Hey ladies, want to plan a Florida girlfriend getaway? Today’s guest post, Tami Koenig, Your Story Coach, offers first-hand travel suggestions for boomer gal pals.
My girlfriends and I have been traveling together since we were in our 20s—from Greece and Guatemala to Paris and Prague—we’re old hands at the delicate art of traveling with friends.
Read our tips for planning a girls trip.
Our latest journey was a Florida girlfriend getaway that included Miami and the Florida Keys to celebrate our 50th birthdays. It’s funny to notice the differences in our travel style from those earlier days. We’re far more interested in finding quiet hotels with good beds and making sure we have comfortable (but cute!) shoes, than we are in finding the cheapest place to stay and making sure we have our Let’s Go! guidebooks in hand. Besides, these days we have Siri on our iPhones and a handful of travel apps to guide us.
This trip started in Miami with a visit to Vizcaya, James Deering’s luxurious winter estate. Built between 1914 and 1916, the house and gardens sit on 50-acres facing Biscayne Bay. Rather than take a formal tour, we bought a $3 booklet and explored on our own, even climbing to the elegant tower rooms where film stars Lillian Gish and Marion Davies once stayed. Lunch at the Vizcaya café, sitting outside overlooking the bay, was a tasty surprise—with better food than at most tourist spots.
Next stop: the Everglades. We worried that an outing to a place called Gator Park was going to be cheesy, but as full-fledged children of 60’s television, we all wanted to fly through the Everglades in an airboat à la Flipper! Oh, and fly we did—inches above the water—with herons and egrets rising up on either side and alligators below. It was wild and free and we laughed like kids. As cheesy as it was, this experience was the best part of the whole trip for each of us.
As we drove south through the Keys, singing along to the 80s tunes we’d brought along, we could’ve been in our 20s again. Nothing had changed—we were just four girls on an adventure. Sunroof open, feet sticking out the side windows and the soft sea breeze blowing in—perfection!
After our Urbanspoon app pointed us to a yummy lunch of crab cakes and key lime pie at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen in Key Largo, we put Siri to work guiding us directly to the Lighthouse Court Hotel in old Key West.
Since the St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl had taken over Duval Street, we took ourselves on an art and literary tour of Key West’s side streets: a morning wander through Hemingway’s house, lunch and mojito’s at the historic Casa Marina where Wallace Stevens stayed and a successful sunset trek to find the former home of artist Henry Faulkner.
These days our trips together are less quantity and more quality. We still love the adventure of new places, but there’s not the pressure to go, go, go. Now we savor the chance to sit and visit in a particularly beautiful spot. We also take time to preserve the memories we’re making—and this trip it’s my job to gather our photos and memorabilia into a digital scrapbook for each of us.
Tami Koenig believes in the value of personal stories. Her website, Your Story Coach, offers tools, tips and inspiration for preserving memories and sharing stories. Follow Your Story Coach on Twitter and Facebook.
Have you traveled on a Florida girlfriend getaway, or perhaps your boomer gal pals prefer another destination? Post a comment to share it with us. It’s about time I planned one with my girlfriends (sorry Alan).