Florida, Sunshine State

Florida Emerald CoastNestled in the Southeastern region of the United States, Florida is a vibrant state bordered by the vast Atlantic Ocean on one side and the serene Gulf of Mexico on the other.

The state's unique position between two major bodies of water significantly shapes Florida's culture and lifestyle. It's a diverse melting pot, home to African, European, Indigenous, Latino, and Asian communities, with a notable Cuban influence. 

The enchanting Florida Keys, a series of islands stretching into the Gulf of Mexico, offer a tropical haven for both residents and visitors alike.

Okaloosa Island

Florida Emerald CoastThe island is an extension of the city of Fort Walton Beach. It is a popular tourist area with silver-white sand beaches, luxury condominiums, an aquarium, a boardwalk, and a fishing pier. 

Several beautiful beaches overlooking the bay and the gulf are spread out along the road connecting the island to Destin.

With all the sounds, bayous, and lakes in the area, everyone seems to own or rent a boat to enjoy the clear emerald waters. 

Road trip CA to FL

nullMy daughter and I decided to embark on a road trip from California to Florida. At first glance at the map, it didn't seem like a daunting task – 2100 miles? No problem.

Once we started planning for the trip, we realized we would need at least a week to get to our destination in Florida – that is if we wanted to enjoy the sights along the way.

If our goal was just to get there, you could take it in 3 to 4 days.

The trip was mainly a straight line on the 10-freeway with a few side trips. Along the way, we visited iconic places like Phoenix, Sedona, Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, the Alamo, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, and Destin.

OC Dog Parks

Dogs playing on the beachOur canine friends also need places to frolic and enjoy nature, and Orange County is full of Dog Parks where they can roam free and meet other dogs.

In addition to parks and beaches dedicated to dogs, there are several dog-friendly public beaches.  

Costa Mesa Bark Park

The Costa Mesa Bark Park is a fenced-in, off-leash dog park located at 890 Arlington Drive in Costa Mesa, California. It is open daily from 7:30 am to 8:45 pm, except Wednesdays when it is closed for regular maintenance.

Exploring Waikiki

The drive from Honolulu to Waikiki is a journey through contrasts—from the urban pulse of the capital to the pristine landscapes that define this island.

As we shuttle towards Waikiki, the route unfolds like a preview of Oahu's rich tapestry, showcasing everything from bustling city life to tranquil ocean vistas and the majestic silhouette of Diamond Head crater in the distance.

Travel Tip: Underestimating the Hawaiian sun is easy for newcomers. Staying hydrated is crucial to fully enjoy your day without succumbing to heat exhaustion.

While the convenience of shuttles is undeniable, venturing into Oahu's public transport system opens up a new dimension of exploration. It's an affordable and efficient way to navigate the island's attractions, offering a closer look at the daily rhythms of local life and the hidden gems that lie off the beaten path.