I hate the cold weather & so Florida sounded like a great escape.
We awoke tuesday the 12th at 4:30 to be whisked away and boarded our plane by 6:00 am. As we stepped out of the airport and into the sunlight, we knew this was going to be an awes
ome vacation. 70 degrees and sunny, couldn’t get any better than that.
Our hotel was located in Cocoa beach, but before checking in we decided to visit the Ocala National Forest. & I’m so glad we did. We headed straight for the Salt Springs which were about an hour from the Orlando airport. While at the Salt Springs we hiked the Bear Swamp Trail & Salt Springs Wildlife Observation Trail.They both provided an enormous amount of encounters with wildlife. We got to see manatees, turtles, several species of birds, and plants galore. Before making our way to the hotel, we jumper in for a quick swim in the salt spring. It was a bit chilly but the Fresh Water felt great. Best part it is, the whole experience cost us $12. Just goes to show traveling doesn’t have to be expensive.
We stayed at the International Palms on Cocoa beach. The hotel room was far from a Hilton, but it gave us direct access to the beach. In less than thirty seconds we could have our feet in the sand & could hear the crashing of the waves. Most of the time we were hanging out on the beach; reading, swimming, playing frisbee, and just taking it all in. There was a Publix less than a mile away from the hotel where we picked up groceries for the week. We made PB&Js and stacked up on fruit. The only time we ate out was at Green Room Cafe, a vegan friendly lunch/brunch spot that also had amazing smoothies + wheatgrass shots. While there we also picked up a handmade bowl from a local potter.
While being only an hour away from Orlando, we couldn’t not go to a theme park. We decided to spend a day exploring Universal Studios + Islands of Adventure. Josiah + I usually move at a quick pace at were able to see everything in one day. We went on all the rollercoaster & virtual reality rides. The Harry Potter areas were my favorite, as I read all the books as a kid. Josiah seemed to really enjoy the Jurassic Park area. In the end we were really glad we only spent one day here, as another would have been more $ and time away from the beach. Afterwards we ate at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. We a got hummus + chips, bay cakes, & the veggie burger. Everything was so good that we even took a couple cookies back to the hotel with us.
On our trip we also visited the Kennedy Space Center. The bus tour around their facility and seeing the rocket Apollo was breathtaking. The Rocket Garden was also very impressive. We chose to go to the center on the right day, because until about 2pm it was raining. While at the Kennedy Space Center we also learned about the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
The last day before heading to our flight, we stopped at the wildlife refuge for some up close views of native species in florida.We even got to see two gators, a few reptiles, and several kinds of birds. It was so naturally beautiful. They had a seven mile scenic drive that was as beautiful as the ocean. It was a vast landscape and had natural beauty They also had a manatee observation deck, but we sadly didn’t see any. Then while there we went to the Cape Canaveral National Seashore. It was long but short sandy beach that had an ocean that never ended. The water was gorgeous & made it really hard to leave for the airport.
Florida was amazing & can’t wait to go back. Why am I sitting inside hiding from the -5 degree weather when I could be on the beach? I hope to be visiting Florida a bit more often in the winter months.