2013 Holiday Florida Road Trip

As promised: the play by play from our holiday Florida road trip up and down the two coasts and through the Everglades.

Day 1: Vero Beach

Oh, how I loved the simple tranquility of Vero. I generally have a thing for the majestic ruggedness of the Atlantic, and we found the restaurants to be full of laidback but sharp people and lots of delicious food. During my morning run, I got to enjoy the gorgeous canopy trees that can be found in the more residential areas — reminded me of the plantations in Louisiana.

Vero Beach Canopy

Day 2: Palm Beach

B and I decided to leave our hotel fate throughout the trip up to Hotwire, which made for an interesting adventure. Our second night was spent at the PGA National Resort — nice, a little hoity toity for my tastes, and kind of a waste given neither of us are big on golf. Before arriving at our hotel, we drove through Jupiter Island to remind us how the billionaires live.

Day 3: Boca Raton

Mostly stopped here because B’s company has offices here. We spent the evening in downtown Boca. I read on Wikipedia that Boca outlawed billboards and enforces lots of ordinances to keep the city manicured looking and aesthetically appealing, which explains why it seems so much cuter and pleasing than Palm Beach and some of the other places we’d been the day before. We spent the evening in downtown Boca, first at the iPic Theaters (SO fabulous — enjoyed martinis and yummy food throughout The Wolf of Wall Street), and then wandered across the street to a craft beer place that had some 400 beers on draft. Not bad, Boca, not bad.

Day 4: Key West

Gotta say that KW was more “bumpin'” than I anticipated … hard to tell if it’s because the island is living up to its famous NYE reputation or because it’s the norm, but it was a little much for my senior citizen tastes (especially given the outlandish hotel prices). I didn’t realize that the Keys don’t really offer beach — more marina, making me wish I’d brought my boat instead of my swimsuit. (For new blog readers: I don’t actually have a boat.) Still, the town is cute, we took a lovely boat ride on New Years’ Day, and the drive from Florida out to the Keys is one of those life bucket list things that’s pretty darn cool. (How is the water so green??!)

Key West New Years Florida

Day 5: Key Largo

Not sure I’d recommend the Ocean Pointe Suites unless you have a big family and the needs that go along with it, but again, an interesting experience and it was nice to have a night to watch the sun set, drink a Blue Moon, eat cheap tacos, and recharge.

Key Largo Sunset Florida

Day 6: Marco Island

For some reason, Marco Island surprised me. It’s on the Gulf so it makes sense, but I wasn’t expecting it to remind me so much of the Caribbean. The Hilton was right on the water and gorgeous, offering great kayaking and exquisite sunsets. (Not as impressed with Sale e Pepe, if you go.)

Marco Island Sunset Florida

Day 7: Tampa

Our last night — and Tampa was COLD. (Nothing compared to the polar NYC temperatures we returned to the following day, but I hadn’t packed properly for 50 degree weather.) Enjoyed a low-key evening at the pub in the mall near the airport before returning home to the POLAR VORTEX.

Thanks, Florida — we’ll be back!

Credit Cards, Accounts, and Other Tips

As a personal finance nerd who is always in search of a bargain and spends her free time reading NerdWallet and PointsGuy (and who may or may not have shed a few tears when Suze Orman went off the air), I’m happy to share some of my findings. Add your own tips and thoughts in the comments …

France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Italy, WHEW!

Brian and I seem to have a real thing for the jam-packed itinerary … join us on a recounting of our trek through Europe in June. (Full photos here.)