Totallytravel’s Blog

I just entered three photos for the Caribbean Travel & Life photo contest.

Shades of blue

Calm water at sunset

Fort Charlotte

All Category Winners Will Receive:
  • – Photo inclusion in Caribbean Travel + Life magazine’s 2011 November/December issue.
  • – A two-year subscription to Caribbean Travel + Life magazine.
One First Prize Winner Will Receive:
  • – A five-night stay for two in an ocean view, one-bedroom suite at Scrub Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands
  • – All taxes and fees included – Round trip airport transfers to the resort
  • – A welcome cocktail on arrival
  • – A two-year subscription to Caribbean Travel + Life magazine
One Second Prize Winner Will Receive:
  • – A four-night stay for two in an ocean view, one-bedroom suite at Scrub Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands
  • – All taxes and fees included
  • – Round trip airport transfers to the resort
  • – A welcome cocktail on arrival
  • – A two-year subscription to Caribbean Travel + Life magazine
One Third Prize Winner Will Receive:
  • – A three-night stay for two in an ocean view, one-bedroom suite at Scrub Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands
  • – All taxes and fees included
  • – Round trip airport transfers to the resort
  • – A welcome cocktail on arrival
  • – A two-year subscription to Caribbean Travel + Life magazine
I don’t know about you guys, but this sounds great and I could always use another vacation!

{May 23, 2011}   Budget Travel clips so far

Just doing some maintenance and figured I’d squeeze in a bit of shameless self-promotion as well. Here are the clips I’ve gotten on Budget Travel’s website from my internship so far, ranging from December 2010 through May 2011.

Sick of snow? Lobby for summer!

This weekend: The New York Times 2011 travel show

How to get close to Hawaii’s massive, erupting volcano

Readers’ Best Ireland Photos

26 Stunning Ireland Photos (I built the slide show)

Hilarious new safety video from Air New Zealand

Airport lounge access for $17.50?

Road to Hollywood Tour coming to a theater near you

April 9: The easiest day of the year to get a passport

SNL takes on Southwest Airlines

New website tracks outrageous souvenirs

They want to know what?! A new passport questionnaire could get very personal

Should the government ease all restrictions on Cuba?

Feel free to comment or pass them around. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did writing them.

{July 21, 2010}   Key West, here I come

This time next week I will be visiting Key West for the first time with my Mom and sister, April. We’ve never been there before and have been reading up on places to go and things to see, but would welcome any suggestions, too.

We were lucky to score a great deal on a hotel (I’ll post more details later) by calling the hotel instead of just booking through the website. We weren’t aware of another special that wasn’t being advertised that ended up saving us a ton of money. We also checked out the hotel’s cancellation policy just in case a hurricane should interrupt our plans.

My mother has a bad back and we have a bad car, so driving is out. Our options were either The Key West Express or to take Amtrack as far as possible, probably somewhere close to Miami,  and rent a car from there. We spent weeks going through and arguing about the options. As usual, I wanted to make a road trip out of things but that would have cost a lot more for car rentals and food or lodging along the way. In the end, we decided we could splurge and catch a one hour flight down there, even if it did cost $311.

We’re staying for six days and want to spend some downtime relaxing at the hotel pool while checking out some of the Key West essentials. Our hotel offers free shuttle service to Duval Street and some of the other major tourist traps (since we’re staying closer to the airport) and we are traveling with one person under 21 so our stint on the Duval Crawl will be limited. There are a few jazz clubs I want to check out and I am determined to stop by Better Than Sex, A Dessert Restaurant.

Other things-to-do include The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, The Pirate Soul Museum, and if we have time we might stop at The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. We might stop by The Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters Museum and hopefully take a Ghost Tour if we get a chance. I’ve been told Fort Zachary Taylor State Park has a great beach, so we added that to the list. We’re going to watch the sunset from Mallory Square and take a picture by the Southernmost Point, too, while we’re at it. Tacky, yes. Necessary, you betcha.

Please comment if there is anything I missed – any recommendations would be great! Thanks and I hope you’re having a great summer, too!

{June 22, 2010}   Shameless self-promotion

Hey everybody! I just wanted to share my second Creative Loafing Tampa Bay story with you – this one is about a day I spent at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. Please click on this link and take a look! Tell your friends!

