If you follow my Instagram account Travel Mad Dad, you will know I ventured to Florida with some other bloggers recently. The aim of the game was to try out the Norwegian Premium service on the London to Orlando route and discover all the great spots in Kissimmee and Clearwater St Pete’s. To say it was an epic trip to Florida is an understatement.
From dolphin spotting and alligator watching, to incredible food and fabulous villas, it was truly enlightening what Florida had to offer aside from theme parks. Let me take you through the highlights of all the great spots that you may like to visit on your trip to Florida.
An epic trip to Florida
Jeeves Florida rentals
We were incredibly lucky to stay in a luxury villa in Kissimmee. They are literally out of this world, MTV crib style. Our villa had an elaborate double staircase on entering, 8 bedrooms, the most amazing kitchen/dining area and a pool complete with a water slide.
Needless to say these villas come with a hefty price tag if you are on a normal family budget. If two families shared it would be more affordable.
Kissimmee top eats
Columbia Restaurant, Downtown Celebration
This Cuban themed restaurant serve the most amazing tapas style food. Staff are dressed in smart attire and freshly prepare some of the dishes at your table. I highly recommend the 1905 salad, tossed at your table, it is one of their specialties. Crisp iceberg lettuce with a Julienne of baked ham, Swiss cheese, tomatoes, olives, Romano cheese and their famous garlic dressing was to die for!
The sangria, prepared at the table, was really good! Sipping on a glass of it whilst listening to the Spanish music playing and taking in the views of the lake are an experience not to be missed.
Paddlefish, Disney Springs
This massive restaurant is right on the edge of the Disney Springs lake and kind of feels like you are on a boat. Paddlefish is a seafood restaurant and serve great steaks if preferred. Make sure to try the lobster guacamole. Such an unusual recipe that seems to be their signature dish.
The restaurant is quite vibrant and modern and has indoor and outdoor dining options. The views of the lake from the top floor are incredible at sunset.
Villa de Flora, Gaylord Palms
We had a buffet breakfast at Villa de Flora. Set inside, Gaylord Palms, the restaurant is surrounded by amazing palm trees and greenery. It kind of felt like stepping into a rainforest. The breakfast was really good from pancake and waffle stations to a healthy section full of fruits and seeds. It’s definitely worth a trip if you are in the area.
Kayaking with turtles, airboat rides through the swamps and sunrise hot air ballooning were on the agenda. For more info, see our alternative Florida write-up.
This was my favourite restaurant of the trip. Based in downtown St.Petes, the atmosphere has a southern farmstead feel. Sitting around a long wooden table, we consumed quite literally Florida’s best food! (Iv’e only just learnt it was voted Floridas best restaurant).
The charcuterie and cheese sharing platters are out of this world. There are lots of options from salads and soups to some more weird and wonderful dishes like frog legs. I had the pork tomahawk. It was impeccably presented and a good sized portion.
The Locale Market
This massive supermarket come restaurant is everything organic! There were tens of stations – cheese, seafood, pizza, bread and sushi to name a few. Described as a chef driven market, I was literally salivating walking around. Small tasters are dished out along the way to get the appetite going. All of the produce comes from the local area and is organically sourced. This is a ‘must visit’ in St.Petes.
After the tour of Locale Market, we went to the beach with our freshly made wraps and a couple of organic beers. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Wyndham Grand Hotel
Wyndham Grand, a high-rise hotel is based on the shore of Americas best beach according to trip advisor. This brand new lavish hotel is complete with luxurious rooms, some of which have stunning waterfront views. The turquoise decor throughout is eye catching to say the leasThe pool area was impressive and had a nice space for kids to play. I spent some time in the lobby bar, the perfect place for some evening relaxation after a day of touring.
Clearwater, St Pete activities
We spent lots of time on the white sand beaches soaking up the sun. A mural walking tour and dolphin boat trip were on the agenda. To read more, see my alternative Florida article here.
We flew with Norwegian from London Gatwick to Orlando in Premium. Being a budget airline, they offer the luxury of Premium with an affordable price tag. Express check-in, fast track security and a relaxing lounge experience before the flight are some of the highlights. Not to mention the two 20kg baggage allowance. For a full write-up on Norwegian Premium, click here.
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