Florida

My Top Things to Do in Pensacola Florida by JD Andrews

My first trip to Pensacola was last November while doing research on an article for Visit Florida. (confession: when I was a kid, I thought it was pronounced pepsi-cola) On my second day in town I was contacted by Visit Pensacola asking if I'd like to be shown around. After a few hours seeing the sights, I couldn't believe how much there was to do and see in this town that's only 45 minutes away from Alabama. My surprise and excitement was over whelming and I kept on saying "this place is great, more people need to know about Pensacola" After the trip, I contacted Visit Pensacola hoping we could work together and a few months later, I was back in town exploring and sharing more of my new favorite destination. 


THE NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM

Admission is FREE! It's the world's largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida. With over 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation. Plus the world-famous Blue Angels are based at NAS Pensacola, and can be seen practicing over the Museum most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from March to November.

Open Daily 9am - 5pm

http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org
1750 Radford Blvd., NAS Pensacola, FL 32508


BEACHES

I live in South Florida, we have beaches, parking is expensive, they are crowded and in the shadow of massive condos. If you like big, beautiful, un-crowed beaches with FREE parking - Pensacola should be your next destination.

Another thing you won't see in South Florida (unless there's a hurricane) is surfing! Also these beaches have been ranked among the best in the country by USA Today, TripAdvisor and the Travel Channel.


PARKS

Big Lagoon State Park - A 705-acre Florida State Park located approximately 10 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Perdido Key State Park - A 290-acre Florida State Park located on a barrier island 15 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park - A 4,290-acre Florida State Park preserve located 10 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Fort Pickens - Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore - Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay during the American Civil War. Great beaches here as well!


HISTORY

Historic Pensacola - Come explore the 8 1/2 acres and 28 properties, eleven are open to the public.

Pensacola Lighthouse - Built in 1859, climb 177 steps up for one of the most beautiful views on the Gulf Coast. Open Daily 10am - 5:30pm

Downtown - More and more chic shops and trendy restaurants are  showing up around historic Palafox Street, the city’s award-winning main street.  


WATER SPORTS

Aquatic Charters - Dolphin Cruise onboard Chase-N-Fins - A 2 hour Dolphin adventures in Pensacola Bay and surrounding waters. Learn about dolphins and the history of the area.

I didn't have enough time but there is tons more to do:

Parasailing, fishing, diving, snorkeling, surfing, paddle-boarding, sailing, wind-surfing, jet-skiing, kayaking, etc.


EATS

There are so many great bars, coffee shops and restaurants in Pensacola, below are the ones I had a chance to visit.

The Drowsy Poet - Great coffee shop, where the locals go.

McGuire's Irish Pub  - Estimated, over a million dollar bills hang from the ceiling and walls.

Flora-Bama Yacht Club - Right on the border, great food and views.

Native Cafe - My favorite B-fast place, get there early, always a line.

Old Hickory Whiskey Bar - mmmmmm whiskey

Five Sisters Blues Café - historic and delicious!

The Grand Marlin - Amazing location on the water with great seafood.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Visit Pensacola but as always, all opinions photographs and text are all mine.

The Views and Brews of Boynton Beach Florida by JD Andrews

I was very excited to work with @VISITFLORIDA  again eXploring Boynton Beach.

Nestled between Delray Beach to the South and Palm Beach to the North, I arrived at Boynton Beach. I was in search of some beautiful Florida views and to try out their many craft beer brews!

There are many beautiful places to watch the Sunrise.

THE VIEWS: I was happily surprised that most of the places I visited are free to the public - so beautiful and lush yet so close to the city.

 

Green Cay Nature Center & Wetlands
12800 Hagen Ranch Road
Boynton Beach, FL 33437
561-966-7000

Open Daily: sunrise - sunset

Exhibits:
Wednesday-Saturday: 9:00am - 3:00pm
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday: CLOSED

Green Cay is a 100-acre nature preserve that features 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk featuring interpretive signs about the animals you’ll see and the habitat.

 

Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
10216 Lee Road
Boynton Beach, FL 33473
561-734-8303

Visitor Center:
Open daily 9:00am - 4:00pm

Outdoor facilities/grounds/trails:
Open daily 5:00am - 10:00pm

$5 entry fee - Brochure

My first question: why the long name. Here’s what I found: 

“In 1986, the Refuge’s name was changed from Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge to honor former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee and noted South Florida conservationist, Arthur Raymond Marshall.”

The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is 143,954 acres of northern Everglades wetlands.

Also check out:

Mangrove Park - 700 NE 4th Ave, Boynton Beach, FL 33435

Ocean Ridge Hammock Park -  6620 N Ocean Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL 33435

Ocean Inlet Park - 6990 N Ocean Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL 33435

THE BREWS: If you like craft beer (and who doesn't?) Boynton Beach has a growing craft beer scene with many great breweries all within minutes from one another.

 

NOBO Brewing Company


2901 Commerce Park Drive
Boynton Beach, FL 33426

Closed on Tuesday

Famous for: Basil IPA

Taproom Menu

Copperpoint Brewing Company


151 Commerce Rd
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
561-508-7676

Famous for: Copperpoint Lager

Brew pup: Opie

Beer Menu

 

Also check out:

Due South Brewing - 900 High Ridge Rd. #3
Boynton Beach, Florida 33426

Devour Brewing Co. - 1500 SW 30th Ave. #4
Boynton Beach, FL 33426

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA. The opinions and text are all mine.

