Florida Hotels in the air, on land, and undersea

Friday, April 08, 2011

In watching old movies like Tarzan, I always wondered how many people, in civilized society, lived in a tree house. Enjoying many a James Bond film, it was those underwater cities that kept me in awe. Are we closer to the futuristic age of under-the-sea living?

From up in the trees to under the seas, Florida hotels have something special in store for you.

The Yurt Tree House is  a two-story treehouse, about 35 miles northwest of Gainesville.  On a 16 x 16 platform downstairs, campers find a propane stove, fresh water, outhouse with a composting toilet, cooking gear, chairs and a table.  Upstairs is a bedroom beneath a transparent dome which allows you to gaze at the moons and stars. You can get to the treehouse by land or on the Sante Fe River.  Two wide-tire and two hydrobikes are available free for use by guests staying two or more nights.  Rent is $30 per adult, $20 per child plus a $30 refundable deposit.  www.clubfla.org/TreeHouse.aspx

Another yurt is found in Torreya State Park on the Apalachicola River in North Florida.  It's a 20-foot round, domed tent with flooring, electricity, a lockable wooden door and three large screened windows. The yurt accomodates five peole and includes air conditioning/heating, a skylight, two queen beds and one single. Except bed linens are not provided. The yurt rents for $40. For reservations 1-800-326-3521. Tarzan not included.

Heading in the opposite direction, not just underground but underwater, guest rooms are 21 feet under water at the Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, a former 70's era research lab turned into a two-bedroom capsule. You have to scuba dive down to enter the lodge, which has two bedrooms and a common room. Each bedroom has a private refrigerator and sink, intercom, telephone and a 42-inch round window.  A common room contains a mini-kitchen, dining area as well as another 42-inch window. The facility is air-conditioned. But you may not be the only guests.  The lodge usually hosts two separate couples, each with a private bedroom and sharing the rest of the lodge.  The staff stays on duty 24 hours a day. A "mer-chef" scuba dives down to the lodge to pepare a gourmet dinner for the guests; late-night snacks can include delivery of a pizza from a local shop.

Guests have included former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and rock stars Steve Tyler of Aerosmith.  Cost ranges from $375 to $475 per person per night, including meals and dive gear.  http://www.jul.com/  or 305-451-2353. Don't know how to scuba dive.  The lodge offers classes before you take the plunge.

You don't have to ride out west to live out that fantasy of inserting twig in mouth and horseback ride with an accent that's a cross of city  urban and faux twang. Florida has two dude ranches.

The Westgate River Range in Lake Wales offers all manner of western fun with amenities that include horses for riding, a marina, nine-hole golf course, boat rentals, trap and skeet range, hayrides and cookouts, a petting farm, heated otudoor pool, tennis and b asketball, video arcade, smokehouse grill, saloon and even a wedding chapel.  A Saturday night rodeo includes trick riding, bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing and a rodeo clown antics. Swamp buggy rides through the woods is available. Rates start at $89 per night. http://www.wgriverranch.com/  863-692-1321. John Wayne not included.

The Circle F Dude Ranch in Lakes Wales offers several kinds of stays.  Family weekends are priced at $499 for the first four people; this price includes two nights lodging and six meals. Summer camps are limited to 100 boys and 110 girls and broken out into different sessions throughout the summer months.  So parents want to reserve sooner than later. http://www.circlefduderanchcamp.com/. 863-676-4113.

Which one would you choose first for your adventure vacation?

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