TRAVEL GUIDE TO OLD FLORIDA

BY  Mike Miller Updated December 3,  2021

The rapid population growth and unchecked development of the past half century have us left us long time Floridians bewildered and saddened for the Florida we have lost. 

Guest House on Estate in Babson Park, Florida
From FloridaBackroadsTravel Digital Art Collection

It is still the Sunshine State with beautiful beaches, the theme parks of Orlando, and the natural beauty of our wonderful state park system as well as Everglades National Park.  But our state has changed and seem to be changing faster every year. 

We remember the way it was and wish it were still the same.  We know that can never be, so I created this website to help you find the places that still have that “Old Florida” feeling. You just have to know how to get off the beaten path and enjoy the quiet places that still exist.


OUR FLORIDA TRAVEL GUIDE MOST POPULAR PAGES


FLORIDA STATE MAPS

Florida Road Maps are fun and make travel more enjoyable even in this modern age of GPS and smart phone apps. You can choose a free Florida road map from the 9 featured on this web page.

The first maps are of the 8 individual regions of Florida and can be viewed on your computer or smart phone screen.  These maps are actually screen shots from the larger statewide map above.  These regional maps are also printable by clicking on the map and converting the map image to a PDF. 


FLORIDA COUNTY MAPS

A Florida county map is a lesson in Florida history.  You can see how Florida evolved by studying the dates of formation of its counties.  When Florida became a United States territory in 1821, there were only two counties:  Escambia County to the west on the Gulf of Mexico and St. Johns County to the east on the Atlantic Ocean.

From these two parent counties, the 67 counties of today evolved.  You can access a highly detailed FDOT road map from this page.


FLORIDA DAY TRIPS BY THEME OF INTEREST

You may be interested in outdoor adventure, history, museums, nature centers, historic buildings, or any number of other themes.  We can think of at least 23 themes that might interest you.  If the theme and type of experience on the day trip is more important to you than the location, then this page is for you.


FLORIDA DAY TRIPS BY CITY LOCATION

These day trips are organized to keep you within a 100 mile radius of any of several major Florida cities.  These day trips include a wide variety of places and experiences.  The eight cities we focus on are Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and The Villages.


FLORIDA ROAD TRIPS & SCENIC DRIVES

The Florida road trips, and scenic drives you will learn about on this website are the best way to enjoy and experience the real Old Florida out on the back roads.  These trips are all about the scenery and driving routes.  They go through interesting places where you can stop if you'd like or drive on through.  Each of our road trip pages include driving maps.  We keep you off the interstate highways and turnpike for one good reason:  you see some of the best things in Florida when you get off the beaten path.


FLORIDA KEYS TRAVEL GUIDE

The Florida Keys are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.  Traveling there by car takes you down a string of palm fringed tropical islands made of coral that stretch more than 120 miles from the Florida mainland down to Key West.  Our Florida Keys travel guide will give you important information on a single web page that will help you enjoy your visit.


FLORIDA TOWNS AND CITIES

Some of the best towns and cities in Florida are ones you may never have heard of. This page tells you about more than 200 Florida cities and towns, large and small, that can be good places to visit or live. We focus on all eight Florida geographical regions.  Major cities in south Florida are West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and Key Largo.  In southwest Florida we profile Naples, Old Naples, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, and Captiva. We include a brief history of every place because we think it's fun to know about the places you visit.  There are many romantic getaways in small town Florida, including some in our coastal towns.


BEST BEACHES IN FLORIDA

Florida has one of the longest saltwater shorelines in the United States.  Our list of the best Florida beaches is organized by the eight geographical regions of the state.  We tell you about the well known places such as Daytona Beach, Panama City Beach, Amelia Island, Destin, and the Palm Beaches, but you will also learn about some less well known hidden gems with beautiful white-sand beaches such as Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, and Marco Island.  We also have a detailed report on what, in our opinion, is the best beach in Florida.  That's Canaveral National Seashore with 24 miles of coastline that will never be developed.


A ONE PAGE HISTORY OF FLORIDA

The history of Florida after the Native American era is quite a bit more recent than most of the states in the eastern and southern states of the United States. Yes, it's true we have St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States, but development was extremely slow after that historic founding in 1565. In fact it wasn't until after the U.S. Civil War ended in 1865 that things began to happen in our fair state.


FLORIDA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Everybody knows about the giant Central Florida attractions and theme parks, but there are also many neat places to visit that are just as much fun.  Our favorite Florida tourist attractions include small amusement parks, zoos, museums, state parks, theme parks, and oddities.  Kennedy Space Center is the best place to learn about the history of the Space Program.  We threw in Walt Disney World and some others that are too big to ignore.


FLORIDA NOSTALGIA & LONG GONE PLACES

Florida Nostalgia is all about the memories of Florida the way it used to be, especially within our own lifetime. The older you are, the more memories you have.  The collection of images, postcards, stories, history, and culture on this website try to take us back to these times. 


FLORIDA FISH CAMPS

Florida fish camps are great places to experience authentic Old Florida.  They are sometimes overlooked as lodging choices, but many of them do have guest rooms or cabins.  This makes them great places to get away for a few days or weeks and experience natural Florida. 


FLORIDA RESTAURANTS

I have eaten at hundreds of great Florida restaurants.  The reviews on this website are places that I have actually tried and liked.  Many of them have been published before in our free ezine, Florida Heritage Travel.  I don't publish bad reviews on this website or in the ezine.  You will see reviews only for restaurants I've tried and liked.


FLORIDA SMALL INNS

Small inns, motels and hotels are often the most rewarding and economical way to enjoy the delights that Florida has to offer. Quite often you will feel like a member of the family because many of these places are family owned.  Unlike many of the larger hotels, they usually have free parking on the site. The places you will learn about on this website have been vetted either by me, my friends or a trusted organization and will not disappoint you.


FLORIDA CAMPGROUNDS

Campgrounds in Florida enjoy the state's temperate climate that allows camping all year round.  We only get snow every decade or so, and even then it's very light. We have created a page on this website that lists all the campgrounds in Florida that we know about.



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