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gadfly homepage on the road home notes on places last contact: 1/2/2010 first contact: 7/9/2006

FL Trip Stats (6/10):


Counties visited: 28?


Best county: Collier Co.

Town visited most: Saint Augustine

Places slept in: St. Augustine Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Naples, Bushnell, St. Pete Beach, Pensacola Beach, Rocky Bayou SP, St. George Island SP, Punta Gorda, Bahia Honda SP, Fort Pierce, Anastasia SP, Florida City, Orlando, Lakeland, Pensacola, Bonita Springs

Most impressive town: Naples

Least impressive town: Ft. Lauderdale

Biggest town: Miami

Most scenic area: Everglades

Most scenic spot: Naples city beach

State bird: massive pelicans

Alligators sights:

Big Cypress Preserve (Oasis VC); Evergaldes NP (Anihinga Trail); Merritt Island NWR

Dolphins  spotted: four, two at St. Pete Beach and two in Tampa Bay

State plant: cypress trees beat out the palms, oranges, and sawgrass

Best Gulf beach: Pensacola Beach

Best Atlantic beach: Sebastian Inlet SRA

Three words: ocean, gators, tropics

Trips: Honeymoon (7/06), Tampa Bay (6/08), Gulf Shores (1/09), Florida Tour (6/09), Winter Edge (12/09)


Neighboring Territories: GA, AL, Bahamas, Cuba


Major Passes: Vertical. Passed north to south along the Atlantic coast using a combination of FL-A1A, I-95, and US-1, passed south to north from Naples to Lake City along I-75 corridor. Horizontal. Passed east to west from Homestead to Marco using Tamiami Trail.

Circled entire state, including Panhandle, twice in 2009.


Comments: Florida always wants me to stay a while.


People: Floridians are a varied bunch. There are several ways of looking at them. There are three groups: Snowbirds, Migrants, and Southerners. Snowbirds are from all over areas to the north and are usually, of course, retirees. Many on the Atlantic side seem to be former New Yorkers and the Gulf side seems to be made up of Midwesterners. The culture of the East Coast is palpable along I-95, but not so much on the Gulf. These people have ruined any chance for culture with their Celine Dion, private beaches, and Walgreen's prescriptions, but I do appreciate their expensive manatee mailboxes. The Migrants come in four varieties. Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Haitians were more common along the Atlantic from Jupiter south. Mexicans seemed to be dispersed all over the state, but mainly in inland and in more rural areas. The Cuban culture is noticeable in the Miami area and along the Keys. You don't have to go far to eat a good plantain in Florida. The last group are the Southerners who continue to cheer for NASCAR and college football as they do elsewhere, reminding us that Florida was a loyal member of the C.S.A. and home to Burt Reynolds. They live mostly in the north, but are all over the place driving pickups as far south as the Keys.

First Contact: I never ever wanted to visit Mickey Mouse's Florida, but had to drive through on the way to the Bahamas and was so pleased with the beaches, beauty, and culture that I stayed five nights in the state. I entered as the sun was setting along I-95 near Becker. After passing the Jacksonville skyline, I was still unimpressed. It was not until I visited the beach of St. Augustine the next morning that I learned what made Florida such a special place. St. Augustine was the hook and the Everglades, cypress forests, keys, and perfect beaches made me want even more. I will visit again, but not Orlando.... never, ever...

Nassau Co. (7/9/06)

Passed through the seaside county on the way from the Smokies to St. Augustine. Becker.

Duval Co. (7/9/06)

Jacksonville Beach. Jacksonville.

St. Johns Co. (7/9/06)

St. Augustine. St. Augustine Beach. Castillo de San Marcos NM. Crescent Beach. Fort Matanzas NM. Summer Haven. Anastasia SP. Vilano Beach. Guana River SP. Ponte Verde Beach.

Flagler Co. (7/10/06)

Marineland. Palm Coast. Flagler Beach. Beverly Beach. Ate dinner here. Surrounded by peach and pecan stands.

Volusia Co. (7/10/06)

Daytona Beach. New Smyrna Beach. Edgewater. Oak Hill. Ponce Inlet. Daytona Beach Shores. Ormond Beach. Ormond-by-theSea.

Brevard Co. (7/10/06)

Titusville. Cape Canaveral. Cocoa Beach. Indian Harbor Beach. Indialantic. Melbourne Beach. Melbourne Shores. Floridana Beach. Kennedy Space Center. Cape Canaveral NS. Merritt Island NWR. Dummit Grove.  Allenhurst. Shiloh.

Indian River Co. (7/10/06)

Sebastian Inlet SRA. Pelican Island NWR. Wabasso. Indian River Shores. Orchid.

St. Lucie Co. (7/10/06)

Fort Pierce. Port Saint Lucie. Saint Lucie.

Martin Co. (7/10/06)

Port Salerno. Hobe Sound. Palm City.

Palm Beach Co. (7/10/06)

Jupiter. West Palm Beach. Boynton Beach.

Broward Co. (7/10/06)

Fort Lauderdale. Hollywood. Dania.

Miami-Dade Co. (7/15/06)

Miami Beach. Miami. Coral Gables. South Miami. Kendall. Petrine. Princeton. Naranja. Leisure City. Homestead. Florida City. Key Largo. Tavernier. Plantation Key. Islamorada. Long Key. Duck Key. Miccosukee Res. Everglades NP. Long Pine. Biscayne NP.

