Vacation Orlando and Vero Beach

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We know that many of our readers have families and that they are always looking for great destinations for family vacations.  We’re happy to feature a very family friendly travel story this month with our Vacation Orlando/Vero Beach feature.  Paige, Shayne and their two boys, Schyler (17) and Zane (12) checked out these Florida locations and we’ve brought you the highlights of the trip!

Solaris Restaurant

Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center
8701 World Center Drive   Orlando
http://www.marriottworldcenter.com/dining/solaris-restaurant.aspx
(407) 238-8528
Solaris is a restaurant we sought out to visit again because we loved it so much the first time we visited Orlando.  This excellent restaurant inside the Orlando World Center Marriott offers homestyle cooking with the freshest ingredients and has a world class breakfast buffet with over 80 items daily, including Belgian waffles, sour-cream pancakes, Artisan meats and cheeses and a made to order station where you can get omelets, Eggs Benedict and other favorites.  One of Paige’s favorites on the buffet was homemade yogurt with fruit, honey, nuts and granola served in individual cups.

If you’re looking for a dining option where the selections are fresh, delicious and nearly endless, we suggest visiting Solaris and especially taking advantage of their breakfast buffet!

Revolution Off Road
4000 State Road 33 • Clermont, Florida
www.revolutionoffroad.com
(352) 400-1322
If your family has a sense of adventure, Revolution Off Road is the perfect place for you to visit on your vacation!  Located around twenty minutes from Orlando, Revolution Off Road offers a number of activities including ATV rides, fishing and 4 x4 driving on a challenging course.  We decided to do the 4 x 4 track and both Shayne and Schyler tried their hand at this.  The 4 x 4 track is a purpose built course to challenge the toughest of off-road drivers.  From the beginner to the seasoned professional, these tracks have a lot to offer.  There are steep incline/declines from 20 degrees to 60 degrees, twist ditches, vertical walls, stairs, rock and builder section and side slopes, all taken on in a Jeep Wrangler.  The instructor at Revolution was a rally race car driver, so he really knows what he is doing and is very safety-conscious.  Not only was this fun for the guys, but they also learned quite a bit about how to be a better driver!

There’s so much to do at Revolution that you could easily spend a whole day there.  Highly recommended for the family who loves excitement!

Waldo’s • Inside the Driftwood Inn
3150 Ocean Drive  •  Vero Beach, FL
www.thedriftwood.com
(772) 231-0550

Looking for something a little bit different for dinner on your vacation?  You should check out Waldo’s inside The Driftwood Inn.  The Driftwood Inn was originally a private beach house called the “Breezeway” by the owners because of the opening in the central portion of the first floor.  The original house was completed in 1937 and additions were added in 1939.  Though originally built as a family home, within a short time it was being operated by Mrs. Waldo Sexton as a small resort hotel, and because of there not being any restaurant in the vicinity of the Driftwood Inn, Mrs. Sexton began to cook breakfast for the guests in the family kitchen. This success led eventually to the founding of the adjacent restaurant. Waldo’s Restaurant was constructed in 1947.

The restaurant is full of colorful characters and great atmosphere and we had a fun time eating there for dinner.  With options like The Beach Side Sampler (fried oyster, conch fritters and coconut shrimp), Jamaican Mahi-Mahi sandwich (served with a side of mango salsa), prime rib and the fresh catch of the day, Waldo’s is a seafood heaven that also offers something for the salad or beef eater.  If you’re looking for a relaxing dinner in a unique environment, Waldo’s is your place!

Vero Tackle and Marina
3321 Bridge Plaza Drive • Vero Beach, FL
www.verotackle.com
(772) 234-9585

A definite to-do on the list of Paige’s husband and older son was a fishing trip.  Though Paige was not really looking forward to this part of the trip, she was very pleasantly surprised by their outing with Vero Tackle and Marina.  Their approximate four hour fishing trip was led by Brian Williamson, an experienced fisherman and owner of the company who made it easy for the family to enjoy their time as he took care of everything from baiting the hooks to cleaning their catches.  Paige especially appreciated that he did not waste any of the fish they caught, encouraging them to release anything they would not be eating.  All in all, the foursome caught nearly 30 fish and took a couple to a nearby restaurant to have them prepared for them for dinner.  Whether you are an experienced fisherman or this is your first time, you’ll definitely enjoy a fishing trip in Vero Beach with their huge variety of fish to be seen and caught and we encourage you to visit Brian at Vero Tackle and Marina!

