In 2015, we took a 3-week road trip on the west side of Florida, but this time, we explored the eastern side! Our 2-week road trip around Florida included; The Palm Beaches, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Space Coast, and Kissimmee!
The best part? Mazda agreed to let us borrow and test drive not only one, but two of their latest 2017 model cars! Our first ride was the Mazda CX5 2017, which was spacious enough for the two of us and our bags, with loads of room for a few more people as well as!
Florida Road Trip: FIRST STOP – Palm Beaches
We spent our first weekend on the road at Palm Beaches which is, of course, popular for its beautiful beaches, among many other things! I’m really excited because we’re planning to live in Florida for the next few months – one of my favorite destinations in the world!
We departed from Miami at 10 AM, and an hour and a half later, we arrived at our hotel, Hyatt Place Boca Rotan/Downtown. After having lunch at the hotel, we had a couple of hours of downtime before we start our full itinerary. Our first stop was the Waterstone Resort & Marina – which was just a short 7-minute drive with the Mazda CX5.
After enjoying some paddle boarding with Flying Fish Watersports in Lake Boca Raton, we had light bites and drinks at the Waterstone Rum Bar and Grill.
By 7 PM, we had an incredible winery tour at Sons & Daughters Farm and Winery. If you’re in search of a unique watering hole in Florida, we think that this is it! Organic, natural wines, outdoor live music, chilled vibes and a wonderful story behind it all. What’s the story? You’ll have to go there and find out!
On our second day at Palm Beaches, we checked out from Hyatt Place Boca Raton and drove straight to Hilton Garden Inn Palm Beach Gardens. After settling into our beautiful room, we headed to Blueline Surf & Paddle for a stand-up paddle boarding eco-tour of Jupiter’s Intracoastal Waterway. After many tries, I was finally able to stand up!
It’s great exercise, but after that session, we needed some serious eating time, we went for a delicious meal at Guanabanas Island Restaurant and Bar – one of the most popular restaurants in Jupiter – then in the afternoon, we went on a cycling trip around the Riverbend Park with Canoe Outfitters of Florida. It was a beautiful day outside, and Jonathan was already turning red! Then we ended our day by meeting some of our friends, Ate Khrissy and Josh, in their beautiful home – which was conveniently located near our Hilton Garden Inn hotel.
Our third day was incredible too! I went on a Discover Scuba Dive with Pura Vida Divers, (the last time I did it was in 2015 in Costa Rica) but Jonathan was not feeling so well that morning, so he became my photographer instead! I had a private one-on-one diving session with my guide from Pura Vida Divers & Pura Vida Surf on Singer Island.
The first thing I saw were mother-baby manatees (sea cows) then a lot of fish, seahorse, and starfish! I really felt like a kid again, and I think I’ll get into diving from now on since we’re going to live on a sailboat soon.
Florida Road Trip: SECOND STOP -Port St. Lucie
Our next destination on our 2-week road trip with Mazda was Port St. Lucie! In this small county, we stayed at Club Med SandPiper Bay. We had already experienced the Club Med hospitality when we went on a day trip to the Maldives before we were full-time bloggers.
Club Med is all-inclusive, which means you can eat as much as you want from the buffet, anytime you want! They also arranged a proper fine dining dinner for Jonathan and I. Alcoholic beverages are also included, but we rarely drink nowadays. Also, you can use all the facilities which include the tennis court, swimming pools (with adult only pool), golf course, gym, and even aerial dance classes!
You’d have to pay extra if you’d like to go to the massage and spa but we’re pleasantly surprised when they arranged a couple’s massage for us, so we can tell you that it’s well worth it and the perfect way to relax even more! Their staff was incredibly helpful and thoughtful during our stay.
One of the best aspects of being travelers aside from exploring and experiencing different tourist destinations and cultures is the amount of time we get to bond and relax. Indeed, Club Med is one of those places perfect for unwinding and connecting.
It was nice to experience sailing in a compact and maneuverable catamaran sailboats. This is a preparation for us, learning through trial and error how to sail a boat since our plan for our next adventure is to live aboard a sailboat full-time.
One of the most highly recommended things to do in Port St Lucie is one of their famous Beach Tours on Horseback – which is one of the few tours in Florida where horseback riding on the beach is permitted. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go on this one, but you definitely should as the ride will take you down the sandy shores of the stunning scenic beaches of Port St. Lucie.
Florida Road Trip: THIRD STOP – Vero Beach & Sebastian
Our third stop for our east side Florida road trip with Mazda was the beautiful Vero Beach! We checked in at Capt. Hiram’s Resort in the afternoon; a cool beachside resort with restaurants and beach bars right on the beach and their own marina! Another bonus for the trip was Mazda letting us borrow another car for our trip! This time, we got to test drive the Mazda 3 Grande Touring 2017!
We started the next day early for skydiving at Skydive Sebastian. Despite this being our second time skydiving, the fun and excitement never wavered. There were still hesitation and doubt floating in my head when the airplane door opened and the intense wind and noise were overpowering. However, once I jumped, all fear and doubt were completely forgotten and was replaced by joy and hysteria.
As I was having the time of my life during free fall, the complete opposite was happening to Jonathan. I couldn’t stop laughing at his random expressions when he was approaching terminal velocity! Although we both love skydiving, Jonathan is not much of a fan the free falling portion of skydiving. However, he was absolutely in love with the parachuting part of skydiving and getting the chance of enjoying every inch of the view from up above that Sebastian, Florida provided us.
