Susan Barnes

Correspondent

  • Tampa, Florida, USA

Susan Barnes is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who lives in Tampa. Her father was in the Army, so she moved around a lot in her formative years. Barnes has a passion for discovering and exploring new places and cultures and sharing stories with readers. Her work has appeared in GirlsGetaway.com, NewYorkPost.com, CheapoAir.com, AARP.org and a number of print outlets. You can always find Barnes on the hunt for her next travel assignment.

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  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What kind of Internet access is offered throughout The Peabody Orlando?

    Even though a vacation (especially one to Florida) is all about relaxing and disconnecting from the stress of every day life, The Peabody Orlando offers in-room Wi-Fi. However, connecting to the Internet comes with a price: The hotel charges a $9 fee for access to the gym, Wi-Fi, two bottles of water daily, I-Ride Trolley tickets, and unlimited local and toll-free calls. While this deal isn’t as great as free Wi-Fi throughout the entire hotel, you’ll probably want to spend your time outside in the sun rather than perusing the Web, right?
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    Where can I go to watch sports in Orlando?

    ©TampaBayBuccaneers Sports make a pretty significant impact on the Orlando landscape; the NBA’s Orlando Magic plays their games at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. Dwight Howard, the 7-footer with the foot-wide smile, leads the team and has been its All-Star for the last half-dozen years. But if you’re looking for a more active sporting experience, check out the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World, which hosts a wide variety of sporting events, including soccer, fastpitch softball, track and field, baseball and half- and full marathons. The Atlanta Braves even hold their spring training at the facility, so you can catch Major Leaguers around the complex, depending on when you visit.

    If you’re into baseball and spring training, plenty of teams travel south for the winter, to the Orlando area: the Cleveland Indians (Winter Haven), Detroit Tigers (Lakeland), Houston Astros (Kissimmee) and New York Yankees (Tampa). Just keep in mind you’ll definitely need a car to get around to these spring training games.

    About an hour west of Orlando, Tampa Bay has two sports teams: the Buccanneers of the NFL, and the Lightning of the NHL. In fact, the city has an MLB team as well, the Tampa Bay Rays, but they actually play their games in St. Petersburg. Confusing, we know.

    Of course, if you’d rather relax with a pint of beer and watch your favorite team on TV, you won’t have any trouble finding bars in Orlando - just figuring out which one to take your patronage to.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What is the best way to see Orlando in two days?

    If you have two days to spend in Orlando, we recommend choosing between the expensive theme parks, or keeping things low-key and exploring some of the city’s other cultural offerings.

    If theme parks and thrill rides are up your alley, focus your time at Disney World, Universal Studios or SeaWorld. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to ride all rides and see all the shows. Of course, this in itself could take up a full week if you want to soak in everything that the three mega-parks have to offer, so you’re best served by picking one and spending the majority of your time at just one park; this can also help you save a few dollars and the hassle of shuttling between.

    If you’d rather spend one day at a theme park, and another on a more culturally minded day, you can do that, too. Start one of your mornings in the downtown Orlando area at the Orlando Museum of Art; the community-based, community-supported museum includes American, African and contemporary graphic arts, among others.

    Head up just 15 minutes to Winter Park to check out the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, which displays the world’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany art, including the chapel interior that from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

    Round out your day at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, which overlooks Lake Virginia on the breathtakingly beautiful campus of Rollins. Works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Alex Katz and Albert Bierstadt make this museum worth a visit, even if it’s a brief one.

    There you have it - theme parks that’ll make you scream, and museums that’ll make you think -a great snapshot of Orlando’s two sides, one that most visitors never think to explore.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What are the five best free things to do in Orlando?

    We know all of those theme parks can put quite a big hole in your wallet, but Orlando offers great alternatives - free alternatives nonetheless - to the crowded parks. We’ve come up with a list of our five favorite free things to do in Orlando and think you’ll love them just as much as we do:

    1. For a theme-free park experience, check out Dr. Phillips Community Park, which is near all of the attractions, but totally removed from the hectic pandemonium of the theme parks. On the 80 acres of parkland, you and your kids can play on baseball and soccer fields, a basketball court and a playground, or even embark on a hike through the trails. The good news is, Fido can join too-at least in the dog park.

    2. The glistening Lake Eola in downtown Orlando is a wonderful, and completely free, way to spend the day. Grab a pal and take a stroll around the lake as you watch the swans swim quietly on their way. Or if you are really feeling gutsy, take your kids and they can horse around to their hearts’ content.

    3. Visit the farmers’ market each Saturday in Winter Park to browse the freshest fruits, vegetables and flowers. Of course we aren’t telling you to buy anything, but we will tell you that staying away from the aroma of kettle corn and crêpes is going to be quite the difficult task. We promise we won’t judge you if you cave in-we did.

    4. For a bit of history, stay in Winter Park and join a walking tour. The tour guides will navigate you along the streets, sending you back 100 years to when Orlando first became a resort destination.

    5. Let your imagination soar at the LEGO Imagination Center in downtown Disney. You’ll see the Seven Dwarfs in mid-spoof and even a Loch Ness Monster rearing its head out of the water.

    Fun doesn’t have to cost a thing when you stay in Orlando.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What is the best shopping experience in Orlando?

    If you simply must shop ‘til you drop while in Orlando, you’re spared from having to just buy merchandise from Mickey or Shamu. From shopping malls to tree- and boutique-lined streets and outlet malls, Orlando has the retail exercise you’ll need to keep that credit card in shape.

    The Mall at Millenia runs the whole gamut of shopping classes, with department stores such as Bloomingdales, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus; designer outposts of Louis Vuitton and Gucci; casual favorites such as Gap and luxury jewelers such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier and David Yurman.

    At the Florida Mall, you’ll surely find something at Orlando’s only Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue or perhaps Clarks England, Adidas or the European trendsetting shop, H&M. Your kids will beg to spend the day at M&M’s World, and to build a new friend at the ever-popular Build-A-Bear Workshop.

    Make your way to downtown to Winter Park for boutique- and tree-lined streets; whether you’re window shopping or shopping for real, something in the boutiques and galleries will catch your eye. Spend the day shopping, then pop into a sidewalk café for a bite to eat, if that tickles your fancy.

    And with the abundance of tourists, outlet shopping reigns supreme in Orlando. Labels such as Betsey Johnson, Coach, J.Crew, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Polo Ralph Lauren and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th come together at Orlando Premium Outlets. Just make sure you’ve left enough room in your luggage to haul all your newfound booty back to your home island.