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Thread: Suggestions for Florida?

  1. #1
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    Suggestions for Florida?

    I'll be in Florida for about 8 days starting Tuesday next week. Flying into Orlando and out of Miami with a decent bit of travel in between. Will be in Orlando, St. Augustine, Clearwater, Ft. Meyers/Sanibel Island, and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. Any suggestions on interesting places to visit or good locations for some shots? The trip is primarily a family vacation with my wife and 3-month-old son, but I definitely want to get whatever photos I can while I'm there. I've been to the Orlando and Clearwater areas before, so I know what to expect there but the other locations I don't know much about. I'm really looking forward to visiting the everglades and possibly the start of the keys so any suggestions are welcome!!
    Stephen

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    Senior Member thekingb's Avatar
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    Suggestions for Florida?

    Quote Originally Posted by NFLD Stephen View Post
    I'll be in Florida for about 8 days starting Tuesday next week. Flying into Orlando and out of Miami with a decent bit of travel in between. Will be in Orlando, St. Augustine, Clearwater, Ft. Meyers/Sanibel Island, and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. Any suggestions on interesting places to visit or good locations for some shots? The trip is primarily a family vacation with my wife and 3-month-old son, but I definitely want to get whatever photos I can while I'm there. I've been to the Orlando and Clearwater areas before, so I know what to expect there but the other locations I don't know much about. I'm really looking forward to visiting the everglades and possibly the start of the keys so any suggestions are welcome!!
    Stephen
    If you like shooting birds, interesting ones are everywhere.

    In Orlando, go to Gatorland if you haven't already. Yes, there are lots of alligators. But the real attraction is that it has become a natural bird sanctuary. I was in heaven.

    For a more natural setting, get to the Everglades down in the Ft Lauderdale area. Holiday park is a good place. http://www.evergladesholidaypark.com/ The airboat tour is touristy but I've been happy with it the few times I've gone. Good guides with good info.

    If you're going south of Miami, you really should stop at Robert Is Here. It's an experience all to itself. http://www.robertishere.com/xcart/home.php The smoothies are totally worth it.

    Have fun!

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    Member Local Hero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NFLD Stephen View Post
    I'll be in Florida for about 8 days starting Tuesday next week. Flying into Orlando and out of Miami with a decent bit of travel in between. Will be in Orlando, St. Augustine, Clearwater, Ft. Meyers/Sanibel Island, and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. Any suggestions on interesting places to visit or good locations for some shots? The trip is primarily a family vacation with my wife and 3-month-old son, but I definitely want to get whatever photos I can while I'm there. I've been to the Orlando and Clearwater areas before, so I know what to expect there but the other locations I don't know much about. I'm really looking forward to visiting the everglades and possibly the start of the keys so any suggestions are welcome!!
    Stephen

    Living in Florida I kind of feel obligated to respond. Of all the places you are heading I could probably give the best advice for St. Augustine. As I'm sure you are probably aware it is the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the United States. It isn't that large of a town but there are a number of historic building you can see.

    If you were going to tour downtown I'd start at the old Spanish Fort then walk down St. George street toward the other side of town. There are a lot of shops and good weather permitting street vendors and artists. If you are in the area for lunch or dinner I highly recommend you try the Columbia Restaurant.

    If you like architecture should swing by Flagler College, Memorial Presbyterian Church, & Lightner Museum.

    Additionally if you take the Bridge of Lions (HWY 1A) over the inter-coastal from downtown you can get to the lighthouse. Not far from the lighthouse is the Alligator Farm which can be fun. Also in that area is Anastasia State Park which is a state park along the ocean. Just south of the state park along A1A Beach Blvd there is a pier that goes out into the ocean. Here is a picture I took there recently of the sunrise when our family was there in March.




    Well I hope that helped.
    Patrick

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    For birds also....in the Sanibel area check out Little Estero Lagoon. A bit north (near Tampa) is Ft. DeSoto State Park ($5 entry fee)....awesome for birds and a great beach too.

    A bit west of Orlando near Lakeland is the Circle B Bar Preserve .... 1500 acre wildlife preserve with very nice walking trails .... gators and birds galore. Lots of trees with spanish moss along the trails, really beatiful. The trails are 1 to 3 miles long. No entry fee.

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    Senior Member nvitalephotography's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Local Hero View Post
    Living in Florida I kind of feel obligated to respond.
    Guess that means I should reply as well since I live in south florida. Most of my suggestions are for bird locations. Bird activity really peaked about a month or so ago so there is less going on now.


    Sanibel is really nice, the beaches are all great there. Ding Darling NWR is good for birds, (they may be repaving the autotour when your here though. If so, then I would skip going here).


    Loop road off of Tamiami trail in big cypress is really pretty and I highly suggest visiting. (don't forget to stop in Clyde Butchers photo gallery if you go here)Just past that on the same road is Shark Valley (part of Everglades national park) which usually has great wading bird activity and a observation tower that gives you a good view of the everglades.

