Florida - DOC by shimeiyan

VIEWS: 371 PAGES: 25

									Omni Country Guide for


Section   1   Contact Addresses

          2   General Information

          3   Social Profile


Visit Florida (the Official Tourism Marketing Corporation for the State of Florida)
Street address: 661 East Jefferson Street, Suite 300, Tallahassee, FL 32301 Postal address: PO
Box 1100, Tallahassee, FL 32302 Tel: (850) 488 5607. Fax: (850) 224 2938. Website:
www.visitflorida.org or www.visitflorida.com

Visit Florida (UK)
28 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1NZ, UK Tel: (020) 7932 2406 or (01737) 644 882
(brochure request). Fax: (020) 7932 2426.
E-mail: visitfloridauk@flausa.comWebsite: www.flausa.com/uk This office is not open to the

Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council
Street address: 25777 US 331 South, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Postal address: PO Box 1248, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Tel: (850) 267 1216 or (800) 822
6877 (toll-free). Fax: (850) 267 3943. E-mail: florida@beachesofsouthwalton.com Website:

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 Tel: (954) 765 5900. Fax: (954)
763 9551.
E-mail: sbelidor@ftlauderdalecc.com Website: www.ftlauderdalecc.com

Central Florida Visitors & Convention Bureau
600 North Broadway, Suite 300, Bartow, FL 33830Tel: (863) 298 7565 or (800) 828 7655
(toll-free). Fax: (863) 298 7564.
E-mail: info@sunsational.org Website: www.sunsational.org

Daytona Beach Area CVB
Main Office: 126 East Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32114 Welcome Centre: 1801 West
International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32118 Tel: (386) 255 0415 or (800) 854
1234 (toll-free). Fax: (386) 255 5478.E-mail: info@daytonabeach.comWebsite:

Emerald Coast CVB
1540 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 Tel: (850) 651 7131 or (800)
322 3319 (toll-free). Fax: (850) 651 7149. E-mail: emeraldcoast@co.okaloosa.fl.usWebsite:

Florida's Gulf Islands (Bradenton CVB/Manatee County)
Street address: 1 Haben Boulevard, Palmetto, FL 34221Postal address: PO Box 1000,
Bradenton, FL 34206 Tel: (941) 729 9177 or (800) 462 6283 (toll-free). Fax: (941) 729 1820. E-
mail: info@flagulfislands.com Website: www.flagulfislands.com

Florida's Gulf Islands (Bradenton CVB/Manatee County) (UK Office)
c/o Siren PR, Inigo Place, 31/32 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9SW,
UK Tel: (020) 7257 8886. Fax: (020) 7257 8876. E-mail: flagulfislands@sirenpr.co.uk
Website: www.flagulfislands.com

Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Development Council
c/o Stuart Newman Associates, 2140 South Dixie Highway, Suite 203, Miami, FL
33133 Tel: (305) 461 3300 or (800) 352 5397 (toll-free; visitor information) or (800) 771 5397
(toll-free; multilingual tourist assistance). Fax: (305) 461 3311.Website: www.fla-keys.com

Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Development Council (UK Office)
c/o Cellet Travel Services Ltd, 47 High Street, Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire B95
5AA, UK Tel: (01564) 794 555. Fax: (01564) 795 333. E-mail: info@cellet.co.ukWebsite:
www.fla-keys.com or www.cellet.co.uk

Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB
100 East Broward Boulevard, Suite 200, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 Tel: (954) 765 4466
or (800) 356 1662 (toll-free). Fax: (954) 765 4467. E-mail: gflcvb@broward.org Website:

Greater Miami CVB
701 Brickell Avenue, Suite 2700, Miami, FL 33131 Tel: (305) 539 3000 or (800) 933 8448
(toll-free). E-mail: visitor@gmcvb.comWebsite: www.miamiandbeaches.com or www.gmcvb.com

Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Visitor and Information Center
2390 Tamiamy Trail North, Naples, FL 34103Tel: (239) 262 6141. Fax: (239) 435 9910. E-
mail: info@napleschamber.org Website: www.napleschamber.org

Indian River County Chamber of Commerce
1216 21st Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960 Tel: (772) 567 3491. Fax: (772) 778 3181.E-mail:
lburns@indianriverchamber.com Website: www.indianriverchamber.com

Jacksonville and The Beaches CVB
550 Water Street, Suite 1000, Jacksonville, FL 32202 Tel: (904) 798 9111 or (800) 733
2668 (toll-free). Fax: (904) 798 9103. E-mail: jaxcvbadmin@jaxcvb.com Website:

Lee County Coast Visitor & Convention Bureau (includes Fort Myers and Sanibel Island)
21800 University Drive, Suite 550, Fort Myers, FL 33907 Tel: (239) 338 3500 or (800)
237 6444 (toll-free). Fax: (239) 334 1106. E-mail: vcb@leegov.com Website: www.fortmyers-

Lee Island Coast Visitor and Convention Bureau (UK Office)
The Priory, Suite H, Syresham Gardens, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 3LB, UK Tel:
(01444) 414 188 or (01737) 644 722 (brochure request). Fax: (01444) 414 155. E-mail:
leeVCBUK@aol.com Website: www.leeislandcoast.com

Marco Island CVB
1102 North Collier Boulevard, Marco Island, FL 34145 Tel: (239) 394 7549 or (800) 788
6272 (toll-free in USA). Fax: (239) 394 3061. E-mail: info@marcoislandchamber.org Website:

New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau
2238 State Road 44, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 Tel: (386) 428 1600 or (800) 541 9621
(toll-free). Fax: (386) 428 9922.E-mail: nsbinfo@nsbfla.com Website: www.nsbfla.com

Orlando/Orange County CVB
6700 Forum Drive, Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32821

Visitor Centre: 8723 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819 Tel: (407) 363 5800 or 354 5509
(international) or (800) 215 2213 (toll-free) or 363 5872 (visitor centre). Fax: (407) 370 5012. E-
mail: info@orlandocvb.comWebsite: www.orlandoinfo.com

Palm Beach County CVB
1555 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, Suite 800, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 Tel: (561)
233 3000 or (800) 833 5733 (toll-free). Fax: (561) 471 3990. E-mail:
fulfillment@palmbeachfl.com Website: www.palmbeachfl.com

Pensacola CVB
117 West Garden Street, Pensacola, FL 32502 Tel: (850) 434 1234 or (800) 874 1234 (toll-
free). Fax: (850) 432 8211.E-mail: information@visitpensacola.comWebsite:

St Augustine/St John’s County Chamber of Commerce
1 Riberia Street, St Augustine, FL 32084 Tel: (904) 829 5681. Fax: (904) 829 6477. E-mail:
chamber@aug.com Website: www.staugustinechamber.com

St Petersburg/Clearwater Area CVB
14450 46th Street North, Suite 108, Clearwater, FL 33762 Tel: (727) 464 7200 or (877)
352 3224. Fax: (727) 464 7222. E-mail: info@floridasbeach.comWebsite: www.floridasbeach.com

Sarasota CVB
655 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236 Tel: (941) 957 1877 or (800) 522 9799 (toll-
free). Fax: (941) 951 2956. E-mail: info@sarasotafl.orgWebsite: www.sarasotafl.org

Sarasota CVB (UK Office)
c/o Siren PR, Inigo Place, 31/32 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9SW,
UK Tel: (020) 7257 8886. Fax: (020) 7257 8876. E-mail: sarasota@sirenpr.co.uk

Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce and Information Center
115 Canal Street, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 Tel: (386) 428 2449 or (877) 460 8410
(toll-free). Fax: (386) 423 3512.
E-mail: info@sevchamber.com Website: www.sevchamber.com

Space Coast Office of Tourism
2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Suite B-105, Viera, FL 32940 Tel: (321) 637 5483 or
(800) 936 2326 (toll-free). Fax: (321) 637 5494. E-mail: info@space-coast.com Website:

Tallahassee Area CVB
106 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301 Tel: (850) 413 9200 or (800) 628 2866
(toll-free). Fax: (850) 487 4621. E-mail: vic@mail.co.leon.fl.us Website: www.seetallahassee.com

Tampa Bay CVB
400 North Tampa Street, Suite 2800, Tampa, FL 33602 Tel: (813) 223 1111. Fax: (813)
229 6616. Website: www.visittampabay.com


Nickname: Sunshine State

State bird: Mockingbird

State flower: Orange Blossom

Capital: Tallahassee

Date of admission to the Union: March 3 1845

Population: 17,397,161 (official estimate 2004)

Population density: 102.1 per sq km

2003 total overseas arrivals/US ranking: 4,200,000/1

Time: Eastern (GMT - 5), in the greater part of the State. Daylight Saving Time is observed.

