Of course you want to visit the beaches!  But take some time to enjoy the places the locals love to  visit!  There’s more to Florida than sand and sun.

  • Florida Botanical Gardens, located in Largo Florida, and a favorite for wedding venue.  Enjoy beautifully tended gardens featuring the Florida landscape flowers, bushes and trees.  While visiting you can walk next door to visit Heritage Village.  Walk the dirt paths under tall Florida pines, while experiencing a feel of the past with historic buildings; homes, schools, train depot to name a few.   If visiting during the M-F, make sure to stop by the Home Extension Office.  Lots of learning going on between these three venues.    NO ADMISSION FEES
  • Sunken Gardens.   A blast from the past.  One of Florida’s oldest tourist attractions.  Located in St Petersburg, FL, this park has been restored to a beautiful garden featuring a deep natural sink hole.   Next door to the garden is the hands-on children’s museum Great Explorations.   Both venues require admission tickets.
  • Kayak Weedon Island Preserve with Sweetwater Kayaks.   There is no better way to  enjoy the Florida Mangroves than on a kayak at Weedon Island.  Travel long tunnels of mangroves into open lakes.  Nature surrounds you in this  3,190 acre preserve.   FREE ADMISSION to the PreserveSee rates for SweetWater Kayak rental.
  • Dali Museum.  Need we say more?   The art of Salvador Dali finds its home in Downtown St Petersburg. The building itself is an architectural artwork.  Close to the water of Tampa Bay, next to University of South Florida St Pete Campus and next door to the Mahaffey Theater.  Find a parking spot and spend the day walking around Downtown St Pete.  So many museums to visit!   Parking availability: Paid parking garages, metered street parking and free street parking.  Requires admission tickets.
  • Glazer Children’s Museum.   Downtown Tampa on the Riverwalk.   Enjoy the day with the kids playing, splashing, building and experimenting.  Glazer Museum is a hands on museum for children of all ages.  Located in downtown Tampa, you can enjoy a quick bite on-site at Subway, or walk to nearby restaurants throughout the downtown area.  If the sun is out and temperatures allow, have a swim suit or second set of clothing, as kids LOVE to run and play in the water fountains just outside the museum.   Excellent children’s playground just outside towards the Riverwalk, too.  Make it a day for the whole family!  Parking Garage and metered street parking.   Requires admission tickets
  • The City of Gulfport.   Southern Florida Charm….with a twist.   The town motto, “Keep Gulfport weird!”   Historic Gulfport has a quaint main street with local boutiques and a peppered with a variety of local restaurants.   Gulfport is known for its flare for art, the Geckofest and the Gulfport Casino Ballroom.  They Casino Ballroom is a favorite location for wedding receptions. Check their event calendar, there is always something going on.  Free street side parking
  • Hillsborough River State Park.  One of Tampa’s largest local parks, and a favorite for decades.   Experience the wildlife of old time Florida.  Canoe and kayak the Hillsborough River.  You are certain to find ample gators to view!  Excellent photo op to get that selfie of you and a few Alligators…but stay safe and don’t get too close!  Camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing and kayaking are all available at this state park.  They even host weddings!  Admission fees to park, camping and activities. 
  • Tampa Theater.  Located in Downtown Tampa, Franklin Street, this beautiful venue was built in 1926.  In the 60’s the building was closed and unattended.  Thankfully in the early 70’s the Tampa community rallied together to save this historic building.  It reopened in 1977, and recently went a full renovation in 2017.  “The Police” even debuted in the Tampa area at the Tampa Theater soon after it reopened, and the ticket price was $1.98.  Tampa Theater has been going strong since 1977 offering special summer showings, special engagements, backstage tours, and during the month of October, they’ve been known to host the Ghost Tours.  Make time to visit this one-of-kind theaters…truly a gift from the past.   Admission fees required.  Metered street parking and garage parking.
  • Big Cat Rescue.  Located in the north end of Tampa, you will find this wild life rescue property.   Big Cat Rescues is one of the WORLD’s largest accredited sanctuaries for abused and abandoned large cats.  Several tours are offered, and some have age limits.   it is necessary to BOOK IN ADVANCE, and spots fill quickly.  Here’s a link to get a better idea on what this venue has to offer during your visit.  Admission fees required.  Reservations required.

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