Playing Tourist at MOSI

If you’d like to see my other travel stories for Creative Loafing Tampa Bay’s Blog, The Daily Loaf, click here.

Or, to check out my story about a recent trip to Safety Harbor, click here.

Thanks to everybody for your interest and support!

{February 24, 2010}   Naples in November

Umbrellas in the sand.

I was able to accompany my mother to Naples, Florida, for the first week of November, spending some time at the beaches, visiting museums and relaxing at the hotel pool while my mother slaved away at work. From 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. I was given free reign to explore the city, taking time to visit its biggest tourist attractions and see a few sunsets on the Gulf.

I quickly realized Naples is a city that does not cater to tourists. For instance, there is free parking for residents near all the beaches but visitors must pay $0.25 for 10 minutes of meter time anywhere within walking distance of the ocean. That’s $1.50 for one hour of beach time.

To put that into perspective, keep in mind that for $1.50 near the USF St. Petersburg campus, you can park for three hours. Take that, Naples.

So, after recovering from the sticker shock, I enjoyed a few nice afternoons and sunsets at Lowdermilk Beach Park, basically the only easily accessible public beach unless you want to hunt for meters along the numbered streets further south – closer to The Naples Pier –  for a great view at sunset.

I spent a day at The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, a terrific way to see animals up close and personal while being entertained with exciting shows – alligator feeding, snake handling and a boat ride around the monkey islands just to name a few. Florida residents should check the website for discounts and other promotions. I was able to use a coupon to get in for half price because I happened to view their website the night before.

The Snake Trainer

Another great place to check out is the Naples Museum of Art, which features works by local artists, collections of Mexican art and American Modernism,  as well as great traveling exhibits. My favorite collection was the ceiling of glass objects made by Dale Chihuly, built into a hallway where the light shines through hundreds of blown glass flowers and other designs overhead.

The last day I was in Naples, I found out about the Old Florida Festival being held at the Collier County Museum. There were muskets. There were cannons being fired (and car alarms going off). There were battles with the Seminole Indians being re-enacted by people wearing authentic costumes from the time period. We partied like it was 1899 and it was fantastic.

Uniforms through the ages

While the city may seem overwhelming and unwelcoming at first, with a little creativity and a strong desire to have a good time, you too can dig up some gems in Naples.

{February 24, 2010}   Do as the Gators do

(**I wrote this on October 29th, 2009 but never got a chance to put it on here. It was featured on my other blog, Curiosity Killed the Kaeli. )

Last weekend, my friend Joe and I drove up to visit friends at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. Particularly, we were there to spend time with my sister, April, who I still cannot believe is a sophomore in college already. She was gracious enough to let me crash at her dorm and I can easily say this was one of the busiest weekends I’ve had in a while.

April’s roommates were excited about Swing Dance lessons that were happening Friday night, so a group of us went to go check it out. After spending an hour learning to dance The Lindy, the instructors announced it was time for “open dance floor” and claimed “The best way to learn how to swing dance is to do it.” We spent the next few hours of our evening being asked to dance by other students and learning steps I didn’t think were humanly possible, spinning around til the point of dizziness and listening to excellent jazz and blues music. Welcome to a Friday night in Gainesville.

Saturday morning was spent at St. Patrick’s Church – a few miles from the main campus – where April was performing with her A Capella group, No Southern Accent for the church’s  fun festival.

Later that afternoon, Joe and I met up with two friends from high school who showed us around the UF campus, complete with a walk through the nature trails that run in between some of the outer buildings. After a few hours, we drove over to Hawthorne Trail State Park for a hike through some real Florida wilderness. Ending near Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, we enjoyed a gorgeous view of the sunset before returning to the UFcampus.

We picked up April – she had been performing at a wedding with No Southern Accent that afternoon – and spent some time at a friend’s apartment before heading back to the dorm and watching Pulp Fiction until 4:30 a.m.

Sunday was action packed as well. We began the day by spending a few hours canoeing and kicking back in paddleboats around Lake Wauburg, a recreational property for UF students and guests. Later we headed back to campus for a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead put on by Florida Players, an acting troupe based out of UF. Although the play was a bit too philosophical for my taste, it did have a pretty interesting take on what I knew about Hamlet, telling the entire story from the point of view of the two messengers later sent to England by the famous Prince’s parents.

