For some, traveling is about seeking out the biggest, newest and grandest experiences that a destination can offer. But for me, travel has become a chance to discover the quaint, cozy and unique. If you agree that bigger does not necessarily mean better, this downsizing trend has its advantages.
Tapas restaurants (those offering small plates) have sprouted up all over Florida. These petite-portion plates let you sample several at once, are perfect for sharing and can turn a simple night out into a party. The idea may have originated in Spain, but the small plates craze now comprises all kinds of cuisines.
For authentic Spanish tapas, try St. Augustine’s The Tasting Room, Naples’ Café Barcelona and Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Tampa, St. Pete, Orlando, Sarasota and Clearwater.
For something a bit different, Miami’s Fratelli Lyon offers an astounding array of appetizers from all over Italy.
We Floridians treasure our small towns for their welcoming locals and quaint streets, eclectic boutiques and cafés. But there are some that offer all that – and more.
The city’s Greek heritage is evident in Tarpon Springs – in its architecture, its restaurants and bakeries, even in the language spoken on the streets. It’s famous for antiquing and sponge diving, too.
In Everglades City, you can sample foods like frog legs and alligator (along with the freshest of local seafood), and explore the Everglades by canoe, kayak or thrilling airboat.
Perhaps not as well-known as neighboring surf hub Cocoa Beach, the historic village of Cocoa sits on the banks of the Indian River. It’s home to beautifully restored historic structures and has loads of charm.
History buffs in High Springs can check out historic houses while outdoorsy types explore underwater caves, canoe, kayak or tube the freshwater springs and scenic rivers.
Superior Small Lodgings
For accommodations offering friendly, personalized service and authentic Florida charm, check out Florida Superior Small Lodgings. The association’s website lists affiliated hotels, like Amelia Island’s enchanting, oceanfront Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, voted the country’s number two small hotel in the 2008 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.