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A Colorful Travel Guide to 3 Hidden Gems in Florida

It’s no secret that travel transforms you. Meeting new people, new cultures, new food, traveling connects you on a whole different way changing the way you see the world. I can only think how we leave marks behind, and to me, this is one of the biggest goals I have this year. Travel as far as we can with my little ones, as widely as possible, and show them how other people live, outside their little world in Montreal.I was lucky enough to share a full week with the team of Visit Florida, and explore three hidden gems I didn’t have the chance to see before, Sarasota, Punta Gorda and Tampa. I’ve been to Florida so many times before, but, only to popular cities like Miami or Orlando, as I bet you have too.Welcome to Central Florida heaven! I can’t wait to show you where to eat, sleep and see over here.Thank you again, Visit Florida, for this dreamy getaway I’ll never forget. 

The three destinations we discovered were full of pure yumminess and a delightful experience. From French, Cuban, Asian, Spanish and a mix of cuisines, we had an authentic dining experience in Florida. Here’s a list of my favorite places you NEED to try if you happen to be here.S A R A S O T A- The Muse at The Ringling: We had one of the BEST healthy lunches I’ve tried in years here. Ps. Can I go back for brunch?- Breakfast at C’est La Vie: Fresh omelettes, croissants, and cappuccinos, this little place was charming and with a real french touch I adore, as you all know.- Dinner at Shore Diner: A stunning menu with the prettiest and elegant design, they reimagined a healthy and crave-able dishes I’ll never forget. Cob salad to a next level, guys.P U N T A  G O R D A- Farlow’s on the water: This place was my FAVE of the entire trip. Their menu is a mix of classic American and Caribbean with a southern twist. Seafood lovers? Steak lovers? this will be your dream. Do not leave without trying their pork belly. God, that pork belly.- Peace River Seafood: fresh, locally caught seafood diner, located in the heart of this small town. Their specialty? blue crabs – I only wished I could eat them.T A M P A- Hall on Franklin: The first food hall in Tampa (hearts to this place), features seven diverse culinary experts, all in one space. It was so much fun to have a cuban sandwich, with oysters, a pad thai and popcorn all in the same table. You’ll adore the experience.- Drinks at Ciro’s Speakeasy: OMG. BEST. DRINKS. EVER. point.- Breakie at Oxford Exchange: I’m still crying I won’t have these egg benedicts closer to home. Seriously, the creamiest hollandaise I’ve had paired with the cutest coffee bar, bookstore, and home decor shop. This historic building is a dream.- Tapas at Bulla Gastrobar: My second favorite of the trip, Bulla. They have several locations in Florida, serving REAL spanish tapas that made me think so much of our days in Barcelona. Croquettes and Spanish tortilla, si por favor.- Sprinkles cupcakes at Hyde Park: I couldn’t believe they had one here.

– The Ringling Museum: The state art museum of Florida, is home to a wonderful and dreamy cultural collection in the country. A 66 acre estate of John and Mable Ringling, including a circus museum your kids will LOVE (the biggest one in the US), and the prettiest Bayfront gardens and buildings. We toured their home and saw over 10,000 pieces of contemporary prunts in here. You won’t believe you are in Florida, trust me.
– Selby Gardens: Hosting the newest Warlhol’s exhibit with a perfect greenhouse and some of his prints in a private room. They have a small kids area with the biggest trees you’ll find in the state.
– Siesta Key Beach: When you land to the whitest sand you’ve seen, you know this beach is something you wanted to see for a long time. Their sand is made up of mineral quartz and it feels so soft and fine. Stay here and enjoy a pink sunset with your little ones.

P U N T A   G O R D A
Riding the waves: Ride your very own pontoon boat? this gotta be a dream! me and my friend Soheila did the funnest drive up the bay, seeing dolphins (screams), so close you can touch them if you are in luck! Ps. this activity is kids friendly, yes!
Sunset Cruise with King Fisher Fleet: The prettiest sunset you’ll see in Florida. Can’t miss this.
-Fisherman’s Village: A shopping, dining, full marina and villa vacation with plenty to do for the whole family. Loved the caribbean vibes and bold colors!

– Take a pirate water taxi: I swear this is a thing here! We took a bright yellow water taxi in Tampa’s downtown area and explore the city from the water.
– Go back in time at Tampa Theatre: and when I mean back in time, it’s a 1926 era. This movie palace was Tampa’s first and today is an institution in the city. They have a repertoire of art-house films and classic nowadays.
– Shopping heaven at Hyde Park Village: Such a trendy corner of the city with pretty murals (Did you hear, murals?), hip coffee spots, and an open-air shopping district. Stay warm with some paletas and sweet with a Sprinkle cupcake.

– The Westin Sarasota
1175 N Gulstream Ave.

Marriot Waterside & Marina Hotel
700 S. Florida Ave.

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