SheiKra is just one of the exciting roller coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa
Is it really possible to use the words ‘Florida’ and ‘Cheap’ in the same sentence without a note of sarcasm? Funnily enough, it is!
The very mention of the Sunshine State is enough to conjure images of massively expensive theme parks, OTT hotels and crowded beaches where the drinks cost a king’s ransom. In reality though, this is actually only one side of Florida – albeit the side most people experience and speak of when the subject comes up.
Whether you’re planning to visit Florida to go check in on your favorite Disney characters or simple get a taste of the sweet beach life, you really can save a small fortune with a little savvy and still have the time of your life – no compromise necessary.
Here’s the knowledge you’ll need to arm yourself with, courtesy of a million and one overpriced vacations spanning recent decades.
Shop Around Before Leaving
Sadly, you aren’t going to find your way into any of the biggest and best theme parks in Florida for free – it ain’t gonna happen! However, you can save a small fortune on the price of park tickets by shopping around online long before you head off on your vacation. You will always, always, always pay the lowest prices online and find the best multi-park deals that could save you a fortune. In addition, check resale sites like eBay for even bigger savings from time to time.
Over the Walls
If you stay in an Disney-branded hotel within the confines of the park, you will pay up to 300% more than you’d pay for a non-branded hotel of the same quality a few hundred meters on the other side of the wall. Seriously – the different that wall makes is extraordinary and entirely unnecessary too.
Bargains for Beach Bums
Your instincts will tell you to head to Miami for the best of the sun and fun, but you better be ready to pay for the pleasure. If you’d prefer not to be taken for a ride however, try looking outside the obvious places in and around Miami to find places like Panama City, Apalachicola or Daytona. Admittedly none have the same buzz as Miami, but the beaches are stunning, accommodation is plentiful and the prices aren’t even in the same league.
There’s one very simple rule to follow when it comes to eating out in Florida – don’t go where everyone else seems to be going. The closer you are to the main tourist drags, the more you’ll end up paying – food and drinks gets way cheaper as you drift away from the most populated tourist haunts. If you’d rather be in on the action though, go for the endless all-you-can-eat buffet-style restaurants where you pay a fixed price and don’t have a heart attack with the bill arrives.
And for families looking for the true Florida experience on a budget, remember there’s life outside Orlando. For example, you could try out Tampa or Clearwater which are for all intents and purposes slightly more affordable versions of Orlando, though won’t put quite the same strain on your pocket.
The coast is a big part of Florida’s appeal, and with good reason, but you don’t need to jostle with the tourists on Miami’s South Beach. With world class attractions like Largo Central Park and Busch Gardens on your doorstep, it’s not like you’ll be missing out on anything apart from overcrowding and overcharging.
By Lisa Morton
This blog post was brought to you by Lisa Morton on behalf of Theholidayplace.co.uk. Click here to find out more about The Holiday Place’s exclusive range of Antigua holidays and much more.
They say you never really get a taste of Florida unless you check out the party scene. It’s a haven for partygoers and people who just want to have lots of fun drinking and dancing, and meeting new people. In fact, social beings go to 3-4 parties on a weekend, and that’s considered normal. Well, if you want to party in Florida, here are the best places you can go to:
Cameo in South Beach, Miami, FL
Cameo is a legendary nightclub in South Beach, and it’s open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 11PM to 5AM. It’s ultra-modern and huge. A lot of the world’s best DJs have gigs at the Cameo, and every once in a while, it also hosts live rock concerts. If you are in the mood to dance and party all night, go to the Cameo Nightclub, but make sure to arrive early to avoid the long lines.
Blue Martini in Orlando, FL
The Blue Martini Lounge, which you can find at the Mall at Millennia, boasts of 42 specialty martinis and tapas. It’s a little pricey but if you are there during happy hour (4PM to 8PM), you can buy drinks at 40% off, more or less. In the evenings, there’s a live band playing and they also host themed nights and events every week.
The Vagabond in Downtown Miami, FL
Located at the heart of Downtown Miami’s very popular entertainment district, The Vagabond hosts events with internationally renowned DJs and musicians, making it one of the hottest nightclubs and music venues in the city. Local and national performers are here weekly, playing only the best rock, indie, hip-hop, electro, house, classics, and nue-disco music in the club’s 3 spectacular arenas. They’re open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10PM until the wee hours of the morning.
