Contributed by Jennifer Dew, 9 to 5 Pets
The prettiest time of year in Northeast Florida is when the summer meets the fall. The dog days of summer are behind us, the humidity drops, and the strong ocean breezes start to pick up. It’s the best time of year to be outside!
So if you’ve got the blues from being way too cooped up this summer, then we hope these destinations will inspire you to get out and get away for that day trip or weekend “staycation” you so need and deserve!
Tour the St. Augustine Lighthouse, the oldest permanent aid to navigation in North America, and explore its rich history. Then take in the most beautiful 360 degree view of our Ancient City from up top. And after climbing those stairs, reward yourself and refuel at either the Conch House Restaurant or Beachcomber in St. Augustine Beach.
Amelia Island & Fernandina Beach
Pack your bikes and take a drive to Amelia Island along Heckscher Drive. The views along this route are breathtaking. Park at any one of the State Parks along the way (Ft. George, Little Talbot, Big Talbot or Amelia Island) and enjoy riding the paths and taking in this beautiful place we are blessed to call home. You can pack a lunch and picnic at Boneyard Beach on Big Talbot Island. Or ‘treat yo’self to a burger at Tasty’s or a fresh fish sandwich from the top deck at Salt Life. Then wander through Fernandina Beach and top your day off with an ice cream cone on Main Street.
We also recommend a day on the water with Kayak Amelia. There’s no better way to take in the beauty and wonder of our golden marsh grasses, white sandy beaches, and wildlife than paddling through the beautiful waterways.
Pack your bikes and explore Jekyll Island, our favorite Golden Isle. It’s only an hour north and filled with adventure. Start by touring the “Millionaire’s Village” in the historic district which includes the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and surrounding cottages where the Crane family, the Pulitzers, Morgans, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Goodyear clan all used to call “home” for the summer. Afterwards, fuel up with lunch at The Wharf which boasts the most beautiful waterfront views and serves the most delicious peel and eat shrimp! Then hit the bicycle path north for a scenic way to see all of the island’s hallmark points of interest. And don’t miss Driftwood Beach and Glory Beach along the way!
Mt. Dora will take you back to “Old Florida” with its lakes, quiet country inns, shops, and an old railroad station. It’s a charming city in Central Florida and known for its antique shops and annual festivals. Wander around the downtown shops and take in the local eateries (Pisces Rising is one of our favorites and has a great view of the lake). Or take off from Lake Dora on a seaplane flightseeing tour with Jones Brothers & Co. And did you know? This spunky little town made it to the big screen back in 1981 with the film “Honky Tonk Freeway” where they painted the town pink and taught “Bubbles” the elephant how to water ski on Lake Dora. Yes, this really happened.
Springs Springs…Everywhere There’s Springs!
Florida is no doubt blessed with an abundance of natural springs. Here’s a handful of our favorites we recommend visiting and exploring:
Bob’s River Place (Not a spring but loads of FUN!)
Dive in, cool off, and have FUN!
And remember, while you’re away, our 9 to 5 Pets team is always here for you to help check in on your pets and give them all the love and care they need. Call us at (904) 655-4700 or contact us through your client portal or our website here https://www.9to5pets.com/contact/ to schedule your reservation today! We hope to see your pets soon and see YOU out and about having fun!