Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Moon Handbooks: Florida Gulf Coast

A Different Side of Florida

By Laura Reiley

In a neatly organized way, Laura Reiley exposes travelers to the places in Florida that are not theme park-related or that rarely get attention in many other guidebooks. She covers all areas from the southern tip of the state in Paradise Coast all the way up to Pensacola bordering Alabama. Her easy-to-read style is narrative, but she sneaks in essential information and history. She describes the gulf coast as "'Old Florida' or 'Real Florida,' its unaffected beauty a siren's call to come and dive in headlong, or just sit quietly at the Gulf's edge and marvel." Unlike so many other guidebooks that leave one confused, overwhelmed or under-excited, Moon Handbooks: Florida Gulf Coast is well designed and laid out, easy-to-follow and packed with information and maps. In fact, Reiley lists so many different types of places to go and activities to do at varying price levels that saying anyone could find anything to do is no overstatement. She includes unusual multiple-day trips based on varying themes: The Real Florida, Beaches, Kids Stuff, Native American Sites. She even provides inset boxes with extra tidbits such as the nature of sea turtles, what to do should one have the unfortunate run-in with a stingray and what some local terminology means ("Who wants to go out to the chickee?"). Numerous topics are covered: accommodations, food, travel, tours, shopping, sports, even the effects of the abundant hurricanes of the past few years. Following the county-by-county guide area of the book is a hearty back section about the land, weather, flora and fauna and history of the land. Well done. The guide is encyclopedic in nature but with a light and friendly flare. It would be hard not to learn anything about the sunshine state, even if one tried.

Reviewed by Barbara Bowman


See other Travel Books


Bookstore Main Page
Shop Main Page

Going to the sunshine state? Check our guide to Florida.

(Updated: 03/27/09 KR)


Flu season is upon us! Get proactive about your health with these all-natural immune system boosters from around the world.

Handcrafted using only the finest cocoa, GAYOT's Top 10 Chocolate Bars are a far cry from your typical checkout lane candy fix.