The State: Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with visitors
heading to ‘The Sunshine State’ in search of fun, sun and thrills. Walt Disney World, Universal
Orlando and Busch Gardens are just a few of the manmade attractions for which the State is
famed. But there is more to Florida than Mickey Mouse and white-knuckle rides. Winding
waterways, freshwater lakes, hills, forests, exciting cities, 13,560km (8426 miles) of coast,
countless bays, inlets and islands, and a legendary climate make this one of the most popular
States in the USA. Florida is divided into eight geographical regions: Northwest; North Central;
Northeast; Central West; Central; Central East; Southwest; and Southeast Florida & the Keys.
Situated on the southeastern tip, Miami and Miami Beach have long been a haunt of the rich and
famous, and star-spotting is a popular pastime here. The city also has a well-established Cuban
sector called Little Havana. Palm Beach scores equally highly in the glamour stakes, thanks
largely to Addison Mizner who designed a US$50 million development of mansions and hotels,
including one commissioned by the Vanderbilts. Fort Lauderdale is a popular spot for families,
offering a wide assortment of sports and recreational activities. To the south, the Florida Keys are
made up of the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys and Key West. A tropical climate, beautiful
beaches and clear blue waters attract a steady flow of visitors to the Keys all year round. The
capital of Florida, Tallahassee, is geographically closer to Atlanta than Miami and is strictly
Southern in tone. It was chosen as the State capital in 1823, as a compromise between
Pensacola and St Augustine, which had both been vying for the honour. Today, it is often
described as ‘The Other Florida’ with its rolling hills, oak forests, cool climate and distinctly
Southern feel. In the northeastern corner of Florida stands Jacksonville, named after General
Andrew Jackson. Divided by St John’s River, the city boasts futuristic features like the Jacksonville
Automated Skyway, a monorail in the city centre, as well as relics from the past in its historic
district, listed on the National Register. Nearby St Augustine is known as ‘America’s Oldest City’
and is home to more than 60 historic sites, including massive forts, missions and living history
museums; it is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in continental USA. Amelia
Island, often called the ‘Isle of Eight Flags’, is the only site in the country to have been governed
by eight different countries during its history. At its heart lies Fernandina Beach, the nation’s
second-oldest city. The verdant northeastern coastline is shaped by a series of points and
peninsulas flanked by barrier islands. The inland area is also endowed with State parks, springs
and lakes. Daytona is located in the slender Central East region. The beach is the city’s main
attraction, with a 510m (1700ft) boardwalk brimming with amusements, rides and snack bars. To

the north lies the historic community of DeBary, which is home to the State headquarters for the
Florida Federation of the Arts. Resorts are dotted along the coast and include Vero Beach,
Ormond Beach, Port Orange and Sebastian. Tampa and St Petersburg are the main cities in the
Central West region. Anna Marie Island, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach lie in
the Blue Gulf, adjacent to Bradenton and Palmetto on the mainland. Sarasota is the cultural
capital of the region, thanks to John Ringling and his wife who amassed an impressive art
collection, which is today displayed in their restored mansion. Pinellas forms a stubby peninsula
west of Tampa Bay, linked to Tampa by three bridges. The southwestern region is home to
Naples, a popular seaside retreat with seemingly endless golfing, shopping and fishing
opportunities. Just off the mainland, Marco Island stands as a model of ecological preservation.
Charlotte County is only 27km (17 miles) long, but it boasts an amazing 193km (120 miles) of
coastline. Charlotte Harbor is protected by a triangular web of land fringed by barrier islands such
as Gasparilla, a one-time pirates’ haven. Orlando is the face of Florida that most people
recognise, with its enormous number of theme parks, movie studios, water parks and
entertainment facilities. The northern boundaries of Central Florida are engulfed by a national
forest so large that it has to be administered by two separate Ranger districts. The Ocala National
Forest covers 153,049ha (378,178 acres) divided into three recreation areas and linked by a
105km (65 mile) trail. Nearby Silver Springs, a network of 150 springs, is the world’s largest
artesian spring; hundreds of thousands of gallons of water bubble through the spongy limestone
bedrock each day. There are 1440 lakes in Lake County, which is the setting for the area’s
vineyards and wine-growing region. Southwest of Orlando is Polk County, which is famed for its
beautiful landscape of citrus groves and pine forests.

Travel - International

Air: International airports: Miami (MIA) (website: www.miami-airport.com) is 9km (6 miles) west
of Miami (travel time 25 minutes). There is a 24-hour shuttle service to the central bus station
and hotels on request. Public buses are also available to the city. Taxi, van and limousine services
are also available; fares are fixed. Greyhound (tel: (800) 229 9424 (toll-free); website:
www.greyhound.com) runs daily services throughout the Florida Keys and to destinations in the
north. Tampa (TPA) (website: www.tampaairport.com) is 8km (5 miles) northwest of Tampa
(travel time 15 minutes). A bus service runs into the city; limousine and taxi services are also
available. Scheduled flights from the UK to Orlando arrive at Orlando International (ORL)
(website: www.state.fl.us/goaa), which is 15km (9 miles) south of Orlando (travel time 15
minutes). There is a 24-hour shuttle service available to any hotel in Orlando. Hire cars, coach,
bus, taxi and limousine services are available. Chartered flights from the UK arrive in Orlando
Sanford Airport (SFB) (website: www.orlandosanfordairport.com), approximately 29km (18 miles)
northeast of Orlando. Car hire, coaches, buses, taxi, limousine and shuttle services into the city
are available. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) (website: www.fll.net) is 8km (5 miles) from Fort
Lauderdale (travel time 10 minutes). Hire cars, limousines, taxis and bus services are available,
with rail connections to the surrounding counties.

Approximate flight times: From Miami to Atlanta is one hour 50 minutes, to Barbados is three
hours 25 minutes, to Caracas is three hours 10 minutes, to Charlotte is two hours, to Chicago is
three hours 10 minutes, to Dallas/Fort Worth is three hours 20 minutes, to Freeport is 40
minutes, to Grand Turk is one hour 45 minutes, to Guatemala City is two hours 40 minutes, to
Honolulu is 12 hours 15 minutes, to Houston is three hours, to London is eight hours 10 minutes,
to Los Angeles is seven hours, to Mexico City is three hours 15 minutes, to New York is two hours
40 minutes, to Orlando is one hour, to Panama City is three hours, to Port-au-Prince is 45
minutes, to Providenciales is one hour 35 minutes, to St Croix is two hours 40 minutes, to San
Francisco is seven hours 25 minutes, to San Juan is two hours 25 minutes, to Santo Domingo is
two hours 10 minutes, to Tampa is 55 minutes and to Washington, DC is two hours 20 minutes.
From Tampa to London is 10 hours (direct flight), to Miami is 55 minutes and to New York is two

hours 40 minutes. From Orlando to London is nine hours, to Miami is 55 minutes, to New York is
two hours 30 minutes and to Washington, DC is two hours.

SEA: The port of Miami has been called the ‘Cruise Capital of the World’ and offers ocean liners
for business meetings, weekend getaways and extended luxury cruises. The port of Fort
Lauderdale, Port Everglades, is the second most important cruise port in Florida. Other cruise
ports on the east coast include Port Canaveral and Port of Palm Beach. The main West Coast
cruise ports include St Petersburg and Tampa. Major cruise lines in Florida include Carnival,
Celebrity, Commodore, Costa, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Premier, Princess,
Radisson Seven Seas, Regal, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea and Windjammer Barefoot.