Barefoot Cafe
2036 14th Avenue • Vero Beach, FL
www.TheBarefootCafe.com
(772) 770-1733
If fresh, delicious food for a light breakfast or lunch is on your agenda, we’d like to draw your attention to the Barefoot Café, owned and operated by Steve and Lisa Horn, a couple who have been in the business with a variety of restaurants for over 20 years.  The Barefoot Café offers a variety of salads, soups, sandwiches and wraps for breakfast and lunch along with a number of flavorful shakes, coffee concoctions and delicious cheesecakes.

Paige was crazy about the Barefoot and insists they served one of the best salads she’d ever tasted (the Barefoot Salad with mixed greens, marinated artichokes, sliced mushrooms, chick peas, sunflower seeds, pecans, baby peas, tomatoes, parmesan and blue cheese crumbles with a choice of dressing).  There were also meatier selections for the guys to enjoy of course, including the corned beef hot sandwich and Bleu Beef Hoagie.

If you decide to visit for breakfast, you’ll be treated to a variety of breakfast wraps, bagel sandwiches and baked good.  Fresh, amazing food with great service is what you’ll find at Barefoot!

The Wave Kitchen & Bar
Inside The Spa at Costa d’Este • 3244 Ocean Drive • Vero Beach, FL
http://www.costadeste.com/dining/dining.asp
(772) 410-0080
An impressive restaurant with gorgeous atmosphere was what we found when we arrived to dine at The Wave Kitchen & Bar, which is owned by singer Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio.  This restaurant, which reminded Paige of a high-end spa (and is actually inside a beach resort spa), offers a menu directly sourced from local farmers, fishermen and artisanal purveyors.  With menu options like Pork Tenderloin served with Natural au Jus infused with Port Wine and select Cuban dishes developed by the Estefans for their cookbook, The Wave has some great classics and some unique ethnic choices that will appeal to a wide range of tastes.

We also got the chance to tour the penthouse in the hotel, which was a great experience.  If you really want to treat yourself while vacationing in Vero Beach, you should check out this hotel!

Sea World/Aquatica
7007 Sea World Drive • Orlando, FL
www.SeaWorld.com
One of our days in Orlando was spent exploring the wonderful Sea World and Sea World’s water park, Aquatica.  Although we had been under the impression that Sea World was more of a zoo with fish and other sea creatures, it’s really a theme park, complete with rides.  Our two favorites were the roller coasters modeled after sea creatures: the Manta and the Kraken.  These are intense coasters that will satisfy any roller coaster enthusiast!

Aquatica is a great water park with a number of rides, slides and lazy rivers that you can either relax at or have some thrills, depending on what you decide to experience.  The family definitely had a great time splashing around in Sea World’s water park.  Both are great for family with young kids or even those a little older as they both have plenty of options to appeal to both age ranges.

CRAVE
4158 Conroy Road • Orlando, FL
www.CraveAmerica.com
We were excited to visit CRAVE in Orlando because the Omaha location is a client of ours and we were happy to promote their Florida location as well.  We certainly weren’t disappointed!  CRAVE has an awesome atmosphere as well as a menu chock full of fabulous choices such as Crab Crusted Filet Mignon, Jerk Chicken Pasta and Seafood Pasta.  This also marked the first time Paige’s sons had sushi!

Perhaps the favorite part of their meal, though was the non-alcoholic drinks they got to try, including the Blueberry Mint Fizz (fresh mint, fresh blueberry and house made lemonade), Dreamsicle Raspberry Bull Lemonade and Pineapple Mint Freeze.  Along with these non-alcoholic drinks, Crave also features a number of signature alcoholic drinks like the Sake Sangria (Kanbara, pineapple juice, peach puree, fresh lemon, lime) and the Black & Blue (Hennessy Black, Blue Curacao, blueberry syrup and lemonade).  Definitely a must on your list if you’re staying in this area of Orlando!