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Camping on the Gulf
We think Florida’s panhandle is a great place to launch our adventure, so, naturally, Pensacola is where we’ll start. The National Museum of Naval Aviation is one of the world’s most extensive aircraft museums, with its collection of more than 150 restored planes and helicopters representing the airborne squadrons of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. See a rare SB2A Brewster Buccaneer from WWII, catch a thrilling Blue Angels air show, watch an IMAX film at the Memorial Theatre, or sharpen your piloting skills on the museum’s flight simulator. After your aviation tour, pop over to Gulf Breeze to experience the historic and natural wonders of a Civil War-era fort, bright white sands, and blue-green salty waters at Gulf Islands National Seashore.
From Pensacola, take US-90 east to the natural delights found in the towns of Chipley and Marianna. See Florida’s tallest cascade amid cool pine forests at Falling Waters State Park (Chipley). Marianna’s Florida Caverns State Park offers a guided underground tour to see amazing stalagmite and stalactite configurations with descriptive names such as the “Christmas Tree” and “Wedding Cake.”
In Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee, visit the Challenger Learning Center to see a planetarium star show, try out your flying abilities on a Space Mission Simulator, and be dazzled by the special effects of an IMAX film. Get your feet back on the ground at Goodwood Museum & Gardens with a tour of the charming 1830s estate that was originally a working cotton and corn plantation. In today’s gardens, look for botanical bonuses such as towering live oaks, heirloom roses, blooming bromeliads, and sunny yellow daffodils. At Mission San Luis, see the “Sunshine State’s” only reconstructed, circa 1600s Spanish-style Apalachee Indian mission. If you’re a shopping enthusiast, don’t leave Tallahassee without visiting the two-story retail mall at Governor’s Square.