Are you ready for another amazing year of music and culture in Florida in 2022? Florida is home to a vibrant collection of orchestras, featuring both experienced performers and youth groups honing their craft. Tickets sell quickly for the biggest shows, so now is the perfect time to start planning your concert schedule for the year. We've got the details you need to find the best performances throughout the area.
A live alligator may not be a delightful sight, but gator tail is an exotic food experience that will delight your taste buds. Head to these great restaurants when you're craving this iconic Florida famous food.
The Black Sheep on Broadway - 128 SW Broadway St., Ocala, FL 34471
With a name like The Black Sheep on Broadway, you may think this gastropub is all about red meat. Yes, they have delicious burgers and steak sandwiches, but they're also known for their fried gator tails. Get them as an appetizer, served with zippy Cajun remoulade sauce, or on the Cuban gator sandwich. Stop in for live music on a Friday or Saturday night. Hours are 11 a.m. - midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday.
Fish on Fire - 7937 Daetwyler Dr., Orlando, FL 32812
The exterior of Fish on Fire is decorated in traditional Florida pastels. Inside, the food is unlike any other restaurant. Founders Jay Herrington and John Mitchell are longtime fishing buddies, so they're seafood experts. The cleverly named Allies Gator is seasoned with Everglades spices before frying for a unique flavor. Specials such as shrimp & grits fritters showcase their inventive spirit. Hours are 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. - 11:30 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. - midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday.
Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen - 2203 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, FL 32792
Find flavors of the bayou at Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen. Cheesecake usually comes after a meal, but Tibby's serves a savory shrimp & alligator cheesecake to whet your appetite. If you prefer, order your gator bites straight up, hand-battered with a side of remoulade sauce. The menu includes other favorites such as boudin, jambalaya, and muffuletta. Tibby's is open 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday.
Cocoa Beach Fish Camp Grill - 5602 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
Cocoa Beach Fish Camp Grill definitely lives up to their slogan, "Swamp Food with a Flair." Choose gator bites with their signature Camp Sauce or a trio of gator sliders on brioche buns topped with coleslaw. If you're starving, take the Da Rougarou challenge. This beast of a sandwich features a pound of pulled pork, eight strips of bacon, andouille sausage, mac & cheese, coleslaw, crispy onions, and two Black Angus patties. Hours are 11 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
JT's Seafood Shack - 5224 N. Oceanshore Blvd., Palm Coast, Fl 32137
Just as straightforward as its name, JT's Seafood Shack serves fresh, delicious food in a casual setting. The tin roof, wood doors, and diner-style decor provide a classic ambiance. Fried gator tails, shrimp & grits, and crab cakes are only a few of the seafood favorites on the menu. Follow them on Facebook for information about specials. JT's is open from noon - 9 p.m. daily except Friday and Saturday when hours are extended to 9:30 p.m.
Famous foods are just one part of the amazing lifestyle in Central Florida. Contact us at Watson Realty Corp. for experienced help buying or selling your home.
Do you love exploring the diverse, unique natural beauty that you can only find in Florida? This is the perfect time of year to plan your next hiking trip on the Florida Trail, which stretches for more than 1,500 miles from the Gulf Islands National Seashore to the Big Cypress National Preserve. The Northern Region of the trail is the perfect place to start your next adventure. We've got all the exciting details on what you'll find on the Northern Region of the Florida Trail.
Florida's famous foods embrace a diverse range of flavors that provide a welcome variety. Empanadas are a prime example of a traditional food that encompasses a number of styles and influences. When you get a craving for empanadas, head to these great local restaurants.
Latinos y Mas - 2030 S. Pine Ave., Ocala, FL 34471
Treat your taste buds to global cuisine at Latinos y Mas in Ocala. Contemporary Latin dishes get some Mediterranean flair for true international fusion. Hearty Empanadas Colombianas feature cornmeal patties filled with beef stew and potatoes. Pair them with a roast beet salad topped with feta cheese and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Latinos y Mas is open 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. every day but Sunday, with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Arepara La Nueva - 29 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando, FL 32807
At Arepara La Nueva, there's a flavor of empanada to suit every taste. Choose from shredded or ground beef, shredded chicken, ham and cheese, fish, or cheese. Their signature Empanada de Pabellon is stuffed with black beans, shredded beef, sweet plantains, and white cheese. Stop by this Orlando gem whenever you're craving authentic empanadas. Hours are 8 a.m. - midnight daily, with extended hours as well as curbside pickup from 11 p.m. - 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday.
