An offbeat road trip in Florida


We were planning to make best use of the Thanksgiving weekend in the quench for vitamin D & warmth and road trip in Florida was an instaclick.

Enquiring with few fellow travelers, all that we could gather from were – Miami beach and Orlando theme parks.It was too cliche and I was about to drop the plan! Well let’s do research! Started doing my research and BOY! the plan came out to be a lesser known Florida experience of five days. As I am traveling with my 1 year old , I must optimize my plan accordingly. 


Day 1: Arrival and beach hopping

We reached Fort Lauderdale early morning and headed straight to the Hollywood beach thanks to our rented car. It is a serene beauty with mighty azure Atlantic flirting with the white sand beach. When we reached there were few old men relaxing by the beach with cigars and  kids busy building sand castles. It felt more like a warm cozy family beach with sumptuous seafood in little colourful shacks off the beach. Post lunch we headed straight to our stay near Miami downtown. Dropped off the bags in our Airbnb and went straight to Pier 60 by the south beach near Miami to experience a gorgeous sunset.

South Beach-Miami-Florida
Sunset Florida

Day 2 : Key West

Idea was set to experience the scenic route dividing Gulf of Mexico and the mighty Atlantic on either side. We the movie buffs set up a high expectations which was kinda shocked by reality , lolz! Roads were narrow! Slow moving traffic and no peak of water bodies in either side until we had an exhausting 2 hours drive inside the keys. Frustrated we took a little beach break in some non famous local beach where plenty of pups were enjoying cutting through the waves. After that we took a U turn from the Keys to the famous Everglades National park. Everglades share a very unique ecosystem and its spectacular to witness how the flora and fauna has adapted to this unique ecosystem and its most important contributor, the Alligators. We took an airboat tour through the swamps and had a unique but terrifying experience of being stalked by a huge alligator but the guide successfully distracted it. Besides we saw cormorants, turtles and Ahinga, bird all indigenous to this unique ecosystem. After having this thrilling yet daunting experience we came back home to celebrate over Cubano! Delicacies from Little Havana

Versailles Bakery, Florida
Versailles - The Bakery featured in the famous movie 'The Chef'
Little Aryan enjoying in Florida Beach

Day 3 : Tampa

We headed to the lesser visited West Florida from Miami. On the way we stopped made an ad hoc stop at Naples beach, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. There we encountered Pelicans for the first time, relatively harmless but I was literally taken aback by their swift and precise hunting skills .After a good 4.5 hours we reached Tampa from Miami. In the evening we reached our Airbnb in Tampa and headed straight to Ybor City (Cigar capital of the world). The Ybor City seemed to be from a parallel world – brick buildings and roads, lamp stations in short nothing like any traditional architecture other than colonial – which is hard to find apart from tea party cities.

Night in Tampa
Animals of Florida

Day 4 : West Florida beaches

Around Tampa we decided to start with the more well-known beach of the west Florida- Clearwater beach (Name does justice for sure) and then drove down by the shores to a forest reserve which opened up to Honeymoon Island beach. It was a very unique beach where sound of breaking waves seemed to be in direct combat with silence of the forest and the power of both was an overwhelming experience. One of our best experiences from our road trip in florida.

West Florida Beach

Day 5 : Manatees Visit

The trip finally ended with a visit to a very special yet endangered animal unique to Florida, the Manatees. These mammals swim down from the cold sea to the warm spring waters in the Crystal River, where we went to see them, in their natural habitat.They can endure a very specific temperature of 68 degrees fahrenheit to 72 degrees to live in.The evening had a beautiful closure with hand rolled Cigars from Ybor City Mofongo and Cubano which was also born in Florida and not Cuba!!


An almost dropped plan and an awesome 5 day off the track road trip in Florida, Traveling is so refreshing!

About Priyanka

Priyanka is a food and travel enthusiast from Kolkata. She has worked for 6 years in Bangalore, before moving to USA. She travels with her husband and 1 year old  adorable toddler, Aryan!! They have travelled extensively in US and parts of Europe.

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The Exploring Eyes

To him it is his oxygen, to her it is the way of living. Travelling has helped us evolve so much as a person, giving us an entirely different perspective to see the world!

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2 years ago

nicely covered