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We're going to Boynton Beach, Florida to visit my mother in law just after Christmas. Is there anyone familiar with the area who can recommend close, decent beaches (last time we went we found an okay one 40 minutes away), tolerable restaurants (don't get me started on the food) and things to do with kids that are relatively (45 minutes max) close by (we have a four year old. My experience with this place is that it exists for elderly people to play golf and bridge, and no one ever goes outside. Please tell me I'm mistaken! nelly
The food is never great in that part of the world. But Rocky's Italian Bistro on 5th Street in Delray is pretty good. And we also like the Old Key Lime House in Lantana, which is the town just north of Boynton. It's right on the water and great for kids. I really like their conch chowder.
We've also found some good kid activities. My favorite is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach. The gardens are beautiful and the kids like running around the lake and feeding the fish. The Japanese cafe there was surprisingly decent. We also like the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. The Palm Beach Zoo is small but fine for a four year old. There is also a cartoon museum in Boca and a safari park in Loxahatchee, which we haven't done yet (but will one of these days).
Really, you can have more fun than you might think, if you just get out of Boynton! Ann
Check out this website: http://www.boynton-beach.org/
Beaches: The closest one is Oceanfront beach, which is Boynton's ''beach.'' There's a fee to park there and might be as much as $10 when you are there, however if your mother in law has a resident pass on her car (if she has a car), and is willing to lend you her car, it will be free to park. Maybe she can get the pass for her car before you arrive.
It is a very nice, but narrow beach, gentle waves if any, with outdoor showers, a snack bar (junk food only), picnic area with climbing structure and slides. Lifeguards on duty. Do pay attention to any warnings. Last times I've been there in winter, there have been sea lice (yuk) and my niece got them. Very itchy and uncomfortable.
Less than a 5 minute drive north of Oceanfront Beach and on the west side of A-1-A is another beach whose name I can't remember (I go almost everywhere near Boynton on automatic pilot) and it has a boat launch and a seafood shack.
To the south of Boynton, about a 15 minute drive on I-95 (or take A-1-A for a more scenic, 10 minute longer drive, depending on traffic), is Delray Beach. Bring quarters to park at the beach. There are much better restaurants there. (I'll try to remember a few names - I could drive you there, but I'll have to think about describing them.)
In Delray, on A-1-A there is a naturalist center, very small, but with great easy-to-see at kid level aquariums that have samples of the fish and sea life available in the ocean right there and in the intercoastal. Look for it adjacent and a bit inland after you park in the beach's parking lot (on A-1-A).
Back to Boynton: Would your four year old enjoy a trip on a fishing boat? I don't know how young they take kids, but you might inquire at the marina at Boynton.
Loxahatchee state park, inland (gosh, I've forgotten the road name) it is IN Boynton Beach, but on the western end. Fantastic last bit of remaining ''natural'' Florida, with rangers available, a self-guided tour, and an auditorium. This park is actually part of the Everglades. Take a look at the aerial photos in the visitor center that show before and now views of the area. If you are at the park when it is slow, ask the ranger to show a film that might interest your family, if there is no program on. Last year, my two year old LOVED the alligator movie. Don't just stay at the visitor center. Go into the park a bit deeper (there are signs pointing the way) and don't miss the walk around the water area where you can see all kinds of birds, water life and maybe even snakes. Further west in the park is a put-in for kayaks. Call the outfitters (can't remember their names, either, I'm afraid) and see how young a kid you can bring. You need no experience, and the kayaking is a great way to experience the Everglades.
Check the front of the white pages where the emergeny numbers usually are and you should find a listing for a manatee watch hotline. I can't remember their season, but there is a number to call to find out if the manatees are visiting a power station (!) just to the north of Boynton, maybe at the edge of your travelling time, could take 30 minutes to get there. I just discovered this resource last year, but we were there in the summer (ugh!) and the manatees were no where to be found (smart creatures, they).
To the south: Butterfly World in Boca Raton. About 30 minutes on Military Trail.
Food: Call me or email me about what you like, and I'll try my best to remember. I couldn't find a decent cup of coffee anywhere, but there are wonderful Cuban restaurants and other Caribbean delights to be had. It is true that there is mostly mall food in Boynton, but with a short drive, there are alternatives.