Mynt Lounge in South Beach, Miami, FL
If you want to party in Florida, then you should check out the Mynt Lounge in South Beach. This is the place where actors, rock stars, and models go to for a fun night out with friends and it’s also one of the most exclusive lounges in Miami. Make sure you sign up for their guest list and look your best otherwise you probably won’t gain entry.
Club Prana in Tampa, FL
Ybor City is long known for its fantastic party scene, and Club Prana is the only level 5 nightclub offering different entertainment and it also has a rooftop patio. There’s always a long line every Friday so make sure to arrive early. The first and second levels are hip-hop and reggae; the third level is a VIP lounge; the fourth level, their most popular level, is a light show; and the fifth level is where they have the area’s only rooftop party.
If you are visiting the US and want to party in Florida, you certainly won’t run out of options. Don’t forget to buy worldwide travel insurance to make sure you are fully covered.
I’m Anna and I’m a passionate traveller, travel writer and extreme activities fan. I live my life with the motto: I was not born for one corner, the whole world is my native land.
photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc
Sunbathed ambiance, envying nightlife, polyglot population and great culture make Miami one of the most visited cities in Florida. Even after several decades of art deco movement Miami has refused to surrender its position as trendiest cities in the region. Its iconic South Beach is patrolled by celebrities while Miami Sequarium acquaints you with penguins and if you think that Miami is cut off from the nature then visit Parrot Jungle where chirping of birds entertains your ears. From tourist attractions to dining, this Floridian city excels in every department. Not a surprise business class flight to Miami from London remains filled to capacity round the year with travelers who want to explore this city.
Here we are giving a lowdown on free things to do in Miami.
Beach tour of Miami
Beaches are inseparable part of Miami and it won’t be exaggeration to say that beaches are synonymous with Miami. The visitors can take a stroll along Ocean Drive from Fifth Street up to Collins Park. While visiting this area you will enjoy people watching. The beach remains abuzz with activities that include a New World Symphony concert. The movie buffs can go to see a movie under the sky at SoundScape Cinema Series. You will find this experience very enjoying.
Art tour of Miami
Once you are through with exploring famous south beach of Miami it is time to explore art and culture scene of the city. The tourists during their stay in the city should visit Little Havana’s Calle Ocho which turns as an open air gallery with exhibition of sculptors. One can also catch several live concerts being performed here. These events are held at the last Friday of every month so tourists should plan accordingly. The visitors can also enjoy a free trip to The Miami Art Museum that allows free entry on the second Saturday of every month from 1-4 p.m. On arrival you will get a chance to see a large collection of modern art. After visiting The Miami Art Museum brace for a trip to the world renowned Wolfsonian-FIU art museum. The museum is situated in an old style warehouse. Here the tourists will see a large number of paintings, posters, books, and architectural masterpieces among other things. The tourists will see free exhibitions on Fridays after 6 p.m. While on art and culture tours of Miami the tourists should also visit Center Gallery at Miami Dade College’s downtown campus where several modern artworks by international and local artists are on display.
Family tour of Miami
Besides being a hub of hedonistic tourists the city is also an ideal place for family vacationers. The tourist on family holiday should visit Miami Art Museum that offer free entry to families on second Saturday of every month. Here your kids will enjoy live music, storytelling, and dance performances. A trip to Miami Science Museum is very informative for your children. Allow them to see Milky Way and gaze at far-off galaxies.
So if you are postponing your trip thinking it could be expensive, it is time to realize your dreams as Miami has several tourist attractions that you can explore for free.
bio: Richard Stuart is passionate traveler who never plans his visits and travel places at will. Recently he got fascinated with Miami and booked business class flights to this destination. Here he is giving a lowdown on free attractions of this city.
Lion Country Safari Zebras
Florida has so many popular destination sites for vacations with children that Boca Raton may not be on the radar for some families, but the city is a spectacular choice. With broad sugar-sand beaches, water sports, boating, camping and trips to the nearby Everglades, this overlooked Sunshine State vacation spot may be your new favorite Florida destination.
When you wander from the beaten path, you get to enjoy more of Florida’s amazing natural beauty without the crowds that gather during busy seasons in other destination cities. While Miami and Orlando hotels fill quickly, Boca Raton usually still has room for visitors who want fun in the sun.