I never realized just how nice Gainesville was until I visited last weekend. It’s not just your average college town with students running amok and nothing but bars, restaurants and shopping malls to be found in their wake. It’s much more than that. There are cozy little neighborhoods lining the borders of the campus, cheap apartments and beautiful trees as far as the eye can see. Alright, it is basically a college town, but it’s just not your average college town. There is a lot to do here in Gainesville, you just have to know where to look.

{February 24, 2010}   Kaeli and the City

I had the chance to go to New York at the end of September and got to explore the city for the first time since I was a kid. Before this trip, I had only gone into Manhattan to see Peter Pan on Broadway and The Nutcracker Ballet at Christmas, but was too young to hit most of the city’s major tourist attractions. We lived in Queens, where the city meets Long Island.

This was also the first time I flew by myself, which was a milestone in itself. The flight was a piece of cake, and what’s the first thing I see in the La Guardia terminal when we land? Nathan’s. Welcome to New York.

After getting picked up from the airport, we headed straight to a good old fashioned neighborhood diner. Just like the old days. Boy, it was nice to be home. I enjoyed my first lindsor torte cookie in 7 years and went with my father to visit my cousins, aunts and uncles in Whitestone, ending my first night in the old neighborhood with the Yankees creaming the Red Sox.

The next day, I headed into the city with my father, taking the usual route from his studio apartment in Bayside: The #12 bus followed by the #7 subway, all for $2.25 thanks to the Metrocard and free transfers. A small price to pay for a day in Manhattan.

We headed straight for Rockerfeller Plaza and its key attraction, Top of the Rock, where visitors hop on the elevator for about 70 floors and get a gorgeous panaramic view of the entire city. (Tickets normally cost $21 for adults but keep an eye out for coupons given out by street vendors outside.)

My cousin and his girlfriend were nice enough to take us on a tour of Downtown, starting with a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry, a 25 minute boat ride that gives you priceless views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and lower Manhattan.

We then took a walk through Battery Park, grabbed some food from a street vendor & visited Bowling Green, one of the oldest sites in Manhattan. Feeling adventurous, we decided to walk through Wall Street and head over the Brooklyn Bridge by foot.

It’s really not as hard as it sounds. The Brooklyn Bridge is actually quite beautiful, allowing plenty of room for bicyclists and runners to enjoy the views on either side of the Bridge. There’s nothing like watching the sunset from the very middle: On one side, Lower Manhattan’s skyline. The other: The ever expanding borough of Brooklyn.

Once in Brooklyn, we headed straight to Grimaldi’s, a restaurant notorious for its coal brick-oven pizza. Great food. Decent prices. Follow it up with a walk along the seaport on Brooklyn’s side and see the city light up over the river.

The next time we ventured into Manhattan, the morning started off with a trip to my father’s office and lunch with another cousin I hadn’t seen since I was nine. We grabbed a quick lunch before taking the subway uptown.

Not realizing that the train we were on was actually an express train, we passed by Central Park and ended up on 125th street in Harlem. A few minutes later we were back where we wanted to be. Just goes to show that paying attention to train routes is very important but people are usually willing to assist newcomers if you ask politely.

We decided to wander for a few hours through Central Park, visiting Belvedere Castle, the Great Lawn and finally my pilgrimage to the Imagine Mosaic in Strawberry Fields. The day I was there, the Mosaic was covered in roses in the shape of a giant peace sign and someone had left a framed photograph of John Lennon with flowers. I also wanted to visit The Dakota, the place where Lennon was gunned down nearly 30 years ago.

Walking down Central Park West, we past through Columbus Circle and stopped by The Plaza, which is featured in so many movies. We took the subway downtown to The Village and saw Craig Ferguson’s book reading/signing event at Barnes & Noble.

For my last trip into Manhattan, my father took me to see the Empire State Building, where visitors go up to the 86th floor for the best view in town. Tickets are about $20 but there are discounts for students. Now the highest point in the City, the view from the Empire State Building is just breathtaking.

We stuffed our faces at one of NYC’s famous delis that offers sandwiches the size of your head before heading to the pier on 42nd street for a ride on The Circle Line Ferry. Tickets run about $30 but the experience and views from the water of the City at twilight are magnificent.

