McCool Travel interview with Robin Draper of Authentic Florida

5 Minutes With Robin Draper

For McCool Travel’s 115th travel profile, I am thrilled to present Robin Draper of Authentic Florida. At a recent travel conference in Florida, several travel journalists asked me, “do you know Robin Draper?” Well, dang, I got the point, eventually. Actually, her Authentic Florida page on Facebook is one of my favorite travel resources and I am so happy to learn more (and share with you) about the powerhouse woman behind this amazing brand.

Robin Draper‘s bio:

Florida native Robin Draper began her award-winning media company, Authentic Florida, a travel and lifestyle magazine six years ago. The centerpiece of the company is the website,, that features a travel and lifestyle blog devoted to the simple and delightful pleasures for Florida living. Over the past 3 years Draper has been recognized at the Florida Outdoor Writers Association with a total of 15 Florida Outdoor Writers Association awards for her coverage on authentic Florida travel and living. Draper’s website was further recognized by the Florida Bloggers Conference for both the Best Travel Blog and Blog of the Year. Reclaiming her authentic Florida heritage has become her life passion and inspirational compass expressed through her website.

McCool Travel interview with Robin Draper of Authentic Florida

Robin Draper of Authentic Florida

Robin Draper of Authentic Florida


Sarasota, Florida

Always in my luggage…

Flip flops, sunscreen, hat, cell phone, and camera. Living in Florida with temperatures ranging 70 degrees and above, I am always ready for outdoor adventures.

3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

Since I travel throughout the state of Florida, I have so many! Every place I go in Florida I love because there’s always an “authentic” side to each destination and that “makes it a home away from home.” But if I had to, I would say:

  1. St. Augustine ranks high on the list for history and charm
  2. Secondly, since I grew up on a barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Florida Keys has a fun, tropical vibe with tons of fresh seafood
  3. And finally, Florida’s Nature Coast (includes Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties) has a lot of genuine “old Florida” things to do—including manatee viewing, mermaids (Weeki Wachee Springs) and even the Kumquat Capital of the World in Dade City (Pasco)

A favorite travel memory is…

I just returned from a trip to the Everglades where I took part in a stunning Big Cypress Swamp walk, kayaked through Everglades mangrove tunnels, and went on an “out of this world” shelling trip to a desolate barrier island – topped with a dinner of fresh Florida stone crab.

McCool Travel interview with Robin Draper of Authentic Florida

Kayaking in Everglades, Robin Draper: Authentic Florida

3 favorite travel brands…

My go-to travel sites are local tourism bureau websites as they do a great job and give me plenty of information. Doing a fine job with their brands, include:
  1. Florida’s Adventure Coast
  2. Florida’s Historic Coast
  3. Florida’s Space Coast

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. I always travel with food—breakfast bars, apples and healthy snacks and drinks, eliminating the need to eat out all the time.
  2. I partner with local tourism bureaus and get their recommendations for best places to stay and eat—and they understand my brand always steer me right to “good eats” and “charming accommodations”—at the right price.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are …

It’s all fun. Every day. I am blessed beyond words to be able to travel and explore the hidden gems of Authentic Florida. My favorite things that I do for fun are:
  1. kayak Florida’s waterways—like Ocala’s Silver Springs River, listening to the birds, catching a sunset or sunrise and being in the moment with nature.
  2. I also love, love to find a Florida restaurant that specializes in local seafood—there are still some great ones out there.
  3. And finally, meeting people, like an eco-tour guide who cherishes and loves the “real Florida,” deepens my appreciation of those who care as much as I do about the Sunshine State.

8 word (or less) travel mantra…

Seek the Simple & Delightful Pleasures for Florida living.

McCool Travel interview with Robin Draper of Authentic Florida

Shell Island on Florida’s Paradise Coast

favorite non-travel website …

Barefoot Contessa

most memorable souvenir …

My most memorable souvenir in not one thing, but many—shells from Florida. I have buckets of shells that will one day become a craft project.

favorite cheap eat …

Singleton’s Seafood Shack, Mayport, Florida

recent discovery …

My recent discovery was Shell Key, south of Cape Romano in Naples, with Everglades Area Tours. This was “in your life shelling.”

I am fortunate to have met …

Clyde Butcher, a Florida photographer, considered the Ansel Adams of Florida who influenced me as a writer and photographer.

I would like to meet …

Carl Hiaasen, Florida author

McCool Travel interview with Robin Draper of Authentic Florida

discover Authentic Florida with Robin Draper

Thank you so much, Robin, for taking a few minutes to share travel inspiration and tips.

Follow Robin Draper and Authentic Florida on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, and her website.

Check out McCool Travel’s previous profilesMcCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Mary Jo Manzanares.

Follow McCool Travel on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestStumbleUponLinkedIn, and Bloglovin.

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13 Responses to “5 Minutes With Robin Draper”

  1. Patti Morrow December 18, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    I adore Florida, so it was really fun reading this interview and learning more about possible future trips to that state!

    • McCool Travel December 18, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

      So much to do in Florida, especially when you leave the highways and explore natural Florida.

  2. LifeIsFullOfAdventures December 18, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    Great interview, always fun learning about other writers, and great resources too!

  3. Doreen Pendgracs December 14, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

    Thx for this post, Charles. I love Florida, and I search for authentic travel wherever I go, so it’s great to learn of Robin and her dedication to authentic travel in FLA.

    • McCool Travel December 14, 2016 at 10:19 pm #

      So glad you found this and liked it, Doreen.

  4. irenelevine December 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    Robin’s website sounds like a wonderful resource for visitors to the state!

    • McCool Travel December 13, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

      Absolutely. Thank you for he visit, Irene.

  5. loisaltermark December 12, 2016 at 5:38 am #

    The photos make me want to plan another trip to Florida! Loved learning more about Robin and Authentic Florida!

    • McCool Travel December 12, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

      Thank you for the note, Lois. Travel Happy!

  6. Julie @ FuninFairfaxVA December 11, 2016 at 9:53 pm #

    Kayaking through the mangrove swamp looks like so much fun, and I definitely need to explore the Nature Coast.

    • McCool Travel December 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

      Absolutely, right? Florida has epic kayaking. I need to explore more of it.


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    […] Check out McCool Travel’s previous profiles. McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Robin Draper, Authentic Florida. […]

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