In the Water
Early in its history, Boca Raton’s residents made the decision to keep the beach free of buildings that would obscure access to the community’s beautiful beaches. Condos and hotels near the water are set far enough back to give visitors as much shoreline as possible for building sand castles, playing in the surf and hunting for starfish in tide pools. In the early mornings, Boca Raton’s beaches are large and unpopulated enough to make you feel as though you have your own personal Caribbean island.
For families with young kids, staying close to shore may be your best bet; little ones can enjoy building, digging and wading all day. Older kids may want to explore. Guided snorkeling and swimming tours show older children and teens a new side of Florida’s abundant marine life. Kids may come face-to-face with sea turtles, crabs, eels and colorful fish on their trips. One of the best places to get a glimpse of Florida’s underwater world is at Coral Cove Park just north of nearby Jupiter, Fla. Located close to the Jupiter Inlet, the area has its own unique ecosystem that future marine biologists and budding oceanographers will find unforgettable.
Older kids may also appreciate activities in the water. Boca Raton beaches have plenty of friendly, enthusiastic instructors for surfing lessons, wind surfing trips and paddleboards. Learning something new as a family can be a great bonding experience, and most equipment rental businesses are happy to offer family lessons. If you’re ready to sail into deeper waters, you can also spend an afternoon on a catamaran. You and the kids might see some of Florida’s many dolphins leaping from the water as they keep pace with the boat.
Boca Raton’s beaches connect with numerous city parks with playgrounds and picnic areas. One of the city’s biggest parks, Sugar Sand Park, also features the Children’s Science Explorium and a whimsical carousel. The park’s Willow Theater also offers kid-friendly events such as puppet shows and plays for kids who love the stage. A trio of smaller parks, Spanish River Park, Red Reef Park and South Beach, feature grills and gazebos for family gatherings.
The West Palm Beach area is more than just a beautiful coastline; turning away from the sea and looking inland also provides a wealth of new experiences for you and your family. Boca Raton is just a few miles from the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Florida Everglades. You can take canoes through the national park’s many waterways, spot some of the more than 250 species of birds that make their homes there or take a virtual airboat tour at the visitors’ center.
Another popular destination for families, the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, delights kids with a butterfly garden, an aquarium filled with Florida marine life and an observation tower that lets them see for miles along the coast. The center covers more than 20 acres of protected natural barrier island territory with nature trails and decks. It’s a working research facility as well as a nature center, so older kids may find behind-the-scenes glimpses as interesting as the displays themselves.
For a taste of more exotic locales, consider a trip to the Lion Country Safari and take a driving tour through Florida’s own versions of the Serengeti plains, the South American Pampas and the Asian Gir forest. The four-mile driving tour lets you stay in the comfort of a car while passing through naturalistic habitats and seeing hundreds of animals roaming free. The walking tour lets you experience the safari park at your own pace, and guided animal encounters bring kids closer than ever to nature.
With all of this and more to do, it’s also no wonder why sales of new homes in Boca Ratonhave been increasing steadily since 2010, showing past visitors are quickly turning into long term residents of this welcoming city.
Byline: Kate Reusink, on behalf of Richmond American Homes, the nation’s leading homebuilder.
New homes in Florida, new homes in Boca Raton
If you’ve seen SeaWorld, dreading the crowds at Walt Disney World or feeling anxious at the thought of visiting Miami, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a trip to Florida might not be the ideal destination for you. However the Sunshine State has a wealth of opportunities and activities for holidaymakers looking to get off the beaten track and explore some of the more unusual areas of the region. After all, Florida is not just Orlando!
Yep, you’ve just read that correctly. In Florida’s Northeast, St Augustine’s rich history as well as its unique surroundings make it a must-visit city if you’re travelling across Florida. It is also a city that, once a year, is taken over by swashbuckling pirates.
Re-enactors, historians and casual pirates from across the US gather in the city to celebrate the city’s Golden Age of Piracy back in the day. A re-enactment of pirate mutinies, weapons demonstrations, a Thieves Market and various tales of the high seas all form part of the St. Augustine pirate experience.
This year’s St. Augustine Pirate Gathering takes place on November 8th, 9th and 10th 2013.
Skunk Ape Research Headquarters
Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Berlin has the Reichstag, London has Westminster and the Ochopee, Florida has the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters.
