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Best Camping Locations in the Orlando Area

Camping in Orlando

For those who love the outdoors, this is great news. While Orlando does have much to offer for outdoor lovers in the way of amusements, sunbathing, and water fun, there is a whole other side to this amazing city, and that other side is the camping locations. Let’s take a look at some of the best camping options in the city of Orlando and the surrounding area so that you can really get in touch with nature on a whole new level.

The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Families, couples, and singles can have a truly unique camping experience when they visit the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort! Spend some time camping in this re-creation of an American Frontier, where you will enjoy the amenities that made Disney World famous in a different atmosphere. You’ll find 750 acres of campgrounds, in addition to recreational activities that include pony, wagon, and carriage rides, the Fort Wilderness Archery Experience, Campfire Sing-a-longs and much more. It doesn’t matter if you are an expert camper or if this is your first time ever on a camping trip, as this campsite caters to people of all levels. Rent a golf cart or ride a bike along the trails as you take in everything that is offered. Now, you can experience Disney World in a way you never imagined as you have the time of your life on this ultimate camping expedition!

Moss Park

At Moss Park, you’ll experience camping at it’s best. Located in the heart of Orange County, Florida, this campsite is great for families, couples, and small groups who want to see wildlife and the beauty of nature in one of the best environments in the entire Sunshine State! Have the best of both worlds as you enjoy the fun of the wilderness or choose to spend some time at the beach area that is located within the park. Go fishing or hiking, or spend some time singing around the campfire. The amenities are wonderful, accessible, and accommodating, ensuring that your camping trip goes as smoothly as possible. The atmosphere is peaceful, completely letting you enjoy everything that surrounds you. Partake in the Scandinavian sport of orienteering, something that you won’t find at many other places! Go kayaking on the lake, hiking along the trails, or enjoy some bird watching at one of the best-kept secrets of Orlando! Tent and RV camping are both available for convenience. Great for leisure and intermediate campers, this is a place you will surely want to come to time and again!

Winter Garden RV Resort

This is camping, Florida-style! Everyone from single people to large families or groups will enjoy coming to Winter Garden RV Resort, as there is so much to see, do, and enjoy. With over 350 sites, the grounds offer amenities such as swimming, games such as shuffleboard, and many other outdoor activities. Set up camp and get in tune with nature, as you will be surrounded by pine trees and wildlife in its natural habitat. Intermediate and expert campers will feel most comfortable here. There is no shortage of things to do at Winter Garden RV Resort, as you embark on a camping trip that you won’t soon forget.

Orlando/Kissimmee KOA Holiday

Whether you choose to stay in a fully furnished deluxe cabin or set up a tent at one of the sites, you’ll want to soak up everything that Orlando/Kissimmee KOA Holiday has to offer! As one of the best campsites in Central Florida, this Kampgrounds of America location appeals to everyone from children to adults. All levels of campers will feel right at home, as the campgrounds offer a castle-themed playground and jumping pad for the little ones, a pool, hot tub, and sauna, bike rentals, and more. Enjoy a game of horseshoes, and don’t forget to stop by the general store to pick up supplies for making s’mores by the fire! With plenty of recreation and welcoming surroundings, Orlando/Kissimmee KOA Holiday will soon become one of your favorite places to enjoy the camping trip of a lifetime.

Orlando NW/Orange Blossom KOA

Another Kampgrounds of America location in Central Florida, Orlando NW/Orange Blossom KOA is a place where families, couples, and groups can create wonderful Florida memories! Amenities for campers of all levels include a pool, dog park, bike rentals, and much more. Meet new friends and bond with those you came to the campsite with as you participate in activities such as corn hole tournament boards, or gather at the playgrounds for some fun. You’ll see some of the most amazing wildlife that you could have ever imagined as you observe cardinals, raccoons, Eastern box turtles, and sandhill cranes. Keep an eye open for the turkeys, green tree frogs, and armadillos, and don’t forget to have the camera ready! Your camping adventure will be nothing short of amazing at Orlando NW/Orange Blossom KOA, thanks to the well-maintained grounds, fishing, boating, and overall wonderful outdoor nature experience. This campsite is truly relaxing and as friendly as can be! You and your group will have a personal experience at this location that is known for being a “slice of paradise”!
Now, you know exactly where to go when you want to experience Orlando from a different perspective! These wonderful campgrounds offer an experience like no other, as you step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and kick back in the true tranquility of nature. You’ll find peaceful, open spaces that allow you to enjoy Florida like never before. Enjoy your love for the great outdoors, taking in all of the scenic beauty that surrounds you at these hidden gems throughout Orlando and the surrounding area!

