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Florida, All About the Water

Overview

After a successful mystery tour in February, this trip is back as a known destination. Florida’s Gulf Coast has a laid-back vibe, beautiful scenery and powdery white sand. Influenced by Southern culture, time moves a little slower here allowing a chance for relaxation and exploration. There’s lots to see, do and taste while taking it easy.

Daily Itinerary

Florida beachDay 1

On arrival, travel the causeway across Tampa Bay to Clearwater Beach, onto Sand Key to your all-suite waterfront accommodations. A fine steak and seafood dinner is served waterside at your hotel. Marriott Suites on Sand Key – 3 nights (D)

A jaguar sleeping in tall grassDay 2

Have your cameras ready, and keep your fingers out of the enclosures at the Big Cat Rescue! Meet the lions, tigers, cheetahs and more that call the sanctuary home. After, you’ll have a chance to give alligator a try at lunch. It is Florida, after all! In Tarpon Springs, a thriving Greek community, take a cruise out to a small key in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico to hunt for seashells. The dolphin love to hitch a ride in the boat’s wake and play in the waves! Back at the hotel, watch as the sky changes brilliant shades of orange and pink at sunset while you relax on your patio. (FB,L)

Streetcar in Florida Ybor CityDay 3

With a local guide, we go back in time to Ybor City, a Cuban enclave that was once the cigar capitol of the world. After lunch, visit a cigar manufacturer where you can pick up a Cuban-style stogie for yourself or a friend. En route back to your hotel, make a stop at Ron Jon’s for fun T-shirts and beach gear, an East Coast institution known by every surfer dude! (FB,L)

Ringling Mansion Sarasota, FLDay 4

Head to Sarasota and The Ringling Museum. Does that name sound familiar? It should! Mr. Ringling ran the circus in the early 20th century. Take a guided tour of the circus museum and see his private train car. Enjoy free time to explore the lovely grounds or take in the amazing to-scale model of the traveling circus. Lunch is at the museum restaurant before continuing to the Edison-Ford Winter Estates in Ft. Myers. Henry Ford utilized Thomas Edison’s invention, the light bulb, on his automobiles and the two shared a great friendship. On Sanibel Island, your hotel is situated between two bodies of water, hence the name. ’Tween Waters Resort – 2 nights (FB,L)

Crab races in FloridaDay 5

The tranquil waters of Tarpon Bay host all kinds of wildlife, even the elusive manatee. You might just see them playing off the docks at your hotel. Aboard a pontoon cruise, your naturalist guide will point out the many different birds and bring the ecology of the bay to life. Stop for lunch at an island favorite before visiting the Bailey-Mathews National Shell Museum. The afternoon is yours to spend as you wish. Relax on the beach, by the pool or take an optional excursion to the Sanibel Historical Village for a glimpse of island life 100 years ago. Tonight, place your bets and cheer loudly during the crab races. You read that right, crab races. It’s truly one of the silliest, yet most fun events! Dinner is served at the upscale hotel restaurant. (FB,L,D)

Fort Myers beach, FLDay 6

Enjoy a leisurely morning before flying from Ft. Myers in the early afternoon. (FB)

Daily Itinerary Meal Legend
CBContinental Breakfast
BGenerally a limited buffet or menu
FBFull buffet or choice of menu
BRBrunch, often buffet-style
LLunch, often several menu options
HT or ATHigh or Afternoon Tea
DDinner, often several menu options

Photo Attributions

"Ringling Mansion Sarasota" by cogito ergo imago (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Departures

Sunday, February 3, 2019 to Friday, February 8, 2019

6 Days, 11 Meals

5 full breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners

$ 3030
p.p./dbl.occ.
$3625
single

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