I finished off our tour of the City with a walk through Broadway and Times Square. The rest of the trip I visited family on Long Island. One of my childhood friends was nice enough to surprise me with a trip to my old house, school and playground where we grew up.

If you ever get a chance to visit New York City, definitely go for it. New York has got to be one of the coolest – and most photographic – cities in the world and it would be a shame to miss out on such a fun, exciting place.

{August 12, 2009}   A Week In Italy

I recently went with my friend and her family to Italy, where I took about 800 pictures and ate my weight in cannolis & gelato. We flew out on Friday, July 17th and didn’t get into Milan until 9am on the 18th! We stayed up watching movies the night before so we could sleep on the plane. We flew through JFK in NY and had a 9 hour ride from there to Milan, my longest flight in about 8 years, but it was full of food and went by pretty fast.

We got to the Malpensa Airport – about an hour outside of Milan –  and took a shuttle bus  into Milan. The Hotel Star Rosa was right in the middle of town and within walking distance from everything – The Duomo, Castel Sforzesco & a bunch of great museums – especially the Leonardo DaVinci Museum of Science where I got a picture of his flying machine. We spent the entire day just walking around trying to see everything & hiked to the very top floor/roof of the Duomo for the best view of the city.

Day 2 we hopped a half hour commuter train up to Lake Como, where we took an hour long boat tour of the bottom part of the Lake.  We hopped on & off exploring cute little towns. One was having a big craft fair where nobody spoke English, so that was fun (since mostly everybody else spoke English and Italian) and we spotted a funnicular going up the mountain so we knew we had to try it.

We took the funnicular (and our canteloupe flavored gelato) up the mountain to a georgous little town called Brunate, where I will put my summer home once I win the lottery. We spent about an hour just walking around exploring the town & ended up at the very top part of the mountain where the view of Lake Como with the Alps in the background was spectacular.

The next day we hopped a 3 hour train from Milan to Venice. It’s amazing how you get off the train, step outside the station and there’s Venice. We used the Venetian water-taxis to get around (great on the 1st day, VERY BUSY on the 2nd day as we carried our luggage on & got crushed by people during their rush hour…) It was even more beautiful than I could have imagined. We checked out St. Mark’s Square & saw the Doge’s Palace and a bunch of museums in that area. The 2nd day, there was low tide and the whole city smelled like dead fish, but apart from that, it was great! We spent hours just wandering the streets & taking pictures.

Then we got on the train to Rome. It was a pretty ride through the mountains and countryside right down the middle of the country.Our hotel in Rome was literally right next to the Trevi Fountain. We grabbed gelato & walked around by the Pantheon & Trevi Fountain til 1am (it was STILL crowded then!), had some Limoncello samples and & went to bed.

We spent the entire next day walking around Rome, checking  out Vatican City and all its museums. We waited in a half hour line and went inside St. Peter’s Basilica, then checked out the Sistine Chapel and saw Michaelangelo & Raphael’s works. Beautiful beyond words.  We crashed in the hotel afterward for a few hours then went out to dinner with her father at a pizza place that played “Michael Jackson’s Number Ones” CD! They love him more than we do, I swear!  (In fact the only place I heard real Italian music was in a McDonalds in Venice we stopped in for the air conditioning)

The last day in Rome, we got up early (we’d gotten up at 6:30 every morning to see the most stuff during our week in Italy) and saw the Colosseum & walked around the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill. It was unbelievibly hot out so we eventually took shelter (and our gelato) to a shady spot by the Pantheon. Then we went shopping.

I found (and HAD to buy) an official Pope Benedict lolipop. I still can’t bring myself to eat it, though. I came across  a pair of boxer shorts that are the colors of the Italian flag and have the Statue of David’s, um, signature feature on them. Front and center. They were too funny to pass up. Plus I saw a Japanese tourist wearing them as regular pants on the streets of Venice. I only wish I had bought them in bulk. What great stocking stuffers…

We rode back to Milan on the train, spent the night in a hotel by the airport and headed home. It was a LOT of fun, but I would recommend going back during the cooler months when the weather is less humid and crowds are smaller. Airlines often have better deals during the off-season months.

