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5 Places in Florida To Go With Dad

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!

Ever wonder where to go with your dad?  Anywhere you liked to go in the past?

Consider these five Florida locations, all offering something interesting within the State of Florida.  More importantly, something for which to create family memories.

Hint: No Disney or Sea World!

1.) Crystal River

Manatees in the spring-fed waters in Kings Bay in Crystal River. Art Anderson [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  Whether it’s fishing, diving, or just sightseeing, Crystal River is a cant-miss destination.  It was a favorite place for my dad and I.  We weren’t into diving, but we were into fishing.  Plenty of offshore, onshore, and river options for anglers.

The Plantation on Crystal River (formerly known as the Plantation Inn) has riverfront access, beautiful rooms, and a few different dining options.

2.) DeLand

As the self-proclaimed “Athens of Florida,” DeLand is a small town with a beautiful quaint downtown and tree-lined streets.  You can make your own walking tour to look at the beautiful vintage buildings and homes in its historic district.

It’s also a college town, home to Stetson University.

If you’re into mixing in a State Park experience with spending time downtown, Blue Spring State Park is just outside town near Orange City.

3.) Fort DeSoto Park

Fort DeSoto pier.  Courtesy of Reinhard Link via Flickr

Located at the south tip of the Pinellas County beaches, Fort DeSoto Park is on the former grounds of Fort DeSoto.  The fort  was an active military installation from 1898-1910, and a partial installation until 1948.

Mortars at Fort DeSoto.  By Fl295 at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The old fort still remains, and tours are available daily.

Two beaches are available for use.  The north beach is on the Gulf of Mexico, the east beach is on Tampa Bay.  Each side also has its own fishing pier.

Admission to the park is $5.

4.) Ponce Inlet

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.  By Ebyabe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
11 miles south of Daytona Beach is Ponce Inlet.  While being close to Daytona, its beaches are more unspoiled and less crowded.

The ocean water along this stretch of the Atlantic is just a little bit cooler than the Gulf coast in the summer.

The jetty at Ponce Inlet.  Courtesy of Ryan McKee via Flickr

Lighthouse Point Park is at the end of Atlantic Avenue, the main road in from Daytona Beach.  The park features a jetty as well as the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.  The lighthouse was built in the 1880s and is Florida’s tallest at a height of 175 feet.

5.) The Bradenton Riverwalk

On the west coast of Florida just south of Tampa, the Bradenton Riverwalk is on the beautiful Manatee River.  Strategically located, the Riverwalk is within blocks of the downtown Bradenton shops and attractions.

At the end of the day, sit down to a nice dinner at the Pier 22 Restaurant at the north end of the Memorial Pier near the west end of the Riverwalk.

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