Picture it. It’s getting cold back home, but delightful in sunny southern Florida. Within a fairly small geography are some of our nation’s most interesting sights: Natural beauty, unrivaled beach scenes, fascinating history and unique activities. We have combined them into a relaxing, affordable EIGHT DAY vacation flying into Fort Myers and home from Jacksonville. We’ll explore on water and on land and we’ll enjoy some fun entertainment along the way. We hope you can join us!
Day 1: This morning we'll meet at the airport for our flight Fort Myers, Florida. Upon arrival, our comfortable motor coach will be waiting. We will check into our hotel and enjoy dinner tonight at the famous Reuben’s Smokehouse. D
Day 2: There’s a reason we start in this area. In my opinion, it is one of Florida’s gems and you’ll fall in love with the area when you see it. You have the beauty of the RIVERS and the OCEAN and both are very different. This morning, a private pontoon boat will take our group on a two hour ride on the Caloosahatchee River. Besides the natural beauty, you’ll learn a great deal from the interesting captain. And the stars of the cruise are the Manatees that are often all through these waters this time of year. A few miles away is a very interesting place. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford became friends in their later years and purchased a sprawling estate on the riverfront. They continued to apply their inventive genius in various ways including the plants of their estate. We will tour their adjacent homes and fabulous estate. Tonight you have a choice. You can do dinner on your own and relax around the hotel. OR, you can opt for a fun dinner/show at the Broadway Palm Theater to enjoy PIPPIN – a fun tale about a young prince’s journey to be extraordinary. It’s a circus-inspired production with an entertaining acrobatic troupe of performers. It’s exceptional (price is $80 per person – tickets based on availability at the time you register). B
Day 3: After breakfast, we’ll enjoy a full day Everglade Adventure. Our naturalist will board our bus and take us into the so-called “Western Everglades”. We’ll board small airboats and enjoy a 60 minute educational ride passing through narrow swamp passages and getting close to native wildlife. We then continue into the Big Cypress National Preserve for more wildlife spotting. We’ll skirt through fields of sawgrass and stretch our legs with an interesting stroll along the cypress-lined trails. We may see alligators, turtles, otters, wild pigs, water fowl and more. After lunch, we’ll do a different hour-long cruise through a majestic mangrove forest to enjoy different flora and fauna. It is a VERY interesting day that will be a highlight of the trip. We’ll transfer up to the Tampa area in the late afternoon staying in the town of Lido Beach for two nights. B, L
Day 4: This morning we’ll spend an hour or so at nearby Selby Gardens. Capitalizing on the natural beauty and the ocean, this botanical plantation is a delightful place to visit. We have then included lunch at the well known “Columbia” Restaurant (on St. Armand’s Circle), celebrating 110 years in the area. It’s a famous Cuban meal in a restaurant called Columbia in south Florida and it’s fun (and delicious). We’ll give you some time to enjoy some shopping or relax at the resort. Before sunset, we’ll take you about 30 minutes south to the famous Siesta Key Beach – voted the NUMBER ONE BEACH in the USA. No hotels here, just a long stretch of beach in that famous soft, powder sand. We’ll spend an hour so you can get some great pictures at sunset. B, L
Day 5: Today is Monday. This morning we drive from the Tampa area to Orlando (120 miles). By 10:30, we arrive at Epcott Center which is part of the Disney World complex. A Monday in November is a great time to visit as it is among the least crowded days of the year. We will focus our time in the famous World Showcase which surrounds a reflective lagoon. This isn’t thrill rides. 11 different countries (like France, Britain, Japan, Norway, China, USA, etc.) have built incredible showcases that make you feel like you’ve entered their country. Using their customs and famous buildings, they have transformed their space into a bit of their country. Local folks dressed in their customary clothing will be your hosts as you browse in their “country”, buy a bit of their treats, see a short film or any other number of well done exhibits. And you’ll be most proud when you visit the USA Pavilion. After dinner, you can choose to go to the hotel for the evening, or stay for the spectacular firework show over the lake that happens at 8:00 PM. B
Day 6: An hour to the east is Cape Canaveral, and we’ll be there when it opens at 10:00. We’ll enjoy a guided tour of this special place which has been the launch pad to all space exploration over the past many decades. It is an important and memorable place to visit. After the tour and lunch, we return to Orlando for a rest. This evening, we’ve included the very enjoyable Medieval Knights Dinner Show featuring comedy, expert equestrian skills a delicious dinner and more. B, D
Day 7: This morning, we’ll drive up the coast. We’ll make some interesting stops around Daytona Beach and the Palm Coast (where we have lunch). In the afternoon, we arrive in America’s oldest town: St. Augustine. You’ll have time to begin exploring the old town. A delicious dinner in a historic venue is included tonight. B, D
Day 8: Today, we’ll explore this stately, old city. It combines Spanish colonial architecture with the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll see the 17th century Spanish Fortress (San Marcos), Crescent Beach and more. We’ll give you time in the quaint “Old Town” for lunch and browsing in a fun atmosphere. We’ve included tickets on the old trolley that takes you around to the places most interesting to you. We then drive to the Jacksonville airport for our flights home. B.