Feel free to view more of my photos from this trip by clicking on the links:


Lake Como Region



{August 12, 2009}   Savannah & Tybee Island, FL

If you have 6 hours to spare, a few good cds and a few great friends, drop everything, get in your car and drive to Savannah, GA.

Only a 6 hour ride from the Tampa Bay area, Savannah is a georgous city where every view is likely to appear on a postcard.

Ideal for lovers of photography, Savannah offers it’s visitors a unique opportunity to wander its streets for hours without worry of finding the right subject. Every block or so offers a scenic square, covered with grass, trees and usually a significant piece of sculpture at its center. Surrounding the squares themselves are the most amazing looking houses you’ve ever seen.

You can wander through Chippewa Square, where Forest Gump once sat on his bench telling fellow bus riders his story. You can scout out the area for places mentioned in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, like Jim William’s Mansion or the home of poet Conrad Aiken lived in, next door to the home his parents died in.

Forsyth Park is by far the most scenic of all the squares, and the largest. Like Central Park in New York City, Forsyth offers residents of Savannah a beautiful place to relax by the fountain or take in its natural beauty with a walk through its center path.

Food Network Star, Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady & Son’s, is in downtown Savannah. Be sure to get up bright and early to wait in line and sign up for her gourmet buffet lunch, which features her famous macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and a choice of desserts among other delights.

Be sure to check out the Savannah City Market, which boasts a number of art galleries and candy shops that offer visitors free samples of pralines.

Savannah offers several ghost tours, the cheapest one being Cobblestone Tours, Inc., which features a candlelight walking tour of some of the most haunted places in the city for a mere $10 per person. For braver visitors, Bonaventure Cemetery offers a rare glimpse of beautiful artwork and some of the oldest headstones in the region.

Fans of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil can delight in searching for the graves of crooner Johnny Mercer and poet Conrad Aiken. Further down the road, you’ll find Greenwich Cemetery, home of Danny Hansford’s grave, usually decked out in offerings he’d love: Combs, beer, decks of cards and Wild Turkey bourbon.

For those seeking a relaxing beach getaway, Tybee Island, just a half hour drive from Downtown Savannah provides visitors with an enchanting view of the Atlantic Ocean and enough activities to keep you busy.

Just before reaching Tybee Island, you’ll pass Fort Pulaski, a national park dating back to the Civil War. Visitors can explore the old fort and enjoy breathtaking views of the lowlands and water that surround it. You can even walk through a series of hidden passageways in a hill adjacent to the fort.

On Tybee Island, Butler Avenue offers a number of shops and restaurants designed to satisfy the masses. For a more private encounter with Tybee Island, stick to the north end closer to the Tybee Island Lighthouse, which is worth visiting. The view from the lighthouse are great, as is the living history house where you can see exactly what it was like to live there and be in charge of the lighthouse.

For a unique but homey experience, I’d recommend staying at the Tybee Island Inn, a bed and breakfast just one block from the Atlantic. Every morning, a gourmet breakfast is served while you get the chance to meet the people vacationing along with you. You can take a book or two from the huge bookshelves in the lobby, some coffee, tea or ice cream from the kitchen, and just spend hours relaxing in one of many porch swings out front. Each room is themed and if you need anything, just ask.

For a quick week-long vacation, the Savannah/Tybee Island area is a great way to get a bit of history while you are on vacation. Be sure to bring your camera, grab your map and just go for a walk. You never know what you might find or what great stories you’ll be able to tell once you start.

For more photos from my trip to Savannah & Tybee Island, click here.

Walking through the streets of St. Augustine is like stepping back in time. Old fashioned, architectural wonders harking back to the seventeenth and eighteenth century line the streets, giving visitors a glimpse into the past.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit the city during spring break with two friends, making the 3 hour drive from Tampa go by quickly as we talked about the historic sites and adventures that awaited us on the opposite coast of Florida .

The three of us compiled a list of places in St. Augustine deemed interesting enough to investigate upon arrival. Aside from the main attractions listed on the city’s website, we jotted down more places recommended by friends and relatives who had been there.

A good piece of advice to anyone visiting St. Augustine : Be sure to stay in a hotel, motel or bed & breakfast near St. George Street – the main artery of the city where all the major attractions are.

