While it’s fun to be a tourist in your own city, sometimes it’s just as exciting to venture out to new places! If you’re looking to stick closer to home, consider taking a short drive to one of these destinations to experience new adventures, flavors and fun.
Less than three hours from downtown St. Augustine, Florida, the historical hub of Savannah, Georgia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Southeast – and for a good reason. The city and surrounding areas like Tybee Island make for a great spot for families looking to explore poignant historic sites or enjoy a day at the beach, or for adults who crave an active nightlife experience. Popular attractions include Fort Pulaski National Monument, Forsyth Park and Historic River Street.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Described as a “coastal haven,” Jekyll Island is a small beachside community perfect for a quick weekend getaway. Connect with nature and explore their 22 miles of trails and paths that wind around the island’s dunes, historical sites and beaches, or visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the state’s only sea turtle education and rehabilitation facility. The island is peppered with local eateries and shops, and adjacent to family-friendly attractions like Summer Waves.
Charleston, South Carolina
Continuing up the coast into South Carolina is the vibrant city of Charleston, another destination rife with historical flair and modern-day pleasures that provide something for every traveler. Consider embarking on a walking tour of the city to really take in everything it has to offer. From Battery Park to the City Market, there is so much to see, do and eat in Charleston. Oh, and do yourself a favor and just try the grits!
Amelia Island, Florida
Similar to Jekyll Island, but with a slightly shorter drive, Amelia Island is a quaint beach town with all the charm and half the crowds. Home to Fort Clinch State Park, the island’s history mixed with its breathtaking landscape make it the perfect place for a nearby staycation. Dine on locally-caught seafood in the Downtown Historic District, or peruse one-of-a-kind boutiques on Centre Street. Amelia Island offers bed and breakfasts aplenty, many within walking distance of the pristine coastline.
Siesta Key, Florida
Just south of Sarasota rests the laid-back beach town of Siesta Key. There’s no end to the outdoor opportunities for families, ranging from simply relaxing on the crystal white beach to hopping aboard a fishing charter excursion. Looking to explore the waterways on your own? There are plenty of rental spots that offer paddleboards, kayaks and other recreational equipment you’ll need to hit the waves. A free trolley is also available making navigating the island a breeze.
Although geographically coastal, Dunedin, located west of Tampa, boasts a village-like atmosphere and relaxed lifestyle, which makes it one of the best kept destination secrets in the State of Florida. The city’s center is almost completely walkable with unique shops, restaurants and breweries lining every corner. What’s most notable about Dunedin is how active it is. The city is bisected by the Pinellas Trail, a 39-mile-long bike and pedestrian trail that features scenic views and food stops along the way. If you don’t want to travel with your bicycle, you can rent one for everyone in your party so you can easily navigate your way through the city streets or Honeymoon Island.
While Orlando may seem like a no-brainer because of all the big-named theme parks, consider taking time to explore this city, which has so much more to offer than thrilling rides. Make a stop at the Orlando Science Center, a hands-on museum experience which has lots to do for little ones and adults. Experience a different kind of thrill at the Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, where you can navigate through 97 aerial challenges and zoom down a 425’ zip line. Disney Springs is also a great option for families who may not want to travel to the parks but still want to appeal to the young and young-at-heart while visiting. The Springs is bursting at the seams with cleverly-themed restaurants, a bowling alley, movie theater and shops galore.
Looking for a home base while exploring all of these amazing destinations around the Southeast United States? Then look no further than St. Johns County, Florida. With some of the best schools in the state, 41 miles of white, sandy beaches and a burgeoning arts, culture and culinary scene, St. Johns County has something for everyone whether you’re a young family, professional couple or retirees looking for plenty of room for visiting grandkids. Give us a call at MasterCraft Builder Group to build the home of your dreams!