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The Winter Events and Festivals Worth a Trip to Miami

Everyone knows Miami has enough gorgeous beaches and places of leisure to make it the perfect escape – especially if you’re looking to trade in wintry landscapes for the Floridian sunshine. But there’s more going on in Miami than sipping Mai Tais and gazing at legendary sunsets. With a flurry of festivals of all sizes and a diverse culture that gives Miami its character, choosing just one event to attend might be the most challenging part of planning a Miami getaway. Consider these winter festivals and events in Miami that act as the perfect complement to days spent soaking up the sun in South Beach.

 Art and Culture Festivals

Art Deco Weekend

The art scene in Miami really gets kicked up a notch after the new year, with a variety of energetic festivals taking center stage. At the renowned Art Deco Weekend in mid-January every year, locals and visitors experience a host of live events and shows spanning the posh Ocean Drive shopping district – all with the backdrop of the color-infused, vintage Miami architecture. Jazz demos, retro fashion shows, swanky soirees, classic car shows, and much more fill in the schedule of one of Miami’s longest-running festivals, as this one has been steadily building since it got started back in the mid-1970s.
Patrons are also only steps from some of Florida’s most famous beaches, making it easy to slip in a beach picnic or an ocean dip before heading to the next event. Both an educational outreach program and an event aimed at preserving the famous Art Deco architecture of the area, the Art Deco Weekend is one of the few winter festivals that can truly claim to have something for everyone.

Beaux Arts Festival

Not to be outdone, the Beaux Arts Festival on the University of Miami campus has also emerged as one of the must-see winter events in Miami for art lovers, drawing in artists from all over the world to participate. Designed in the 1950s to introduce young artists to the public, this festival has grown into a widespread celebration of inspiration and artistry. It is complete with a prestigious student showcase that is one of the leading competitions of its kind.
Guests peruse long lines of tents featuring local and international artists and participate in art workshops that are ideal for both families and couples alike. One of the centerpieces of the event, the Beaux Arts Ball, is a radiant costume party that keeps it fun with themes ranging from James Bond to Noah’s Ark.

South Miami Rotary Arts Festival

Also showcasing many of the best local artists in Miami, the South Miami Rotary Arts Festival in late-February is another great option for art aficionados of all experience levels. Held for more than 30 years, this festival takes over the area of South Miami on Sunset Drive (downtown Miami), proudly showing off a spread of artwork, live music, beer gardens, and more in front of the area’s many historic buildings and fine restaurants.

World-class Food Fests and Growing Beer Demos

Imagine tasting the creations of some of the world’s best chefs with your bare feet in the sands of Miami Beach. Held every February, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival brings in acclaimed chefs from all over the world to showcase a spectacular variety of cuisine. Sponsored by The Food Network, the renowned festival is not only a place to taste some of the most delicious flavors your tongue will ever meet, but it’s also a great place to learn the culinary arts no matter your cooking skill (or lack thereof).
Seminars, special dinners, and a variety of live events are spread out throughout five days, catering to both romantic couples and families. With its stunning backdrop overlooking the ocean, high likelihood of celebrity sightings, and new events that are always popping up on the schedule, the festival is easily one of the highlights every winter in Miami.
Another winter favorite, the Miami Beer Festival takes over Marlins Park one night every January, showing off a whirlwind of nectars from breweries around South Florida and beyond. Focusing on craft beers, this festival comes with live music and a line of the best food trucks in Miami, creating an unbelievable atmosphere right on the home field of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins. For a youthful, energetic experience that shows off some of the best tastes of Miami, the up-and-coming Miami Beer Festival is always a good option.
Also, consider:
Near the beginning of March, the Miami Whiskey Mash celebrates the art of whiskey with flavors from all over the world, from Scotland and Ireland to the very best Japanese and American styles. A mellow infusion of jazz is the music of choice in a low-key event that has taken off in only a handful of years since its inception. Meanwhile, the International Chocolate Festival is a celebration of the cacao plant guaranteed to enliven your test buds. Held at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, the chocolate fest features a series of lively demos from experts to go with some of the most mouth-watering chocolates you’ll ever find.

