Sunshine State Getaways — and the Red Cross Ball

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The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The recent federal furlough and the polar vortex have us all rather blue, desperate for escape. How many flamingo pool floats at a Miami villa have danced through your head

But for this winter’s getaway, let’s think outside the vacation box. Here are some unusual ways to relax and warm up in the Sunshine State.

The Florida state capital of Tallahassee is a lovely tree-lined community, home to Florida State University. While not exactly a resort destination, the city offers gardens, nature walks and bike paths to help you unwind in the agreeable Florida climes, while also enjoying the charms of the South.

In addition, there’s Driftaway Float Center, the first floatation therapy location, helping visitors eliminate stress and relieve pain. Okay, so you don’t get the pink flamingo and cabana, but it’s worth a try.

Farther south in St. Petersburg, check out the Movement Sanctuary in downtown St. Pete. Classes offered include acrobatics, ninja training, yoga, dance and slow movement jiu-jitsu.

This year, the Spa at Naples Grande is upgrading its therapies menu with a new array of ayurvedic and Eastern-influenced offerings. Ayurveda is the mystical healing tradition of India. Like traditional Chinese practice, ayurveda is based on the idea of restoring balance to the whole person by addressing body, mind and spirit.

We can dig it.

There’s probably no better way to work on your balance than paddleboarding, which you can do at Serenity Eco Therapy in the Florida Keys. Founder Sarah Sullivan created the Serenity Eco Therapy paddleboard program to practice mental balance through nature. Sullivan cultivates meditation, yoga, Pilates and cardio to help you stay (upright) on that board.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can tackle wakeboarding (just Google it) and trapeze flying at Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St. Lucie. Loved by health-conscious families and couples, the location prides itself on its adrenaline-heavy activities. For those looking to chill rather than thrill, the world-renowned L’Occitane spa is just your speed.

For the more down-to-earth and kid-friendly traveler, there’s sandcastle building on the pristine beaches of Destin, where you can get lessons on how to build your own four-foot sand tower.

Not even a vacation makes you feel as good as when you give back, and this Saturday, Feb. 9, the glamorous International Red Cross Ball in Palm Beach will honor Gold Star Mothers with its “A Salute to the Military” theme. Retired four-star Gen. Richard B. Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife Mary Jo are the distinguished honorary chairmen of the event, which has been moved from the “Winter White House,” Mar-a-Lago, to the Norton Museum of Art.

The beach at Naples, Florida.
The Dali Museum in St. Peterburg, Florida.
The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.
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