RAIL: Amtrak (tel: (800) 872 7245; website: www.amtrak.com) is the rail service provider.
Amtrak’s Miami Station is 11km (7 miles) northwest of the city centre. It is the southernmost
point on the network, marking the southern end of the main east coast line from New York (and
ultimately Boston). Amtrak also serves Jacksonville, with services running through Orlando to
Tampa (a branch line terminates at Sarasota, a few miles south of Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico),
and west through Pensacola to New Orleans (Louisiana).

ROAD: The best major routes through Florida are: Daytona Beach to St Petersburg (I-4),
Jacksonville to the Alabama border (I-10), St Petersburg to Tampa (I-275), the lower West Coast
to Fort Lauderdale (I-75), the NorthSouth highway (I-95) or (I-75) and the EastWest cross-state
highway from Clearwater to Vero Beach (State 60). The Florida’s Turnpike is a 723km (449 mile)
system of limited-access toll highways, which passes through 11 counties from north Miami to a
junction with I-75 in north central Florida. Most roads are excellent throughout the State.

Approximate driving times: From Orlando to Miami is four hours 45 minutes, to Daytona is
one hour, to Fort Lauderdale is four hours 30 minutes, to Jacksonville is three hours, to Key West
is eight hours 45 minutes, to Naples is four hours, to Pensacola is nine hours, to St Petersburg is
two hours 30 minutes, and to Tallahassee is fiive hours 15 minutes. All times are based on non-
stop driving at or below the applicable speed limits.

Approximate Greyhound travel times: From Miami to Fort Lauderdale is one hour to Orlando
is nine hours, to St Petersburg is seven hours 30 minutes, to Jacksonville is 11 hours 15 minutes,
to Tampa is eight hours 15 minutes, and to Tallahassee is 14 hours.

Urban: Miami’s transport system includes an elevated Metrorail system running a north-south
route through the city. The Downtown Metromover combines the fun of a theme park with the
convenience of above-street-level travel. Metrobuses operate frequently through most areas of
Greater Miami. Fares are moderate and transfers are available. Taxis can be expensive in the
Miami area; one can usually hail them but delays may be encountered at rush hours. Taxis can
also be booked by telephone. Most major car hire and motor camper hire firms have offices at
the airport or in central Miami. Many provide a drop-off service in other parts of the State. Major
hotels can often arrange immediate car hire. Road signs marked with an orange sun on a blue
background indicate routes to major tourist attractions.

North West Florida

The Northwest region of Florida stretches from Pensacola on the State’s western border to the
shores of Apalachee Bay. The northwest coastline is the gateway to the Florida peninsula and is
easily negotiable. Yet the busy coastal region gives no clue to the items of interest further inland
a geometric pattern of trail systems, secret caverns and bubbling springs including Marianna,
where visitors can explore the spectacular labyrinths of Florida Caverns State Park. The earliest
European explorers were Spanish and landed at Pensacola Harbor in 1540 when Hernando de

Soto began his explorations of the Gulf Coast. However, it was not until the 18th century that a
permanent settlement was established in the region. Under British rule from 1763, Pensacola was
eventually taken by Spain during the American Revolution. The area was again prominent during
the Civil War period, thanks to the triangle of fortresses which encircled the 150 sq mile span of
barrier islands now known as the Gulf Islands National Seashore. To this day, the area retains its
military significance.

The flags of Spain, France and England have flown over the city of Pensacola during its turbulent
past. The Colonial Archaelogical Trail leads visitors through the different eras of the city’s history,
and highlights an ongoing programme of excavation by local archaeologists. The city centre
features the Pensacola Museum of Art, housed in the old city jail; the Pensacola Cultural Center;
Quayside, the South’s largest co-operative art gallery; Wall South, a replica of the Vietnam
Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, DC; and the beautifully restored Saenger Theatre, where local
and national musical groups regularly perform. A few miles to the west lies one of the biggest
and best air and space museums in the country, the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Displays
cover the age of aviation from the first flight in a wood and fabric biplane to today’s travels in
space with the Skylab Command Module. East of Pensacola, the Gulf Breeze Zoo is home to more
than 700 animals and a huge botanical garden, while gorillas and chimpanzees roam free on two
large islands. The beauty of Pensacola’s beaches is protected by Federal and State reservations,
which preserve them from development. Gulf Islands National Seashore and Big Lagoon Park
offer huge areas of untouched beaches, which are easily accessible to the public.

TRAVEL: Approximately 60 flights arrive and depart from Pensacola Regional Airport (website:
www.flypensacola.com) each day. The city is situated on the Amtrak network and is also
accessible from most major interstate highways; the Greyhound station is located 11km (7 miles)
north of the city center.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Pensacola in 2005:
Feb Black History Month, University of West Florida, Pensacola. Apr 9-10 Pensacola JazzFest,
Selville Square. May 6-8 21st Annual Crawfish Creole Fiesta, Bartram Park, Pensacola. May The
Florida Springfest (three-day music festival), Pensacola. Jun 2-11 56th Fiesta of Five Flags,
Pensacola. Jul-Aug Annual Bushwacker and Music Festival, Pensacola. Sep 23-25 Annual Seafood
Festival, Pensacola. Nov Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival, Pensacola

CLIMATE: Pensacola boasts an average of 343 days of sunshine per year and an average annual
temperature of 24°C (75 ºF).

Emerald Coast
East of Pensacola, visitors will be struck by the glorious coastal scenery. Linked by an impressive
bridge network, a long coastal road skirts the mainland and the offshore islands, running from
Pensacola to Fort Walton Beach and Santa Rosa Island. Near Santa Rosa, Destin is known for fine
fishing, while the Beaches of South Walton embrace the smart prosperous community of Seaside,
with its white-washed houses, excellent dining and shopping facilities. South Walton’s beaches
extend eastward towards Panama City, which took its name from the famous canal in 1906.
Today, its attractions and nightlife, which extend for 43km (27 miles), are celebrated throughout
the State.

DESTIN/FORT WALTON BEACH: Famous for 38km (24 miles) of sugar-white sands and
brilliant green waters, these southern sea towns both offer some of the world’s finest shells and
superb seafood. The Henderson Beach State Park offers acres of unspoilt coastal terrain. Hailed
as the ‘World’s Luckiest Fishing Village’, Destin’s East Pass is only 16km (10 miles) from 30m
(100ft) depths. Harbouring the largest and most elaborately equipped charter-boat fleet in

Florida, more billfish are caught on the Northern Gulf each year than by all the other Gulf ports
combined. There is also a wider variety of game fish than elsewhere, from cobia and scampi to
triggerfish and king mackerel. Numerous deep-sea excursions are available for both first-time
fishers and the more experienced angler.

PANAMA CITY BEACH: Watersports are high on the list of attractions at Panama City Beach,
which boasts a network of waterways, bays and lagoons. St Andrews State Recreation Area is
made up of more than 1000 acres of nature trails and beaches. Visitors can take a shuttle to
Shell Island from Treasure Island Marina. The Museum of the Man-in-the-Sea explores the ocean,
while other attractions include the Miracle Strip Amusement Park, Shipwreck Island Water Park
and Alvin’s Magic Mountain Mall, which houses sharks and alligators in a 30,000 gallon tank.

APALACHICOLA: Apalachicola has a rich heritage. Once, it was the third-largest cotton port on
the Gulf Coast, serving as a base for the Confederate forces trying to run the Union blockades
during the Civil War. Today, this protected region of swamps and springs enjoys acclaim as the
centre of Florida’s seafood industry. Its large oyster beds are responsible for a high percentage of
the State’s exports.

TRAVEL: Destin/Fort Walton Beach Airport is located 2km (1 mile) east of Destin; Panama
City/Bay County International Airport (website: www.pcairport.com) lies 6km (4 miles) north of
Panama City. The Panama City Beach Trolley shuttles along the beach, making various flag stops.
Taxis run on a grid system and fares increase as one moves away from Harrison Avenue.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring on the Emerald Coast
in 2005: Apr 21-24 19th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival, Destin. May Annual Destin Mayfest,
Destin; Seaside Spring Wine Festival, Seaside. Jun 3-6 Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival, Fort Walton
Beach/Okaloosa Island. Oct Annual Indian Summer Seafood Festival, Panama City.

