Take the ‘A’ Train
August 20th, 2019 by Pamela Keene

Customers get a hand while boarding an Amtrak train.
Photo by Amtrak/Doug Riddell

From Jacksonville to Tampa to Miami, you can leave the driving to Amtrak. With 18 stations in Florida, you can board the train to take the family to an attraction, tourist destination, shopping trip or weekend excursion.

It may not be on your radar, but riding Amtrak within Florida has plenty of benefits. You don’t have to drive, gas up the car, deal with traffic jams or watch the road. You’re reducing your carbon footprint by taking the train.
It can be a new and fun family adventure.

“Amtrak is a great way to travel to other parts of Florida,” says Dana Jones, president of the Palatka Chamber of Commerce, one of the rail line’s eastern Florida stops. “People can board the train here and go to Orlando to shop or to Winter Haven, Lakeland or Tampa to play tourist. It is such a convenient way to travel, plus you can see so much more of the state by riding the train.”

If you want to travel outside the state, board the train in Sanford and catch the Auto Train—an overnight ride to Virginia that allows you to take your car with you.

The Silver Meteor runs from Miami to New York City, with stops in Orlando and Jacksonville before heading up the East Coast through Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The Silver Star also travels between Miami and New York, with stops in Tampa, Columbia, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Wilmington.

Visit amtrakguide.com for more info about Amtrak routes and travel options.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season
September and October are the last two months for active sea turtle nesting for 2019. In March, female sea turtles began making their nests along Florida’s beaches. After 45 to 55 days, the hatchlings emerge and make their way at night back to the ocean.

Florida is home to five species of sea turtles: green, loggerhead, leatherback, hawksbill and Kemp’s ridley. All are endangered or threatened.

To learn guidelines for helping protect these species, check out the Florida Fish and Wildlife website, myfwc.com.

Five Things Flight Attendants Hate
To stay in the good graces of flight attendants, avoid these behaviors, cited recently in USAToday.com:

  • Keeping your headphones on during food and drink service. Flight attendants have to repeat the selections to each row.
  • Leaving trash around your seat and the lavatory messy.
  • Ignoring seat assignments.
  • Ignoring the seatbelt sign during flights or immediately standing up once the plane has reached the gate.
  • Using the call button for no reason.
  • Whether you are on a short flight or a trans-Atlantic journey, being courteous to the flight crew can make the trip more pleasant.

Romantic Florida
The Active Times ranked Key West the most romantic destination in the state for its sunset cruises and quaint lodging.

Even if you don’t snorkel or scuba dive, consider a visit to Dry Tortugas National Park, www.drytortugas.com.

To enjoy the quieter side of Key West and create your own memories, stay at a charming bed and breakfast inn off one of the main streets.

Florida native and travel enthusiast Pamela A. Keene is a freelance journalist who specializes in travel, gardening, personality and feature writing. She is also a photographer and accomplished sailor. Her website is www.pamelakeene.com.