Similar to the myth and mystery surrounding Big Foot, the Skunk Ape is a strange creature that only handfuls have claimed to have spotted. David Shealy, owner of the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, has spent his whole life tracking the creatures which reportedly have a human appearance, weigh in excess of 450lbs and stand six to seven feet tall.
When he’s not searching for the elusive (possibly made-up) beasts, Shealy is in charge of the Research Headquarters, a museum which contains information on the Skunk Ape as well as exhibits on reptiles, birds, alligators and snakes.
From the outside, NASCAR motor racing is a peculiar pastime for anyone outside of the US. It holds huge national significance in the US but, away from the states, it holds absolutely no significance at all. It’s known as “The Great American Race” for possibly that very reason.
The Daytona 500 is the biggest, richest and most prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, held in Daytona Beach, Florida. The race track holds around 167,000 fans who whoop and holler their way through the race, delivering a great atmosphere even if you’re not a fan of the sport. If you can’t get a ticket to the event, Daytona Beach is well worth a visit on race day just for the sheer electricity emanating around the city.
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp
Cassadaga is not just the psychic capital of Florida; it’s the psychic capital of the world, apparently. It is home to a real spiritualist camp that holds classes, tours and involves meetings with real mediums. The town is filled with palm readers, dream catchers and various other psychic paraphernalia, making it the perfect unusual destination for those looking to contact a passed-away loved one or just see what the fuss is about.
About the author
Written by Atlas Choice, we specialise in car rentals, hotels and travel insurance.
photo credit:Hoosierguy Jeff via photopin cc
Hemingway House and Museum in Key West
Written by Guest Blogger Meredith Lustberg, writer for www.zerve.com
For most people, the thought of a vacation in Key West conjures images of raucous parties spilling out of bars on Duval Street or days spent lounging on beautiful sandy beaches – and that’s great if your entire party is adult.
However, kids can’t go to the bar, and there are only so many sand castles they can build before the novelty wears off. Does that mean Key West isn’t a place for the whole family? Anything but! Key West is an amazing place to travel with children of all ages, as long as you’re willing to go off the beaten path.
Dedicate a Day to History
First, get to know the background of the place you’re visiting; it’s so much more than just a spring break town! Head over to the Shipwreck Museum and learn how the first Conchs made their fortunes on the misfortunes of others. Then, wend your way to the Hemingway Home to learn about the famous author and special cats that now inhabit his house and grounds.
By this time, you’ll be yearning for some time in the sun, so make sure to visit Fort Zachary Taylor, the Key’s southernmost state park. Take a tour to learn about the Fort’s role in both the Spanish American War and the Civil War, after which you can relax on the beach for the remainder of your day.
Get Out – and Not Just to the Beach
Dedicate a day to the outdoors! Key West and the surrounding areas are teeming with aquatic wildlife, reptiles, and bird species. A great way to get up close and personal with these critters is by kayak (if you’re traveling with little ones don’t worry – you can request a tandem kayak) from which the flora and fauna can be unobtrusively viewed.
Kayaking not your thing? A fishing trip is another great option. Not only will you likely get to see some dolphins playing in the wake of your boat, but you will also get to see the smaller islands off of Key West. If you’re lucky, you may even come home with a fish for dinner. Ask the mates to clean your prize, and they’ll even recommend restaurants that will cook it for you.
If it’s raining, that’s no excuse to forgo wildlife watching. Head over to the Key West Aquarium, where the outdoors is conveniently indoors and everyone gets to pet a live baby shark.
Discover Local Culture
The true local flavor of Key West can be experienced through its art and food scene. There are numerous galleries both on and off Duval. Looking for gifts for grandpa? Find hand-painted t-shirts, post cards, and even tuxedos with the classic Key West rooster. Need something for Aunt Sally? The local jewelry designers are definitely not to be overlooked.
If you’re shopping all day, you will definitely need some food to keep you going. From fish stands and conch fritters to some of the most authentic Cuban food out there (you’re only 90 miles away after all), Key West is a foodie paradise. Ever had frozen key lime pie dipped in chocolate? Try a bite – it might just change your life.
Take a Date Night
If you manage to secure a babysitter for an evening (isn’t that what older siblings are for?), treat yourself to a night out, but make sure the experience is anything but ordinary. If you’re looking for something romantic, a sunset sail can be a scenic and relaxing way to enjoy a glass of wine and skip the crowds at Mallory Square .