Boating and Heritage festivals

As one of the very best cities for boating in the U.S., Miami is a wonderland for boating enthusiasts and the natural home for an enormous boat festival that takes over the waters in mid-February. Held at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, the Miami International Boat Show is where you can find any power boat imaginable, from slick and fast to the perfect vessels for a plodding pleasure cruise along the Biscayne Bay. Complete with delectable foods from local vendors and instructional seminars, the boat show is where you can check out some of the best boats in the world, learn a thing or two about the ins and outs of boating, or simply sip cocktails at the water’s edge overlooking the bay.
Another key event held at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin along with nearby Miamarina, the Strictly Sail Miami Boat Show is dedicated to celebrating the art of sailing. Also held in February, the show boasts top-of-the-line catamarans and a wide range of cutting-edge sailing gear, making it a must for anyone who loves to sail – or simply would love to get into it someday.

Redland Heritage Festival and Craft Fair

While sailing is a tradition that goes back a very long time in Miami, visitors also get a chance to see the roots of the region up close and personal at the Redland Heritage Festival and Craft Fair. A family-friendly event that has all kinds of events for kids of different ages, the festival is the perfect escape from the hustle-bustle of Miami and shows the pristine subtropical landscape of South Florida in vivid detail. Held at the rural Fruit and Spice Park about 20 minutes from downtown Miami, the Redland Heritage Festival has events like Everglades wildlife shows, pony rides, petting zoos, and more to keep you occupied as you wander the sprawling botanical garden. The park itself is also a sight to see on its own, as it has a staggering collection of fruit and spice trees brought over from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
Although there are plenty of big events and festivals that take place every winter in Miami, don’t forget to keep an eye out for smaller fests that might give you a terrific close-up of the local culture. Neighborhoods like Little Havana, the Design District, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables are constantly hosting fun local events that remind everyone Miami is more than just an assortment of immaculate beaches. With its outstanding winter weather and a vast collection of annual events and festivals, Miami has more than enough to keep you occupied both day and night whatever your interests happen to be.

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5 Historic Homes of Famous American Authors

Visiting the homes and places where America’s literary luminaries lived and worked can give new insight into a favorite author’s work –or just deepen your understanding of another culture and another time. Here are several places that honor U.S. authors’ literary heritage.

Emily Dickinson Museum–Amherst, Massachusetts

280 Main Street

The museum includes two historic homes and gardens where this reclusive poet spent most of her days: the Homestead where she was born and lived most of her life and the neighboring Evergreens, home to her brother and his family.
The Homestead, probably the first brick house in Amherst, remained in the family until 1916. While many of the poet’s belongings and family furnishings are lost, the museum has faithfully recreated rooms so visitors can sense the environment in which the poet found her voice. The Evergreens is one of the earliest and best-preserved examples of Italianate domestic architecture in Amherst. The house is complete with Dickinson family furniture, household items, and decor selected and displayed by the family during the 19th Century.
A path described by Emily as “just wide enough for two who love” links the two houses. The landscaped grounds give further insight into this poet who assured us “Success is counted sweetest by those who n’er succeed.”

Robert Frost Stone House Museum–Shaftsbury, Vermont

121 Historic Route 7A

Open on Wednesday through Sunday in June through October from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Robert Frost’s 1769 Stone House Museum was his home for nine years during which he wrote his first Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poetry. He composed “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” at the dining room table on a hot, summer day. Situated on seven acres, visitors can see diverging paths and yellow woods that inspired him. Rugged, stone fences are still standing. But which neighbor inspired the line “Good fences make good neighbors?”
Walking trails around the property spark the imaginations of would-be poets. For those looking for a healthy snack, Frost’s apple trees still yield fruit. There are apple trees throughout the property as frost planned to be an apple farmer, not a poet.
The museum expects to have poetry readings at the house and bluegrass concerts on the grounds, so check before you go if you would like your visit to be enhanced by a performance.

