Top Things to do in Ocala, FL

We are so excited to call Ocala, FL home now. We love all of the beautiful moss covered trees and historic downtown area. We wanted to share some of our favorite local highlights. Be on the lookout for a part two as we get to know our area better.

World Equestrian center

This is a must see in Ocala, FL and you can’t visit Ocala without seeing WEC. It looks like a building you would see in Europe. This is one of our favorite places to visit, take pictures, and walk around. They have five different restaurants on site, tons of shops, a lot of horse shows going on throughout the year, a five star hotel with a pool, special events throughout the year including the Christmas Winter Wonderland event in December, and a beautiful chapel. All of the decor in their hotel is regal animal themed and absolutely gorgeous. You can visit WEC anytime of the year for free besides special ticketed events. Here are some pictures of WEC below.

Trails for Biking

One of our favorite things to do in Ocala is go biking or hiking and they have so many beautiful trails that are a part of the FL National Forest. Our favorite trail is the Greenway Trailhead at Baseline. It’s surrounded by beautiful pine trees and moss covered trees. We love biking through this trail and it’s a great trail for many activities. We also have enjoyed Santos Trail as well for biking.

Downtown Ocala

Downtown Ocala has so much to offer between their Market days, to art walks, to lots of shops and restaurants. We absolutely loved the light up Ocala event this year where we got to see the whole town square light up in Christmas lights and they had several local businesses and vendors there as well. Symmetry Coffee is a little coffee shop downtown that is a really cute place for coffee and pictures. We also love Harry’s Seafood, Salyulita’s, Ivy House, and Merevino downtown. The square has a really cute gazebo and lots of moss covered trees. It’s the perfect spot for strolling downtown or taking pictures. We haven’t checked out Market day but are planning on doing that soon.

Kayaking at Rainbow Springs or Silver Springs

There are a couple of local springs around Ocala including Rainbow and Silver Springs. If you want to go on a glass bottom boat tour then Silver Springs is your go to. That is on our list of things to try soon. Rainbow Springs is perfect for Kayaking and Tubing. We just went kayaking and what an amazing experience it was. The views are gorgeous and don’t forget to check out kayak tours with Get up and go kayak at Rainbow Springs. Plus you get to see a lot of FL wildlife while on the water. It’s also such a peaceful experience! Be prepared to get wet!

Ocala Civic Theatre

If you enjoy entertainment and seeing shows then this is the place for you. I got to see It’s a Wonderful Life with my husband recently and it was such a great experience. It was a very professional show. They have a lot of shows happening throughout the year.

These are just some of our top favorite things right now to enjoy. We can’t wait to explore more of Ocala and share more spots with you all in part two of our blog post. More FL travel guides and places to visit in FL coming soon!

Gift Guide for Him

It’s already that time of year when all the Christmas decorations go up and we start to shop for our loved ones. This was my most requested gift guide and I’m so excited to share all of these ideas that came directly from my husband.

Fashion/Everyday Use

Electronic/Photography

Books/ Video Games/ Gift Cards

Gift Guide for Her

My favorite time of year is finally here! I love the Christmas season with all of the lights, fun, and family time. I wanted to give you all a gift guide for the women in your life, whether mom, sister, wife, or daughters. These are some of my favorite things on my current list. Use this link below to shop at Pink Lily and code Autumn15 at Grace and Lace for 15% off!

Home/Cozy

Cozy Sweaters, Coats, and Casual Outfits

Dressy Outfits

Jewelry

Beauty/Make up

Use code: Autumnturner for 15% off!

Hoping this helps get you started shopping for the Holiday season! Stay tuned for more gift guides coming next week!

Travel Guide to Cocoa Beach, FL

Cocoa Beach, FL is one of my favorite places to visit. Growing up in high school and college, we would visit there every spring break with my family and it was always a blast. My parents now live 20 minutes from there and I get to visit often. I wanted to share some of my top favorite spots to visit there including my favorite restaurants, places to stay and things to do in the area.

Restaurants

There are so many different restaurants in the Cocoa Beach area, but here are some of my favorites.

Sunset Grille-has great views and good food

Squid Lips-this is my favorite one, has great views, live music, great cocktails and amazing food! My favorite dish is the grilled shrimp with green beans and fries.

Coconuts on the beach-if you’re looking for a fried seafood place and great lunch spot with beach views this is your place. They also have a large selection of cocktails.

Frigate’s-technically this restaurant is not in Cocoa Beach but it’s only about 20 minutes from Cocoa Beach and you don’t want to miss this place. It sits on the river with a beautiful view and amazing seafood! I love the mahi and the hog fish with the sweet potato fries.

Long Doggers-another great place for lunch or more of a casual dinner. They have a lot of delicious sandwiches and fried seafood as well here. My favorite is the grilled mahi on a gluten free bun with fries.

Pineapples-is a new place that just opened up and although I haven’t tried it yet. My parents said it’s got amazing food and they also have live music and dancing.

