Whether your idea of a vacation is testing your mettle against the Navy’s finest fighters at the SEALS Museum or exploring otherworldly coral reefs in Dry Tortugas, you can have it all on this journey along Florida’s picturesque Atlantic Coast. Toss in some top-notch dining, classic cocktails and one of the longest-running variety shows in the country and you’ve got all the makings of an adventure to remember.
1. Fort Pierce
Known as the “Sunrise City,” Fort Pierce is home to swaying palm trees and one of America’s most historic Main Streets, but don’t let the laid-back vibes fool you. There are serious adventures to be had at this gem of the Treasure Coast. Get up close and personal with one of the world’s most unique marine mammals at the Manatee Observation Center before joining a wildlife boat tour that winds through the endlessly exotic Indian River Lagoon. A different kind of thrill awaits at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, where the history of America’s greatest warriors comes to life through interactive exhibits and, for the truly rugged, an outdoor obstacle course based on real SEAL training.
A. Road Runner Travel Resort • Fort Pierce, FL (800)833-7108
2. West Palm Beach
Drive 68 miles • 1 hour, 7 minutes
Renowned for its wealthy residents and exclusive addresses, you might think a visit to this narrow barrier island is all about the high-life, but in fact it’s the casual, welcoming attitude of the locals that keep visitors coming back year after year. A stroll on the 5-mile-long Lake Trail is the perfect introduction to the sights and sounds of Palm Beach style, including bougainvillea-clad homes and a bustling marina. From there, head to Ta-boo Restaurant, where JFK and Frank Sinatra used to sip cocktails at the bar. A timeless institution, it’s been a see-and-be-seen hot spot for over seventy-five years.
3. Fort Lauderdale
Drive 47 miles • 51 minutes
Boasting 300 miles of inland waterways, it’s no wonder that Fort Lauderdale bears the nickname “Venice of America.” There’s no better way to explore the city’s meandering canal system than on a Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise. Since 1935, the cruises have been entertaining guests with dinner, comedy shows, exotic animals and musical performances, as well as one-of-a-kind views of Millionaire’s Row and the mega-yachts of the rich and famous. The quirky combination food of fun has made it one of the most popular attractions in southern Florida. Top it off with iconic dockside dining at the acclaimed 15th St. Fisheries and you’ve got all the makings of an unforgettable stay.
B. Aztec RV Resort • Margate, FL (888)493-2856
C. Paradise Island RV Resort • Fort Lauderdale, FL (800)487-7395
Drive 29 Miles • 34 Minutes
It doesn’t get more “fun in the sun” than Miami, one of the most popular vacation spots on the globe. With endless activities, from sports to museums to some of the world’s best beaches, the hardest part is finding a way to fit it all in. For a unique excursion, head to nearby Virginia Key, where you can paddle a kayak among wild manatees that bask in the warm waters each winter.
D. Boardwalk RV Resort • Homestead, FL (305)248-2487
Drive 115 miles • 2 Hours, 12 minutes
Stretching for 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida, the island chain known as the Florida Keys are a wonderland of ocean adventures, but this small city might be the best of the bunch. With boating, fishing and beachside galore, there’s something for everyone, but true nature lovers won’t want to miss a visit to the famed Turtle Hospital, where you can take a guided tour of the facilities, watch the docs in action and even feed the permanent sea turtle residents. To get even closer to the action, try the Dolphin Research Center, where you can spend the afternoon swimming alongside the ocean’s smartest mammals.
E. Jolly Roger RV Resort • Marathon, FL (305)289-0404
6. Key West
Drive 50 miles • 1 Hour, 6 minutes
Between the funky boutiques on Duval Street and the six-toed cats of the Hemingway House, the southernmost point in the U.S. Lower 48 deserves its reputation as one of the quirkiest destinations in the country. Keep the spirit alive with a visit to the delicious Legal Rum Distillery, where authentic Cuban mojito-making classes ensure you can bring the party home with you. For another unforgettable memory, try a snorkel or dive at Dry Tortugas National Park. Located about 68 miles west of Key West, the one-time fort is now a haven for sea life and boasts some of the best underwater exploration in the country. Ferries, boats and seaplanes are available to transport you between the island chains.
F. Boyd’s Key West Campground • Key West, FL (305)294-1465