Tipico Latino Restaurant - 566 Barton Blvd., Rockledge, FL 32955
Take a trip to the Dominican Republic without leaving the Space Coast. Dominican cuisine, as served at Tipico Latino Restaurant, has been shaped by influences ranging from Puerto Rican and Haitian to Japanese and Hungarian. At just $2 each, you can indulge in beef, chicken, and cheese empanadas to your heart's (and stomach's) content. Tipico is open 11:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Latin Shark - 26 N. Orlando Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
It's not surprising that a restaurant named Latin Shark would boast the best-fried fish around Cocoa Beach. But according to the many fans posting on social media, it's the amazingly authentic Venezuelan empanadas that keep them coming back for more. Get your day off to a perfect start with one of their delicious breakfast empanadas, then come by at 7 p.m. on Friday for live music. Hours are noon - 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
El Pollo Colorao - 227 Saint Joe Plaza Dr., Palm Coast, FL 32164
Pizza empanadas? No, it's not a dream. That's one of the flavors you'll find when you visit El Pollo Colorao Puerto Rican Eatery in Palm Coast. Customers rave about the authentic Puerto Rican food, including empanadas with chicken, beef, and cheese to go along with the aforementioned pizza. When you want to switch it up a bit, be sure to try the mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish of mashed green plantains that are fried and filled with your choice of ingredients. El Pollo is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Want to learn more about the benefits of living in Florida? Contact us at Watson Realty Corp. and talk to one of our friendly, knowledgeable real estate agents.
Not all oysters contain pearls, but the delicate, flavorful meat hidden inside the shell is just as desirable. And when you call Florida your home state, you've got access to plenty of places to check out this seafood delicacy. We satisfy our cravings for one of Florida's famous foods at these favorite seafood restaurants.
Florida is a magical state full of hidden gems the average visitor – or even resident, for that matter – knows exist. Everyone knows about Walt Disney World and the glistening sands of South Beach, but for every well-known destination in the Sunshine State there exists at least one under-the-radar spot worth visiting. Join us on this tour of some of the amazing hidden gems in Florida that you should absolutely check out.
There's no shortage of beauty on display at Palatka's Ravine Gardens State Park. The park's namesake ravines can be viewed from suspension bridges – a ripe opportunity for photos. And if you're visiting between December and March, you're in for a real treat: it's blooming season for the hundreds of azaleas, washing the gardens with a dazzling colorscape.
Florida isn't exactly known for its caves. After all, most of the state is barely above sea level. And yet we have Florida Caverns State Park, a series of large, connected caverns beckoning visitors to explore. Take a guided tour to experience the chilly underground air, sounds of dripping water, jagged stalactites, and wildlife like bats in these otherworldly depths.
Nestled among rolling hills of citrus stands Bok Tower Gardens, a true hidden gem in Central Florida. The titular Singing Tower looms over the gardens and houses one of the world's finest carillons, a percussion instrument consisting of 23 bronze bells in fixed suspension. Performances can be heard ringing throughout the garden daily, adding to the overall contemplative atmosphere.
Beyond the Singing Tower, the park is home to one of the state's most impressive landscape gardens. As you meander through the garden, you'll encounter acres of blooming foliage, lush ferns, palms, and oaks, and even natural Floridian wildlife like threatened gopher tortoises and endangered eastern indigo snakes.
Here's another one to file under "Things You Didn't Know Florida Had" – waterfalls! Sink Hole Trail leads through huge trees to Falling Waters Sink, a 100-foot-deep, 20-foot-wide cylindrical pit. A small stream drops water 70+ feet into the bottom of the sink, creating the picturesque waterfall. The park even has a bit of a spooky factor: no one truly knows where the water goes once it reaches the bottom of the sink.
This peaceful barrier island sanctuary is home to the largest Anastasia limestone deposit on the Atlantic coast. High tides and storms cause the sea to fling itself against the rocks, forcing plumes of saltwater as high as 50 feet into the air. It's a sight unlike anything else.
