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crunchy areas of Florida?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
We are planning a 2 week vacation this winter (March) and wondering what cool places we should visit? Best beaches? We will be going to Orlando (Disney), then who knows from there? So we are in the planning stages..We would like to find some neat coastal areas to visit. TIA for any suggestions on things to do and places to stay!!

ETA- our kids are 5 and 4yo if that makes a difference!
post #2 of 17
Ha! The panhandle has the BEST beaches. No crunchies whatsoever.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
I guess what I should have asked is are there co-ops and places like Whole Foods? Raw milk?

ETA-thanks for the tip on the beaches! any fav less touristy spots?
post #4 of 17
I disagree - the panhandle has some crunchiness - Pensacola is definitely more crunchy than Destin. There is a co-op in pcola called ever'mans that is no where near as neat as whole foods, but they carry raw milk (for pet use as that's the only legal way to sell it). Pensacola has some great history and the naval museum and ft. barrancas is neat.

Destin has beautiful beaches - white sand, emerald waters - you won't find anything else as close unless you go to key west!

We're coming around when it comes to crunchiness that's for sure!
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Should we visit key west? I used to have a friend that lived there (Coconut Grove). Seems like a major party spot. Are there child friendly places?

Now I am also considering a short cruise..Anyone been from Miami? would a 4night Bahama cruise be too much for a 4yo and 5yo?

Any and all recommendations welcome!

Also can you suggest any some natural/wildlife areas to see?

Specific beaches?
post #6 of 17
we took a cruise out of miami with a 2 and 4 year old this past year - we had a great time actually. Maddie was old enough to do the children's activities, although she wasn't really crazy about it. We used their nighttime babysitting service one night and they had fun, though

Key west has a small aquarium that we really enjoyed and it's nice to just walk around - very touristy. Beautiful water, though.

Key west is an incredibly long drive from orlando - it's several hours just to miami and i think it's a few more hours to key west.

I only know the panhandle - we've traveled around a bit - going to daytona in september for the LLL conference so I can let you know afterwards how we like it if you'd like.
post #7 of 17
If I was traveling to Orlando, I would go to the Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach area for beaches. It's only about an hour away. Driving to Miami is going to take awhile and Miami is so congested and nuts (my husbands family lives there and I am from Florida so I'm very familiar with the area). Miami would not be the place I would take kids, the only reason we go it to see family. If you are doing a cruise I would leave from either Tampa or Port Canaveral. Tampa is only about an hour and a half from Orlando (maybe less, I am from St. Pete and it takes 1.5 to get there). The beaches in St. Pete/Clearwater are pretty nice and there is Lowry Park Zoo, Busch Gardens and I think a kids museum in the Tampa area.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
thanks for the tips!

DP is NOT really wanting to do the cruise thang AND Disney. So I guess scratch the cruise/Miami idea anyhow. Oh well..We will find some beaches to hang out at for sure!!! I think we are going to go up the western coast to NOLA on the way back (we will be driving down from VT and stopping in DC and South Carolina, so lots of driving anyway..we should be on the road for about 3 weeks or so) if anyone has any other bright ideas though please post!
post #9 of 17
There is a coop just on the St. Pete side of the Gandy Bridge (b/t St. Pete & Tampa). PM me if you will be out in that direction and I can give you info.
post #10 of 17
If you want to experience a natural beach area I would suggest going to Sebastian, or Cocoa Beach from Orlando it isn't too far away. Also, look up to see whether there will be a shuttle launch while here because Cape Canaveral isn't that far away from Orlando. New Smyrna beach is also a nice beach. I live in Ft. Lauderdale and there definitly isn't anything worth driving down here for. Also you can google florida natural springs and look up a spring that you can go to, they are beautiful and fun for kids to go to the only thing though is the water is cold so it depends on what time of year you will be coming. If during the summer it is worth it to go to Ichnetaukee Springs and tube down the river. I could go on so let me know if you want any other suggestions. Have fun! Oh and where in VT are you from? I am also kind of from there and hoping to move in the future.
post #11 of 17
I am originally from VT but a year ago we moved here to Kissimmee FL.