CLIMATE: There are warm temperatures all year round with a summer high of 31°C (88 ºF).

North Central Florida

The North Central region lies between the Gulf of Mexico and Georgia at the base of the
Appalachians. This region is bisected by the Suwannee River, which was immortalised in Florida’s
official state song, written by Stephen Foster. Tallahassee, the state capital and the only
uncaptured Confederate capital east of the Mississippi, has preserved the famous battle site of
Natural Bridge where the Union forces suffered a defeat in 1865. Today, the city is a wonderful
haven of colour azaleas, dogwoods, daphne, magnolias and camellias are all to be seen in bloom
here. The Museum of Florida History and the Black Archives Research Center can also be found
here. One of the area’s most notable natural features is Wakulla Springs, which delivers more
than 15,000 gallons of water per second. Seafood was the staple of one of the region’s historic
sites, Cedar Key, which is one of the oldest ports in the State. This island became a major
supplier of seafood and timber products for the northeastern States during the Railroad era.
Today, it is noted for its shopping, Victorian architecture and artistic flair.

TRAVEL: Tallahassee Regional Airport (THL) (website: www.ci.tallahassee.fl.us/citytlh/aviation)
is located 10 minutes from the city and served by AirTran Airways, Air Wisconsin, Continental
Express, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection Services, Northwest Airlink and US Airways Express.
Amtrak’s Tallahassee station is situated five minutes away on Railroad Avenue. Tallahassee is
also served by Greyhound buses. The Old Town Trolley provides a free round trip ride from the
Civic Center.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in North Central
Florida in 2005: Jan 10-16 Freedom Blues Festival, Tallahassee. Mar Tallahassee Jazz & Blues
Festival. Mar-Nov Downtown Marketplace, every Saturday, Tallahassee. Apr Annual Spring Arts
Festival, Gainesville. May Southern Shakespeare Festival, Tallahassee. May 27-29 Annual Folk
Festival, White Springs. Aug North Florida Fair, Tallahassee. Nov 12-13 Annual Downtown
Festival and Arts Show, Gainesville.

CLIMATE: Tallahassee is mild and moist owing to its close proximity to the Gulf, with an average
temperature of 19°C (67ºF).

Northeast Florida

Straddling the beautiful St John’s River, Jacksonville is located in the northeast corner of Florida
on the Atlantic Ocean. The historic districts of St Augustine and Fernandina Beach on Amelia
Island are situated nearby.

CLIMATE: The Northeast Region offers mild winters, a cool spring and fall, and it is generally
warm during the summer months.

Jacksonville & Area
The Jacksonville Landing, on the north bank, is bustling with restaurants, nightclubs and shops,
all housed under one giant orange-roofed facility. The Museum of Science and History and the
nationally acclaimed Cummer Museum of Art and its gardens are situated in the city centre, just a
few minutes away from the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art. The First Coast area is one of
the few unspoiled areas of the Atlantic Coast. Nature trails and national parks line the seafront,
providing opportunities for hiking, kayaking and camping. Just a few minutes northeast of the
city is the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, an 18,500 hectare (46,000 acre) wetland
and historic community. The trails and waterways are filled with indigenous and endangered
wildlife such as ospreys, herons, bald eagles, sea turtles, manatees and wood storks. The Talbot
Island State Park provides miles of pristine beaches, dunes, coastal hummocks and marshlands.
Big Talbot Island boasts spectacular bluffs, 19km (11.5 miles) of untouched beaches, two
plantation ruins, sand dunes, salt marshes, tidal creeks and a driftwood forest. South of Big
Talbot is Little Talbot Island, an undeveloped barrier island. The entire 1000 hectare (2500 acre)
island is a protected State Park and has white sand beaches and a popular campsite. Fort George
Island State Cultural Site contains the longest record of civilisation in Duval County. The huge
oyster shell mounds found on the island are evidence of Timucuan Indian habitation dating back
over 7000 years. Katherine Abbey Hanna Park is Jacksonville’s premier 180 hectare (450 acre)
beachfront getaway and boasts sunny beaches, freshwater lakes and wooded campsites.
Established in 1914 with just one animal, a white-tailed fawn, the Jacksonville Zoological Gardens
is today alive with more than 800 animals from around the world. At the Okavango Petting Zoo
children can pet domestic African animals such as pygmy goats, dwarf zebu, miniature horses
and Sardinian pygmy donkeys.

TRAVEL: Jacksonville International Airport (JIA) (website: www.jaxairports.org) is 20 minutes
from the city centre. Jacksonville is served by both Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses. The
Amtrak station, Florida’s hub, is located 10km (6 miles) west of downtown Jacksonville. The
Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) provides a local bus service seven days a week with
50 routes. JTA also operates the Automated Skyway Express, a monorail system serving the city

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Jacksonville & Area
in 2005: Apr 7-10 Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Metropolitan Park and The Jacksonville Landing. Apr
28-May 1 Annual World of Nations Celebration, Metropolitan Park. May Riverfest, Jacksonville.

May/Jun Sail Jacksonville (tall ships), Downtown Riverfront. Nov 11 Veteran’s Day Parade,
Jacksonville. Nov Annual Jacksonville Light Parade, Jacksonville Waterfront.

St Augustine & Area
The USA’s oldest city is a time capsule capturing nearly 500 years of fascinating history. Situated
on the uppermost Atlantic Coast of Florida, the water’s-edge colonial village has 144 blocks of
historic houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Castillo de San Marcos
endures as the nation’s oldest and only remaining 17th-century masonry fort. Now a National
Monument, the Spanish-built bastion guarded the mouth of Matanzas Bay from British invaders.
The Spanish Quarter Living Museum is a village where actors portraying Spanish soldiers and
settlers in traditional costume re-enact 18th-century crafts. Other attractions include Anastasia
State Recreation Area, a 1700 acre bird sanctuary on Anastasia Island; the still operational St
Augustine Lighthouse and Museum; the Oldest Store Museum, which recreates a late 19th-
century general store; and the USA’s first alligator exhibition farm, St Augustine Alligator Farm.
Just past the beaches of Anastasia Island lies Marineland of Florida, the world’s first oceanarium.
It features 1000 wonders of the deep, including Nelly, the world’s oldest known living dolphin,
born on 27 February 1953.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in St Augustine &
Area in 2005: Mar 4-6 Native American Indian Festival, Francis Field. Mar 7th Annual San
Sebastien Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp, St Augustine. Mar 19 Lighthouse Festival, St
Augustine. Mar 27 St Augustine Easter Parade. Apr 14-17 EPIC Celebration of Spring, St
Augustine. Jul 4 Fourth of July Fireworks, St Augustine. Nov 19-Jan 31 2006 Nights of Light, St

Central West Florida

The Central West region is dotted with scenic freshwater sources rich in minerals, and there is an
especially high concentration of these in the area known as ‘The Nature Coast’. There is also an
abundance of parkland and a whole series of sophisticated resorts. The region’s natural allure
and endless beaches betray no hint, however, of its rich and divergent cultural history. Tarpon
Springs, for example, is a Mediterranean-style sponging village, which was founded in 1895.
Sponge docks, Greek foods, festivals and 19th-century architecture still typify the town. On a
larger scale, Ybor City, in the heart of Tampa, demonstrates the city’s Hispanic roots with
museums, bakeries and restaurants. A network of bridges, including the striking Sunshine
Skyway Bridge, connects the scattered islands and peninsulas of the Gulf Coast.

CLIMATE: Central West Florida has a temperate climate with an average temperature of 22°C
(71ºF). With an average of 361 days of sunshine each year, the St Petersburg/Clearwater area
enjoys an average temperature of 23°C (73ºF). The annual average water temperature along the
beaches is 24°C (75ºF).

