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#73960 - 09/27/06 11:12 AM Travelling to Florida
Tmpx Offline

Registered: 01/15/06
Posts: 26
Hi Guys,

Next weeks I will be travelling to Florida, (Tampa, Orlando and Fort Meyers area) <img src="/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

Any tips on where to go and what to do(Hikes, atractions, "equipped" shops)? <img src="/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

Thanks in advance,


#73961 - 09/28/06 03:39 AM Re: Travelling to Florida
ratbert42 Offline

Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 178
Loc: Florida
Bass Pro Shops in Orlando is huge and probably worth visiting. They're obviously heavy on fishing, but they have a large hunting section and a reasonable selection of other outdoor gear. Towards St. Petersburg, Bill Jackson Sports is pretty famous too and has a wider range of outdoor gear. Towards Sarasota there's Environeers, a backpacking store that used to sponsor Trailside on PBS. In Clearwater there's Venture Outfitters, a newer backpacking store. There are a few military surplus stores around Tampa and probably Orlando, but they aren't as good as ones near bases with really large units. For some weird stuff, in Orlando there is Skycraft, an electronic junk store.

Attractions. There are the obvious Disney ones. I'm a big fan of Disney resorts and the high standard that Disney maintains, even in their cheapest resort hotels. Personally, we go to Epcot at least 3 times more than any other Disney park. They're about to start their annual international food festival, which more than doubles the number of "native" food offerings they normally have.

In Tampa, Busch Gardens is sort of questionable. We have season passes and go a few times a year, but for almost a Disney price, it's just not as high a quality. The Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa is highly rated and a much better value. Some of the animal experiences are pretty unique, like the manatee exhibit or hand-feeding giraffes or stingrays. I'm not a big fan of the Florida Aquarium or MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) in Tampa, at least not for visitors. We have season passes to both of those and take part in some kids activities there, but for a one-time visit, they're not as impressive as other attractions.

Hiking in Florida is a little sparse. There are a lot of smaller parks for day hikes. We like Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa or Brooker Creek near Tarpon Springs, which are both pretty educational about the different Florida ecosystems. When we just started backpacking, we did overnights at Hillsborough River, Lake Kissimmee, and Myakka River state parks. Myakka is the only one that really has the size for a multi-day hike. If you even wanted to day-hike any of those, you probably need to call the ranger station and see how flooded the trails are.

We've never stayed there, but a few different friends love to car-camp at Fort Desoto park in St. Petersburg. It's almost getting cool enough to be bearable. We'll probably try it this winter.

Another pretty unique experience in the area is fishing off of the old Skyway bridge piers. The old bridge collapsed in 1980 and now the approach piers are used for fishing. Shops there rent tackle and sell bait, so you don't need to bring anything. It's pretty deep water and people make some amazing catches there, especially considering that you can drive out and park right where you fish.

#73962 - 09/28/06 01:38 PM Re: Travelling to Florida
harrkev Offline

Registered: 09/05/01
Posts: 384
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO
You might also want to visit the manatees at Homassasa springs (I hope I spelled that right). I have never been there, but I have manatees about 10 minutes from my house. They are really cool to see up close.

Tampa has Lowery Park Zoo that is nice. Take bathing suites, especially if you have kids. There is a pretty cool science museum downtown and the aquarium there is great. Only a few blocks from the aquarium is an Imax theater.
Darwin was wrong -- I'm still alive

#73963 - 09/28/06 07:05 PM OT
adam Offline

Registered: 04/07/03
Posts: 256
Loc: Long Island, NY
You're getting close to 300 posts! Time to update your signature..... <img src="/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />


#73964 - 09/29/06 04:45 AM Thanks to Ratbert42 and harrkev
Tmpx Offline

Registered: 01/15/06
Posts: 26
Ratbert42 and harrkev thank you very much for the information, this was exactly what I was looking for.



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