I’m coming to the end of my run as a Desoto blogger. This is one of the last columns I will write for TheDesoto.com and during the last two years, I’ve written hundreds of researched blogs on a variety of topics and learned more about South Florida then I ever dreamed I would. I’ve lived in SoFL since I was a toddler; in spite of that, I never really began to explore the area in which I lived until I began writing these columns. Here are a few, secret, hidden tips I’ve learned about the places that I have fallen in love with.

Petting Zoo Power

Over the course of this blog, I’ve returned several times to some of my favorite SoFL places and discovered a few new places to love. Batten’s Farm was pure magic for me when I was a kid and its still magic for me as an adult. Sure, it’s got organic and locally grown strawberries, and carrots as big as your forearm, but one of the best things about the new, post-2011 Batten’s is the constant petting zoo. Most other SoFl farmer’s markets have petting zoos that either cost money or are only there on weekends. Batten’s has a permanent and free petting zoo that is always at the back of the farm. Not only is this great for kids, but it’s pretty fantastic for adults who want to lower their blood pressure by petting a horse’s nose.

Quiet Time

While beaches in Florida are known for being fairly packed, the stretch of beach in front of The Desoto on Hollywood Beach is tucked away from the main crowds just enough to shield visitors from other people. I’ve always loved this semi-secluded stretch of beach almost more than I love the beauty of SoFl sunsets. This section of beach off of Desoto Street can be seen from the front of The Desoto Inn, so if you wanted to time it, it might be a 30 second walk? Not much in the way of beach traffic, is there?

Woods

From the Anne Kolb Nature Center on Sheridan Street to Flamingo Gardens on Flamingo Road just south of 595, SoFl has more than its fair share of woods, trees, and nature where travelers get lost only to find themselves under a brilliant blue sky. Just don’t forget your bug spray.

By Marissa Cohen

Photo By John Drake Flickr

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