While the previous entries on this list have been parks and preserves, this entry is an entire city! Located just over an hour south of Gainesville, Cedar Key is a small island city in the Gulf of Mexico. The quaint and quiet town offers a refreshing break from city life both in its city-by-the-sea vibes and the amazing Cedar Key Museum State Park. As a vacation spot, it's under the radar but perfect for a quiet getaway.
Weeki Wachee Springs has something no other hidden gem in Florida does: live mermaids! These dazzling sisters of the sea perform classic shows and other underwater feats for captivated audiences each week (though attendance is limited during the pandemic).
Once you've seen the mermaids, enjoy a serene journey into nature with a kayak ride down the spring. Kids will love splashing in the waters of the onsite Buccaneer Bay waterpark, too!
Ocala National Forest attracts plenty of visitors, but outside of locals, the park's praises aren't sung enough. Anything you want to do, you'll find space for it at Ocala National Forest. Go hiking across miles of trails. Kayak or swim in remarkably cool springs. Camp overnight under the twinkling stars. All your outdoors dreams converge here.
As you travel through Central Florida and wind your way through Marion County, you will eventually find yourself in the city of Ocala. While the area has many charms, you'll also notice that there's something slightly different about this corner of Florida. That's because Marion County is known as the Horse Capital of the World, with an expansive collection of thoroughbred farms and equestrian facilities that you simply won't find anywhere else. Our real estate agents have all the details on why this part of Florida is truly an equestrian paradise.
Florida is a strange place. We say that with nothing but love, because we'd have it no other way. Maybe it's the blistering sun, or maybe it's the fact that we live with dinosaurs (hello, alligators). But whatever the reason, there's no denying that Florida is a little odd. So it makes sense that the folks from Guinness World Records have made a lot of trips to Florida to document many eccentric world record attempts. From watermelon-eating contests with hundreds of people to tattooed senior citizens, here are some of the most bizarre Guinness World Records set in Florida.
Back in 2014, four Tampa residents doubled up and played badminton for an exhausting 32 hours and 25 minutes to achieve this record. We're tired just thinking about it, honestly.
More than 1,100 people slipped into their white lab coats in Kissimmee and set a world record (1,139 to be precise, because scientists like precise figures). It might make more sense when you consider this occurred at a science equipment distribution conference.
If 32 hours playing badminton sounded like a lot, how about 32 hours playing a video game? That's how long Ian Haimes of Clearwater spent on World of Warcraft® during his record-breaking marathon session.
259 people chowed down on watermelons in Safety Harbor last summer, making for the world's largest watermelon eating contest. It was for a good reason, too; the contest was part of Melons for Moolah, an event held to raise money for local charities.
We love our flamingos in Florida. But no one loves them more than Ocala resident Cindy Dunlow. She owns 793 flamingo-related items – although it's entirely possible that number has grown since she set the record in July 2016.
Miami resident Seven Wade was only nine-years-old when he achieved the world record for most claps in a minute. In only 60 seconds, Seven managed to clap more times than we've probably clapped in our entire life: 1,080 times!
Melbourne is home to two record-holders: Chuck Helmke and his partner, Charlotte Guttenberg. Chuck's body is 97.5% covered by tattoos, while Charlotte edges him out slightly with 98.75% coverage.
During the 2008 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference in Orlando, a document stretching out to 3,875 feet was scanned on a Trüper 3600 scanner by Böwe Bell + Howell. The Trüper 3600 was not available for comment, though we're certain it was exhausted.
We're definitely getting out in the weeds now. Thomas Gallant of St. Johns broke the world record for fastest mile ran while hula hooping by completing his mile in six minutes and 53 seconds. Very impressive considering we can't even hula hoop for 30 seconds standing still.
Al Gliniecki of Gulf Breeze knows his way around a cherry stem. Using his tongue, he tied 39 cherry stems into knots in three minutes in 1999. And more recently, he set the record for most cherry stems tied in a minute with 14!
First it was scientists, now it's people dressing as chemically altered reptiles who fight crime. In 2014, 1,394 people suited up as their favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® characters at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, setting a world record that likely won't be broken anytime soon.
In the ultimate display of martial arts mastery and delicate grip, Kevin Bergquist of Bradenton shattered 28 concrete blocks with his bare hand – without breaking the raw egg he clutched in his smashing hand. We're not sure how this idea came to be, but we love it.