5 Best Vacation Spots in Florida
by Geoff Klein
Lush, sunlit, green and dipping into
the deep blue Caribbean, Florida offers vacationers a taste of the
tropical in a safe, welcoming setting. Ranging from
otherworldly jungle marsh landscapes, Glades and idyllic Florida Keys to
nonstop nightlife, amusement parks, delicious seafood, world-class
hospitality and pristine beaches, Florida has it all. But many people
who visit Florida come on
business, and are to busy
web conferencing to enjoy the state. There is a lot to see in
Florida, but you have to start somewhere. So for now, we’ve listed
five top destinations for a Florida vacation:
Ranging from otherworldly jungle
marsh landscapes, Glades and idyllic Florida Keys to nonstop nightlife,
amusement parks, delicious seafood, world-class hospitality and pristine
beaches, Florida has it all. But you have to start somewhere. So for
now, we’ve listed five top destinations for a Florida vacation:
The magic of Walt
Disney World has enchanted families for over three decades, gradually
expanding into one of the world’s most entertaining resort
destinations. Each of its four theme parks have captured the
imagination of vacationers – the Fairytale spires of Cinderella Castle
towering over the Magic Kingdom, the cinematically gnarled Tree of Life
planting its roots in the Animal Kingdom, the giant moon-and star
Sorcerer’s Hat coaxing travelers into the Disney-MGM studios and the
enormous Spaceship Earth sphere rising over the Epcot Center’s horizon.
These dazzling landmarks have eclipsed other attractions in the resort
that, in any earthly context, would stand alone as impressive features
for any one resort; six golf courses (adding up to '99 holes') plus two
mini-golf courses, two water parks, an auto race track and a sports
complex round off a spectacular, yet entirely un-finishable list of
things to do.
Orlando © Janice Barchat
largest resort is Universal Studios, whose Islands Theme park has
recently expanded to a total of six exciting, theme-based islands. The
other theme park has amazed and entertained visitors by letting them
'Ride the Movies' since opening in 1990. Guests are provided the ample
comfort of 3 Loews hotels, plus plenty of fun things to do. Like Walt
Disney World, leaving the resort is unnecessary, except to check out the
other resort. Or get splashed by an Orca at Seaworld. Or check out the
shopping, dining and local festivals in cosmopolitan downtown Orlando.
Simply put, it’s impossible to get bored in Orlando.
Overseas Highway (U.S. 1) strings together about 30 of the Florida Keys,
making mainland out of the principal islands and inducting arriving
visitors into a surreal, watery roadside landscape shimmering emerald
and deep Caribbean blue. Arching down from the tip of Florida and
tucking inward into the Gulf of Mexico, this pearl-like necklace of
archipelago wraps off at Key West, the southernmost point in the
continental United States.
Florida Keys © Steven Gibson
With white sugary
beaches and shallow turquoise water extending endlessly out from the
shore, the Keys are a tropical paradise located conveniently within the
US. On the Keys, about half of the landscape is on or below the sea,
making these a prime destination for water sports. Sport fishers enjoy
paradise here, whether bonefishing, spearfishing or diving for
lobsters. Snorkeling or diving, explore underwater coral beds teaming
with the colors of countless fish communities at Looe Key or relax in
the shade of a tiki hut outside an enviable timeshare or resort on
Marathon Key, warm breeze caressing your face and ice-cold mango
daiquiri in hand. On the wilder side, check out the St. George Island
State Park, whose rippling sand dunes intermittently sink into verdant
marshland for an otherworldly outdoors experience.
Apart from the
highway-accessible islands, there are hundreds more places to go in the
archipelago. Be sure to allot time to boat out to the smaller,
Video: Key West Travel Tips: Top Five Activities for Visiting Key
Video: Chris Kohatsu hosts a lively look at her top five picks while
visiting Key West in this quick but informative video. The island’s diversity
and people add a colorful zesty flair to its unique and friendly atmosphere.
Kohatsu recommends taking the Key West Express ferry from Ft. Meyers, Florida,
rather than driving to Key West. The video includes info about the ferry, the
three and a half hour ride, and the amenities available on-board, so this is a
must see for those ferrying tidbits. She then introduces us to the guru-ess of
island information at Vacation Key West, where a seemingly endless array of
brochures await, offering info on hotels, shops, cars, restaurants and
activities. Next, Kohatsu takes us to the La Creperie French Café for the works!
Mouth-watering crepes, savory or sweet, define this one-of-a-kind island eatery.
While visiting all these island stops, Kohatsu recommends the rental of an
electric car. Available by the hour, day, or week, this little car is seemingly
just right for buzzing around the island town. Counting down to her number one
activity, we are destined for a trip to Sunset Key, accessible from the Westin
Hotel by ferry. Here we find beautiful beaches, private cottages, a spa and
Latitudes restaurant serving fresh, indigenous foods.