St Petersburg/Clearwater
The St Petersburg/Clearwater area is located on Florida’s West Coast, bordered on the east by
Tampa Bay and on the west by the Gulf of Mexico. The area is best known for its constant
sunshine and 56km (35 miles) of beaches. The Pinellas peninsula and its famous beaches are
within minutes of Florida’s popular attractions just 30 minutes away is Busch Gardens in Tampa
and 90 minutes away are Walt Disney World Vacation Kingdom, EPCOT Center, Sea World,
Universal Studios Escape and other Central Florida sites. St Petersburg is home to world-class
museums, including the Salvador Dali Museum, which contains the world’s most comprehensive
collection by this famous Spanish surrealist; the St Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, noted for its
display of French Impressionist paintings; the St Petersburg Museum of History, which offers
historical exhibits; the Florida International Museum, which was recently named a Smithsonian

Institution affiliate and is home to the largest private collection of John F Kennedy memorabilia,
including a recreation of JFK’s Oval Office; and the relocated and expanded Florida Holocaust
Museum. A US$12 million renovation of The Pier has turned this popular spot on the St
Petersburg waterfront into a festival marketplace of shops, restaurants and entertainment, while
Bay Walk boasts an open-air themed plaza, 20-screen theatre complex, restaurants and retail
outlets. The Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo include Wedding, Tropical, Topiary and Jazz
gardens, and are part of a new botanical learning centre where visitors can attend walking tours
and workshops. Begun in 1998 and still being developed, the US$16 million, 250-acre project,
when complete, will be Florida’s largest gardens. The Gardens are adjacent to the Gulf Coast
Museum of Art and Heritage Village and are the centrepiece of Pinewood Cultural Park, where
culture, history and botany are combined. Ideal parks for nature study, fishing, swimming and
picnics are Fort De Soto Park, south of St Petersburg, plus the Honeymoon Island State
Recreation Area and Caladesi Island State Park near Dunedin. All three are undeveloped barrier
islands. Fort DeSoto and the Honeymoon Islands are connected to the mainland by causeways.
Caladesi Island is ideal for swimming, fishing, picnics, snorkelling and scuba-diving, kayaking and
guided nature walks. A 5km (3 mile) nature trail winds through the island’s interior. It is
accessible only by a ferry service, with departures from Honeymoon Island and Clearwater. The
Pinellas Trail is a 76km (47 mile) linear park, perfect for cyclists, walkers, joggers and
rollerbladers. The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, in Indian Shores, is the largest wild bird hospital
in North America. There are over 500 birds on site, including a large nesting colony of injured
brown pelicans. Samples of marine life can be found at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a
research centre that conducts a ‘head start’ programme for baby sea turtles and includes tanks
containing numerous varieties of fish, as well as Sam, the bottlenose dolphin. Celebration Station
in Clearwater is a mini-theme park and includes go-karts, bumper boats and more. Clearwater
Ferry Service offers exciting boat trips, including Dolphin Encounter and Caladesi Island
Adventure. The Sea Screamer, which is moored in Clearwater, is the world’s largest speedboat.
The 20 hectare (50 acre) Moccasin Lake Nature Park features a lake, upland forest, wetlands and
most of the plant and animal species native to the area, as well as an environmental and energy
education centre. At Tarpon Springs, attractions include the Inness Paintings exhibition at the
Universalist Church, featuring a large collection of works by American landscape artist George
Inness Sr; Konger Coral Sea Aquarium; and St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a replica of St
Sofia’s in Constantinople.

TRAVEL: St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) is served by the carriers Air
Transat, American Trans Air, Can Jet, Con Quest, Jets Go, Seacoast, Sun Wing and USA 3000,
plus other charters from the USA and Canada with Express One, Ryan International and US
Airways, especially during the winter season. St Petersburg is served by Greyhound bus services.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in St Petersburg and
Clearwater in 2005: Jan 29 Pinellas Folk Festival, Heritage Village. Feb 24-27 Greek Fest, Tarpon
Springs. Mar 5-6 Harbor Sounds Music Festival, Safety Harbour. Mar 11-13 Cajun/Zydeco
Crawfish Festival, St Petersburg. Mar 18-20 Tampa Bay Blues Festival, St Petersburg. Mar 19
DaliFest, Salvador Dali Museum, St Petersburg. Mar 19-21 2005 Festival of Baseball, Clearwater.
Apr 2-13 Festival of States, St Petersburg and Clearwater. Jun 11-12 Tampa Bay Caribbean
Carnival, St Petersburg. Oct 13-16 Clearwater Jazz Holiday (four days of free concerts),
Coachman Park, Clearwater. Dec 24 Light up the Bayou, Tarpon Springs. Dec 31 First Night, St

The city of Sarasota is the cultural capital of Florida. The Ringling Museum Complex, the official
State Museum of Florida, is a major attraction with superb old masterpieces and a fine
contemporary collection. Sarasota’s Downtown Cultural District contains the Sarasota Opera
House (also home of the Sarasota Ballet) and numerous theatres and nightclubs. Historic Palm

Avenue, filled with fine art, antiques, jewellery and fashion, was a bustling street in the early-
1900s, frequented by Sarasota’s founding families. Today, shopping emporia line Palm Avenue
and the corner of Main Street. Sarasota Quay also offers a variety of speciality shops, as well as
restaurants and nightclubs located on the water. Just minutes from the Quay and Palm Avenue,
dinner cruises and charter boats depart from the stylish city marina. North Lido Beach is a half-
mile stretch of sand shaded by towering Australian pines. The public beach offers a swimming
pool, a playground and shops. At the southern end of Lido Key are picnic tables, grills, a
volleyball court and a playground. St Armands Key boasts a circle ringed by restaurants,
nightclubs and exclusive shops. The Circus Ring of Fame, a sidewalk of circus stars, decorates
the central park space. Located between the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay,
Longboat Key offers an abundance of outdoor activities. Anglers cast lines from Longboat’s white
sandy beaches, piers and jetties. Boaters can cruise to nearby islands such as City Island, which
is the setting for the Mote Marine Aquarium. Next door to the aquarium, the Pelican Man’s Bird
Sanctuary is a rescue and rehabilitation centre for pelicans and other wild birds. Siesta Key is
best known for its sandy beaches, the widest and most popular in the county. A few miles south
of the main beach, snorkellers flock to Crescent Beach where sea sponges and fish can be viewed
under the Gulf’s surface. The southernmost spot on Siesta Key is Palmer Pointe South, a popular
getaway for boaters and hikers. More than 8 hectares (20 acres) of unspoiled beach make this
one of the most beautiful spots in the Key. Other attractions in Sarasota County include the Gulf
Coast World of Science, where visitors can dig for fossils, touch live snakes and experiment with
static electricity. There are 50 restored antique cars to view at Bellm’s Cars and Music of
Yesterday as well as 1200 music boxes and a penny arcade. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
specialises in air plants, orchids and colourful bromeliads. 10 lush tropical acres are filled with
winding trails, beautiful gardens and exotic waterfowl at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. There are
also shows featuring snakes, turtles, alligators and other reptiles. Myakka State Park and
Wilderness Preserve covers more than 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres) of wetlands, prairies and
dense woodlands along the twisting Myakka River and Upper Myakka Lake. The park is home to
hundreds of species of plants, trees and flowers. For a close-up view, visitors can take the boat
or tram leaving from the Boat Basin. There are also numerous trails, a small natural history
museum and a bird walk. Oscar Scherer State Recreation Area boasts streams for canoeing, a
swimming lake, campsites, nature trails, cycling paths, a recreation hall and picnic areas. Visitors
can discover Sarasota’s past on Little Sarasota Bay, in Osprey. Spanish Point, which contains a
late Victorian pioneer homestead, a Native American burial mound, a 19th-century chapel,
cemetery and remnants of the formal gardens of a turn-of-the-century estate.

