Author: Lisa Crockett/Thursday, March 7, 2019/Categories: Travel News
Florida sunshine was abundant when sixteen rigs gathered in Pensacola last October to participate in the 2018 Florida Sunshine Getaway Tour. After a welcome seafood dinner and orientation from WagonMasters Mike and Katie Myers, the group had time to explore the city, and even watched the USAF Blue Angels practice from a spectacular viewpoint right on the runway.
The group headed into the Florida peninsula to Ocala in Marion County – a.k.a. the Horse Capital of the World, and home to more horses than any other American county. Leaving horse country, they headed for the Gulf Coast to spend three very busy days in Tampa, the Sunshine State’s third largest city. At Ybor City, they toured brick paved streets and historic buildings which depict the area’s influence as the hub of Tampa’s cigar industry. They visited St. Petersburg and enjoyed a luncheon cruise at Tarpon Springs. The group stayed at Lazy Days’ RV park, right next to the RV dealership, and there was definitely some serious “looking” going on!
The tour continued south to Sarasota – home of the Ringling Circus Museum which houses many wardrobes, props, parade wagons and even the cannon which shot fearless performers across the big top of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Circus.
Further south in Ft. Myers, the group visited the estates of two famous Americans – Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Then they left civilization behind and traveled to Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness area in the U.S. They even had the chance to meet some of Florida’s famous gators from their air-boat ride.
The southernmost point in our country is Key West, and the group spent three nights there, including a sunset snorkel cruise. They visited Ernest Hemmingway’s home where he wrote A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. “Many of our guests had been to Florida on a limited basis, but not to Key West,” said Mike Myers, who considered this his highlight of the trip. “We spent more time in Key West than any other destination on the tour.”
What can you say about Miami? It’s the world’s busiest seaport and Florida’s largest city. The group enjoyed a guided motorcoach tour of the city’s Art Deco district, Little Havana, beaches and shops before stopping for lunch at the original Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant. Then it was off to Fort Lauderdale for a tour and dinner cruise aboard an authentic paddle boat.
Next it was time to traverse the Atlantic coast, stopping in West Palm Beach, with a drive through Lion Country Safari and a visit to Boca Raton. Then the group headed inland to Orlando. Their three nights here were left free to explore and many guests visited the famous theme parks. It was also Thanksgiving weekend, and WagonMaster Katie Myers prepared a traditional turkey dinner for everyone.
The group headed back to the Atlantic coast for their final stop in Daytona Beach. With 23 miles of wide sandy beaches, it’s known as “America’s Favorite Beach.” It’s also home to the Daytona International Speedway, and the group was treated to a tour of the track and museum. The final stop was to Kennedy Space Center, where they learned more of both the history and future of America’s space exploration.
“Most of the guests on this tour were not experienced Florida travelers,” said Mike. “They came from areas far away – California, Texas and the northeastern part of the country. Most people who visit Florida go to Orlando or perhaps Panama City for the beaches. Very few people participate in a 35-day Caravan where they can see all of Florida – everything from the beaches to the Space Center. It’s a big state, and we do 1,500 miles and experience all the major diverse areas. It’s very different from going and staying in one city.”
Mike and Katie will be leading the 2019 Florida Sunshine Getaway tour, departing Pensacola on October 29. A limited number of spaces are still available, but it is filling quickly.
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