Team Huddle: The Sunshine State

We’re in Florida. Everyone’s a bit sunburnt. Sunburnt, but happy. Because we’re in Florida it’s fall and fall in Florida is a very enjoyable thing—the summer crowds have retreated back up I-95, the sun isn’t aggressively trying to shorten your lifespan, and best of all, every town + coastal area calms down and begins to offer up almost way too many things to appreciate. You can drive down A1A and walk a new beach without worry of traffic or parking. Or you can go inland and explore the spoken gems that  inland has to offer (more than you think).

Below is a list of spots gathered (and previously tested) by the team for you to consider visiting during your next stint in the Sunshine State. If you find yourself near Autumn’s recommendation this weekend, maybe give our pop-up shop a visit. Very enjoyable things.

Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (Suwannee)

One of the top places to see live music I’ve been to in the US. 5 outdoor stages and hundreds of acres of primitive camping makes this place one of the best weekend getaways around. Nothing like waking up on the banks of the spring fed Suwannee river. Jumping in for a cool down before making breakfast for the troops in your site.

Spend the rest of the day canoeing, rope swinging, paddle boarding up and down the river, or walking up to hear some tunes during the number of big festival weekends that occur year round at the park. Wander the campgrounds at night where the musicians during the day will be playing impromptu shows at their campsites under the stars. Hit up the annual Hulaween or Wanee events for a party, or Springfest for a more relaxed weekend.

Hint: you can now rent tree houses for the weekend that are pretty freaking epic.

— Bronson Lamb, Managing Director

Beaches Town Center (Neptune/Atlantic Beach) 

The two blocks of shops, restaurants and hotels that make up Beaches Town Center just east of Jacksonville may just be the best two blocks in all of Florida. Whether you’re looking for an awesome burger and beer (Poe’s, M Shack), an amazing white table cloth meal (Mezza, Doro, the restaurant at One Ocean), the perfect Martini (Ocean 60), amazing shopping (Drift, Jaffi, Sailor’s Siren), awesome coffee and small bites (Southern Grounds), delish ice cream or treats (Whit’s, Happy Cup), great pizza (Al’s, Joseph’s), an awesome margarita and guac (Flying Iguana), a great Yoga class (M Body Yoga), or a perfect beachside cocktail (Lemon Bar) this little slice of heaven is the only place you need to go.
— Autumn Berrang, Brand Development

Harry Potter World (Orlando)

Nerd alert: Harry Potter World at Universal Orlando. Since it doesn’t exist anywhere else on Earth, and I’m House Slytherin, I have to include it. There are beaches, and parks, and bars, and awesome historical sites all over Florida (looking at you, Wynwood District) but there’s only one Harry Potter World.

— Kingsley Spencer, Web Director

Devil’s Den (Williston)

“Florida” and “white sandy beaches” seem synonymous. However, the best of Florida is hidden throughout the interior where the aquifer rises to the ground—beautiful, crystal clear springs average 72 degrees year round, a welcome relief during summers plagued by triple digit heat. Google Devil’s Den and tell me I’m wrong. It’s clear water, no alligators, and no sharks. #winning

— Brittany Norris, Design Aficionado 

The Cove at Breakers (Palm Beach)

The only peeve I ever had growing up in Florida is that wasn’t any real variety in the layout of its beaches. Sure, we’ve got piers, jetties, inlets… but its a far-cry from the topographic diversity you get to fall in love with in places like California and the Northeast (the cliffs, secluded coves, incomparable scenery). Still, if you spend some time in the satellite view of Google maps, and are willing to walk far enough, you can find some gems along the Florida coast.

For me, the beach at Breakers in Palm Beach tops the list. Directly in front of the architecturally-majestic hotel resort is a soft sand piece of beach that sits between a series of small rock pilings and a neighboring estate’s seawall. On certain swells, the cove offers up a wave that breaks in front of the last rock piling and dances 100 yards until it hits the seawall. It can turn into a bit of a  chlorine-blue washing machine with all the water refracting over itself, but when its groomed with offshores, it’s one of the most fun beaches to surf/bodysurf at, if not just relax and admire.

Hint: Getting there requires parking an olympic distance down the road, walking a stretch of beach, and scaling a seawall dressed in fluorescent green algae. Or you can rent one of the ~$800 a night rooms and use the hotel’s beach access. Completely up to you.

— Michael Kilcullen, Associate Editor

Stay tuned for more very enjoyable things from our team in next week’s Team Huddle. Will probably be Halloween-related.