TRAVEL: The Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) (website: www.srq-airport.com),
located 9.6km (6 miles) south of Sarasota and 16km (10 miles) north of Bradenton, is served by
six major air carriers and two commuter airlines, including Air France, Alitalia, American Trans
Air, Delta, Northwest and US Airways. Sarasota and Manatee counties provide public transport
services from the airport approximately 12 hours per day. The buses are located at the west end
of the baggage claim wing in the Ground Transportation area. Airport shuttle and taxi services
are also available. Airport facilities include ATMs, a conference centre, a post office and car hire.
Greyhound buses stop in downtown Sarasota, while Amtrak’s Thruway bus service connects its
Tampa railway station with Sarasota, stopping at the local bus terminal on Lemon Avenue. Public
buses serving the beaches also stop here.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Sarasota in 2005:
Jan 28-Feb 6 Sarasota Film Festival. Feb 5 Scottish Highland Games and Heritage Festival,
Sarasota. Mar 20-26 Sarasota Jazz Festival. Apr 8-10 Venice Sharks Tooth Festival, Venice Beach.
Jun 25-Jul 3 The Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix Festival, Sarasota. Nov Sarasota Reading Festival;
Sarasota Blues Festival.


Tampa is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities and largest ports, with thriving industries and
artistic communities. The Tampa Museum of Art houses an impressive collection of ancient Greek
and Roman items, as well as a series of changing exhibitions. The Florida Aquarium features
interactive exhibits where visitors can learn about Florida’s tropical sea life. Visitors can defy the
laws of gravity in the Challenger Space Experience or stroll through the free-flying Butterfly
Encounter at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). The Amazing You exhibition explores
the human body, Our Florida focuses on environmental issues and Our Place in the Universe
introduces guests to space travel. Ybor City State Museum traces the development of Ybor City,
Tampa, the cigar industry and Cuban immigration. The Henry B Plant Museum includes Victorian
furniture and Wedgwood pottery. Busch Gardens is a huge amusement park featuring African
wildlife. Giraffes, zebras and antelope roam freely through the park’s 24 hectare (60 acre) plain,
next to thrilling rides such as the Kumba. There is also a 5 hectare (13 acre) water park,
Adventure Island, just northeast of Busch Gardens.

TRAVEL: Tampa International Airport (TPA) (website: www.tampaairport.com), located west of
the city Tampa (travel time five minutes), and northeast of the St Petersburg/Clearwater area
(travel time 30 minutes), has been rated the nation’s best for the past 10 years by the
International Passenger Traffic Association. TPA is served by many airlines: Air Canada, AirTran,
American West, British Airways (to London Gatwick), Continental, Delta, Frontier, Jet Blue,
Midwest Express, Northwest, Song, Southwest, Spirit, United, US Airways and US Airways
Express. Public buses to the Tampa are operated by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART).
For coaches and charter buses, the passenger pick-up and drop-off points are located in the bus
spaces of the Commercial Ground Transportation Quadrants. Limousines, point-to-point shuttles,
taxis and car hire are also available. Amtrak trains stop at the station on Nebraska Avenue. Trains
run to Jacksonville, Miami, New York City, Orlando and Philadelphia. A Thruway bus service
operates from this station. A Greyhound bus service also stops in Tampa. HART local bus services
make getting around the city and nearby sights and attractions easy.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Tampa in 2005:
Jan 29 Gasparilla Pirate Festival, Downtown Tampa. Feb 4-6 Gasparilla Distance Classic (running
events), Tampa. Feb 10-21 Annual Florida State Fair, Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa. Mar 5-6
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Tampa. Apr 9-10 AirFest 2005, MacDill Airforce Base. May 7-8
Tomatoe Festival, Ruskin. Oct 29 Guavaween (parade, costume contest and concerts), Ybor City.
Nov 6-7 Ruskin Seafood and Arts Festival. Nov 19 Cigar Heritage Festival, Ybor City.

Central Florida

The central region of Florida, which includes Orlando, is home to an enormous number of theme
parks, entertainment facilities, resorts, movie studios and water parks. It is the face of Florida
that most people recognise instantly. But Central Florida has another side, seen in the majestic
Ocala National Forest and peaceful Lake County.

CLIMATE: Central Florida has warm sunny days and mild nights. The average monthly
temperature is 24°C (75ºF) in the winter and 35°C (95ºF) in the summer. The average rainfall is
50 inches.

Orlando is the one-stop vacation spot that offers more than 88,000 hotel rooms, 3000
restaurants and 66 attractions, which have established it as one of the world’s favourite holiday
spots. Orlando’s attractions include hair-raising rides, nail-biting adventures and heart-pounding
suspense. Thrill-seekers can experience the terrifying attack of a Great White shark on the Jaws
Ride at Universal Studios, Florida, or take a sensual journey to the world’s most wonderful
seaside cities and discover the ‘soul of the sea’ at The Waterfront, SeaWorld Orlando’s newest

attraction. Walt Disney World Resort is the biggest, and arguably the best, amusement
park in the world. It contains four sections: the Magic Kingdom, with seven theme regions;
Epcot Center, a science and world exhibition centre; Disney MGM Studios, a movie and theme
park; and Animal Kingdom, an adventure and safari park featuring wild animals, exotic
landscapes and thrill rides. Popular attractions include a 13-storey free-fall plunge on the Twilight
Zone Tower of Terror at Disney MGM Studios; Epcot’s Mission:SPACE, which recreates space
travel and pushes the boundaries of entertainment technology; and the Stitch's Great Escape at
Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. Blizzard Beach, Disney’s third and largest water park, is set
in a faux snow-capped mountain range featuring Florida’s only chairlift, which carries guests to
the tip of Mount Gushmore. A number of water slides challenge visitors, including Summit
Plummet, the tallest, fastest water slide in the world. More high-speed rides can be found at
Typhoon Lagoon. River Country, in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, is a relaxing water park
where holidaymakers can relax and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. SeaWorld Orlando,
southwest of Orlando (travel time 19 minutes), is one of the country’s largest marine parks and
features whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals and otters. The most popular shows are the ones
starring the killer whales, Shamu and Baby Namu. Pleasure Island is a high-energy, nighttime
entertainment complex featuring seven themed nightclubs, stage shows and live concerts, plus a
giant New Year’s Eve celebration every night of the week. It is located in an area known as
Downtown Disney, along with such restaurants as Wolfgang Puck, House of Blues and the
Cuban-style Bongo’s Cafe. Cultural attractions include the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of
American Art, which boasts the world’s largest collection of Louis Tiffany glass. Cornell Fine Arts
Museum, located at Rollins College, houses one of the largest and most distinguished art
collections in Florida. Other popular sights include Eatonville, just north of Orlando, which is
home to the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts; the Maitland Art Center; Orlando
Museum of Art; Orange County Historical Museum, which includes a renovated 1926 Orlando
Firehouse; and the Albin Polasek Galleries. Other attractions in and around Orlando include World
of Orchids, the first permanent indoor display of its kind in the world; Church Street Station, a
block-long entertainment complex in the heart of central Orlando; Gatorland, in nearby
Kissimmee; and Wet ‘n’ Wild, a water park offering numerous adventurous water activities.

TRAVEL: Orlando International Airport (MCO) (website: www.state.fl.us/goaa) is located within
24km (15 miles) of the major attractions and central Orlando. Orlando Sanford Airport (SFB) is
located 56km (35 miles) north of Orlando and handles a number of charter airlines. Shuttle buses
and vans, taxis, limousines and rental cars are available from both airports.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Orlando in 2005:
Feb 18-20 115th Silver Spurs Rodeo, Kissimmee. Mar 4-6 Kissimmee Kiwanis Bluegrass Festival.
Apr 8-17 Florida Film Festival, Orlando. Apr 2-3 Spring Fiesta in the Park, Orlando; Arts in April
(month-long arts festival), Orlando. Jul 4 July Fourth Lakeside Celebrations, Kissimmee and St
Cloud. Sep 30-Nov 13 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Orlando. Oct Halloween Horror
Nights, Universal Studios. Nov 25-Dec 30 2005 Epcot Holidays around the World (traditional
event featuring daily tree-lighting ceremony, themed storytellers, and culminating in a candlelit
procession). Dec 10 Kissimmee Holiday Extravaganza.

