Florida has many beautiful springs throughout the state. You can visit any of the springs anytime of year since the water stays 72 degrees. You can kayak, paddle board, and swim at many of them. We absolutely love kayaking in a clear kayak with get up and go. They have several locations to kayak and it’s such a fun activity.
We had the opportunity to kayak at Three Sister Springs last summer and it was a blast! Three sister springs is connected to crystal river which is connected to the gulf side of Florida. When you kayak with get up and go, you first kayak part of Crystal River to get to Three Sister Springs. It’s called three sister because there are three springs connected.
The best time to kayak is November through March as it’s manatee season. You will see lots of manatees all year round. You will see the most though during manatee season. We saw some manatees and dolphins in the river when going during the summer as well. Be ready for a good arm workout!
It costs $60 per person to kayak with get up and go. It’s so worth it for a 2 hour tour with a tour guide and you also can see everything with the clear kayak. This is one of our favorite FL spring and fall activities and we highly recommend checking out all of the local springs. Be sure to check out my other posts about Kayaking on Silver Springs and Rainbow Springs and follow us for more Florida travels.
Florida is a beautiful state that has great weather almost all year round. There are so many great beaches and beach towns to check out in Florida. We wanted to share some of our favorite beaches in Florida along with a couple that are on our bucket list. Now that we are living in Florida, we are able to travel to different beaches in the state and discover different places. Make sure to follow us along on here for our different Florida adventures.
Most East coast beaches are different than West coast in Florida, but as you travel down further on the East coast they do start to look more like the west coast. The East coast side of Florida faces the Atlantic Ocean and the West coast faces the Gulf of Mexico.
East Coast Beaches
Growing up, my family and I always ventured to the East coast side of Florida and also explored some of the Keys as well. One of our go to spots growing up was Cocoa Beach, FL which is a fun spring break spot. It has a family feel, but is also fun and exciting for college students as well.
One of our favorite beaches on the East coast is obviously Satellite Beach as that is where my parents live so we visit often. Corbin and I got engaged at Paradise Beach so it holds a special place in our hearts. The beaches there are much quieter than touristy areas, but still offer a lot of things to do. There are several restaurants and condos along the beach strip there. If you want to find a place to stay, I would recommend checking our Airbnb or VRBO in that area since it’s mostly condos or residential. As you get closer to Melbourne beach, there are a couple of hotels and also several closer to Cocoa Beach as well. These are great beaches to surf at as well and you are only an hour drive from Disney World and the Orlando area making it a great location. Our favorite beaches to go to along that strip are High Tower, Pelican, and Paradise Beach. All of those beaches have nice restrooms and showers as well as lots of food options close by.
Vero Beach is another favorite to visit on the East Coast. If you are looking for a classy vacation environment (aka a little more expensive) then Vero Beach is the place. They have a couple of really nice resorts to stay at and I’m sure places on airbnb. There is quite a bit to do there as well. They have lots of restaurants, shopping, night life, and fun places for families to go. The water is very light blue here as well making this beach very beautiful.
Palm Beach is also a great beach area to check out on the East coast. It has a very classy feel to it as well. They have several resorts and hotels along the beaches there. There is lots of shopping and restaurants to visit. We have not stayed in Palm Beach yet, but it’s on our bucket list to visit this year after baby is born.
Ormond Beach is another favorite of ours, especially for a day trip from Ocala. It’s only an hour and a half drive from Ocala, so we visit this one often for day trips. We had our wedding in Daytona Beach which was nice, but honestly wouldn’t recommend Daytona Beach as a vacation spot unless you are into Nascar. It’s not as much of a family vacation spot since it’s an older city. But we do love the Ormond area and there is definitely a lot more to do there including a great ice cream shop out near the beach that we love to visit.
St. Augustine also needs to be on your list since it’s a very historic area. There is definitely a lot to do there family wise and seeing lots of old castles and buildings. We have not stayed there yet, but that is also on our list to check out this year. Plus they have a really beautiful Christmas light event to check out. So it’s a great area for a family to vacation to.
West Coast Beaches
The West coast has some really beautiful beaches and if you’re looking for that white sand and crystal clear blue water then this is the coast you want to check out. We still have several beaches on the west coast we want to visit, but going to share some of our favorites we have visited.
Madeira/Seaside are beaches are by far our favorites on the west coast. They are a 6 hour drive from us in Ocala and are located in the Panhandle area. These beaches are so beautiful and have the whitest sand and crystal clear light blue water. We love visiting this area in October as the weather is so nice and it’s way less crowded at that time. This area is very touristy and definitely offers a lot for families to do. We typically find an airbnb or vacation rental in this area as that’s mostly what they have to offer. We highly recommend this area and any of the beaches along that area are beautiful. We try to avoid Destin and Panama City as they are a little more of the over touristy areas and often crowded by people.
