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by: Kelly Stilwell

We’re so lucky to live in paradise, but it’s fun to get away every now and then. Looking to hop just for an overnight adventure? Prefer a skip for a long weekend? Rather jump for a week-long getaway? We’ve got you covered with three new ideas!

A Hop

For a fun-filled but relaxing overnight trip that’s really close to home, why not head 45 minutes south to Venice? In the Shark Tooth Capital of the World, the kids will be thrilled to be able to comb the sand and more than likely come home with treasures they will keep forever!

The beaches in Venice are similar to our beaches here in Bradenton, but Caspersen Beach is known for an abundance of shark teeth. It’s said that 10 million years ago, the waters in the area of Venice were full of sharks. As the water ebbed and the prehistoric sharks died, their skeletons disintegrated. As teeth don’t decompose like bones do, shark teeth are still found there today!

Low tide is the best time to find shark teeth, so take a minute and find out when low tide is before you go. Of course, you can expect low tide in the morning, but it does vary.

Though hunting for shark teeth is a huge draw, there is a lot more to do in Venice! Historic Downtown Venice is a pretty area, with over 100 independently owned shops and restaurants to visit. And when it comes to the arts, you can see a show at Venice Theater, browse world-renowned artist Clyde Butcher Art Gallery, or check out an exhibit at Venice Art Center.

If history is more your jam, the entire city plan is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit the Venice Museum & Archives to learn more about this lovely city just a hop away.

A Skip

The oldest city in the United States is actually right here in Florida. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Admiral Don Pedro Menendez, sent by King Phillip II of Spain. His assignment? To expel the French from Florida. If you haven’t visited Florida’s historic capital, I think you’ll be surprised by all there is to do. Tallahassee really has it all, except for our beautiful beaches (and, really, what other destinations can
beat our soft white sand?).

History fans will want to see Mission San Luis, a living history site. The Tallahassee Museum hosts 14 historic buildings, giving visitors an immersive experience into this region’s 19th century history. Don’t miss the Old Florida Exhibit while you’re there!

For families, the Challenger Learning Center/IMAX Theater and Planetarium is a not-to-be missed attraction that everyone will enjoy. Featuring an IMAX Theater, dome theater and planetarium, as well as the space mission simulator, this is the perfect afternoon activity. Homeschoolers and scouts could spend an entire day here! Be sure to check out the events calendar and all the great curriculum downloads!

Of course, you’ll have to eat while you’re there, and lucky you! You’ll find a plethora
of fantastic restaurants from 5-star dining to small bites at breweries. For fresh Gulf oysters, fish, and burgers, try the local favorite, Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack. For something upscale, check out Huntsman, featuring an eclectic menu of items like boar bacon wedge salad, Greek-style octopus, and iron-seared grouper.

Finally, the craft beer scene is seriously surprising in Tallahassee! Don’t miss Deep
Brewing and Proof Brewing (Tallahassee’s largest brewery), both award winners at
beer competitions all over the world. Check out the Visit Tallahassee website to see
their Beer Garden Tour. With 10 breweries to explore, you might need an extra day!

The Capitol Courtyard Copyright and credits TACVB


This getaway falls into the longer trip category, but it’s an easy one! You can fly into Dallas, Texas, out of SRQ and be in Grapevine, Texas, in under three hours if you can make the non-stop work for you. If you’ve never heard of this lovely city, add it to your list of destinations to explore.

Families will enjoy this getaway where they can visit both SeaLife Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center, located right next door. Combo tickets are available so you can go to one, go to lunch in between, and then spend the afternoon at the other! SeaLife Aquarium and LEGOLAND are located at Grapevine Mills, where you’ll also find the Peppa Pig Experience. You’ll have some very happy kiddos with a day filled with these family-friendly adventures.

Speaking of Grapevine Mills, it’s North Texas’ largest shopping destination. This mall houses all your favorite stores, including Neiman Marcus Last Call, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, and Michael Kors Outlet. In addition to the long list of stores, you’ll find plenty of places to satisfy your tastebuds, like Kelly’s Cajun Grill, Kimu Sushi, and Rainforest Cafe.

History buffs will enjoy Historic Downtown Grapevine, the oldest settlement in Tarrant County. Founded a year before Texas was annexed by the United States, this city is proud of their past. Visit The Donald Schoolhouse where kids of all ages can experience a 1900s schoolhouse by sitting at one of the desks and writing on a chalk slate board just as students did during that time. Take a look at early life in Grapevine by visiting The Keeling House. You could spend a weekend just exploring the history.

All that exploring can work up a thirst, and it just so happens that Grapevine is home to the Urban Wine Trail, where you can visit a few of the wineries on your own, or take a wine tour and let them do the driving.

Finally, if you’re looking for a really special holiday destination, visit Grapevine between November 20th and the end of the year. With over 1,400 Christmas activities in 40 days, the Christmas Capital of Texas really puts on a show this time of year, and you won’t want to miss it.

Grapevine Cotton Ginner’s Museum

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