ELSEWHERE: Located in the central highlands north of Orlando, Lake County boasts more than
1000 lakes offering fishing, boating and swimming opportunities. The area is noted for its scenic
beauty of gentle hills dotted with orange groves and quiet country roads and parks framed by
antique brick streets. Major attractions include the Lakeridge Winery and Vineyard which is open
for tours and tastings all year round. The House of Presidents Wax Museum features the White
House in Miniature exhibit. Other popular sights include the Florida Citrus Tower, Uncle Donald’s
Farm, Trout Lake Nature Center and Wekia Falls Resort in Sorrento. Recreational activities
include water-skiing, in-line skating, swimming and cycling. Seminole Lake is home to the largest
glider teaching school in Florida and is open to visitors who want to experience the joys of

soaring. The northern boundaries of Central Florida are engulfed by a national forest so large it
needs to be administered by two separate ranger districts. The Ocala National Forest covers
378,178 acres, divided into three divergent recreation areas linked by a 106km (65 mile) trail.
The town of Ocala boasts a 19th-century historic district, a major art museum and some 400
horse farms.

Central East Florida

This slender but significant region stretches from Daytona Beach in the north to Stuart in the

CLIMATE: Central East Florida has warm sunny days and mild nights. The average monthly
temperature is 24°C (75ºF) in the winter and 35°C (95ºF) in the summer.

Daytona Beach
The Daytona Beach area covers 37km (23 miles) along the Atlantic coast and at low tide offers a
150m (500ft) expanse of hard white sand. The beach first became well known in the 1930s and
1940s as a testing ground for the early pioneers of high-speed motor cars and it was here that
Sir Malcolm Campbell set his 1935 land speed record an amazing 444kph (276mph) run in his
rocket-powered Bluebird. For a small charge visitors can still take their cars on part of the beach,
but the top speed now allowed is just 16kmph (10mph). Real speed is confined to the Daytona
International Speedway, which hosts the famous Daytona 500 race each February. The Pepsi 400
NASCAR Winston Cup Series takes place in the summer. The speedway also houses a huge
collection of racing memorabilia and early racing films and conducts 30-minute tours on days with
no races. Other attractions include the huge Daytona Flea and Farmers Market, open Friday to
Sunday; the Harbour Marina; and the Ocean Center, which hosts top entertainers, sporting
events and conventions. Historical sights include The Casements, the former home of John D
Rockefeller; Gamble Place, a historical and nature preserve; Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse; and
Sugar Mill Gardens, a large botanical garden and dinosaur park.

TRAVEL: Flights into Daytona arrive at the Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) (website:
www.flydaytonafirst.com). Greyhound buses come and go from 138 South Ridgewood Avenue,
four minutes west of the beach. Voltran Transit Co operates local buses in the area.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Daytona Beach in
2005: Feb 5-20 Speed Weeks. Mar 14-13 Bike Week. Mar 14-31 Spring Break. Mar 18-20 Spring
Daytona Beach Car Show and Swap Meet. Apr 15-17 Black College Reunion. Jul 2 Pepsi 400
NASCAR Winston Cup. Oct 20-23 Biketoberfest. Nov Halifax Art Festival. Nov 24-27 Daytona
Turkey Run (car show and swap meet). Nov 25-26 Birthplace of Speed Celebration.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH: South of Daytona Beach is New Smyrna Beach. Billed as the ‘World’s
Safest Bathing Beach’, it is also the beach closest to the popular Orlando area and Central Florida
attractions and an attraction in itself. Only a short drive from Orlando and Daytona Beach
International Airports, New Smyrna Beach lays claim to the best Florida offers - excellent
backwater fishing, fresh seafood and seasons of sunshine. As the second-oldest settled city in
Florida, New Smyrna offers visitors tours of several historical sites and museums. Also named one
of the ‘Top Small Cities for the Arts’, this coastal town houses the Atlantic Center for the Arts, an
artists-in-residence community, and many other galleries and exhibits. New Smyrna Beach is 21.2
km (13.2 miles) of white sand and continues into the largest section of Canaveral National
Seashore Park and Mosquito Lagoon where backwater fishing for giant Redfish have set
international angler records. Canaveral Seashore Park offers miles of pristine beaches, bird
watching, kayaking and hiking for the adventurous traveller. Affordable accommodations range
from motels to oceanfront hotels, condominiums and bed & breakfast inns.

Space Coast
South of New Smyrna Beach at Titusville is the start of the ‘Space Coast’, a 115km (72 mile)
stretch of beach which leads down to Palm Bay. The main attraction here is Cape Canaveral in
the Titusville area home of the US Space Program. All of NASA’s shuttle flights take off from the
Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex runs continuous tours of the
complex where visitors see the actual launchpads and astronaut training centres as well as
museums and exhibits. IMAX presentations give visitors the illusion of space travel. Tours take in
the Apollo/ Saturn Visitors’ Center, the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry and the
International Space Station Center, which highlight the past, present and future of the USA’s
Space Program. Visitors should plan to spend at least an hour at each of these facilities. The
Astronauts’ Hall of Fame, a few kilometres from the Kennedy Space Center offers a self-guided
tour through the early days of space exploration, focusing on the Mercury 7 and Gemini
astronauts. A virtual reality trainer and shuttle simulator make this a hands-on exhibit. The
Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum displays historical military aircraft. The Canaveral National
Seashore is an unspoilt area of beaches and sand dunes where the giant loggerhead and green
turtles come ashore in summer to lay their eggs. The marshy Merritt Island National Wildlife
Refuge is home to more endangered species than any other refuge in the USA and features deer,
sea turtles, alligators, eagles and excellent walking tracks. Port Canaveral is America’s second-
busiest cruise passenger port. The National Historic District of Main Street Titusville boasts many
fine 18th- and 19th-century buildings. This charming area also contains antique shops,
restaurants, a playhouse and more. The 7000-seat Space Coast Stadium in Viera is the spring
training home of Major League Baseball’s Florida Marlins; games are played from March to
September. Cocoa Beach is a popular resort famed for surfing and a lively nightlife. Cocoa Beach
Pier stretches 256 metres (800ft) into the Atlantic Ocean, offering exceptional fishing and views.
The central shopping area has been recreated as Olde Cocoa Village. Astronaut Memorial Hall
and Planetarium features memorabilia, astronomical multimedia programmes on a 360° domed
ceiling, and a public-access space telescope. Brevard Zoo features jaguars, llamas, anteaters,
monkeys, exotic birds and other Latin American animals. The Brevard Museum of History and
Natural Science traces the origins of Brevard County and the Brevard Museum of Art and Science
hosts major touring art exhibitions. The Melbourne/Palm Bay area is near the largest sea turtle
nesting area in the USA, which stretches from Spessard Holland Park, south to Sebastian Inlet.
Turtles come ashore from May to August and hatchlings struggle back to the ocean until late
October. Turtle walks are offered on Space Coast beaches. Perched on the southern tip of the
island, the 30m (90ft) Merritt Island Dragon is a concrete and steel sculpture inspired by a local
legend. Melbourne’s historic centre features galleries, boutiques, restaurants and antique stores.
The Henegar Center is the oldest building in the area, and has varied theatrical offerings
throughout the year, while the Maxwell C King Center is the hub of area’s cultural life.

TRAVEL: Melbourne International Airport (MLB) (website: www.mlbair.com) serves Brevard
County and the Space Coast. Car hire is available and the airport runs a shuttle service
throughout several counties.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Central East Florida
in 2005: Mar Florida Marlins Profile Baseball Spring Training, Space Coast Stadium, Melbourne.
Mar 11-13 Seafest, Cape Canaveral. May-Sep Sea Turtle Nesting Season.

Southwest Florida

Florida’s Southwest coast lies along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and much of the area’s
charm and island ambience comes from the multitude of barrier islands sprinkled along the
coastline. It has the feel of ‘Old Florida’, with a relaxed, subtropical, island-style environment. In
addition to the many parks and wildlife refuges in the region, there is an abundance of

recreational activities: beachcombing, canoeing, golf, windsurfing, biking, tennis, boating,
fishing, water-skiing and just plain sightseeing. The first tourist to visit Florida’s Lee Island Coast
was Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, who deposited his stone marker on Pine Island in 1513 and
was later mortally wounded in these same waters by a Calusa Indian arrow. Shell mounds, which
have provided an insight into the lives of these seafaring Native Americans, can still be found on
Pine Island.

