Cool Dips, Hot Tips
July 20th, 2018 by Pamela A. Keene

One of the main tourist attractions in Coral Gables is the Venetian Pool, which is filled and drained daily.
Photo courtesy of the city of Coral Gables

As summer winds down, there is still plenty of time to hit the water in some rather unconventional places.

The historic Venetian Pool, was designed as a luxurious casino in Coral Gables. Opened in 1924, many celebrities visited during the Golden Age.

It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Created from a coral rock quarry, coral lines the edges of the pool and was used to build several structures, including archways and two watch towers. The pool has a waterfall, a cave and a sandy beach. It was renovated in 1989 and again in 2009-10.

The 820,000-gallon pool is fed by an underground aquifer. Children younger than 3 are not admitted because of safety concerns.

Known for its natural sulfur spring near the middle of town, Green Cove Springs, has drawn tourists since the mid-1800s.

The 2,200-gallons-a-minute spring feeds a city pool and empties into the nearby St. Johns River. The spring boil is fenced off but visible.

Admission to the 72-degree pool is $4 for adults, $3 for military and seniors, and $2 for children 2-17. It is open Tuesdays through Sundays through Labor Day, and weekends through September 30.

For an invigorating splash, visit the state’s tallest waterfall at Falling Waters State Park. Boardwalks and both sandy and paved trails meander in the park near Chipley, in the Panhandle, and lead to the 73-foot tall cascading waterfall.

Must-Have Travel Apps
Whether planning a road trip or travel by plane or train, check out these travel apps:

HotelTonight, lists last-minute hotel deals.

RoadTrippers, plans routes and identifies things to do along the way, places to eat or stay, and outdoor activities.

GasBuddy, searches fuel prices and calculates trip costs.

Netflix, streams movies to keep passengers entertained.

Happy Cow, lists vegetarian and vegan specialty restaurants.

Airbnb, lists private homes, vacation properties, apartments and condos for deals on overnight accommodations.

Carry-On Packing Hacks
Envy the people who never check their bags, even if going on a three-week vacation?

Here are tips for your carry-on to avoid baggage fees and still have everything you need at your destination:

  • Your roller bag may be snagged at the gate to be checked, but a duffle more easily gets past gate agents. The roller bag won’t strain your arms and shoulders, but a duffle can “squish” better and may fit under the seat.
  • Pack wrinkle-free clothes, choosing cottons, jerseys and knits. Choose a color scheme and think about layering to change your look.
  • Consider buying inexpensive essentials such as toiletries, socks and underwear at your destination to save room. Buy cheap and leave them behind so you will have room for souvenirs.
  • Pick your personal item carefully. Don’t waste it on your purse or a computer bag/brief case. Choose a larger item like a beach tote or a roomy diaper bag. Smaller items, like your cross-body bag, neck pillow, headsets, chargers and snacks fit nicely, and you will have your in-flight essentials close at hand.

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