The Steinbeck House–Salinas, California

132 Central Avenue

The birthplace and boyhood home of John Steinbeck is a Queen Anne style Victorian house built in 1897 and occupied by the Steinbeck family in 1900. It opened to the public as a restaurant in 1974 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The menu makes a few nods to Steinbeck’s novels such as East of Eden pasta, and Steinbeck photos and memorabilia cover the walls. It is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday.
The National Steinbeck Center is just a two-block walk from the home and houses the largest archive of the writer’s work. The museum, divided into sections, tells the story and the history of his most famous novels. The visuals help visitors picture key fictional scenes and historical eras in the author’s life. Using his words as the narrative, the exhibit navigates guests through theatrical sets and displays so they can step into Cannery Row, the Depression, the Dust Bowl, and more.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum–Key West, Florida,

907 Whitehead Street

Open every day including holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hemingway called Key West the “San Tropez of the Poor,” and lived for ten years in the heart of the city’s old town. His French Colonial house, built in 1851, has many of Hemingway’s furnishings and artworks. Visitors can see where he wrote To Have and Have Not, The Green Hills of Africa, and other important works. The lush grounds are home to more than 40 cats, some descendants of the six-toed cats the novelist nurtured. A urinal Hemingway yanked from Sloppy Joes, a favorite bar, still waters the cats.
Sloppy Joes is the bar made famous by the hard-working, hard-drinking writer. There is a long curving bar inside with scars from generations of visitors and Hemingway fans. Open 365 days a year, Sloppy Joe’s offers food, drinks, live music and dancing, all with that offbeat, Key West ambiance. Each summer, the bar hosts a Hemingway look-alike contest where more than 100 men grow beards and do their best to dress like the Nobel winning author.
Key West’s Hemingway Days Festival coincide with his birthday in July and is a moveable feast of hard-driving activities including a mock bullfight. Sloppy Joes is the epicenter of the festival.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum–Mansfield, Missouri

Rocky Ridge Farm, 3060 Highway A

Open March 1 to November 15: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The author of the beloved “Little House” books did most of her writing as an adult reflecting on her childhood in a pioneering family. She and her husband Almanzo lived in a one-room cabin on the 200-acre Rocky Ridge Farm until the completion of their farmhouse in 1913. Today the farmhouse is a museum and visitors can tour her home, see her study and writing desk, and view many of Laura’s treasures that remain exactly how she left them.
The museum contains the most comprehensive Ingalls and Wilder family collections in the world. It includes Pa’s fiddle that accompanied the Ingalls family on their homesteading adventures and set Laura off on her married life with the song “These Happy Golden Years.”
Christmas at Laura’s is a favorite tradition. The house is festive with vintage decorations and Kids can have their photos taken with Santa by Laura’s fireplace. Guests can taste a sample of Laura’s recipes and take a copy of the recipe home. The bookstore in the house museum is a good place to find a quaint, unusual holiday gift. This is the only time the museum is open in winter.
It is wise to check the website of these literary homes before you make plans. Most are ran by small groups of volunteers, so times can change.

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Sarasota’s Best Kept Secrets: Things To Do in Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota Bay
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Sarasota Bay

You can spend a day enjoying the water and views, or have lunch at one of the many seafood shacks in the neighborhood, all of which are serving the freshest fishes possible. Known for its culture and much more, Sarasota is one of the ultimate places in which to find many hidden gems.

Rosemary District

The Rosemary District in downtown Sarasota is one of the premier romantic spots in town. Bordered by the Tamiami Trail, Orange Avenue, and also by 3rd and 10th Streets, it is adjacent to other downtown neighborhoods, including Burns Court, Towles Court, and Laurel Park. Enjoy the enchanting waterfront views that are offered here, as well as several locally-owned small businesses. With a historical heritage dating back to 1886, the Rosemary District is home to cafes, boutiques, galleries, and art studios. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a restaurant of the same name, The Rosemary, or do some shopping at Canned Ham Vintage, Home Resource, or the Rosemary District Indie Market. With its unbeatable location and wonderful walkability, the Rosemary District is one of the most entertaining places in the city.

