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“Ten Best” of Florida

Key West, Florida

I just read this great quick article over the “Ten Best Places & Things To Do In Florida”.  I have been lucky enough to visit many of these places myself.  Unfortunately, I was very young for when visiting some of them so I don’t remember much about being there.  I guess I will just have to go back and visit them again.  Anyway, here is the article that I found on www.gotsaga.com .

“Florida has historically been labeled the “Sunshine State” and for a very good reason. From a warm climate in the north to true tropical temperatures in the south, we are blessed with usually sunny skies. Our coastlines encompass more than 1,300 miles and provide a multitude of opportunities for recreation. Whether it’s history, science, beaches, fishing, camping or some other recreational pursuit that appeals to you, Florida has it all. It’s difficult to narrow down the field, but the following are what I consider some of the top destinations in the state:

Emerald Coast

Photo By Theappdude

Between Pensacola and Panama City in Northwest Florida along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico lies an area referred to as the Emerald Coast. Even after the Gulf Oil Spill of April 2010, this coastline still has remarkable swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. Visitors can take in the National Naval Aviation Museum or head to Perdido Key at the Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola. Alternatively, if you just want to relax you can pick a spot and lie on the 27 miles of sandy white beaches at Panama City.

The beach at Fort DeSoto Park

South of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area on the west coast of Florida at Tierra Verde is one of America’s top beaches. The beach at Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County has previously been listed by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a/k/a “Dr. Beach” as the top beach in America for 2009 and 2005. With over 1,100 acres, the park is renowned for its long wide white sugar sand beaches. The area offers a plethora of activities including shelling, swimming, kayaking, canoing, biking and birdwatching.

St. Augustine

Photo By hyku

St. Augustine, reportedly the oldest city in the United States is > Sightseeing and eating are just two of the main pleasures here. Take a carriage tour of the old town or visit many of the local museums. For those romantically inclined, there are numerous bed and breakfast facilities available.

Daytona Beach

Photo By placesaroundfl

Racing and the roar of engines is synonymous with Daytona Beach. From the early days of beach racing until our present day, racing has placed first on the list of popular activities at Daytona Beach. Once a popular Spring Break site, in recent years, the area has become more family friendly with activities and events for all. Whether you prefer to bask in the sun, play a round of golf, take a charter fishing cruise, bike along the beach, or spend time at the racetrack, all activities are available in Daytona Beach.

Orlando-Kissimmee

Photo By adonis hunter / ahptical

Tampa is the area most frequented by first time visitors to Florida, and for good reason, because this is the location of world-famous theme parks. For those seeking thrills and chills, the Central Florida area has it all. Whether it’s the Disney magic and fairy tales with castles and characters, The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM at Universal Studios Orlando®, the beautiful sea creatures at Sea World® or safaris, thrilling rides and exotic animals at Busch Gardens, it can all be found here in Central Florida.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Photo by Pet_r

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex– Along the Space Coast between Merritt Island, Titusville, and Cocoa Beach, FL all final frontier aficionados will be in their element. This is the place where you can take tours of the Kennedy Space Center, take the Shuttle Launch Experience, view the IMAX® theaters 3 D special effects, visit the Astronaut Memorial and become a part of the Astronaut Encounter. For the hard core viewers, plan a trip in February 2011 which is the target date for the last Discovery Shuttle Flight (target launch date February 24, 2011).You can get a good view of the launch from across the river if you can get to Space View Park in Titusville, FL early.

Palm Beach

Photo by Tammy Clarke

Talk about lifestyles of the rich and famous, this place could tell some tales. Visiting railroad magnate Henry Flagler’s winter home now known as the Flagler Museum will give you an idea of what money and power can do. Palm Beach is reminiscent of California’s affluent neighborhoods say Beverly Hills. Palm Beach is the place where polo, golf, yachting, upscale shopping and mansions are in evidence. Beautiful parks and beaches add to the attraction of the area as a place to visit.

The Everglades are a World Heritage Site

At 2,500 square miles this is largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.The Everglades system originally stretched from Lake Okeechobee in the north down to Florida Bay at the southernmost tip of the Florida Peninsula. Development and misuse of the land diminished the system. Visitors to Florida can view the Glades under the auspices of the Everglades Nati> Fishing guides provide services for kayak fishing, flats and backcountry. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Flamingo and Shark Valley.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Photo By Fraggle Red

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne ranked 10th on “Dr. Beach’s” list of best beaches for 2010.A reef about six miles out protects the shore from violent wave action and makes this an incredible place for kayaking, fishing and hydro-biking. The park also is a great place for boat camping, hiking and bird watching. For history buffs, the Cape Florida State Park is of some historical significance. It served as a link on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom as escaped slaves made their way from Florida to the Bahamas. An old lighthouse which was originally constructed in 1825 has made it to the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest historical structure in South Florida.Tours of the Lighthouse are available.