Grab a Bite and Beer by the Sea, at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritavilles by JD Andrews

If you're a Jimmy Buffett fan you'll probably recognize that line from the song, “I Heard I Was In Town.” 

But even if you're not a “parrot head” you’ll fall in love with these two Florida Margaritaville properties, inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett.

The Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola Beach sits on more than 800 feet of gulf-front property, with an additional 800 feet overlooking the bay. This was the first Margaritaville hotel to be built in Florida, back in 2010.

The beachfront hotel features “barefoot elegance” with 162 guest rooms, including 24 Corner King Executive rooms with wrap-around balconies.
(Note: The hotel will be undergoing renovations through early spring 2017.)

Because the hotel is located in Northwest Florida, you'll see both incredible sunrises and sunsets.

When you go…
Margaritaville Beach Hotel
165 Fort Pickens Road
Pensacola Beach, FL   32561
850-916-9755

The most recent Margaritaville opened in Hollywood in November 2015.

The 349-room, 17-story destination resort is the perfect place to escape the everyday and just relax. With three pools, a full-service spa, eight restaurants, and a flowrider, there's something for everyone.

In the lobby you’ll find cabana-style seating with rattan furniture along with parrot paintings and Jimmy’s own surfboards hanging on the walls. Look up to see a huge chandelier made up of upside-down margarita glasses. And note the mysterious blue flip-flop sculpture that “blew out” after stepping on a pop-top, according to his famous song.

You'll see beautiful sunrises here, too.

When you go…
Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort
1111 N Ocean Dr. Hollywood, FL  33019
954-874-4444

As Jimmy says, "It's five o’clock somewhere," so cheers to both of these amazing Florida destinations.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA. The opinions and text are all mine.

Florida’s East Coast: 5 Must Try Restaurants With a View by JD Andrews

One afternoon I wanted to take my daughter out to lunch. I was looking for somewhere fun on the water. After some searching, I couldn't find a good list of waterfront dining, so I decided to start one myself.

I was very excited to work with @VISITFLORIDA  on this and to search for some great waterfront dining on Florida's East Coast.

I first made my way up North to start in Melbourne Florida and ended my search in Palm Beach County. I hope you're hungry and ready for some nice waterfront views.

Grills Riverside ~ Melbourne Florida

Great view of the Pineda Causeway

Great view of the Pineda Causeway

You can also bring your boat!

You can also bring your boat!

Breakfast 7:00am - 11:00am

Live Music

Vegetarian Dishes

Try the fried cheesecake!

6075 N US Hwy 1, Melbourne, FL 32940 ~ 321.242.8999

Citrus Grillhouse ~ Vero Beach Florida

Beautiful water views

Lunch | Monday - Saturday - 11:30am-2:00pm
Dinner | Daily from 5:00pm

Try the truffle mac & cheese

1050 Easter Lily Lane
Vero Beach Florida 32963 ~ 772.234.4114

Riverwalk Cafe & Oyster Bar ~ Stuart Florida

Look, water!

A Beautiful water view just a few steps away

A Beautiful water view just a few steps away

LUNCH
Monday -Saturday
11:30am to 4:00pm

DINNER
Monday - Thursday
4:00pm to 9:00pm
Friday & Saturday
4:00pm to 10:00pm

CLOSED SUNDAY

Try their homemade Bread Pudding

201 SW St Lucie Ave, Stuart, FL 34994 ~ 772.221.1511

Pirate's Cove Resort & Marina ~ Stuart Florida

Hotel, Marina and More...

Hotel, Marina and More...

Monday – Thursday: 11:00am – 9:00pm
Friday: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Saturday: 8:30am – 10:00pm
Sunday: 8:30am – 9:00pm

Live Bands

Homemade Deserts

Hotel plus multiple bars and restaurants

Try the famous She crab soup

4307 SE Bayview St.
Stuart, FL 34997 ~ 772.287.2500

Frigate's Waterfront Bar & Grill ~ North Palm Beach

Mon-Thurs
11:00am - 10:45pm

Friday & Saturday
11:00am - 11:45pm

Sunday
9:00am -10:45pm

Sunday Brunch

Try the little Italian donuts called Zeppoles! 

400 US Highway 1
North Palm Beach, FL 33408 ~ 561.855.7497

Sailfish Marina Resort ~ Palm Beach Shores Florida

Marina, Gift Shop and Restuarant

Marina, Gift Shop and Restuarant

Open everyday 7:00am - 10:00pm

Breakfast Buffet on Sunday 8:00am - 1:00pm

Try the snapper vera cruz

98 LAKE DRIVE, PALM BEACH SHORES FL 33404 ~ 561.844.1724


So there you go...a few great waterfront dining establishments. Please let me know your favorites in the comments.

Follow #LoveFL for more things to do and see here in my home state of Florida..

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA. The opinions and text are all mine.

Exploring Florida’s 10,000 Islands - Video and Photos by JD Andrews

The Ten Thousand Islands, a National Park, is located on the West coast of Florida. Not many people know about the park and that's why we went there to share its beauty.

Join JD Andrews, a Miami-based videographer/photographer (http://www.earthxplorer.com) and blogger with a passion for exotic locations, as he explores Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, a labyrinth of waterways and mangroves, by seaplane (http://www.saltislandseaplanes.com).

Follow #LoveFL for more things to do and see here in my home state of Florida.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA. The opinions, text and photos are all mine.