This morning I returned from an adventure to Florida with my family. My siblings and I flew into Fort Myers on the 18th and picked up our rental van to bring us to Port Charlotte where my Dad had been renting a house since the beginning of this year. Growing up I visited Florida a lot since my Grandparents always stayed there in the winter months, and my parents always brought us to visit. Since I’ve been to Florida so many times, I never really expect much from it other than the sun, but while visiting this time, I had a chance to do and visit some things I’ve never done before. Here are some of my highlights from my 6 days in Florida.
Something I’ve never done before in all the years I’ve gone to Florida (at least that I can remember). All 7 of us hopped aboard an air boat in the middle of nowhere near Port Charlotte and went for a ride around the swamps to scope out alligators. It was a freezing cold day, but we managed to spot a couple gators which was surprising due to the weather. It was a cool experience that you won’t get on any regular boat, and definitely a must-do in Florida.
A random place my sisters boyfriend found on Trip Advisor while searching for things to do and places to eat in Port Charlotte. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this online discovery, but our family was willing to give it a whirl. This restaurant is a typical American style restaurant, serving up large portions of any smoked meat and comfort food you can imagine. Definitely not a place for the vegetarians in your family, but the food was delicious. I had the Po’ Boy Sandwich with a side of mac & cheese and I could have eaten an entire pot of the mac & cheese on its own! Definitely a place I’d recommend to try out. The prices are reasonable, the food is good, but not a place if you’re looking for a fancy/classy spot to eat!
Rated one of the best beaches in the area, but truthfully, we were just happy to be able to get a beach day in amongst the on and off cold weather we had in Florida. This beach is a great family-friendly place with volleyball courts, playgrounds, food places, stores, bathrooms, etc. everything you need for a day at the beach! The sand is full of seashells which makes it a bit hard to walk on but overall it is pretty clean and a great place to spend the day on the beach. Wherever there is an ocean and sand, I’m a happy girl!
Another off the beaten track restaurant that ended up being quite good. My Dad had been brought to this restaurant before, so that is how we heard of it. It is located right on a marina and is quite the spot. Walking into the restaurant you may be a bit turned off. The decor is fun, quirky, and a little all over the place. Take a seat outside if you can at one of the picnic tables and enjoy the sunshine. The food is typical pub food, but we had some yummy seafood. I ordered the butterfly shrimp basket, and we also tried the gator bites (don’t worry it tastes just like chicken)! The Nav-a-Gator is a cute little spot that gives you a different experience than all the chain restaurants you’ll find around Florida!
Pub Crawl in Punta Gorda
I believe there is a regular pub crawl that is run through multiple bars in Punta Gorda, but my Dad’s friend took us on his own version, and since everything is walking distance it is easy to do this on your own too!
Our first stop was TT’s Tiki Bar which had a live band playing, a great outdoor seating area, and a wicked view of the sunset! Our next stop was Hurricane Charley’s which was just underthe bridge from TT’s. This bar also had a wicked view, and great drinks. You could even order buckets like they do in Southeast Asia. The third stop was Trabue which was more a restaurant/lounge then bar. This place was a bit more upscale then the rest of the bars but had great appetizers! The second last stop and our favourite was a grungy bar called Shorty’s which hosted karaoke, had 41 beers on tap and beer can chandeliers for decor. A quirky, fun place for those feeling adventurous. Lastly, our final stop was at Dean’s South of the Border, a Mexican/Tex-Mex joint that had great live music, a patio and yummy nachos.
Overall our trip to Florida was jam packed with fun! There is never a dull moment in our family and despite the fact I wasn’t expecting much from Florida, it was good to me and gave me another vacation full of memories.