Northeast & Panhandle Adventure


Travel Info

  • Arrive: Orlando International Airport
  • 10 Days
  • Depart: Orlando International Airport

Gainesville & Cedar Key

Price from £999

Take an excursion into the unexpected side of Florida with this 10-day tour into the heart of the state, discovering its 19th century history, its modern university (one of the largest on the country), the wonderful countryside and its rich equestrian heritage. Start with four days in Gainesville, home of the huge University of Florida, and much more besides, including a major theatre, a historic state park, a growing arts scene and a thriving small-town charm. The fabulous dining is a notable facet of local life, as is the booming craft brewing business, and we highlight the very best here. Then it’s on to the Panhandle with a trip to Cedar Key, offering a chance to enjoy the relaxing coastal location. For an alternative view of the Sunshine State, this takes some beating.

Day 1-4

Laurel Oak Inn, Gainesville

  • Hotel Rating: 3
  • Hotel Value: 4

The Laurel Oak Inn is reminiscent of an old American style house with porch swings and rocking chairs, keeping in perfect fitting with the historic town of Gainesville.

Laurel Oak Inn

  • Hotel Rating: 4
  • Hotel Value: 4

The charming Laurel Oak Inn is a Queen Anne-style Victorian bed & breakfast. The rooms are elegantly decorated with antique furniture and feature private bathrooms, period fireplaces, flat screen TVs and complimentary WiFi. There are even rooms fitted with whirlpool tubs if you so wish. Enjoy a cooked breakfast every morning during your stay as well as free drinks.

Things to do...

  • Enjoy a relaxed dinner at Emiliano’s Cafe, with authentic Latin dishes and cocktails.

  • The Top restaurant provides a great lunch location in downtown Gainesville. Enjoy a great array of local craft beers.

  • On a Tuesday or Saturday afternoon, tours are available – with tastings – at the Swamp Head Brewery on SW 42nd Avenue for more insight into the local craft beer scene. Their Tasting Room is open from 4pm Tuesday to Thursday, and from 1pm Friday to Sunday.

  • For dinner, try out the new American cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails at The Warehouse Restaurant and Lounge in downtown Gainesville.

  • If you’re a fan of your food, then learn about the local Gainesville area by embarking on a 3-hour historical Gainesville Food Tour, walking much of the downtown area and stopping for tasting sessions at 5 different renowned restaurants.

  • Enjoy dinner at Embers Wood Grill, the best place to go in Gainesville for a great steak.

  • Visit the First Magnitude Brewing Co in downtown, with a great Tap Room and beer garden open from 4pm Tuesday to Thursday and from 2pm Friday to Sunday. One of the local Food Trucks is always in attendance when the Tap Room is open.

  • Have lunch in downtown at the Paramount Grill on SW 1st Avenue for some fresh, Mediterranean-inspired and healthy choices.

  • Embrace the small-town charm of Gainesville’s Main Street by visiting the shops lining the city centre at the junction of University Avenue and Main Street, including a growing number of arts centres and galleries, like the Artisans’ Guild Gallery in Union Street Station on SE 2nd Avenue

  • Visit the University of Florida campus. There are tours daily (Mon-Fri) from the Welcome Center on Reitz Union Drive.

  • Settle down for an evening of entertainment at the Hippodrome State Theatre, with films, concerts, live theatre, exhibits and special events 340 days of the year.

  • Look up the possibilities for a performance by the Dance Alive National Ballet company at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on the university campus.

  • Experience the evolution of north Florida by exploring the Dudley Farm Historic State Park in nearby Newberry, with staff in period costume, 19th century farming demonstrations and nature trails.

  • Visit the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, encompassing a 21,000-acre savanna in Micanopy, Florida, just 10 miles south of Gainesville.

  • Check out the possibility for a University of Florida sports game. The Gators are the BIG team for much of northern Florida, hence sports activities are popular all year-round, notably basketball and American football.

  • Play golf at Ironwood Golf Course, featuring a par 72 championship layout playing from 5400-7100 yards with four sets of tees. Ironwood was designed by highly regarded golf course designer Roger Packard and opened in 1990.

  • Enjoy over 60 acres of natural collections at flowers at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.

  • Get up close and personal with thousands of butterflies at the Butterfly Rainforest.

Travel by car

  • From: Orlando International Airport
  • To: Laurel Oak Inn
  • 122 miles, 1 hour, 55 minutes
On route...

Stop off in the city of Ocala to stretch your legs and enjoy a bite to eat.

Day 5-9

Island Hotel & Restaurant

  • Hotel Rating: 4
  • Hotel Value: 4

The Island Hotel and Restaurant provides guests with a traditional quaint stay, which replicates the town that it is situated in. The hotel is near all the main attractions that Cedar Key has to offer.

Cedar Key Island Hotel & Restaurant

  • Hotel Rating: 4
  • Hotel Value: 4

The Cedar Key Island Hotel was built in 1859 and provides a quaint colonial-style hotel with 10 individually decorated TV-free rooms featuring period furnishings, original hardwood floors and ensuite bathrooms. There is free WiFi provided and a complimentary breakfast served on the porch or in the dining room. There is also an a renowned seafood restaurant onsite providing a great option for dinner. Relax and meet fellow holiday makers in the communal upstairs sitting area or on the wraparound balcony.

Things to do...

  • Visit the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, featuring 13 offshore islands designated as wilderness areas offering spectacular and rare views of birds and wildlife.

  • Enjoy island-style, elegant dining at The Island Room at Cedar Cove.

  • Relax and indulge at the waterfront location of Cedar Key Steamers- Clam Bar & Grill, and enjoy the best clam chowder on the island.

  • Visit 83 West on the Cedar Key coastal front to enjoy Southern style comfort food at its very best.

  • Visit the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum to learn more about Cedar Key’s past.

  • Visit the Cedar Key State Museum, which showcases items collected by Saint Clair Whitman, a local resident who established the first museum in Cedar Key in his very own home.

  • Fish on Cedar Key Fishing Pier, offering expansive views out over the ocean.

  • Head to Cedar Key Boat Rentals & Island Tours, board a boat tour and immerse yourself in the rich, natural history of the islands.

  • Relax on the Cedar Key beachfront, enjoy the sea and take in the amazing coastal views.

  • Stroll the streets of Cedar Key near the hotel to find a number of bespoke shops such as the Salty Need and Cedar Keys Emporium.

Travel by car

  • From: Laurel Oak Inn
  • To: Cedar Key Island Hotel & Restaurant
  • 58 miles, 1 hour, 10 minutes
On route...

Stretch your legs and enjoy the greenery of Blue Springs Park on the way.

Day 10

Last day of the holiday

  • Check out of the Cedar Key Island Hotel & Restaurant

  • Drive to Orlando International Airport via Florida’s Turnpike

Gainesville & Cedar Key Holiday from £999

Price includes compact car hire and room only. Our team of Florida travel experts will endeavour to get you the best deal.

Travel by car

  • To: Cedar Key Island Hotel & Restaurant
  • From: Orlando International Airport
  • 145 miles, 2 hours, 30 minutes
On route...

Stop off at Lake Panasoffkee and take in the amazing views.

Book your Florida holiday dream today!

Please call us on 0800 669 6409 to talk to our travel experts about how we can help make your Florida dream a reality or use our contact form.

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