(tags: island, key west Florida, cuisine, food, dining)
Tampa & the Tampa Bay Area
Once a sleepy port
town, Tampa has since grown into an understated, yet entirely
entertaining destination – despite being overshadowed by attention
grabbers Miami and Orlando. In fact, its seclusion from larger urban
centers makes it ideal; Tampa has succeeded in blending lazy, small town
ambience with a cosmopolitan touch, offering visitors an intensely
historical city with a rich nightlife, outdoor activities and
Downtown Tampa Florida © Andi Berger
Fun things to do in
Tampa include Busch Gardens, an all-thrills theme park featuring two
inverted roller coasters – the tallest in the world. Take the kids to
the Aquarium and be dazzled by the diverse display of underwater wonder
or visit the Lowry Park Zoo. Historical Ybor City, where the Cuban
cigar industry took off in the 1800’s, is also a must-visit.
nightlife of Miami – especially Miami Beach – provides a decidedly
festive atmosphere to this Meeting Point of the Americas. With a large
cosmopolitan confluence of South and Central America, this city is
larger than life, and its music intoxicating. It was here, for
instance, that Latin rumba and conga exploded into North American
culture. With its rich history and cultural diversity, Miami is a
fascinating, oftentimes picturesque city to explore whether touring by
foot, car or even boat.
Miami Skyline © Paul Greenwald
And the beachfront
is perfect for luxurious relaxation or active water sports including jet
skiing, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving and windsurfing. Miami also
features some of the finest golfing resorts, including the Biltmore
Hotel (one of president Bill Clinton’s favorites.) At night,
neighboring Miami Beach fires up an internationally renowned clubbing
scene to the Clubland scale of Ayia Napa and Ibiza. But with the Miami
Metrozoo, Children’s Museum and Seaquarium, family vacationers have a
full itinerary as well.
Video: Miami Travel Guide Video
from Expoza Travel
If you want a thorough look at Miami before making your travel plans, this video
from Expoza Travel provides an in-depth look at all Miami has to offer from its
sandy beaches to its history, arts and culture, nature and attractions.
The video begins with The Art Deco district which is the most popular district
in Miami with Ocean Drive being the main drag. Arts, restaurants, vintage homes
and buildings. Popular, colorful neon, shiny and a Mecca for tourists. Nighttime
is alive with rhythm and warm weather as music fills the streets. Adventure to
the ultra-trendy bars and dance until sunrise while well-toned bodies
roller-blade the night away.
Downtown Miami is full of world-class skyscrapers and architectural luxury, with
a huge financial center.
An overhead railway circles the city center. The cultural center is also downtown
with contemporary works of art near the city's history museum which shows the
evolution of the Miami Riviera and its climb to a dream holiday status.
Stop in the Bayside Market Place with over 15o shops and restaurants and street
music. Or take a jaunt on Island Queen cruises and a trip around the harbour.
The Port of Miami is the busiest cruise ship harbour in the world. The tour
visits Star Island is just off Miami Beach or you may drive over the causeway to
the tranquil home of the rich and famous, lined with villas on the water's edge.
Coral Gables features the 1920s southern European style of George Merrick as well
as the Biltmore Hotel,
Miami's most attractive district.
Little Havana is close to Coral Gables, the Cuban heart of the city. Also visit
the Fairchild Tropical Gardens one of the largest in the United States. Trains
carry visitors through the thirty-acre park.
Coconut Grove is a must-stop with Vizcaya Castle with its classical European
design and fairytale-like gardens.
The Miami Seaquarium is world famous for its marine-life performances. Part of
the TV series Flipper was filmed at the Seaquarium. Seals, whales and dolphins
perform making a worthwhile visit.
The Everglades are close to Miami and are the swamplands of Florida. There are
small tree-covered islands throughout the vast lake, river and swampland. The
national park contains 120 species of trees and all sorts of native creatures.
The park eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Follow the trail of the
Seminole War visiting native village sites in these Everglades.
The video also covers the Florida Keys; the islands just off the coast. From
Key Largo to Key West with its pink taxies, Hemingway's home and over a million
tourists a year.
Overall, Miami is a lively metropolis on the edge of the Florida Everglades just
waiting for you to explore all of this and much more.
Panama City Beach
Panama City’s main
drag offers the vacationer a fascinating mix of the old and new: tacky
video arcades, honkey-tonk bars and mom ‘n pop motels stretch out
forever, but are separated from the beach by a surreal string of
expensive condo high-rises, pink and salmon in color. Developers are
trying to change Panama City, converting this 'Redneck Riviera' into a
glitzy international destination. Building owners, for instance, are
likely to downplay the fact that MTV has made this a yearly hub of
Spring Break beach parties. Apart from March, however, Panama City is
quite family friendly. In fact, vacationers of nearly every temperament
are able to get something out of Panama City.
Panama City Pier © Jeff Kinsey
Which is not the
least true for travelers seeking the natural wonders of Northwest
Florida. With the warm emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico hugging a
sugary white shore bursting magenta with the setting sun, Panama City is
home to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. On either side
are state parks providing
direct access to untouched nature, walking trails and fishing on
a pristine, uncrowded coastline. Boating is big, and for
about $50 one can tour the rivers and marshes, or swim with the dolphins
Main article by Geoff Klein
reseller of timeshares
in the US, Mexico, Caribbean and other international destinations.