Or, if you’re really looking to let your hair down, relive your college years and go on a pub crawl. Your guides will show you the bars on and off Duval Street, and at the end of the night they’ll be able to direct you to a cab home so you can relieve the babysitter and get some rest.
Meredith writes for zerve.com. She loves horseback riding, paddle boarding, and doing anything where her dog, Jasper, can tag along.
It’s a little ironic that we take vacations to relax, but traveling to our destination of choice can be incredibly stressful. Parents have it a bit more rough—traveling with kids can be a nightmare—especially in crowded cities and crammed airports. It can be a challenge to keep your cool in a packed airport with kids in tow—especially with flight delays, and uncertainty concerning your mode of transportation.
Get through MIA in one piece and with peace of mind
Naturally, you want to spend as little time as possible in the airport, but sometimes delays are unavoidable when coming in and heading home. To expedite the process as much as possible consider signing up for Custom’s and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry Program. Even if you aren’t an international traveler you can still enjoy the benefits of membership—and the best part—kids are eligible for membership too.
As a member you can get through TSA’s pre-check, meaning you can keep shoes and coats on and laptops can stay in their bags.
If you do get stuck in MIA for an extended period of time take the little kids over to Gate 35 found in Concourse D. There is a children’s reception area at the American Eagle Gate. Additionally, in between Concourses D and E is a rotating children’s art exhibit.
When you arrive in MIA the arrival hall is split into three lines; visitors, residents and citizens. The resident’s line is generally short and fast moving, if you find yourself in one of the other lines you may want to pack extra snacks and activities for the slow moving lines.
Pick your transportation
Deciding how you want to get around Miami can be tricky because there are so many options, but not all of them are viable, especially with small children.
It can be messy figuring out where to go when looking for transportation leaving the airport, especially because it’s not all located in one central area. When leaving the airport, taxis and supershuttles are located on the ground floor and hotel shuttles are on the upper floor.
To get to the Car Rental Center take the MIA Mover—an electric powered train located on the third level train station. A rental car could be a good idea if your family plans on doing a lot of driving, especially to places like the Everglades which costs around $76 in a taxi. But if you plan on spending time visiting areas close to your hotel, check to see if the hotel offers a shuttle, many do and most are free or really low cost.
There are also local transportation options which could be useful for short day trips, but especially families with children should avoid public transportation after dark.
What do you want to see and do?
In Miami there is no shortage of things to do, and chances are your biggest problem will be cramming in all the activities you want in a short vacation. Miami has so many great activities for kids and families it can be so hard to narrow it down to a few favorites. When I travel with my family we like to comb sites geared specifically toward Miami attractions. Pictures on travel sites usually make the decision process a little easier and we feel like it’s less likely to miss an attraction that appeals specifically to our taste preferences.
Because there is so much to see, try to break up your day with a range of different activities. If you want to do a lot of walking, kids are generally more willing to hoof it earlier in the day on walking tours through places like Little Havana then they are later in the afternoon when they start to feel tired and cranky.
There are a number of bike and walking tours you can sign up for, but if you feel comfortable navigating yourselves it can be fun and more flexible to head to places like South Beach and Little Havana and pick your own route. For a lot of people, visiting Little Havana is more about the authentic Cuban food than anything, and the small hole in the wall family owned restaurants are everywhere. Stop in any one for a few homemade dishes while seeing a few of the major sites like the Freedom Tower, one of Miami’s major landmarks.
One of the most popular family tours—especially for families—is the Miami Duck Tour in South Beach. The tour will take you through major landmarks like the Art Deco District and Washington Avenue, but it’s really the tour guide that takes the cake on these trips. Every guide has a background in acting or comedy coupled with an expansive knowledge of the area. Kids love the ‘quacking’, music and jokes and the 90 minute tour is the perfect amount of time for keeping kids occupied without tiring them out too extensively.
Don’t forget about some of the more traditional family friendly spots:
-Swim with seals at the Seaquarium or check out the dolphins
-Visit the Kennedy Space Center
-Wander around Universal Studios
-Catch shows at SeaWorld Orlando
-Visit national historic landmarks like the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Author’s bio: Derek Holaday is a freelance journalist currently working with Miles Car Rental Miami. Derek lives in Miami, FL with his wife and they are expecting their second child in a few months. When he isn’t chasing his toddler around he enjoys writing about transportation and travel.
