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!

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.

My Disney Tips and Tricks

am going on a trip to visit my family next month and we are going to be heading to Disney. If I could I would live in the Magic Kingdom, but not really. My parents live in Florida so my husband and I go to visit often. That means lots of trips to Disney. I have visited all of the parks many times and I have to say Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are my two favorite! I figured I would share some of my best tips with you all if you are planning a trip to Disney.

Floral Dress, Gold Flats, Gold Earrings, Black Backpack, Black Off the Shoulder Top, Black Flip Flops, Minnie Mouse Ears

As many of you know I am a huge Disney fan! I am going on a trip to visit my family next month and we are going to be heading to Disney. If I could I would live in the Magic Kingdom, but not really. My parents live in Florida so my husband and I go to visit often. That means lots of trips to Disney. I have visited all of the parks many times and I have to say Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are my two favorite! I figured I would share some of my best tips with you all if you are planning a trip to Disney.

1. Pick the right time to go

My number one tip for visiting Disney is picking the right time of the year to go. I recommend not going in the summer and rather going anytime in October through November or January through March. You avoid the crowds and hot temperatures when going those times of year versus the summer. If you do go during the summer, definitely go in June instead of July and August.

2. Make sure to plan ahead

I recommend using the Disney Experience app to plan for your trip. You can buy tickets through the app and also plan fast passes and dinner reservations. Speaking of fast passes, it is smart to plan your fast passes a month in advance. You want to put most of your fast passes in the morning. Once you use the three original passes, then you can sign up for individual ones on the app as well.

3. Plan your dinner reservations

If you know you want to go to a specific restaurant then I would like to encourage you to reserve in advance. You can do that through the My Disney Experience App. One of my absolute favorite restaurants at Disney is the Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom. I also love Rainforest Cafe in Disney Springs. It’s definitely a great experience for kids.

4. What to wear to the parks

I always recommend going with something comfortable. I usually go with a romper or casual sundress and sandals during the fall and wear jeans and a top during January through March. It usually is cooler in the evenings during the fall and spring so always bring a sweatshirt or sweater. I always bring a backpack with snacks, water, and sun lotion.

Hope all of these tips help you all and I can’t wait to share my pictures from my upcoming trip! Hope you all have a great week!

XOXO,

Autumn

5 of our top favorite date night ideas

We LOVE date night which comes every Friday for us! We both have off work that day and take full advantage of that. I wanted to share some our favorite date night ideas. It was hard to narrow it down, but here are my top 5.

Denim jeans,Tan Slides, Tassel Earrings, Similar Top

We LOVE date night which comes every Friday for us! We both have off work that day and take full advantage of that. I wanted to share some our favorite date night ideas. It was hard to narrow it down, but here are my top 5.

1. Adventure somewhere close by:

If you love adventure, then this is a great date idea! We normally have Friday off together, so we can plan a short day trip to somewhere near by. If you live outside of a bigger city area, then consider going into the city. There are always fun things to do together in big cities. Some of our favorite places around the D.C. area have been the free D.C. Zoo, historic Frederick, MD, and the Baltimore Aquarium There are lots of different places for us to visit in the D.C. area. It’s definitely worth the 2 hour trip to go on an adventure somewhere.

2. Candlelight Dinner Date

This one is great if you want a night in and don’t want to spend money on dinner out. We usually whip up something nice for dinner, get dressed up, light a couple of candles, and turn on romantic dinner music. Our first Valentine’s Day was spent doing this. It’s a nice way to connect with each other in a romantic setting. Just make sure to put the phones in another room and don’t turn the TV on either.

3. Game Night With Snacks

This date night is perfect for those who have that competitive side or enjoy some nerdy fun with one another. My husband and I love game night with some snacks. So grab your chocolate chip cookie dough, popcorn, or your favorite snack for this one. My favorite chocolate chip cookie dough for this date night is. I recommend grabbing a bag of Skinny Pop Popcorn for this date too. Some of our favorite board games for two players include Munchkin7 Wonders DuelForbidden Island, and Ticket to Ride. We always have fun playing games together. We hope you enjoy these games as much as we do.

4. Classic Movie and Dinner Date

If we aren’t up for cooking a meal that night, then this is our go to date night. We pick one of our favorite restaurants to go to and a new movie we would like to see. One of the most recent movies we enjoyed was the Greatest Showman and Han Solo. These are definitely two of my most recent favorite movies.

5. Overnight Weekend Getaway for two

We went to Frederick, MD recently and stayed in a hotel there with a pool and hot tub. One of our favorite restaurants, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is there so we made sure to visit and then enjoyed time at the hotel. It’s refreshing and great to getaway for a weekend with each other.

Dating your spouse or significant other is very important. When we have conversations and spend time with our spouse, we grow closer as a couple. Hope you all enjoy these date ideas as much as we do! Please feel free to leave your favorite date suggestions in the comments.

XOXO,
Autumn

D.C. Zoo Adventures

My review on the d.c. zoo and best attire to wear for a casual date.

Tan SlidesWhite Tassel EarringsEmbroidered Jean ShortsSimilar Floral TopAnother Similar Floral TopSunglasses

My hubby surprised me yesterday with a date to the D.C. zoo and one of my favorite restaurants in Frederick. It was the perfect day for the zoo. There were so many exhibits and animals to see there. Plus, it’s a free zoo so that’s amazing! I definitely recommend checking it out if you visit or live near the D.C. area.

My favorite part was the Panda exhibit, they had regular Panda’s and Red Panda’s which look like a mix between a panda and a fox. They also had lots of restaurants and things to do for kids there as well. I love animals, so it was definitely one of my favorite dates so far.

Definitely be prepared for lots of walking while you are there. I am thankful I wore my comfy flats from Target. They were perfect for walking around a lot and also how cute are these embroidered shorts from Target too?! You will want to wear something comfortable for all the walking you will do.

There was a neat frozen yogurt place across the street we went to after the zoo. They had tons of flavors and lots of sorbet which is my favorite. I got a watermelon sorbet, I definitely recommend that flavor.

We ended our Friday night at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Frederick. If you live on the East coast and haven’t tried BJ’s, it’s a must. They have great beer and food, plus the most amazing dessert called Pzcookie. It’s like a giant cookie in a small cast iron skillet, topped with ice cream.

Do you guys enjoy surprise dates from your spouse/significant other? or do you prefer to know ahead of time? Also, I’d love to hear from you all if you have any more small day trip date adventure ideas. I love adventures and visiting new places, so suggestions are appreciated!

Hope you all have a great weekend and Happy Early Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there! Especially my amazing mom, who is the best mom in the world!

XOXO,

Autumn