Siesta Key

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Siesta Key

A barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, Siesta Key is a quaint, 8-mile long island offering shopping, resorts, dining, and nightlife. The beaches consist of lovely, fine sand that is 99% pure quartz and always cool to the touch, as well as turquoise water, making Siesta Key a true piece of paradise. The sub-tropical climate is perfect for many species of exotic flowers, tropical trees and flowering shrubs and plants. Entertainment includes music, theater, and ballet for those who enjoy the performing arts. Have a great meal at The Coolinary, or browse jewelry at Created Gems. Whether you choose to explore the entire island or spend the day in a single a spot on the beach, there is no wrong way to enjoy Siesta Key. 

Downtown Sarasota

The cultural center of the City, Downtown Sarasota is like a world in itself. As the home to wonderful shops, restaurants, and galleries, the downtown is situated on Sarasota Bay where everyone can enjoy a walk past docked yachts and charter boats or stop by a lively tiki bar. As for things to do, there is something for everyone. Take a tour of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where you’ll find more than 20,000 plants and some of the rarest orchids in the world. Or, let loose at The Gator Club, where you can enjoy live rhythm and blues, top 40 and reggae. Art Center Sarasota has three separate galleries with plenty to do and see. When the time comes for a bite to eat, the possibilities are endless! Owen’s Fish Camp offers Southern-style cuisine in a historic cottage. For a more romantic choice, choose Bijou Cafe, for European and French cuisine like you’ve never tasted. Or visit Marina Jack’s, where you can take in breathtaking views of the Sarasota Bay while indulging in some of the finest creations in the city. When you want to go beyond the beach, Downtown Sarasota is the place to be. Fun named streets such as Pineapple, Orange, Lemon, and Palm truly capture the Florida vibe. Events are held throughout the year, so no two days in the downtown area are alike! Come and enjoy everything that the area has to offer.

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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Ringling Art Museum

This is a museum that is enjoyed by people from all walks of life! Works of art include pieces from different times and cultures, such as Medieval, Renaissance, Greek, and Roman. Also, enjoy pieces from Ringling Bros., which cannot be seen anywhere else! You can enjoy performances, special events, and numerous exhibitions. Open daily, this museum is certainly a must-see attraction whenever you are in Sarasota!

Lido Key Beach

Quite possibly one of the most beautiful and serene beaches in the entire state of Florida, Lido Key Beach is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the sand, water, and sunshine! With pure white sand, recreation areas, picnic tables, and even a pool, this beach is definitely something special. Lido Key Beach has calm water and a relaxing atmosphere. Spend a few hours here, and it feels like a lifetime. Visitors love indulging in the amazing sights and sounds of this amazing beach.

Father_and_children_paddleboarding_WorldviaSarasota Paddleboard Company

Paddleboarding is a great activity, and Sarasota is the ideal place in which to do it. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and let the fun speak for itself. You can have it delivered straight to your hotel or rental property, or, schedule time with an instructor. Whether you choose to kayak through the Lido Key Mangroves or paddleboard on Long Boat Key, the Sarasota Paddleboard Company offers an experience that you will remember forever. Make the most of your trip to Sarasota by truly indulging in the Florida lifestyle.

Sarasota Classic Car Museum

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Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Don’t worry, there are plenty of indoor activities that make Sarasota a wonderful place to visit! The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is conveniently located in the heart of the city. As the second oldest operating antique car museum in the country, you’ll experience the evolution of automobiles over a period of many years. Featuring over 70 cars for you to see, you’ll enjoy names including Bentley, DeLorean, and Ferrari. You can also see cars that are just as famous as their owners, such as John Lennon’s Mini Cooper as well as his Mercedes Benz. The changing exhibits ensure that there is always something new and exciting for everyone to see. Come and learn about the history of the Sarasota Classic Car Museum, which was starting many years ago by brothers Herbert and Bob Horn.
As one of the premier places in South Florida, Sarasota has endless offerings of amazing things for all visitors to enjoy. You’ll be in awe of the beautiful sights that the town has to offer, as you enjoy all of the wonderful activities.