Orlando seems to be crunchier than here but that is only from what I have heard. They do have a Whole Foods in Orlando.

You might enjoy having a meal at Dandelion Communitea cafe . I have heard great things about it although I have not been there myself. They hold a potluck every Monday. One is a vegetarian family themed night. They have other events each week as well. If I lived closer I would probably go there quite often

Here is a list of other ideas http://www.orlando-vacationhomerenta...ation-orlando/
post #12 of 17

Big cities have natural food stores

I have found that in pretty much every big city (Orlando, Cocoa, Sarasota, Daytona, etc) you can find a health/natural food store.

It would really help if you have a GPS so you can look it up, but if you know what cities you are going to ahead of time, you can also look up the locations online.

Good luck!
post #13 of 17
We love going to St. Augustine, lots of history & fun for our little guys (6,5 & 1). There's also a Ripley's museum (one in Orlando, too). Also, Ft Matanzas which offers a free water shuttle to the area. We do spend a lot of time in Orlando. There's a nice place called Infusion Tea, the ICAN mtgs are held there. The Orlando Science Ctr is a lot of fun, too. There's a Fresh Market, too. I don't think there's much in the Daytona area - probably why we spend our free time out of town
post #14 of 17
In The Orlando area there is Whole Foods and an independent natural retailer of the same scale called Chamberlains. I think a new whole foods opened up in the Sea World area, near international drive. Also, Publix (a grocery chain) has a fairly decent health foods section, especially in the more affluent areas. I'm sure there's at least one in Windemere, near Disney, that will have a good selection.

Raw milk is only legal as pet milk. There is a guy who brings it into Orlando from farms to the north, but only every-other week on a very specific day and the pick up is no where near Disney. You have to sign up with him -- way more hassle than you need on vacation.

Cocoa beach is the closest beach, but depending on when you're going (like if it's later than October), you might be better off heading out towards Tampa and the warmer waters of the Gulf. Also I believe there are fewer rip currents on the gulf side than around Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach is one of the worst areas for rip currents in the country (well, from Daytona down to Cocoa beach is). The zoo in Melbourne (near Cocoa Beach) is MUCH better than the one in the Orlando area, and really about the same distance from the Disney area.

Totally go to the keys if you can, it's fabulous there! Definitely more a small town like place. I doubt there's a whole foods, more likely small local health food stores. Key West is nice, but it gets really crowded with tour ships coming through. I like it for a day trip from other keys myself. If you are headed to the keys, you might consider stopping on the way from Disney in some place like Sanibel Island. That would also be a GREAT beach location, lovely in the fall, and about 4 or so hours from Disney, perfect for breaking up a drive to the keys!!
post #15 of 17
There is a large "crunchy" network of people in Jacksonville. Playgroups, E-mail groups, Homeschooling groups, API, a lot of babywearers... Ummm we have amazing midwives. There are a few peds who are okay with delayed/no vax. Like only 3 peds, but thats better than nothing haha. Ummm we have awesome beaches. St Augustine is at our doorstep. St. Augustine is great place to homeschool.
post #16 of 17
Ahh yeah, and apparently I thought you meant to MOVE to FL. hahaha. But yeah, St. Augustine is great place to visit. All sorts of fun history.
post #17 of 17
Naples has amazingly beautiful beaches, well groomed. Sanibel Island has more natural, less-groomed beaches but still amazingly beautiful. Both are paradises in their own right.

Naples has Whole Foods, and quite a few natural food stores. Food & Thought sells raw milk (marketed as pet milk, per law) and has a fantastic built-in restaurant.

Naples itself is not crunchy. Indeed it has over 140 golf courses and is spread out immensely, and is a destination for the rich & famous, but there are plenty of crunchy people here.

Both destinations will be very pricey though, so bear that in mind.
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