While road tripping across Florida with three of my gal-pals, for a girlfriend getaway, I came to realise something that I totally did not expect nor fully appreciated of Florida before.
Every city is wildly different.
Wildly different. Like, alligators vs dolphins kind of different.
Thanks to 1000s of hours of movies and TV, I could safely say that Miami was the place to be to party. And that Orlando is home of the mouse.
But I didn't expect Florida's tourist destinations to be so individually unique.
Like all of my girlfriends, Florida is filled with personality.
Thanks to a week of travel through Jacksonville, St. Pete's Beach/Clearwater, and St. Augustine with my buddies, Margarita from DownshiftingPRO, Paula of Thrifty Mommas Tips, and Sandy of Canadian Blog House, I'm going to create a personality chart for Florida cities/towns that I've visited, based on traits, such as The Foodie, The History Buff, the Sporty Enthusiast, etc.
In the meantime, check out...
This one had me floored (literally, hah). In theory, I did know that there are endless varieties of sand, but I didn't fully appreciate that you will find differing sandy beaches across Florida.
Who knew that the various constant wind patterns and the gulf stream would create such a diverse sand compositions along Florida's multitude of coast.
Apparently, not I.
St. Pete's Beach
A fluffy, yellowish sand, layered with shells. This beach is riddled with shells of all kinds, so be sure to pack water-shoes or durable sandals to cross over and swim in the epic Gulf of Mexico/Atlantic Ocean without thinking ouch-ouch-ouch, as you traverse over the shell-filled sands.
Where a St. Pete's Beach sand is fluffy and yellow, a Jacksonville Beach can be packed, wet and grey/brown-ish in colour.
There are particular areas of Florida that will make a Foodie cry tears of absolute joy, like I did a few weeks ago. My favourite city for the multitude of deliciously fresh food to enjoy was St. Augustine.
The "scratch kitchen" concept is highly regarded here, and it absolutely shines with every meal. You will be hard-pressed to find a fast food franchise in this historic town, and you will thank them for it.
I refuse to make a devilled egg ever again, because it could never live up to the heaven I experienced at Catch 27 as an appetizer.
I'm not even kidding.
Picture a hardboiled egg, with nicely whipped yolk, topped with a breaded oyster and bedded on bacon jam. While that mixture might sound obnoxious, the results will make you weep. It's that good.
Hot Shot Bakery & Cafe
I love my job, largely because I get to experience moments like having a hot lunch, in Hot Shot Bakery & Cafe's kitchen with the fantastic owner and chef Sherry Stoppelbein!
I will come back to St. Augustine, Florida for her Ham & Turkey Panini alone. The housemade cranberry mustard is a must-do experience, as is the Datil B Good hot sauce!
I'm not normally a fan of hot sauce, but that didn't stop me from bringing a bottle of the Duchess of Datil's "Datil B Good" Fifth-Degree Burn Hot Sauce home for Jay and I to enjoy.
Maple Street Biscuit Company
Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails
THE FUN OF EXPLORATION
Whether by kayak, segway, or foot, there is just so much to explore and enjoy within Florida. You would need a month to barely scratch the surface.
After two experiences of kayaking this past October, I am by no means an "expert" in this sport.
But, I can tell you a secret that I learned in Jacksonville, Florida. For a kayaking adventure with serene floats along a mangrove, and a little bit more robust paddling along choppy waters. And cookies. Visit Kayak Amelia for an incredible time, designed for beginners in mind.
Now, the four of us are fairly smart people. But, that didn't stop a single one of us from reading this sign below, and wondering if oysters bite. *facepalm*
Simpson Creek is home to oyster beds along the floor bottom. Their shells can be super sharp, so you have to be careful of where you step.
Roll over this Instagram image to scroll through all seven pictures of our kayak adventure!
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Had an amazing morning kayaking and cookies with @KayakAmelia! ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #kayak #KayakLove #JustInJax @Visit_Jax #Sponsored #Travel #TravelBlogger #Love #LoveFL #Florida #FloridaSun #VisitFlorida #SunshineState #VisitFlorida #TravelBug #Travelgram #TravelGirl #TravelBlogger #FLGirlsGetaway
Casa Marina Hotel
History geeks will love to explore this historic hotel that first opened its doors in Jacksonville, Florida in 1925.
It's also reputably haunted by several spirits, just ask the staff!
For those who are historically inclined, you will want to spend a week minimum in St. Augustine. The architecture, the culture, food, and even the ghost stories.
All of it is epic.
There was honestly a buzz of excited energy that rippled through our car the moment we drove into St. Augustine.
Stay tuned as I share all of my geek-hearted love in exploring St. Augustine next week! If I tried to fit everything here, this post would be more like a book!
St. Pete's Beach & Clearwater
Also cannot wait to share all the fun to be had in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida! Keep an eye out on Twitter when I announce that post is finally published!
Have you visited Jacksonville, St. Pete's Beach, Clearwater and/or St. Augustine? I would love to hear your expereinces!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Visit Florida in a partnership with Geek with Style to provide you the most up to date facts, helping you make better informed decisions. All opinions in this article are my own.