Sand Key Beach is another favorite of ours and only 2 hours from Corbin and I in Ocala. You want to avoid Clearwater Beach as it’s super touristy, crowded and you pay a ton for parking. If you’re staying at a resort on the beach it’s not so bad, but that would be the only reason I would go to Clearwater Beach. Sand Key Beach is literally 5 mins south of Clearwater and has a ton of parking. Plus they also have chairs and umbrellas you can rent for the day. It’s definitely a favorite of ours. Plus there are a ton of restaurants and things to do being so close to Clearwater.
Fort Desoto Beach is another great beach on the west coast side of Florida. They have lots of parking, great bathrooms, and there is a lot to do there since it’s a park. It’s located south of St. Pete Beaches.
A couple of other beaches we want to visit on the West coast of Florida include Sanibel Island, Honeymoon Island, and Marco Island. All of these beaches are on our list to visit including the Florida Keys as well. We absolutely love Florida and love the beaches here and can’t wait to visit more. Follow us along on here as we share more Florida adventures and visit more Florida beaches.
One of our favorite spring activities in FL is to go kayaking at the springs. There are several springs throughout Florida to explore. Silver springs is a beautiful spring located in Ocala, FL. You can explore the springs on foot, by glass bottom boat, or kayaking. Our preferred way is kayaking.
Our favorite way to kayak at Silver Springs is with Get up and Go Kayaking. These clear water kayaks allow you to see all of the springs well. On this 2 hour tour you will get to paddle all of the spring. You will get to see lots of wildlife along along the way including: monkeys, manatees, and gators as well.
The tour costs $60 per person and includes the kayak and the full 2 hour tour. Make sure to take your phone along with a water bag to be able to capture pictures and videos. Also make sure to bring a couple extra dollars to tip your tour guide.
The best time to visit the springs is November-March as it’s the manatee season. You will see lots of manatees at this time of year and the weather is beautiful as well. I recommend wearing a suit on a warmer day or something comfortable if it’s cooler outside. I also recommend going on the morning tour as it’s the best time to go and less busy.
This is such an unforgettable experience and needs to be at the top of your list this spring!
We love a good date night, especially on the weekends. There are lots of great places to explore in Ocala for date night, but I wanted to share our top seven favorite date night spots. Some of the spots are free and others you have an admission fee for or it’s a restaurant we recommend. Let us know in the comments what your favorite date night spots are.
Kayaking at Silver Springs State Park
If you’re into adventure and enjoy being outdoors this is a great one for November-April. Silver Springs is a beautiful natural springs in Ocala that you can explore either on foot, by kayak, or by glass bottom boat tours. We love kayaking with Get up and Go Kayaking here as their kayaks are clear so you can see all of the springs from your kayak including all of the manatees as well. The tour is a 2 hour tour and we recommend doing it early in the morning for the best time. We always see lots of manatees there and it’s such a great outdoor experience. The tour is $60 per person with get up and go kayaking, but you can also check out renting your own kayaks as well there. You also might see alligators and monkeys along the way. If you aren’t into kayaking, check out the park on foot as well as the glass bottom boat tour.
Grab Coffee/Brunch at the Gathering Cafe
We love coffee shops and checking out local places and this is one of our favorites. It’s a great place to just grab coffee or to sit awhile and order brunch. All of their menu items are made from scratch in their kitchen and they offer so many delicious options. I love to grab my computer and go and work there too.
Appleton Museum of Art
We just recently got to explore the Appleton and it was so much fun! If you love culture and you love art this is a great date night. They do close at 5 pm everyday so make sure to plan ahead for a Saturday for this one. Every first Saturday of the month is free as well, the rest of the time admission is $10 for adults. They have so many cool displays of art to see and they also change out some of the galleries every month. Also, be sure to check out their page for events etc.
Picnic or Stroll at Sholom Park
Sholom Park is one of Ocala’s most beautiful parks and is so peaceful. There are tons of trails throughout the park to explore and great spots to bring a picnic along with you. It’s beautiful all year round! We love to take walks here and take in the beauty of nature. It’s also a great place to take photos and videos if you enjoy doing that.
Grab dessert at Soleil Bakery
Soleil Bakery is an all gluten free bakery that also offers dairy free items as well. They are open on the weekends and in the evenings till 9 pm. They have a ton of tables and places to sit where you can bring board games to play etc. It’s a social house as well as a bakery. They offer different events throughout the year and the desserts are so tasty.