Tiny Turtle-I haven’t eaten here before, but it’s listed as one of the best restaurants in Cocoa Beach and they have a great breakfast.

Fat Donkey-this is a must have stop for dessert. They have some of the best ice cream and they have a bunch of non dairy ice cream and it is the best I’ve ever had anywhere.

There are so many more places, but these are just a few of my favorites!

Things to Do

There are so many different things to do in Cocoa Beach since it’s a vacation spot. I listed some of my favorites.

Mini Golf at either the Lighthouse Cove Golf or Gator Golf

The Pier/Beach

The Space Center

Ron Jon Surf Shop and Downtown Cocoa

Surfing

Disney is only a short hour drive

Places to stay

I have not stayed in many of the resorts or condos as my family always went to one resort. But I’m going to share the top ones along with our favorite resort growing up.

Cocoa Beach Resort-this is the resort we always stayed at and loved! It has a great pool with a waterfall and volleyball net. They also have basketball courts, tennis courts, and beach access. The rooms are beautiful as you can get an ocean view room. Also, we loved that they had a ton of activities as well including movie nights.

Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront

Discovery Beach Resort

Crowne Plaza in Melbourne

Beachside Hotel and Suites

Holiday Inn Club Vacation

Cocoa Beach, FL is definitely a fun and great family destination with a lot to do there. I hope this helps in planning your next trip to Cocoa Beach. Let me know in the comments if I missed any great places. I will be sharing more travel guides with you all in the next couple of weeks.

30A FL Travel Guide

My husband’s family and I traveled to Panama City, FL area recently and had a blast. I wanted to share where we stayed, the things we did, and the restaurants we ate at. The Gulf side of FL is a must see spot and is a great vacation spot.

My husband’s family and I traveled to Panama City, FL area recently and had a blast. I wanted to share where we stayed, the things we did, and the restaurants we ate at. The Gulf side of FL is a must see spot and is a great vacation spot.

Where we stayed:

We stayed in a Condo right on the beach in the Laguna Beach area and my in laws found it on VRBO. I will link it here for you all, but Airbnb and VRBO have a bunch of condos and houses that are right on the beach to stay in. I would aim to find one close to Panama City for affordable options but would not recommend staying in Panama City since it is not as nice of an area.

Things to do:

There are so many things to do in that area. The beach is beautiful and really clear. We even saw some sting rays and crabs in the ocean while we were there. It would be fun to get some snorkeling gear so you could use for it. Definitely check out downtown Seaside, FL there are a ton of shops and food trucks there as well as live movies in the amphitheater. I also love all of the cute buildings which are perfect to capture some gorgeous shots. Don’t forget to visit the 30A store and Seaside store for cute gifts and clothes. We also ate ice cream at a cute gelato shop called Heavenly’s Shortcakes.

Rosemary and Alys beach are both close by too. Rosemary Beach is absolutely gorgeous! The streets remind me of a town in Italy and there are also a ton of shops and restaurants here. There is also a great coffee shop called Amavida and I got a non dairy cookie dough latte there. You can also bike in Rosemary, Aly’s Beach, and Seaside. They have several places to rent bikes.

Restaurants:

We ate at a couple really great restaurants while we were there. I am going to include the ones we ate at as well as some other recommended restaurants.

George’s in Alys Beach:

The food was amazing here and the atmosphere was great! They have indoor and outdoor seating. Inside is a little loud, so if you are looking for a quieter setting I recommend sitting outside. Make sure you get there early to put your name on their waitlist too. I got the Jerk Crusted Gulf Snapper and it was amazing and they made it for me gluten and dairy free! My husband and his parents got the Shrimp plate which you can get grilled or fried. They also have a wide selection of drinks to choose from.

Old Florida Fish House:

If you want an amazing atmosphere then this will be a must on your list of restaurants to visit. Most of their seating is outdoors and it’s lined with market lights and beautiful plants. The food is also amazing. I did have a hard time finding something dairy free on the menu, but they were willing to make me a grouper with french fries and green beans. I had a really delicious watermelon cocktail. They also have live music and events on the weekends and can accommodate for special events. There are a ton of places to take pictures there and there is the cutest coffee shop/wine bar next door that is on our list for next time.

Crackings in Grove Garden:

This is a must stop for brunch food. They have live music and the most delicious brunch food. They had a lot of options for my allergies including gluten free pancakes. I went with the scramble though since the pancakes do have dairy in them. They also have outdoor and indoor seating. Make sure you put yourself on the wait list before you arrive since they do have a long wait on the weekends.

Other restaurants to visit

Cuvee 30A (Rosemary Beach

Pescado (Rosemary Beach)

The Citizen (Aly’s Beach)

Great Southern Cafe (Seaside)

Seaside Food Trucks ( lots of different food to choose from here)

Havana (Rosemary Beach)

Bud and Alley’s (Seaside)