Tag Archives: Off the Beaten Path

Hats off to Paris, Texas!

It’s been a whirlwind summer, jetting from one destination to the next. I can finally say all the laundry is done and the suitcases have been unpacked—at least for a little while. The next adventure isn’t too far away.

Between birthday celebrations, anniversaries, a wedding and just some good old R&R, I feel like I’ve been on the go more this summer and any summer prior. And I’m definitely not complaining about that. Travel is my passion.

One of a unique places I visited this summer—Paris, Texas.  It’s a small town in Northeast Texas, about 2 hours from Dallas.

img_9057

Hats off to you Paris, Texas for building a replica of the Eiffel Tower to draw crazy tourists like myself.

I had heard of the city before, but never really thought I would have a chance to visit. It wasn’t until we picked up our rental car and I opened the navigation that I noticed how close we were. So, I did a little research (aka stalked the city on Instagram) and found the Eiffel Tower, complete with a red cowboy hat. A must-see, obviously.

img_9030

img_9059

Traveling is all about discovering something new, finding something that makes you smile and making memories. While the 3-hour detour to Paris was a little out of the way, it is a memory I will cherish forever. Plus, I can always say I had my first Whataburger in Paris.

img_9025

 

10 Comments

Filed under Travel

Exploring Northwest Florida

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost

Steinhatchee, Florida could be described as the road less traveled by, unless it’s scalloping season. This quaint fishing town is definitely for those looking for a place to relax, unwind and explore natural Florida. Ideal for a weekend getaway.

snapseed-9

Although I am a native Floridian, the Northwest Gulf Coast of Florida is an area I was pretty unfamiliar with. It’s not your typical Florida, and I loved it. Making our way up from Orlando, we took the backroads, passing through various small towns and marshlands. The further north we got, the less tropical it began to feel.

snapseed-13

Our home for this weekend getaway was Steinhatchee Landing Resort. Our private cottage was extremely spacious and cozy. For fun, we even left the fireplace going in the evenings; it reminded me of being in the mountains. It’s Florida though, and early May, so it wasn’t an actual fire. The resort had a quiet, old Florida feel that was just as beautiful as it was romantic; the perfect place to rest our heads between our adventures.

Coming from a somewhat big city, it was amazing to actually sleep through the night without the sounds of sirens, traffic, and airplanes flying above. Just the chirping birds as a morning wake up call.

As I mentioned before, Steinhatchee Landing was our home base between adventures.

These adventures included:

Steinhatchee Falls

snapseed-17

When I read waterfall, I was thinking actual water falling from a mountaintop, cascading over rocks and flowing down a stream, but this is Florida…no mountaintop here. Still, Steinhatchee Falls was quite peaceful and definitely off the beaten path.

snapseed-18

Surely more peaceful today than it was hundreds of years ago when settler’s cut through these waters in their horse-pulled wagons. You can still see the wagon ruts in the limestone rock.

Suwannee River State Park

We began this adventure with a picnic along the banks of the Suwannee River before we began our hike along the bluffs overlooking the water below.  There are a series of trails to choose from, ranging from a quarter mile to 18 miles. We veered in and out of various trails, following sights that interested us.

snapseed-20img_3176

Florida Caverns State Park (this one is a little further north, but if you are coming from South Florida, it’s worth a visit)

Caves in Florida!? Yes, it’s true, and it was completely unexpected. This is the only state park in Florida to offer cave tours.

img_3104

So next time you are looking for a little off the beaten path adventure, head to Northwest Florida. You won’t be disappointed.

img_2882

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Travel

Marsh Landing Adventures: Experience Real Florida

A view like this is worth waking up early for.

airboat 1

Waking up early has never been easy for me, but I can’t complain when my morning consists of gliding across the headwaters of the Everglades on an airboat ride with Marsh Landing Adventures.

 

20140919_092438-1

There is something so relaxing and peaceful about an airboat ride; maybe it’s the fresh air or maybe it’s the spectacular views.  Well, no matter what it is, I know that after being on my fair share of airboats, it’s probably one of my favorite things about Central Florida.

IMG_7644

I always tell everyone that as many times as I have hopped aboard an airboat, each time is a different experience and this is especially true for Marsh Landing Adventures.  It was completely different from anything I had experienced, and I consider myself an airboat pro.

The boat held about 6 passengers, plus our captain, so it made for a very intimate experience.  Also, since the boat was much smaller than what I am used to, it was easier to capture the perfect photos as we made our way into the depths of the Florida swamp.  If I wanted to, which I didn’t because there are gators, I could have easily put my hand in that water.  That’s how close I was to the edge, and the wildlife.

IMG_7630

Our captain, Captain Bill, stopped the airboat often to explain to us what we were seeing and what to look out for while on the ride.

Our airboat adventure began on Shingle Creek, which was noted as the headwaters of the Everglades by National Geographic.  Captain Bill also pointed out that all the waters we traveled through that morning were fresh waters and at most 4 feet deep.  “If you fall in, do yourself a favor and just stand up,” he said.  I wasn’t planning on swimming, but it was good to know.

20140919_092748-1

The scenery was truly a sight to see at daybreak, and it was the perfect time for spotting gators.

Our second stop was to say hello to Suzi.

20140919_093744_LLS-1

 

She was quiet for the most part; pretty much just stared at us for a good 10 minutes.  Alligators don’t tend to be aggressive unless you bother them or attempt to go near their babies; that’s completely understandable, right?  And did you know, gators never stop growing, and they can live to be beyond 50 years old.

These little guys were only a few weeks old.  Plenty of growth spurts to go.

IMG_7689

Despite being only a few weeks old, they were already fending for themselves, catching little minnows, and soaking up the rays of the sun.

20140919_095320_LLS

It was the perfect morning to spot gators; seemed like they were everywhere, lurking in the brush.

20140919_100006

 

We also spotted other wildlife like Blue Herons, Sandhill Cranes, Eagles and even cattle as we skimmed across the swamp grass.

20140919_100309

 

20140919_093836_LLS

20140919_094138

I was even brave enough after the airboat ride to wrestle a gator.

IMG_7677

Of course, millions of people visit the Central Florida area each year to experience Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, but I would strongly recommend taking some time to explore some off the beaten path attractions like Marsh Landing Adventures.

Book your adventure today!

1 Comment

Filed under Life, Travel