Miami is a destination like no other. This beautiful city is located on Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida is the country seat of Miami-Dade County. It is the most populous metropolis in Southern United States after Washington DC. Providing shelter to 5.5 million people, it is a city where culture intertwines with couture. It has style as unique as its people who call it home. From Coastline to skyline, from beautiful beaches to acres of farmland, from bustling international center for business to splendid cultural scene, the city is really expanded, evolved and is stretching far beyond South Beach.
Downtown Miami is financial and commercial heart of city but as the sun goes down, the area transforms into a rising hot spot with buzzing clubs and bars, elegant restaurants, premier hotels with unexpected green spaces featuring the culture of city. Plan a holiday trip, catch low price flights to Miami from London, hit the town and check out the spots that have helped to make Miami a legendry city
Beautiful Coconut Grove
Originally settled in 1800s, Coconut Grove remains a charming, bayside village within the urban and dynamic Miami. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhoods of Miami. The pedestrian friendly village center in coconut grove is filled with sidewalk cafes, recognizable chain restaurants, galleries and boutiques along with a relaxed atmosphere. Just pull a chair out and watch the world go by while sipping an aromatic cup of coffee. It is decked with many open air- bay front parks including Peacock Park, Kennedy Park, the Barnacle Historic State Park and many more. The place is also home to many popular annual events as well.
Miami Design District
It is a neighborhood north of Midtown in Miami, Florida. The Design District is a home to over 130 art galleries, showrooms, creative services, antique dealers, eateries and bars etc. Every second Saturday of each month a community wide Art & Design night is held from 7 to 10 pm. It is also a home to high end shopping Mecca. Stroll through its lanes and visit some of the luxurious boutiques and home décor stores specialized everything from chic look to retro refrigerators.
The Dezer Collection Auto Museum & Event space
It is one of the Miami’s newest and most unique venue offering complete event production, coordination and design services for large scale corporate events and intimate social gatherings. Situated just off of Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami, the Dezer Collection is home to over 250,000 square feet of flexible and dynamic event space. It also features more than 2000 vehicles on display at an estimated worth of $100 million dollars. The rarest collection of museum includes American, European classic cars, Hollywood cars of stars, The Bat man exhibit, Military collection etc. If you want to enjoy all this and much more, then don’t wait grab best deal discounted flights to Miami and enjoy a great holiday trip.
Miami Children Museum
If you are with your family especially with kids then don’t miss Miami’s Children Museum which is dedicated to enriching lives of children and their childhood by fostering a love of learning and enabling them to understand their caliber. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to play together, learn, imagine and create. The museum also entertain its visitors by offering hundreds of interactive exhibits, daily programs and classes related to art, culture and communication.
Bay Side Marketplace
Enjoy a visit to popular waterfront dining, entertainment and shopping located on bay in downtown Miami where you can enjoy you’re shopping at more than 100 shops, boutiques and visit bars and restaurants that offer a taste of Miami to everyone. Visitors can also enjoy live entertainment featuring some of Miami’s best bands. Tour boats departing from Miamarina at Bayside take passengers on tours of beautiful Biscayne Bay or let them dance the night away on evening disco cruises.
Tag:- Miami,Florida,Barnacle Historic State Park,Peacock Park,Southern United States
Famous for the breathtaking emerald green coast, Destin is located on the Holiday Isle Peninsula in the northwestern Florida. Lovers of watersports, dolphins, and soft beaches should head to Destin for the perfect vacation that is well of the beaten path.
Take a leisurely float down the Blackwater River.
Just outside of town is the peaceful Blackwater River with banks of white, sparkling sand and swirling eddies to take a swim in. It takes approximately two and a half hours to float the river, so my family brings a cooler with a picnic packed and we stop halfway through on the pristine river banks.
Wade in the clear, teal water of the Gulf of Mexico at Destin Beach.
Much like the river bank of the Blackwater, only better, the sand on the beaches of Destin is white and soft like sugar. My favorite is Destin Beach, where you can dig your toes into the better-than-snow sand and body surf in the just wild enough warm waves. Remember to shuffle your feet while you walk to avoid sting rays in the water (lifeguard stations have information flags on ocean critters and water conditions). It isn’t crowded or dirty which makes this beach the unsurpassed in the entire U.S.
