Tag Archives: fun

Celebrating 238 Years With A Bang

It’s the perfect way to celebrate another year of glorious independence, fought for and protected by our brave men and women of the U.S. Military. We get our family and friends together, most of whom are in a food coma from whatever delicious concoctions we cooked up on the grill, and make our way to our favorite spots. And then – we watch things blow up. In the prettiest, most artful way possible. It’s a tradition we all love and look forward to every year. But with all the different shows going on during the week leading up to the actual 4th of July, how’s a person supposed to choose? We’ve got you covered – Here are some of the best fireworks displays from around Florida, sure to be can’t-miss events:

Northwest Florida:

  • Pensacola – 25th Annual Sertoma’s 4th of July Fireworks

Starting in downtown Pensacola in Seville Square, the festivities kick off at 11 am on Friday, July 4th. With everything from a kid’s area with pony rides, to a hotdog eating contest, to live band performances – you and your family are sure to be entertained all day long. The largest fireworks show on the Gulf Coast begins at 9 pm over Pensacola Bay!

  • Destin – 4th of July Extravaganza on the Harbor

With events from Thursday, July 3rd – Saturday, July 5th, this event is so much more than just (awesome) fireworks. Happening at Harborwalk Village, get in the spirit on Thursday with the Red, White and Blue celebration. Continue the fun on Friday with the glamorous WWII throwback Victory Belles – and a patriotic fireworks show at 9 pm! Finish off the weekend with a FREE concert Saturday night!

  • Panama City Beach – Pier Park 4th of July Fireworks

One of many fireworks shows happening this week in the Panama City area, this one is sure to offer everything you are looking for! Events start at noon with a military flyover, and bands will be rocking all day until the fireworks show at 9 pm! With a location right on the water, where could you go wrong?

Central Florida:

  • Tampa – Hogan’s 4th of July Waterside Fireworks & BBQ

A bit different than the other events, this one, hosted by Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart, will be held on Hogan’s Beach in the Tampa Bay area. From 2 pm – 11 pm, live bands and Djs will be rocking, and some of the best BBQ in the area will be served up buffet-style! Stick around for the beautiful fireworks show, set to kick off at 9 pm. Adults are $15 presale, $30 at the door. Kids are free!

  • Kissimmee – Monumental July 4th Celebration

From 5 pm – 9:30 pm, head to Kissimmee Lakefront Park for an evening of patriotic fun and a spectacular fireworks show! This fun-for-the-whole-family event features live music, a beer garden, food trucks and plenty of children’s activities. Admission is free!

  • Port St. Lucie – Baseball & Fireworks

If you want to throw a little competition into your day, then head down to Digital Domain Park for America’s favorite pastime. The St. Lucie Mets will take on the Fort Myers Miracle starting at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $8, and a can’t-miss fireworks show will follow the game!

South Florida:

  • Fort Myers – Freedom Fest Block Party

On Friday, July 4th, head down to the River District in Downtown Fort Myers for a patriotic block party to celebrate Independence Day! Starting at 5 pm, enjoy food, a craft beer tent, a kid zone, and five live music stages – including a performance by Rolling Stones tribute band, U.S. Stones. Fireworks are at 9:30 pm from the city pier.

  • West Palm Beach – 4th on Flagler

You won’t want to miss this FREE 16-minute display of the largest fireworks show in South Florida! Starting at 5 pm on Friday the 4th, join the fun on the waterfront of West Palm Beach for live music performances by The Lost Trailers and Ryan Star, a military salute, kid’s zone, and of course – FIREWORKS!

  • Key Biscayne – Parade & Fireworks

For some all-day fun, head down to 55th annual 4th of July parade on the key. The parade route runs from Harbor Drive to West Enid, and starts at 11 am. Bring whatever you’d like for a picnic in the park, kicking off at noon. Fireworks start at 9 pm!

Know of any different fireworks displays you think tops these? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sunscreen Required – Melting Optional

It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that summer in Florida is HOT and insanely HUMID. While similar weather might draw people away from Houston, our gorgeous beaches, breathtaking views and ample sunshine continue to lure people in no matter what the temperature. But if you’re no good with heat like I am, you’ll need the perfect way to stay entertained and cool while still getting a tan and feeling tropical. A tall order almost anywhere else, here’s a list of the best ways to enjoy a Florida summer without melting – or parking yourself in front of the A/C:

  • Jetpacking

A truly awesome experience, this combines the fun of the water and sun while FLYING. Yep, you saw that right. Jetpacking involves strapping on an apparatus made of a pod and two hoses to your back, from which water projects out allowing you to quite literally fly over the water. The jetpacks enable you to fly 30 feet in the air, dive 30 feet under water and reach a top speed of 30 mph. It’s essentially the Jetsons meets the Gulf.

  • Flyboarding

Similar to jetpacking, this experience is even more surreal and awe-inspiring. It involves strapping a board to your feet and using your own weight to move left, right, up or down – kind of like Iron Man. In fact, you should probably bring your Iron Man Halloween costume when you do this.