Key West

Photo By GlobeTrotter 2000

This little 4 mile x 2 mile island lies at the tip of Florida. Here, visitors can venture to the southernmost city in the continental USA. Nightly Sunset Celebrations encourage you to revel in incomparable sunsets with a carnival-like atmosphere of entertainers and buskers at Mallory Street Dock. Visit the 1860 African Burial Ground near the ruins of an old Civil War Fort (West Martello Tower on Atlantic Avenue and White Street) at Higgs Beach.

These are just a few of the more notable spots in Florida. Take some time to unwind and visit our many beautiful places.”

Snorkeling in Key West

I have had the opportunity to visit seven of these places and enjoyed all of them.  Most of them I don’t remember much of so I will definitely have to go visit them again.

I have driven through the Emerald Coast area but did not have much time to get out and explore.  I was driving back to St. Louis but had some extra time so I decided to avoid the main highways and enjoy driving on the coast for as long as possible so I could at least look at the beach for a while longer. If you are driving through Florida and have some extra time I highly recommend getting off the main highways and finding a road that follows the coast.  Not only is it much prettier there are also many great beach towns along the coast that have great local restaurants for fresh seafood, and you could find a future vacation spot.

The beach at Fort DeSoto Park is gorgeous and I have been there several times.  It is just south of where my family usually vacations when we go to Florida, which is Clearwater Beach.  If you are in the Tampa / Clearwater / St. Petersburg area you should definitely go to Fort DeSoto Park as well as Honeymoon Island State Park.  I actually enjoy Honeymoon Island more than Fort DeSoto, but that is probably just because it is closer, both are wonderful.  Not only is Honeymoon Island beautiful but it was also a filming location for the movie, The Punisher starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta.

St. Augustine may be my favorite city in Florida, it is full of exciting history.  Again, it’s a place I have not been in a long time and I really want to go back.  I don’t remember much about the beaches except allowing cars to drive on the beach which was a huge shock to me because I was used to Clearwater Beach where to only car you would see on the beach is the occasional Police SUV.  Not only does the history of St. Augustine interest me, but also all the ghost stories that surround the city.  It is known as one of the most haunted cities in the United States and has been featured on Ghost Hunters several times.

I have been to Orlando but I did not spend much time there.  I didn’t even visit any of the theme parks, but that’s okay I’m not too interested in them.  I would like to go back and visit Orlando and walk through the themed hotels and restaurants in the area, but I think would skip the theme parks and play golf instead.  I feel the same way about the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex.  It was very interesting to see once but if I were in the area again, I don’t think I would go to the Space Center.  I was there when I was little to watch a shuttle launch but it was delayed several days, maybe I’m still just holding that grudge.

I visited the Everglades when driving to Key West and it’s another awesome place to visit.  When I was there with my family we went to an alligator farm and took a fan boat ride, both were a great time.  I am still amazed at how fast those boats can cruise around and how incredibly shallow the water can be without damaging the boat.  The next day we drove south through the Keys.  The drive through the Keys is beautiful.  My family and I spent several days in Key West and it was one of the best vacations I have ever been on.  There’s a lot to do and all of it was in walking distance from out hotel.  We also went snorkeling one day and deep sea fishing another.  This was the first time I had been deep sea fishing and I fell in love with it.  Now I go deep sea fishing every chance I get.  I could talk about how much fun Key West was for hours but instead I’ll just post the pictures! (Sorry my finger is in some of the underwater pictures!)

Geoff

Hey Geoff!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, the beginning of summer was really busy but very enjoyable.  I just got back from a nice long vacation in Clearwater Beach, Florida so I will write a post on that soon! I will also have the pictures from snorkeling in Cozumel and Belize up shortly.  I just dropped them off to get developed a few days ago, hopefully they look great!

  1. July 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    hopefully we can hit some spots like this if we goto Clear water in August! Def need a man day filed with deep sea fishing!!

  2. July 11, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Oh my! My bestfriend is in Florida, I have yet to visit her! Wonderful pictures…. jealous….!

  3. July 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Hi.

    You have posted some beautiful pictures and they make perfect complement to the article. The site also loads amazingly quick for the number of photos. You are doing a good job here.

    As to the sites and places to visit. The information is helpful and worthy of storing. Next time we head out for Florida, I will be checking back with this article before the trip begins.

    Thanks,

    Mike
    rmharrington

    Grace and mercy for today and tomorrow reside in the person of Jesus Christ.

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