound of the waves crashing & walking on the beach but, other than that, I am not a beach person.

We sat on the balcony and drank our coffee to the wonderful sounds of the waves crashing and the seabirds singing ….so relaxing!

A shot of the inside of the condo

Once we were finished with our coffee, we decided to take a walk on the beach.

There were Portuguese man-of-wars lying all over the beach! You don’t want to step on one of these! They have a powerful, painful sting!

We actually saw several different kinds of jellyfish lying all over the beach…we really had to watch where we stepped!

After our walk, we headed to find something to eat.

We ended up at Flapjack Johnnys where I ordered a mushroom & cheese omelet with a side of bacon and my hubby ordered a burger. The food and service was very good!

Read reviews here

After we ate, we headed back to the condo for some much needed R&R!

Later, we took another walk down the beach. The pier is close to the condo so we walked down to take some pics.

After our walk, we headed back to the condo where we spent the rest of the day relaxing.

The next morning, I was up bright and early & witnessed the most amazing sun rise!! I don’t witness many of these because I am usually not an early riser!

Look what I’ve been missing!

Later, we headed out for another walk on the beach

And then headed to Boondocks for lunch

Boondocks sits right on the water’s edge at a Marina…I loved being able to sit right beside the water! So relaxing!

I ordered the grilled fish with shrimp and the hubby ordered the fried seafood combo that came with fish, shrimp, clams and oysters.

The food and service were both very good.

I definitely recommend this place for the food, service & the views!

After lunch, we headed to the Lighthouse Point Park….I didn’t even know this place existed until my sister told me about it! They had recently visited Daytona and found it!

There is a $10 entrance fee but we thought it was worth it.

The 52-acre park features fishing, nature trails, an observation deck and tower, swimming and pavilions.

Read more here

We walked down to the end of the pier that led out to a jetty where several people were fishing

This bird was helping himself to a free meal!

There was really nice views of the lighthouse from here as well

There was also several people in the water surfing

We walked a short distance on the wooden nature trail

My hubby got a kick out of this cigarette disposal lol

We realized there was a short trail that we could walk that would get us closer to the lighthouse …

We ended up at the end of the trail and had awesome views of the lighthouse!

We also spotted several dolphins swimming in the water!

After spending at least an hour or longer here, we left and headed to Crabby Joe’s for dinner….

Crabby Joes sits at the end of the pier near the condo

Read reviews here

We both ordered the grilled shrimp…the food was average but the service, views and atmosphere was really good!

After dinner, we called it a night!

The next morning, I was up early again and even though I missed the sunrise, I still was able to get some nice shots …of course! ๐Ÿ˜‰

After our coffee, we headed out to drive part of the A1A.

The A1A is 72 miles of mostly two-lane roadway where you can navigate natureโ€™s beauty, history and serenity. The drive can take approx 90 mins non stop but there are lots of stops you can do along the way.

Our first stop was at Flagler Beach

There were lots of shops & restaurants here but we just stopped to snap a quick picture of the pier and the beach

We continued our drive and spotted these houses built on stilts right on the sand! This area is called Rattlesnake Island.

We crossed over the Matanzas River near the Ft Matanzas National Monument

Once we were getting close to St Augustine, we pulled up TripAdvisor to find a good place to eat lunch.

We decided on a restaurant called Sunset Grille…this place has over 7k reviews on TripAdvisor and now we know why…both the food and service was the best we had on the trip!!

We both ordered the grilled fish and shrimp…..so good!

They had open air seating with a view of the ocean in the distance…

After lunch we headed to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum

I had visited the lighthouse before but never paid to go in…the place was packed out!

You can read my blog on the lighthouses I have visited here

The cashier told us that this is always one of their busiest times of the year…I would have never guessed so many people vacationed during the holidays!

I love this lighthouse….I love the way it’s painted!

The lighthouse stands 165 feet above sea level, overlooking the Matanzas Bay and the Atlantic Ocean from Anastasia Island. Visitors can climb the 219 steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse for a spectacular view of the city and ocean.

The lighthouse is St. Augustine’s oldest surviving brick structure

The keepers house has been turned into a museum…it had a lot of interesting history about the lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers.

The Tin Pickle offers lunch in case you get hungry while visiting the lighthouse

We walked into the lighthouse but decided we didn’t want to walk the 219 steps to the top! That’s a long way up!

After we left the lighthouse, we drove into the historic part of St. Augustine.

St Augustine is full of history and I highly recommend a visit here!

Sadly, it was SO crowded, we couldn’t even find a place to park so we ended up heading back to the condo! ๐Ÿ™

Some shots I took while we were driving through

On the way back to the condo, we stopped off at a nearby beach..

After this stop, we stopped off at the Washington Oaks State Park

Read reviews here & read the history of the park here

The park is beautiful! It has a rose garden, reflecting ponds, museum, trails, huge old oak trees, fruit trees and more!

They had it decorated with tons of poinsettias!

The home of the family who donated the land is now a museum.

It was a very peaceful place to visit.

We only got to spend about 45 mins here because they were about to close and we wanted to get to the beach across the street that was included in our $5 admission.

The beach is famous for the unique shoreline of coquina rock formations that line its Atlantic beach.

The ancient rock formations create the perfect spot for beach combing, tidal pool exploring, and photography.

So, we left the park and drove down to the beach…there was limited parking but only a few cars were there when we arrived.

I decided I would walk the beach without my shoes….bad decision as this beach is covered in nothing but shells!!

I’ve never seen a beach quite like this one! Not only was the “sand” an orange color but the beach was nothing but shells….not to mention the coquina rock formations..I had never seen that on a Florida beach!

It was a neat place and I took a ton of pics here!

This beach did not look like a good swimming beach…not only did the water look very rough but it appeared to drop off sharply from the shoreline.

We had to get pics on the rocks…..of course how could we not, right?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

After leaving here, we headed back to Crabby Joe’s for dinner…this time we were seated by the window and could here the waves crashing beneath us!

I ordered the grilled shrimp…..it was pretty good….a little too much pepper for my liking.

After dinner, we called it a night!

The next morning my hubby had me up bright and early to go watch the sunrise with him on the beach! He made our coffee and we headed out…only problem, the clocks in the condo hadn’t been changed so we got up an hour earlier than we needed to!

It was freezing on the beach but we waited it out and witnessed the most amazing sunrise!!

I’m so glad he got me up….as I said, I don’t witness many sunrises lol!

We both took a ton of pics! It was hard not to!

It was so cool seeing the sun rising out of the water like a ball of fire!

After our sunrise shenanigans, we headed back up to the condo to pack up…we had to head back to our parents house for a New Years Eve party!

After leaving the condo, we headed to the Cracked Egg Diner for breakfast.

Read reviews here

The diner has almost 2k reviews on TripAdvisor but I wasn’t impressed!

I ordered a bacon, cheese and mushroom omelet and the mushrooms were left off and the waitress never came back to refill our drinks or ask if we needed anything!

After breakfast, we headed back and spent the rest of our time in Florida with our family!

Thanks for reading!!

I hope you all are doing well and staying safe and healthy!! Hopefully, we all get to travel again soon!

I’ve already had to cancel 2 trips this year and we have a trip to Glacier in June..really hoping we get to go!!