  • Pontoon Boating

A Gulf favorite, pontoon boats are the perfect way to get around the warm, typically calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Bring plenty of family and friends aboard, grab some good food and a cooler, and drive around or find a sandbar, like Crab Island in Destin, to hang out at. As long as you’re along the coast, it’s pretty difficult to go more than 100 feet without running into a place to rent one of these beauties.

  • Jetskiing

An oldie but goodie – jetskiing could never be boring. Most rental places will allow anywhere from 1-3 people to ride on a single jetski, but being in the driver’s seat is by far the best way to go. And if you think you’ll be hard pressed to get out of your comfort zone, ask the rental company for tricks that are daring (but safe) – you’ll be surprised at the answers you’ll get. Get out there and be cooled off and amped up in no time.

  • Aqua Triking

These hilarious-looking, giant, plastic tricycles are a bit of a workout, but a lot of fun. Much tamer than the above activities, it’s an interesting experience to feel like you’re literally biking on top of the water. Generally built for two people, aqua trikes are a perfect date activity or fun day out with a friend or relative.

  • Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddle Boarding

No explanation required – these are all fun and extremely low-cost ways to beat the heat and enjoy Florida this summer!

No matter your tolerance for heat (trust me – mine is LOW) or your budget, there are tons of ways to enjoy Florida this summer. So get up, get out and come visit! The water’s warm (but refreshing), the people are friendly, and the photo opps are endless.

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Go Fish

Fishing has got to be the greatest and most misunderstood sport of all time. It is fiercely loved those who have done it (and done it right), and completely judged by those who have not. Critics say that it is boring, consisting only of sitting around and staring blankly at the water, waiting for it to (maybe) ripple. But as we fishing enthusiasts know, this simply is not the case. As is the case with everything, it may not be for everyone. But more often than not, these critics have merely been done a disservice – taken out onto the water by someone who either did not know what they were doing or were too busy being awesome at it to share the wealth.

I’m going to assume most (if not all) of you reading this are already keen on fishing. However, if you’re not, or if you’re looking to get a friend, family member or reluctant significant other to give fishing a shot (or a second chance), here are some tried and true tips to take to heart to make your outing a success. Because as we all know, there need to be more “Gone Fishin’” signs hanging up in the world. It’d be a happier place.

  • Imagine You’re Stranded on a Desert Island

    We all know the old “what if” question – If you were stranded on a desert island, who or what would you bring? Not that going out fishing is quite so dramatic, but you’re going to be out in a generally serene environment with the person(s) you’re going with. So if you don’t think you’ll have a good time in their company, regardless of how many fish you do or don’t catch, you should probably go with somebody else. Find a good fishing buddy, and you’ve got a good foundation.

  • Do a Little Research

    So you’ve found the perfect friend. Now focus on the best part of fishing: catching a fish. Figure out where you’re going to go, and then find out what kind of fish are actually there. Is it well-populated? Do people generally have good luck? Is it saltwater or fresh water? Are you trying to hook bass or marlin? If you try to go out with the wrong bait, lures, pole, line, etc, you’re not going to catch anything, and you’ll probably have a lousy time.

  • Bring the Right Stuff

    Aside from the equipment we just mentioned, make sure you have everything else you need. If you’re planning to catch and release, great. If not, make sure you have coolers, knives, buckets, ice, etc. If you catch something great, you’ll want to keep it that way. And don’t forget to plan for yourself, too. Think you’ll want some chips, sandwiches, beer or sodas? Bring them! No one likes a road trip without the radio.

  • Learn to Adapt

    You may think live bait is disgusting or unsettling. But the fact is it works (in many situations, anyway) a lot better than the fake stuff. Like we said before, catching a fish is the best part of fishing. Increase your odds.

  • Enjoy Your Catch

    Don’t shy away or go to the nearest dockside restaurant that offers to cook your catch for you. Learn how to scale, gut, clean and cook your fish yourself. That might make you cringe, but get over it. That feeling you had when you caught it will be multiplied by 50 when you taste the satisfaction. Besides, plenty of fishermen have pictures of their catch in hand. Why not have that plus one of it on a plate and in your mouth?

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X Marks Anything You Want

We’re not pretending to be doing anything crazy revolutionary or ground breaking here. I’d love to say that we are, but I promised not to lie to you guys. It’s not going to be the best thing since sliced bread – hopefully that title will be able to be saved for a healthcare system that actually works. But what it is going to be is a new spin on an old trick. Here’s why:

Every state has a tourism council that puts together a magazine/booklet/website that tells you why their state is the greatest thing to ever happen to America and why you should use your vacation time to visit them over anyone else. And I have nothing against these – heck, I’ve used these plenty of times. It’s always pretty interesting to find out the quirks and attractions about a state you may never have given a second thought. However, all these guides are generally pretty generic in who their audience is, and they all boast that they have been contributed to by born-and-raised locals. Now before I put my foot in my mouth, I have nothing against born-and-raised locals. The one place that I can claim that for myself, I will probably be more arrogant about my know-all than anybody. It comes with the territory of being familiar with a place to the point of having a list of 147 different back roads to take to avoid traffic or construction. That being said, there’s a certain advantage you get to having the insights of a transplant.

