Florida extends south from the eastern coast of the USA mainland. The west coast faces the Gulf of Mexico and the east coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. Florida has 1,350 miles of coastline with Key West being the most southern point in the Continental USA. The state is known for it beaches and for that reason it is one of the top vacation destinations in the USA. The Florida Panhandle, which extends along the southern coast of the USA, is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches that stretch from Pensacola Beach along the towns of Fort Walton and Destin culminating at Apalachicola. The gulf side of the Florida Peninsula has the major towns of Tampa, Sarasota and St Petersburg. The east coast of Florida has the historical trappings of the Rockefeller and Flagler era, when these American Icons began the development of the tourist areas of St Augustine and Daytona Beach. By the time you reach Miami Florida, it feels like you have entered another country with it's Latin heritage and influence.

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Florida Vacation Ideas

GEOGRAPHY OF FLORIDA VACATIONS

The geography of Florida is composed of a diverse collection of springs, marshes, islands, small lakes, swamps, rivers, and ponds. The land is a peninsula which is a part of the mainland United States. It has 4 major regions, each with specific geographic features. There’s the Florida Keys, the swampy Everglades of the south, the hilly upland area of the north and northwest, and the Atlantic Ocean coastal plains commonly referred to as the Gulf Coast.

The swamps of the Florida Everglades is the largest tropical wilderness in the US. It features numerous small lakes and is dotted by thousands of tiny islands which are officially designated as Wetland of International Significance, International Biosphere Reserve, and World Heritage Site; the coastal plains have the beaches, sandbars, and coral reefs; the uplands’ rolling hills go all the way across the Florida Panhandle; and the Florida Keys is really an archipelago with over 1,700 islands extending towards the Gulf of Mexico. Its drastically different areas make the geography of Florida truly one of a kind in the United States. The state is blessed with plenty of natural landmarks that tourists will surely enjoy.


HISTORY OF FLORIDA VACATIONS

Florida wasn’t always known as the “Sunshine State” throughout its history. The nickname stuck because of its natural beauty and balmy climate. The name “Florida” was given to the state by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 as a tribute to the Easter celebration called the Feast of Flowers or “Pascua Florida”. Back when Florida was first seen by European explorers, more than 100 native American tribes used to call its lands their home until the Spanish and the British laid claim and displaced the first inhabitants. Parts of Florida were controlled by different colonizers until 1819 when all colonized lands were ceded to the Americans. By 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the union. It was in the middle of the 19th century when people from the northern states began visiting Florida during the winter to enjoy its mild weather. This continued in the 20th century when tourism became the leading industry in Florida, a fact that still holds true to this day. At present time, millions have their vacation in Florida each year, enjoying the Florida attractions and other sights such as the citrus orchards, the theme parks, and the NASA launch sites.

CULTURE OF FLORIDA VACATIONS

The culture in Florida still bears a strong Hispanic influence although it has been hundreds of years since the Spanish left. This is partly because immigrants from other former Spanish colonies continue to immigrate to Florida. The beach areas of Florida have a culture of their own and the same goes for the areas surrounding the Disney and Universal theme parks. Generally, Florida has a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for vacations except for Miami which is more fast-paced and dynamic.

The "1st Coast of Florida" is steeped in history because it is the location where the Spanish 1st landed in the "New World". St Augustine Florida has the privileged of being known as the oldest settlement in the USA because of the Spanish Forts that were built in St Augustine in 1565. This settlement predated Jamestown and Plymouth Rock.

Then there is the popular "Emerald Coast of Florida" located in the Florida Panhandle. It stretched from Panama City to Perdido Key. "The Emerald Coast" was aptly so named because of the beauty of the coastal waters and their white sandy beaches reminded everyone of emeralds. The Emerald Coast is one of the most popular destinations in Florida. There are the luxury resort areas of Destin, Florida located in the panhandle that is known for the numerous Florida beachfront condos that are located in high rise condominiums overlooking the ocean.

The "Florida Gold Coast" is located on the Atlantic side and exudes sophistication and international appeal. The "Gold Coast" stretches from Ft Lauderdale down to the most southern part of the Florida Peninsula to Miami. This region attracts a rich and international clientele who are drawn to Miami to experience the cosmopolitan atmosphere.