Do you need a health food store for groceries? Whole Foods is in Boca, but there is a smaller store in Lantana and even smaller ones in Boynton that might help. Check the yellow pages.
I'm out of time, and I'm sure I'll think of more as soon as I sign off. Rebecca
We are going to Captiva Island in Florida in March and was wondering if anyone had any ideas of fun things to do. We will have a 5 year old and an 9 month old. We're staying at a resort (it's a family reunion) but I'd love to get away from the golf course scene. Thanks! anon
key west for interracial lesbians?
my partner & i (sans teenager!!!) are going to key west in mid- to late-august with another lesbian couple. we're looking for any general information about things to do, places to stay (2- BR condo-type, preferably within walking distance to a beach & other activities), etc., but we also have some specific questions about the level of diversity.
we've heard that key west is so ''gay friendly,'' but all the websites show gay, white men. we are 3 african americans and 1 white lesbian. to give you an example of what we mean, or what our concerns are: we hang out in oakland & berkeley; we've experienced racism (not getting served) & sexism (dirty looks & snide comments from misogynistic gay men) in the castro; we were bored out of our mind (the only lesbian couple, the only person of color) at a ''gay friendly'' resort on the russian river. this is kind of a romantic get-away, being away from ''the kid,'' and all, and we want to feel free to be ourselves. soooooo . . .
how diverse (esp. re: african americans) is key west, really? will we seem out of place, or will there be others like us? is all of key west as gay friendly as the main drag, or does it get more conservative (read: straight, white) in the 'burbs? are there any lesbian or women's clubs, cultural centers, events, activities, hotels/condos/resorts, etc.?
we appreciate any suggestions, recommendations, insight, etc. (esp. re: where to stay)! none of us have ever been to key west, and we're really excited! thanks! lisa
As far as places to stay, we were very pleased with our hotel, the Center Court Hideaway (http://www.centercourtkw.com/). We stayed in a huge ''suite'' that was bigger than our apartment (it easily could have slept 4). The staff was very friendly and there were two pools and a very large jacuzzi in the courtyard.
There are lots of fun things to do in Key West. There are several small, interesting museums there -- the Hemingway House, the Little White House -- but we most enjoyed the outdoor activities. Snorkeling was a particular favorite -- we took three separate trips. I also highly recommend taking a day trip to the Dry Tortugas. Wendy
Hi I will be attending a conference in Miami at the end of February and plan to stay a few extra days with my husband and 1 year- old. We were thinking of going to the Keys for a few days. Does anyone have any suggestions for a palce to stay or which Key to go to? We are looking for something mellow, beach or wildlife-focused. Thanks Emily
Does anyone have specific recommendations re: where to stay on Sanibel Island, Florida? Preferably on or walking to the beach and ideally reasonably priced! thanks. bb
We will be going to Orlando and St. Augustine, Florida in March. Can anyone recommend some fun and educational places that we could take our 4-year-old, besides the big corporate/commercial funparks like Disneyworld? He is especially interested in the solar system right now. Would EPCOT be worthwhile for a 4 year old, or would so much of it be over his head that it would not be worth the cost and the effort? Are there any nature parks, places to see animals in their natural habitats? Restaurants and grocers that offer healthy food alternatives? Thanks in advance for your recommendations. Marianne
1. The Alligator Farm - very cool and low key. Bring quarters so that you can buy food pellets and feed the smaller alligators. Consider watching the feeding of the big gators, a bit graphic but my kids were riveted. Visit Gomek, a 16 1/2 foot alligator that used to live at the farm, and after its death was stuffed (He's HUGE). See the rare albino alligators (there are only a handful in the US). The Farm also has some exotic birds and some beautiful black and white swans.
2. The stone fort - it was fun to imagine the olden days, see the places where the soldiers slept and ate, and the places where prisoners were kept.
3. We ended up eating all meals at our rented house, but the restaurant called Saltwater Cowboys was recommended to us. Also, in ''downtown'' St. Augustine there is a walking path lined with shops and restaurants and an AMAZING ice cream/fudge store (chocolate and peanut butter ice cream, yumm!).
4. If we had more time, we would have rented a boat and driven
up and down the inner coastal waterway, which was beautiful.
Have fun! Alison
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