Explore Florida is a brand new (just launched on Friday 2/7) virtual publication about (drum roll)… Florida. Yep. Shocker. What makes it unique is that it is put out by my wonderful company, Military Media. Most of my co-workers have lived here a lot longer than I have, but only one of us are from here originally. Otherwise, we hail from Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, New Jersey, California, Texas, Honduras… the list goes on. Why is that a good thing? Because we have our local girl keeping us in check, but we get to take our extremely varied life experiences and form opinions about places some locals may have never thought of. And what’s more is that, as our name hopefully gives away, our roots are in the military. We are contracted by bases all over the country, and everything we do is in the interest of pro-military. So while Explore Florida is definitely useful and user-friendly regardless of your military status, it was designed with the mindset of fun things to do on a day-long or weeks-long leave.

Now that I have talked your ear off – here’s what we did. Explore Florida is basically a virtual magazine – the pages are designed for you to “flip” through. The home page showcases our five main sections – fun, food, lodging, shopping, and transportation – as well as Florida-related articles by yours truly, links to our social networking sites, and links to some of Florida’s great businesses. Pay special attention to the social networking links. We want to be different, and your input will help. Explore Florida is going to be a constant work-in-progress. We’ll be adding more businesses, pages, topics, and articles all the time. Using the social network links to share with your friends or give us your feedback will help make this thing as much catered to you as possible. And wouldn’t it make you feel important to have all these people here creating content just because you said so?

Now, if you click on one of the five section links, you’ll find a magazine-like intro page. Click on one of the links to check a place out, or click on one of the three colorful logos on the bottom left to explore an entire region at a glance. These logos will be your guide throughout. Here’s your key:

  • Blue Dolphin: North Florida
  • Green Palm Tree: Central Florida
  • Pink Flamingo: South Florida

We know we’re not exactly the smallest of states, so we wanted to help you out. If you’re as Florida-illiterate as I was about a year ago, you’ll thank us for this.

So click away, check it out, and give us your input! Like I’ve said before, we’re a small enough company that we can make things happen pretty quickly – so speak up! Ideas, thoughts, comments, concerns, questions… we love ’em all. Happy exploring!

http://www.xploreflorida.com/

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Truth or Dare (But It’s Really Just Dare): Airport Edition

The idea of traveling is really exciting. That’s because when we are planning a trip, we tend to think of all the great things we’re going to do once we get there: where we’re going to go, how relaxed we’re going to be, how tan we’re going to get… It’s wonderful. So wonderful that we often forget about the necessary evil required to get to that vacation – the airport.

Unless you almost never fly or are the world’s luckiest person ever, you’ve had the misfortune of dealing with a long layover, a delay and/or a cancellation at least once. Or basically every time you’ve flown, if you’re anything like my sister. I’m willing to bet you’ve tried the usual time-passers: Facebook obsessively, live Tweet about your boredom (some lady just sat down next to me…. great she smells funny… awesome she has terrible taste in music and even worse headphones), watch shows or videos on your phone, listen to music, read a magazine, get a drink at the bar, stare into space, strike up a conversation with a stranger you wish you hadn’t…. blah blah blah. And what makes all this worse is that you feel like you’re stuck with these mind-numbing options because, let’s face it, the airport isn’t exactly the place to do daring, out-of-the-box things. Unless you feel like hanging out in interrogation and spending some time on the “no fly” list, that is.

Well, lucky for you, I have spent more time in an airport than I would like to admit – a misfortune that has allowed me to create a pretty reliable list of things to do when you’re bored at the airport. A list which I have decided to share with you. Just remember, like I said, airport officials aren’t big on having a sense of humor in the workplace… so amuse at your own risk.

  • Greet passengers at a random gate as they disembark the plane.

Stand to the side of the door, and be a little creative. Say things like “I knew you could do it”, offer high-fives, or try to start a slow clap and see if it catches on.

  • Become a character.

Grab a seat at the gate or at the bar and start talking to a stranger. But don’t do this like you normally would. Invent a completely different personality and back story for yourself that seems ridiculous. See if they believe you.

  • Make a baggage claim sign.

Use a generic last name, like Johnson or Clark. Then just stand by baggage claim, holding it up and see if someone approaches you.

  • Work out.

This could be a legitimate way to get some circulation going. Or, you could be fun and get really into it. Stretch out, sprint around the moving sidewalk, do crunches, use water bottles as dumbbells – the more ridiculous the better.

  • Go on a scavenger hunt.

You can do this whether you’re alone or traveling with someone. Make a list of things: the most absurd thing for sale in a gift shop, the least practical novelty shot glass, someone dressed like they forgot they were going into public, a pay phone (good luck), etc. Happy hunting!

  • Walk backwards on the moving sidewalk.

This is one of those “do at your own risk” things. Trust me, it’s fun. But not everyone thinks so.

  • Pick up an accent.

Try out your accent skills while talking to a stranger. See if they call you out on it.

  • Try to figure out who the Air Marshal is at each terminal.

It’s harder than you might think.

  • See if you can talk your way into an airline club lounge.

Challenge accepted.

 

We’d love to hear your input! Please comment, like our Facebook pages, follow us on Twitter. And share with your friends! We return the favor!

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