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What to do in Central Florida?

665.0coupe

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My girlfriends cousin is getting married in the middle of February 2021 in the Ocala National Forest. My gf wants to make it an extended trip and make a vacation out of it.

What things are there to do in this general area in February? Air boat tours? Jeep rentals? I've only been a few times and it was always racing related so I need ideas.

What kind of weather should we be expecting? She mentioned she wants to go to a beach. Will that be feasible?
 
Cocoa beach for the beach and cape Canaveral/Kennedy space center for fun shit that's not the beach. Take a couple days and drive the keys to key west, it's worth checking out at least once.
 
St. Augustine, visit the Spanish forts and old downtown. You can go to the beach there or Daytona, cocoa, just head east until you hit the ocean. There are lighthouses and shit you can visit on the east coast. Cape Canaveral.

Plenty of Florida springs in that area to visit too. You can go tubing on Rainbow River in Dunnellon, but i dunno if the shuttle buses run in the winter season.

Weather is probably going to be 40/50s overnight and 70s in the day time. Though it could be warm in the 80s. I would bring a jacket and pants.
 
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Probably would be helpful if we knew a little more about the types of things or activities you like to do - shopping/outside activities/theme parks/state parks/ etc.

As far as beaches, you are essentially in the center of a state that is 150 miles wide, so within a couple hrs you can be at beaches on either east or west coast. East coast, Daytona is a good choice - you can drive on the beach and spend time watching people who don't know have any offroad skills get stuck in packed sand :) A little further south, Ron John's surf shop is iconic/interesting if you want to see a Bass Pro Shop's environment centered around surfing and water activities. If you want to drive a little further, Clearwater Beach is world famous and typically rated very highly in US beaches. There is definitely a difference in the environments between the two sides, with the Guld side typically having clearer water, shallower, warmer and shallower waves. The "beaches" on the west coast tend to get better as you go south from Tampa/Clwtr. North of there it is less - "beachy" and WAY less populated until you get up into the panhandle of Destin/Pensacola, but that is a 5+ hr drive from Ocala.

Sticking with water activities, Cedar Key is relatively close and a quaint/historic fishing village. They have a pier and a lot of art/craft sellers as well as historic homes. You can rent golf carts and drive on the streets. Another option would be Crystal River and swimming with manatees. February is a prime time for them to be up in the relatively warmer (~ 70F) water of the springs. There are a lot of tours that do this, I would recommend Birds Underwater as one of the best. There are also lots of pretty springs and state parks in Central FL - Salt Springs, Juniper Springs, Manatee Springs, etc.

Don Garlits museum is a great choice if you are into cars/drag racing. There is an offroad park in Ocala (Hardrock) that is the closest thing in FL you can get to real "wheeling" as it is in an old lime
rock mining area. It is not real big (~ 70 acres) and has a mix of easy/hard, but probably not something you would want to take a stock rental Jeep because of the small size and limited "stock" trails. There are limited areas for offorading. Ocala National Forest has a lot of forest roads, mostly sand and flat that you can do in a 2WD drive vehicle although there are areas with deeper sugar sand. South of there you have Citrus and Croom, which are again forest roads that don't require any hard core 4WD.

If you want theme parks, Orlando is not far away with a multitude of choices. Be aware that although they are open, right now you have to make appointments due to COVID, so you can't just show up at the door.

Hope that helps
 
My girlfriends cousin is getting married in the middle of February 2021 in the Ocala National Forest. My gf wants to make it an extended trip and make a vacation out of it.

What things are there to do in this general area in February? Air boat tours? Jeep rentals? I've only been a few times and it was always racing related so I need ideas.

What kind of weather should we be expecting? She mentioned she wants to go to a beach. Will that be feasible?

#1 thing to do .............................................................................. leave. :flipoff2:
 
We have a saying here in Florida , Come here on vacation , leave on probation .
PO_PO here is greedy , anything to get a tourist to pull down their pants and then they own you for a long time.

Beaches in Sarasota are the best in the state , Clearwater are better known , but tourist traps . East coast beaches are just not as cool , cater to the Northeast crowd too many New York license tags for my taste .
I do agree with those that like St. Augustine for the history , really is beautiful there .
And don't miss Garlits Museum like those above said .
 
People mentioned the Springs but not what you do there:

You canoe them. You go up and down this maze of waterways in perfectly crystal clear cold water. It's pretty impressive actually and one of my favorite if not the favorite thing I did in Florida. The beaches are actually meh IMO, but it is warm if you're acclimated to cold temps. If you go to the beach in anyplace north of Tampa people are going to think you're weird hanging out at the beach in late October.
 
Head north to the springs, then head under.

springs.jpg
 
Another vote for the cousin fucking and meth. It’s everywhere. Then maybe some tourist trap or something Don’t screw up in Polk county. The sheriff there doesn’t play
 
Drive a mild rig. ONF has some halfway decent trail riding, as does the Withlacoochee State Forest. Hit up Rainbow Springs right outside Ocala for an interesting, if not cold, day. Go swim with the Manatees in Crystal River... chicks love that shit. Maybe charter a fishing boat out of Homosassa for an afternoon catching reds.

Lots to do, just depends upon what you're looking for.
 
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