    Normally I would suggest Anhinga trail down in the other end of the national park but bird activity there has really slowed down in the last few weeks. Of course if you get there at sunrise you can get some good photos of alligators displaying and bellowing. Driving the rest of the park road is worth it if you have the time as well. Lots of spots to stop and look for birds if you like that sort of thing. Once you get all the way down to the end to Flamingo (1 hour drive from the entrance) there is a good chance of seeing Crocodiles and manatees in the marina.

    For a more natural setting, get to the Everglades down in the Ft Lauderdale area. Holiday park is a good place. http://www.evergladesholidaypark.com/ The airboat tour is touristy but I've been happy with it the few times I've gone. Good guides with good info.

    If you're going south of Miami, you really should stop at Robert Is Here. It's an experience all to itself. http://www.robertishere.com/xcart/home.php The smoothies are totally worth it.
    I will disagree with the first suggestion and agree with the second suggestion. I use the boat ramp at holiday park a lot for work. The tours seem very informative and are probably great, but the place is always super busy and for a fun air boat ride, I would suggest one of the places on Tamiami Trail, the seem much better.

    Robert is Here is very cool, and has a bunch of really strange fruits. With that said, it is only 5 miles from where I live and I have only been there twice because it is always packed with tourists and can be pricy.

    St. Augustine is really great for architecture, as stated above. and I would highly suggest visiting there as well.

    The keys are great, but you really have to dedicate an entire day to it in my opinion to make it worth it. But the keys provide an abundance of good photo opportunities (birds and landscapes)

    Miami itself has some neat areas, but I haven't spent enough time there to have any specific suggestions. Key Biscayne is a good spot essentially in Miami, you can get some good cityscapes from here and there is a lighthouse as well.

    Remember your sunscreen, and if you go into the everglades bring some good bug spray.
    Last edited by nvitalephotography; 05-04-2013 at 03:04 PM.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    I've been to Sanibel and Captiva Islands a couple of times. In terms of photography, try the mounds of small shells at Blind Pass. Bowman's Beach and Blind Pass are both great for sunsets. The Lighthouse at Lighthouse point is pretty good as well. I've done Ding Darling two different ways, the auto tour road and then kayaked the southern side. Both were interesting and fun.

    But, more importantly, the food....Pink Flamingo has great grouper sandwiches. The Bubble Room on Captiva is eclectic fun and has great desserts. And the Mucky Duck on Captiva has pretty good food as well, but there it is all about the location. Then, if you are feeling adventurous, take/rent a boat and head up to Cabbage Key. Rumored to be the inspiration for the Jimmy Buffet Song "Cheeseburgers in Paradise." The cheeseburgers were really good....and I can see someone calling it paradise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NFLD Stephen View Post
    I'll be in Florida for about 8 days starting Tuesday next week. Flying into Orlando and out of Miami. Will be in Orlando, St. Augustine, Clearwater, Ft. Meyers/Sanibel Island, and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.

    The trip is primarily a family vacation with my wife and 3-month-old son, but I definitely want to get whatever photos I can while I'm there.

    I'm really looking forward to visiting the everglades and possibly the start of the keys so any suggestions are welcome!!
    Stephen
    Glad you have been to Florida before - sun screen for the bambino is #1. I live in Orlando and have seen too many lobster babies in the theme parks, etc.

    If you can swing a tourist sight seeing flight - particularly down in Miami, pix of the keys with the blue water, sand bars, etc can be quite breathtaking, high noon with polarizer.

    The others have given you some very good locations. You MIGHT if you want to consider Carnaval Nation Sea Shore depending on your precise travel path. Blue Springs State Park on the way to St. Augustine might hold some interesting clear water shots vs. black reflective. Orlando, to St. A, to Clearwater, to Ft Myers, to Miami is A LOT of car time.

    Have a great time.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

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    Wow, it seems TDP has quite the Florida contingent. Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone! Definitely sounds like this is shaping up to be a good trip.

    Hopefully the birds there are not too timid...the longest lens I'll be bringing is a 70-200 F4 IS with 1.4x teleconverter. I'm renting a 6d for the trip as well, so I won't even have the range I'm used to with the 7d. Should work well for the ocean views and architecture of St. Augustine though. And as for gators...I'm not sure I want to get that close in the wild...maybe in one of those gator parks though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Busted Knuckles
    Orlando, to St. A, to Clearwater, to Ft Myers, to Miami is A LOT of car time.
    Yeah, that was one of my initial concerns, but our 3-month-old does really well in the car so hopefully it should all go well. And the way we have it planned we're travelling a little bit each day, so we don't have any real long driving stretches. I'm actually more concerned about how Andrew will cope with the heat...we've got lots of sunscreen and shade/sun-protection, but it is still much hotter than we're used to here in Newfoundland. And since Andrew is only 3-months old, he certainly hasn't been in that kind of heat before. That's why I'm thinking the driving in the car with the AC could be a blessing.

    Now...time to start putting all these locations in my gps...

    Stephen

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