World Equestrian Center
This is a place you must visit in Ocala! The grounds are absolutely gorgeous and they have several restaurants and shops you can visit. They also have a coffee/dessert shop in the hotel. They also have several horse shows going on throughout the year on the weekends that you can check out as well.
Zip The Canyons
This is for those who aren’t afraid of heights and love adventure. It’s an entire zip line course in Ocala and it’s a blast. They have different courses you can pick from. The cost varies depending on which tour you take. They also offer horseback riding if zip lining is not your thing. It makes for a fun and adventurous day.
There are several other events that happen throughout the month that would make for a great date night including the art walk and downtown market. We also love biking on the Baseline trail and the Santos trail as well. Here is a website to check out all of the fun things to do in Ocala and best places to check out for date nights. https://www.ocalamarion.com
This is a special story for our family and close to our hearts as this journey has had it’s up and downs. It’s definitely not gone the way we planned, but are grateful for the way the Lord has guided us through it. I always dreamed of being a mother one day and it has always been a desire of mine. I trusted God with His perfect timing, but this journey did not go as we expected it to.
In July 2021, we had found out we were pregnant and weren’t trying. We were so excited and nervous and didn’t know how we felt about it. At the time, we had talked about being married another couple years before having children and it wasn’t in our plan, but God had a greater plan. When we found out at the doctors they confirmed I was 6 weeks along. I had started to feel some pregnancy symptoms, but didn’t feel very pregnant. I had an ultrasound scheduled for 8/9 weeks with expectations that everything would be just fine. When we went into that appointment with hopeful hearts, we got the worst news we possibly could and it turned into a really tragic day. The midwife did an ultrasound and really had a hard time finding the baby and heartbeat so she sent me to an ultrasound tech at the hospital. As we went through this ultrasound, the tech was very quiet and we kept wondering what was going on. We later got a call that day from the midwife, saying that they found a gestational sac that was measuring 6 weeks but they found no heartbeat. At the moment time stood still as we processed the fact that we had lost our baby and were going to have a miscarriage. My midwife told me to wait for sure to do anything to make sure I wasn’t behind with dating the baby’s age as that can happen. So we cried and mourned as we thought we were losing our baby but we were also hopeful that maybe this wouldn’t be our story. A few days later, I started bleeding and at that moment I knew….our baby was gone. The following weekend, my younger sister was coming into town to go to hershey park with us and I thought I would be fine by this point. This is when it got worse, while at the park that day I had several contractions that were worse than period cramps and felt terrible, but I pushed through the day. The pain started to get worse and as I sat at the starbucks in the park watching the last roller coaster that my husband and sister rode I felt terrible pain and ran to the restroom. That was the moment I had truly lost our baby. So not only was I in so much physical pain but I also was experiencing the worst emotional pain I have ever felt. I truly didn’t know I wanted to be a mom till after experiencing all of this.
After going through lots of grieving and time to process our emotions, I met with a reproductive endocrinologist who did some tests on me. They found that I had a uterine anomaly called a uterine septum. It’s basically a formation to the top of the uterus that makes it hard for a baby to survive and have enough room in there. Thankfully through all of the testing, I was able to have a surgery performed called a hysteroscopy to fix my uterus. So we decided to go ahead with the surgery in late February of 2022. The surgery was successful and I was cleared.
Grief is a really difficult thing to go through and both my husband and I were still processing all of the emotions. We wanted to still have children but were scared of having them to go through a similar situation like we did before. We had to trust God, especially me.
God’s timing is perfect…
We were building a house in 2022 and it was finally finished in August 2022. I had also gone through some mental health issues in June of 2022 that I needed to work out through counseling etc. I remember praying and talking to God in September 2022 and just giving him my desire to have kids. Fast forward to late September and a couple days before my monthly cycle came, I decided to take a test….that test was negative but I decided to not give up hope. I took another test on the day my monthly cycle was supposed to come and it was positive!! I got so excited but was also still in disbelief that it had happened, but two days later I took another one and it was positive again! I was so incredibly excited and I told Corbin the first time I got the positive test and he got so excited after I confirmed it for sure the following two days. We both knew that it was God’s timing and continued to pray for a healthy pregnancy.
The first few two months were scary for us at first and we didn’t feel connected to the baby because of our prior loss. We continued to have faith and hope and trust God and pray lots. Every appointment went so well and the baby had a strong heartbeat since week 6. Fast forward we finally got to week 11 and had a great ultrasound and our baby was doing so well. Once we finally reached 20 weeks, it became very real to my husband and I that we were having a baby and it was very healthy….oh and we found out we were having a girl!! We are now 27 weeks and we can’t wait to meet our little baby girl in June!