Parking is a real challenge within the confining streets of Downtown St. Augustine, so it is better to park in your hotel’s parking lot and just take a stroll.

Being the struggling college students we are, and eager for a new, exciting twist on an old fashioned bed & breakfast, we stayed at The Pirate Haus Inn, a pirate themed establishment on the corner of Charlotte and Treasury Streets that offered private rooms in addition to youth hostel-like quarters.

Upon entering the Pirate Haus Inn, and walking up the steps decorated in true pirate fashion, featuring the words to “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me,” we checked in at the front desk where “Captain Conrad” showed us to our rooms, providing us with maps of the area and books of coupons we later used at some of the attractions.

Our room was called “The Jungle Room,” and we soon learned why. The walls, bedspread, the sink in the bathroom and even the shower curtain were decked out in jungle attire, featuring wall-sized jungle murals designed and painted by Elaine Juzwick and Pat Hitchcock, local painters from St. Augustine who also designed the other rooms in the Inn: The tropical fish room, pirate room, and the map room among other themes.

For about $75 a night, we got our own private room, featuring a queen sized bed and a set of bunk beds big enough for any pirate-at-heart.

The best part about staying at the Pirate Haus Inn: Free all you can eat breakfast every morning. The catch: You have to wash your own dishes once you’re done. Not too bad.

Our first stop to investigate: Castillo de San Marcos, a national park two blocks away that was once a fort for the British and Spanish throughout different points in history, depending on the century.

Open from 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. , the entrance fee is $6 for adults while children are free. Guests are given the chance to have their picture taken on the drawbridge of the old Fort, before taking a self guided tour through the many rooms set up to let visitors have a peek into the everyday lives of the soldiers who lived and died there.

The creepiest part of the tour by far was the prison, where guests are only allowed to peer in through the circular window in the door. You feel as if you’re being watched, and given all the stories about the soldiers who haunt the Castillo, you very well might be.

We stepped outside just in time for a musketeer demonstration put on by a group of state park volunteers who were decked out in what looked like Revolutionary War outfits. As the guns pop-popped behind us, we ducked back into the downstairs level to crawl through the short, narrow tunnel and check out what had once been a gunpowder storehouse hidden deep inside the building to prevent accidental explosions.

After spending about 2 hours exploring the Castillo, we decided to go for a walk down St. George Street to get a better feel of the city.

Passing through the gates of the city, we watched as groups of tourists continued down the alleys, shopping at quaint little chocolate shops and stopping to buy souvenirs.

We decided to check out the Colonial Spanish Quarter’s Living History Museum, a place where volunteers helped to recreate what life was like in St. Augustine during the 1740s.

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. , college students who show an I.D. can get in for $4.25, while normal prices for adults are $6.95. Children can get in for $4.25.

Inside the old fashioned looking walls of the Museum, we were greeted by the town blacksmith, church scribe, carpenter, soldier’s wife and a man fashioning satchels out of leather by hand, which we later learned were sold in the Museum gift shop.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the city, taking in the buildings, shops and breathtaking views of the sunset over Matanzas Bay .

The next morning, we got up early and drove down San Marcos Blvd. to see the Mission of Nombre de Dios and the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, the oldest Spanish mission founded on September 8th, 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles. To be brutally honest, we spotted a creepy old cemetery and were too intrigued to pass it up.

We then drove over the Bridge of Lions to Anastasia Island , home of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, our next stop on the map.

Be sure to clip a coupon for a 10% discount towards entrance fees, which made it about $10 to get in. After climbing up 219 steps, the panoramic view of the city made it all worthwhile.

For our last stop, we drove 15 miles along highway A1A South toward Fort Matanzas, the site where nearly 250 French soldiers were slaughtered by the Spanish as they tried to invade the city. 175 years later, the Spanish used the Fort to prevent the British from taking over their lands.

Lucky for us, the entrance to the park was free, as was the 5 minute ferry ride across Matanzas Bay to the actual Fort. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and ferries travel to the Fort every hour on the half hour.

St. Augustine is the perfect place to go exploring with your camera, as there are picturesque settings at every turn. Whether you’re a history buff or just like to relax and go for a stroll around town, St. Augustine helps all who visit to get a better understanding of Florida ’s past, giving us a better appreciation for where we came from.

et cetera