Monroe Co. (6/09)

Key Largo. Johnson Hammock SP. Sunset Point. Tavernier. Plantation Key. Islamorada. Long Key. Duck Key. Marathon. Ohio Key. Bahia Honda SP. Big Pine Key. Key Deer NWR. Summerland Key. Sugarloaf Shores. Key West. Fort Taylor SP. Details to come.

Collier Co. (7/15/06)

Monroe Station. Ochopee. Big Cypress NP. Marco Island. Naples Manor. East Naples. Naples. Naples Park. 

Lee Co. (7/16/06)

Passed through the on the way from Naples to Bushnell. Bonita Springs. Fort Meyers.

DeSoto Co. (7/16/06)

Passed through the on the way from Naples to Bushnell.

Charlotte Co. (7/16/06)

Port Charlotte. Punta Gorda. More to come.

Sarasota Co. (7/16/06)

Laurel. Casey Key. Nokomis. Sarasota.

Manatee Co. (7/16/06)

Passed through in the night the on the way from Naples to Bushnell.

Hillsborough Co. (7/16/06)

Tampa. More to come.

Pasco Co. (7/16/06)

Passed through in the night the on the way from Naples to Bushnell.

Hernando Co. (7/16/06)

Passed through in the night the on the way from Naples to Bushnell.

Sumier Co. (7/16/06)

Bushnell. Lake Panasoffkee.

Marion Co. (7/17/06)

Passed through on the way from Bushnell to Cartersville, GA. Ocala.

Alachua Co. (7/17/06)

Passed through on the way from Bushnell to Cartersville, GA. Gainesville.

Union Co. (7/17/06)

Passed through on the way from Bushnell to Cartersville, GA.

Columbia Co. (7/17/06)

Lake City.

Suwanee Co. (7/17/06)

Passed through on the way from Bushnell to Cartersville, GA. Suwanee River.

Hamilton Co. (7/17/06)

Passed through on the way from Bushnell to Cartersville, GA.

Pinellas Co. (6/24/08)

South Pasadena. Pinellas Park. Saint Petersburg. More to come. Saint Pete Beach. More to come.

Escambia Co. (12/31/08)

Century. Gonzalez. Ensley. Pensacola. Pensacola Beach. Warrington. Perdido Key. Gulf Islands NS. More to come.

Santa Rosa Co. (12/31/08)

Gulf Breeze. More to come.

Walton Co. (6/18/09)

Paxton. DeFuniak Springs. Miramar Beach. Point Washington. Eden Garden SP. Grayton Beach. Sea Grove Beach. Topsail Hill SP. Inlet Beach. More to come.

Okaloosa Co. (6/18/09)

Eglin AFB. Crestview. Niceville. Valparaiso. Fort Walton Beach. Destin. Rocky Bayou SP. Henderson Beach SP. More to come.

Bay Co. (6/19/09)

Hollywood Beach. Laguna Beach. Gulf Resort Beach. Bid-a-wee. Panama City Beach. Panama City. Cedar Grove. Calloway. Parker. Tyndall AFB. Mexico Beach. Details to come.

Gulf Co. (6/19/09)

Port Saint Joe.

Franklin Co. (6/19/09)

Nine Mile. Apalachicola. Eastpoint. Saint George Island. Saint George Island SP. Carrabelle. Details to come.

Wakula Co. (6/19/09)

Panacea. Saint Marks. San Marcos de Apalache SP. Newport. Details to come.

Jefferson Co. (6/19/09)

Passed through its forests on the way down to Perry from Panama City.

Taylor Co. (6/19/09)

Perry. Salem.

DixieCo. (6/19/09)

Cross City. Old Town. Fanning Springs.

Levy Co. (6/19/09)

Hardeetown. Chiefland. Manatee Springs SP. Chiefland. Otter Creek. Lebanon. Inglis. Details to come.

Citris Co. (6/19/09)

Red Level. Crystal River. Cutlers. Homosassa Springs. Details to come.

Lake Co. (12/09)

 Details to come.

Orange Co. (12/09)

Orlando. Details to come.\

Hardee Co. (1/10)

 Details to come.

Polk Co. (1/10)

Lakeland. Details to come.

Gilchrist Co. (1/10)

 Details to come.

Madison Co. (1/10)

 Details to come.

Leon Co. (1/10)

 Details to come.

Gadsden Co. (1/10)

 Details to come.

Washington Co. (1/10)

 Details to come.

Holmes Co. (1/10)

 Details to come.


t visited: 6/2009



The Gulf sunset as a summer thunderstorm moves in at stingray-filled Saint Pete Beach. (2008)

The Spanish fortress at St. Augustine was made with seashells. (2006)

Florida is filled with beautiful ocean-side houses like this one in Naples. (2006)

Path leading over the dune to the wild Atlantic beach at Sebastian Inlet SP. (2006)

Beside alligators, we found these huge orange grasshoppers infesting the Everglades. (2006)

The Gulf of Mexico at sunset at Nokomis Beach. (2006)



Photos (c) 2007 by J. Bezold. All rights reserved.