The "Space Coast" of Florida is so aptly named because of its association with Cape Canaveral. It stretches from Daytona Beach to Nero Beach on the east coast of Florida.

The "Treasure Coast " of Florida is located facing the Atlantic Ocean and is protected by submerged coral reefs that stretch along the coastline from Fort Pierce to Boca Raton. The region gets it's name from the numerous shipwrecks that have occurred just off its coast.

LANDMARKS OF FLORIDA VACATIONS

* Adventure Island
Adventure Island is 30 acres of outdoor cafes, sunbathing and picnic areas, gift shops, water rides, and more. Perfect for a family excursion!

* Alligator Harbor
Alligator Harbor is home to the most endangered of all marine turtles and is also the world’s largest feeding ground for the specie.

* Bob Carr Theater
A Florida center for the performing arts, the Bob Carr Theater has been around since 1926 but was renamed after former Orlando Mayor Bob Carr a few decades later. It is home to the Orlando Opera, the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

* Boca Raton Museum of Art
A museum of arts featuring works from established and budding artists, the Boca Raton Museum of Art also hosts an outdoor sculpture garden.

* Busch Gardens
A 335-acre 19th century African-themed park in Tampa, Busch Gardens has a zoo and a beer garden.

* Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Previously known as Fort St. Mark and later as Fort Marion, Castillo de San Marcos was built between 1672 and 1695 and is the first masonry fort built to defend Saint Augustine.

* Channelside
Channelside is a great destination for shopping and entertainment located just east of Downtown Tampa.

* David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
One of the largest complexes for the performing arts in the US, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts is often a venue for world-class events.

* Eureka Springs Park
A beautiful botanical garden housing some of the rarest plants in the world, the Eureka Springs Parks is a family-friendly landmark in Florida.

* Everglades National Park
Exploring the Florida wilderness is made possible in the subtropical marshlands of the Everglades.

* Fillmore Theater
If you’re looking for Broadway shows, dance performances, and concerts, Filmore Theater has them year-round!

* Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium is more than just an aquarium housing more than 20,000 species of aquatic plants and animals, it is also a botanical garden and an aviary.

* Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
Ranked as one of the 50 busiest airports in the world, the former Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale is now a jumping point for tourists bound for Caribbean cruise ships.

* John Gorrie Museum State Park
Home to the first mechanical refrigeration patented in 1851, the John Gorrie Museum State Park also exhibits the history of Apalachicola.

* Kennedy Space Center
A NASA launch facility near Cape Canaveral, Florida, this spaceport covers 219 square miles.

* Lake Okeechobee
The largest lake in Florida, Okeechobee can be viewed by hiking the Florida trail. Part of the trail is the dike surrounding the lake.

* Lowry Park Zoo
7 main exhibits showcased in natural lush habitats covering over 56 acres, the Lowry Park Zoo is a family destination perfect for when you’re taking a break from all the theme parks in Florida.

* Miami Seaquarium
Known as the first major attraction in Florida, the Miami Seaquarium has all sorts of sea mammals, reptiles, and fish. Kids will surely enjoy a visit here!

* Ponce de Leon Inlet Light
The tallest lighthouse in Florida, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light is 175 feet high and was once known as the Mosquito Inlet Light.

* Sacred Heart Catholic Church
The oldest Catholic Church in Florida and made in Romanesque style architecture, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church showcases the finest porcelain tiles, solid oak pews and doors, exquisite stained glass windows, and a Carrara marble altar.

* Sunken Gardens
Probably the oldest surviving commercial tourist attraction on the west coast of Florida, the Sunken Gardens has been around since the 1930 and is rich in both culture and history.

* Tampa Museum of Art
Connoisseurs of the arts would love the Etruscan, Greek, Roman, and 20th-century fine art at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Vacation to Florida are very popular worldwide. Many people privately own a 2nd property in Florida as an investment and make their property available to the public when they are not using the facilities. The majority of these Florida rental properties are located in high rise condominiums that have been built along the coast to target the tourist industries. For those thinking of a vacation in Florida, you will find a large selection of properties available.