Fly over the surf with Flyboard Destin.
A flyboard is a cool device that shoots water underneath your feet like a jet pack, but with water. It’s easier than you might think, and you’ll be flying high in no time. The dolphins may watch from the waters beneath you as you experience this adrenaline rush.
Fly a kite, or watch the pros with their stunt kites.
This city is full of unexpected pleasures. The conditions for kite flying on the beach couldn’t be better, so buy a kite and try it out. Even if that isn’t for you, there is usually a more experienced kite master to watch doing cool twists and dives that make the kites look like they are alive and flying on their own.
Take time to rest.
Beachfront family friendly condo rentals in Destin are as widely known and celebrated as the beautiful color of the coastline. There is nothing better than having the amenities of a house while on vacation. Downtime is more relaxing on a comfy couch, and I love cooking my dinners in a kitchen rather than eating out for meals. I’ve found that taking time to chill out greatly reduces the vacation hangover when you return to the real world.
Go to Destin today for the vacation of a lifetime!
Mary Song writes for Holidayisle.net. She enjoys playing with her two dogs and cats, cultivating her huge organic garden and standing up for the animal rights of sting-rays. She vacations all over the world, but Florida has a special place in her heart.
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Awaiting the pirates raid, beautiful St. George Street in historic downtown St. Augustine
Florida is definitely not short of crazy roadside attractions. From the grave of Flipper the dolphin to mermaids performing an underwater ballet and caravan art, the list is truly limitless. The following list will describe five of the top roadside attractions in Florida and why they should definitely be on your travel agenda as you explore the state.
1: St Augustine: The Fountain of Youth
Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish conquistador and explorer, was the very first tourist to ever come to Florida. Legend states that he came on the shores to locate the fountain of youth that is a natural spring, which by amazing coincidence, was actually only a few short steps from the landing of his ship in St. Augustine in 1513. This legend was then promoted vigorously by “Diamond Lil`” McConnell, the man that bought the property of “the fountain of youth” in 1904 and then turned it into a tourist attraction. He sold the supposed water elixir to tourists for 10 cents per glass. The fountain has never become dry and this legendary water is still sold to Florida tourists.
2: Christmas: The World`s Largest Alligator
Every state has a “world`s largest” something and it`s no different for Florida, where the world`s largest alligator resides. The owners of Jungle Adventures, an animal farm, ensured that they could amaze visitors with the largest alligator by creating one that doubles as their actual souvenir shop and office. “Swampy”, as he is affectionately called measures more than 200 feet long and he`s a perfect example of programmatic architecture.
3: Marathon: The Grave of Flipper the famous TV Dolphin
The hit TV show, Flipper, that was centered on a bottlenose dolphin was a huge success in the 1960s. The actual role of Flipper was originally played by a female dolphin named Mitzi who was trained at Santini`s Porpoise School. Upon Mitzi`s death in 1972, the school was transformed into the Dolphin Research Center. However, for anyone that visits the facility, the first stop is a giant statue that marks the grave of the most famous dolphin in all history.
4: Ochopee: Skunk Ape Research Headquarters
Bigfoot, the most elusive and tracked monster in America, is depicted in a number of different locations around the country. The Florida version is referred to as Skunk Ape, a beast that lives in the Everglades. There are two brothers, Jack and Dave Shealy that have been tracking this beast for decades and display their evidence at the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters. However, this is not a very serious attraction as their big events are Skunktoberfest and a Miss Skunk Ape contest.
5: Weeki Wachee: Weeki Wachee Mermaids
Free enterprise and government within the United States is often compared to water and oil. However, the mermaids that perform at Weeki Wachee are considered extremely valuable and thus have been protected by Florida as a state treasure. Weeki Wachee is a type of spring which has a submerged theater with glass-sides on site. Since the year of 1947 tourists and audiences have gotten to witness swimmers in mermaid costumes perform underwater ballets and drinking a fizzy drink under water.
No matter where you are going or what you want to do, these roadside attractions will definitely be a prized vacation memory.
Amanda Edwards is a real estate consultant, advising clients on a range of issues from how to buy and sell timeshare, the real estate market in specific locations and finance issues. Amanda lives in Florida with her husband and their children.