After skydiving at Skydive Sebastian, we went for the Treasure Coast Seaplane Tour with Mike and Sheena Hoover. This was quite frankly, one of the highlights of the trip. Mike and Sheena are both experienced flight instructors with a vast knowledge of the Indian River Lagoon and Blue Cypress Lake which we explored. Both Jonathan and I took turns sitting in the co-pilots seat next to Mike where he guided us to see some exciting and amazing wildlife from turtles, string rays, and alligators to whales and some species of birds nesting in trees. The seaplane tour was such a thrilling experience that I am sure Jonathan truly enjoyed since he’s into driving or piloting anything that is operated by a motor or has wheels.
This tour is high on our list of the best adventures we have ever had! Aside from having a hands-on experience with flying the Cessna aircraft and witnessing the magnificent views from high in the sky, we will never forget the hospitality shown to us by Mike and Sheena. Furthermore, they gave us some importance pieces of advice on how to succeed in our next adventure which is sailing. We highly recommend Treasure Coast Seaplane Tour! Trust us; you will never be disappointed!
Florida Road Trip: FOURTH STOP – Space Coast
As if this road trip couldn’t get any better, our 4th stop on our 2-week adventure with Mazda was in Space Coast! I was always into science, technology and learning about the world when I was a kid. I had loads of children’s encyclopedias and books about all kinds of things that I would read for hours. Visiting the Kennedy Space Centre was a bit like being a kid again, amazed at real life space shuttles hanging from the ceiling right in front of us and a giant launch rocket that was never quite finished!
I knew I wanted to go here when we visited Florida in 2015 but we didn’t have time so this trip we made sure to go to Cape Canaveral/ Space Coast area where it is located. Our hotel, Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, is just 30 minutes away from the Kennedy Space Center, so we were able to arrive there early and walk around the park before we had a lunch buffet with a real astronaut. Her name was Nicole Scott, and she narrated inspiring stories about her goal of becoming an astronaut – what it takes and the struggles behind the scenes. Also, how it was in outer space from the breathtaking view of seeing planet Earth like never before to the disadvantages of experiencing zero gravity, especially to the body.
I also learned that because of NASA’s research, there’s a lot of inventions that we now use in our everyday lives like wireless gadgets, solar energy panels, memory foam on mattresses, insulation and a lot more!
Florida Road Trip: FIFTH STOP – Kissimmee
For our last and final stop on our road trip with Mazda, we stayed at this amazing villa at Magic Village in Kissimmee! There are so many great things to say about Kissimmee! The town of Celebration is somewhere that has to be visited, and we only found out after we’d been there that it was built by Disney! After having lunch at Imperium, it was hard to believe that we were really going to be riding in P1 Superstock Powerboats!
These are some of the fastest boats in the world, and they really get your adrenaline pumping. A chance to ride the boat driven by a respected racer was a big highlight too!
Another adventure that is right up there with skydiving and the seaplane tour in Vero Beach and Sebastian, Florida in terms of excitement and the feeling of flying is hang gliding. We had experienced hang gliding before in Rio de Janeiro where we ran off of a hill, but this time it was different. In Kissimmee, our glider was dragged by a small plane called a Dragonfly. It was a much smoother ride because the pace of the plane gradually sped up. At the right altitude of around 2,000 feet, the instructor unhooked our glider from the plane, and we experienced a calm and serene flight up until we landed. After hang gliding, we had breakfast with Malcolm Jones, the founder, and owner of Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding, and had a great conversation about how he managed to succeed from his first ideas of turning the vast land for the sole purpose of hang gliding in the 1990’s.
Paddle Boarding at Shingle Creek in the afternoon was a nice way to unwind after a full day and a big lunch! Gliding along a tranquil creek, surrounded by trees and wondering whether any alligators would surface around us! The next day was a bit more relaxed with a relaxing Horseback Adventure at Forever Florida where we got to experience a walking trail ride through historic trails and a creek. It’s perfect for all kinds of travelers since the trails come in varying levels depending on your experience.
After that, we had a scrumptious lunch at Wild Florida. Their barbecue and signature Swamp Slushy comes highly recommended. Perfect for cooling off on a hot day. After lunch, we went on an airboat ride on the lake and through water grass along the edges. Unfortunately, it was a scorching day, so we did not see alligators. However, the boat ride itself was so much fun, and we saw some birds like cranes and egrets.
The grande finale of our trip and something which we have to recommend to everyone who visits either Orlando or Kissimmee is to visit Disney Springs to take a sunset ride in a classic amphibious car! Only 5000 of these incredibly cute little contraptions were originally built in Germany, and of the couple of hundred that are left, Disney has around 20 of them, meticulously maintained and preserved in top working order by a full-time team of mechanics! The feeling of driving down a ramp and into the water, only to float and start chugging away by the propeller is something you need to experience at least once in your life! As the sun was setting, we enjoyed a 20 minute guided tour of the lake and all the highlights of Disney Springs, all before arriving back at The Boathouse for an amazing seafood dinner!
Disclaimer: This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of Mazda USA Visit Palm Beaches, St. Lucie, Indian River County, Space Coast, Experience Kissimmee for our full itinerary and to Visit Florida, the official tourism office of Florida in Tallahassee, and especially Mrs. Summer Gilhousen Gonzalez-Mendez, who arranged the whole trip and coordinated with all the local tourism boards, private companies for our sponsored hotel stays and tours. All opinions and ideas are all ours. Thank you!
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