Visit USA Awards winner: Fly Drive Florida: Orlando to the Gulf Coast

Blogger of the year award


Abigail King, won the 2019 Visit USA Media Awards Blogger Of The Year award for her brilliant Fly Drive Florida: Orlando to the Gulf Coast Two Week Itinerary story on Insidethetravellab.


You may have read fly-drive guides before, but this one will make you want to be on that plane tomorrow and exploring Florida’s charm. This comprehensive guide brings the Gulf Coast to life and eloquently captures the laid-back pace a fly-drive can offer.


Going beyond the ‘normal’ fly-drive itinerary the guide discovers those lesser known places, captures those elements of discovery and thrills of surprise around every corner. Where else can you find flamingos, manatees, American Bald Eagles with a side of art all in one place?


Abigail keeps the reader captivated with her thoughtful tips and tricks and stunning photography throughout; it really is a must read for anyone wanted to explore the Sunshine State. 

You can read Abigail’s award-winning story below. Catch her latest stories on the InsideTheTravelLab website on Facebook here and follow her on instagram here and twitter here


Fly Drive Florida: Orlando to the Gulf Coast Two Week Itinerary


Forget dear old Mickey. Florida's Gulf Coast offers wildlife of a different kind. Gentle sea giant manatees and wild dolphins skitting through sparkling surf. Scorching pink flamingoes and American Bald Eagles.


Mile after mile of soft white sand bordered by mangroves and painted lifeguard huts. Just pull up and go for a swim, no organisation required.


And have we talked about the places to eat? Beyond burgers and fries at a beach shack, Florida's Gulf Coast can swirl remoulade onto seared fish with the best of them. And turn breakfast and brunch into an art. Speaking of which, that's a big deal here too...


Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, The Kiss. Not to mention the small communities of artists that flourish in and around Bradenton.  I set off with husband and young toddler in tow for a two week Fly Drive through Florida's Gulf Coast as part of the #thinktheusa project. 


With no offence meant to the big theme parks that Florida is famous for, I was looking for something different. For something calmer, more authentic. Something that still had the element of discovery, the thrill of a surprise. And I found it on Florida's Gulf Coast, soaked with great big skies and impossible blue. From food to art, to marine life rescue to the curious morning spent tucking into an Amish breakfast, I found what I was looking for. And I hope you will too. 


This is the nuts and bolts guide to arranging your Fly Drive Florida trip. Hopefully, it will serve as a complete guide and itinerary for Florida's Gulf Coast so that you can put together a trip yourself. And if you're still in the armchair travel phase of Fly Drive planning (whether that lasts for 20 minutes or 20 years,) no need to scurry off. There'll still be plenty of photos, video and tales of derring-do (or don't) and I'll be back later with luscious travel stories without the interference of all the practical side of things. Until then. Here it is. Your complete guide to arranging a Fly Drive holiday in Florida. 


Florida is a big old state and there's room for probably 4 - 5 separate two week fly-drives before you run out of ideas. But pace yourself. Part of Florida's charm involves moving slowly through her landscape, across her water. When trying to see wildlife in the, well, wild, you need time. It's not like being in a zoo. And while not quite as laid back as our two week fly drive to Louisiana, the pace of life in Florida still focuses on the good things in life, not the crazy schedules of the rat race.


That said, if you're travelling without children, you could pick up the pace here, probably spending one less night in each of the places if you're determined to cram things in. But this itinerary leaves time for you to slow down and enjoy life. With a toddler, it means there's time for naps and early bedtimes and not too much time spent in the car. There's the chance for a run-around or swim (or both) every single day. Restaurants are close enough to the hotels to mean that little ones won't be too late to bed. But none of them are plastic fantastic fare. I wouldn't recommend anything or anywhere I wouldn't be happy to visit without children, as a pleasurable or interesting thing to do in its own right. And there's plenty of time to explore and think. That's rather the point of travel after all, don't you think?


Find the full story on InsideTheTravelLab here, where you can read about the entire trip, or browse the 30 different sections of the story. 




Posted on: 20/07/2019

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