Florida is the state I visit the most outside my home state of Massachusetts. If I was ever to say I was some sort of American travel connoisseur, it would certainly be about the Sunshine State. There’s great parts and gnarly bits too, but that’s what I love about it. I especially revel in places to explore when everyone leaves the beach and head out for the night to discover the debaucherously delicious and fun.
I have some ideas from the obscure to the unmissable in a few of Florida’s fun cities along the east coast.
Book a space at Black Sheep right away on your visit to Jacksonville. It’s a rooftop bar with tasty cocktails in one of the most striking buildings in town. If you’re into trying lots of different things, have a look at the Jax Ale Trail to take you through the evening. You can pick up your passport in the charming San Marco neighborhood at the Aardwolf Brewing Co.
While Jacksonville has plenty to do within city limits, there’s also a few places to peruse less than an hour’s drive away. For instance, hit the beach in St. Augustine down the coast, which boast more than 40 miles of sandy shore. After gliding among the gentle waves, celebrate with a sip of something special at the San Sebastian Wine company during a complimentary tour and tasting offered seven days a week.
This city was the starting point of my bachelorette party, where we quickly found the underbelly of a normally classy and beautiful place. However, I’d suggest avoiding the places we headed to and instead check out America’s Backyard. As the state’s largest outdoor party, you’ll find something for everyone along it’s 15,00 square feet of live DJ sets, snaking bars and dance floors. On the other hand, keep your eye out for something a little more intimate – Fort Lauderdale’s very own speakeasy. Called the Apothecary 330, you’ll have to peek through a pizza joint to find it hidden in the walls. Fort Lauderdale’s hotels have some chic watering hole options too, such as the W Hotel and it’s low-lit concrete-floored lounge.
It’s a mecca for creatures that bump in the night. Club kids, fashionistas and VIP foodies all live in harmony once the sun sets and the neon lights blaze on. Sure, South Beach is hip as hell, but prefer downtown hidden gems and perfect vistas. Have a drink at Pawn Broker for fantastic views of the urban sprawl and ocean below and throw some killer post-brunch Sunday parties.
A little more casual environment is in the Wynwood neighborhood outside of downtown. While many visit during the day to see incredible street art, the creativity oozes into the nightlife as well. El Patio has an eclectic charm with strange interiors and perfect homemade honey syrups infused in their drinks.
Where have you had a great night out in Florida? Any recommendations? Are you an east coast or Gulf coast Florida fan?