TRAVEL: Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) (website: www.swfia.com) offers non-
stop and connecting flights across the USA and Canada, provided by all the major US and
Canadian airlines. Major European destinations are easily accessible via connections through a
number of US hubs, and services are available from France, Germany, Sweden and the UK (travel
time approximately eight hours). Airport facilities include long-term and short-term parking, a
visitor information centre (provided by the Lee Island Coast Visitor & Convention Bureau) and car
rental. Lee Tran buses run between 0600 and 2200. Another bus service is provided on an hourly
basis to a transfer point located at Daniels Parkway and US State Highway 41. Connections can
be made from that point to the remainder of the Lee Tran bus routes.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Southwest Florida
in 2005: Jan 29-Feb 20 Edison Festival of Light, Fort Myers. Mar 3-5 68th Annual Sanibel Shell
Fair & Show, Sanibel Island. Mar 19 16th Annual Sounds of Jazz, Cape Coral. Apr 21-24 Fort
Myers Beach Film Festival. Apr 24 A Taste of the Islands, Sanibel Island. May 14-15 Fort Myers
Beach Air Show. May 21 Freedom Fest 2005, Cape Coral. Jun 5 Annual Fort Myers Beach ‘Taste
of the Beach’ Festival. Jul 4 Independence Day Celebrations, Fort Myers and Sanibel Island. Aug
6-7 Fort Myers Beach Offshore Fishing Rodeo. Oct 6 Island Expo 2005, Fort Myers. Oct 28-30
Oktoberfest, Cape Coral. Nov 9-13 19th Annual American Sandsculpting Championship, Fort

Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Unspoiled yet luxurious, Sanibel Island is connected to the mainland by a scenic causeway that
spans the waters of Pine Island Sound. Sanibel is probably best known for the fabulous shells
found on its shores, but the reputation of its beaches is growing. Sanibel’s main thoroughfare,
Periwinkle Way, is picturesque, lush with jungle and framed by a canopy of Australian pines.
Interesting shops and unique restaurants dot the road from the Sanibel Lighthouse to Tarpon Bay
Road. A variety of eateries offer everything from fine dining to casual seafood bars. Two
attractions not to be missed are Lighthouse Park and the J N ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife
Refuge, occupying more than a third of the island. The refuge features delightful footpaths,
winding canoe trails and an 8km (5 mile) scenic drive, all of which are surrounded with sea
grape, wax and salt myrtles, red mangrove, palms and other native plant varieties. Naturalists
will get their best view of the wide variety of fauna and flora from observation towers
strategically placed throughout the nature sanctuary. A short span at Blind Pass joins Sanibel to
Captiva, an intimate hideaway where Spanish pirate José Gaspar held his female prisoners
captive. Several barrier islands are accessible from Captiva by boat. Other excursions include a
shelling tour to Upper Captiva or a visit to the Cayo Costa State Island Preserve.

Fort Myers & Area
The city of Fort Myers is perhaps best known for its palm-lined boulevards and Thomas Alva
Edison’s winter home. Edison spent 46 winters in his old-Florida-style home, a tour of which
provides an insightful look at this great inventor. His home, laboratory and experimental gardens
are located on 14 acres of land on the Caloosahatchee River. For 24km (15 miles), McGregor
Boulevard is lined on both sides with statuesque royal palm trees, the first 200 of which were
imported from Cuba and planted by Thomas Edison. The Caloosahatchee separates Fort Myers
from Cape Coral, a boating community with more canals than Venice, Italy. In addition to the
Edison Home, visitors to Fort Myers, Cape Coral and the neighbouring towns of North Fort Myers,

Lehigh and Bonita Springs can enjoy a visit to Henry Ford’s home, the Lee County Nature Center
and The Shell Factory. Fishing is a popular pastime in Southwest Florida. The waters are teeming
with fish, from delicious red snappers and grouper to game fish such as snook and tarpon. A
short boat ride away, and connected to the mainland by a short causeway near Punta Gorda, is
Boca Grande, a slice of ‘Old Florida’ on Gasparilla Island. Long known as a playground for the
wealthy, this quaint, sleepy town is a favourite spot for sport fishing tarpon is a popular catch
here. Further south are Estero Island and Fort Myers Beach, ideal for family holidays with its
safe, gently sloping shoreline and numerous activities. Golf aficionados will appreciate the fact
that Southwest Florida has more golf holes per capita than any other destination in the USA.

Naples is a charming city with an atmosphere of understated elegance. Home to cosy beach
cottages and 5-star resorts, Naples is also known for its pristine shoreline and abundant wildlife.
Both the ambience and the scenery are serene, thanks to the easygoing demeanour of the
Neapolitans and the city’s meticulously maintained thoroughfares, parks and shopping areas. A
stroll along Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South’s tree-lined avenues in ‘Olde Naples’
reveals a variety of gift boutiques, antique emporia, apparel shops and art galleries, as well as a
range of cafés and restaurants. The Old Marine Market Place at Tin City on Naples Bay reflects
Neapolitan history at a time when the area supplied fresh fish from tin-roofed warehouses. Not
far away, The Village on Venetian Bay is reminiscent of a Mediterranean plaza with winding
waterways and walkways. At Waterside Shops, cascading waterfalls are the central point for
major retailers, clothiers and galleries. The Caribbean Gardens Zoological Park offers 21 hectares
(53 acres) of rare, endangered animals and tropical gardens. At the Teddy Bear Museum, almost
3000 bears in every shape and size are whimsically arranged. Naples boasts more than 53 golf
courses. Professional tournaments such as the PGA Greater Naples Intellinet Golf Challenge and
the Florida Senior Open take place throughout the year. Tennis is a close second to golf and
Naples offers community courts in a park-like setting just blocks away from the beach. Wildlife is
also plentiful in the Naples area. Numerous venues afford ample opportunities to view
endangered species such as the manatee, the American bald eagle, and the North American
wood stork. Nature lovers will enjoy a real view of Old Florida along two miles of scenic
boardwalks in the National Audubon Society’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. South of Naples is
Collier Seminole State Park, featuring guided boat tours through mangrove forests along the
Blackwater River.

Marco Island & the Southwest
South of Naples is Marco Island, located at the southernmost tip of Florida’s Gulf Coast and
nearly lost amongst the Ten Thousand Islands, a maze of mangrove isles that stretch from
Naples to the Florida Keys. It is an area of stunning beauty. Marco Island, the largest and only
inhabited isle, is a retreat for the wealthy. Its pampered perfection complements the tangled
wildness and sweeping sawgrass prairies of Florida’s famous Everglades National Park, which lies
only an hour away. The Everglades is the USA’s third-largest national park. Several excursions
offer a glimpse of the country’s only subtropical region, by means of airboat tours, nature trails
and safari vans. The unassuming fishing hamlets of Everglades City and Chokoloskee Island, both
locked in time, offer visitors an interactive eco-adventure in the inspirational beauty of Florida’s
final frontier. For information on the eastern areas of the Everglades, see the Southeast Florida
and the Keys section.

Southeast Florida and the Keys

Southeast Florida is home to one of the USA’s most international cities Greater Miami which
offers a rich array of exotic cuisine, nightlife, festivals, shopping, attractions, arts and
architecture. Once strictly a winter resort, the area is now a year-round holiday destination for
tourists from all over the world. The vibrant life of the coastal area provides a startling contrast to

the Everglades National Park, which stretches across a large portion of southern Florida. The
USA’s only subtropical region, this expanse of wetlands is within easy reach of the main cities in
Southeast Florida (for information on the western areas of the Everglades, see the Southwest
Florida section). Stretching from Key Largo at the northern end to Key West in the south, 45 of
the over 800 islands of the Florida Keys, once known as the Cayos, are linked by Overseas
Highway 1.

CLIMATE: Greater Miami and the Beaches’ subtropical climate ensures plentiful sunshine all year
round. There is sufficient rainfall during the summer and early autumn. Virtually all buildings are
air conditioned. In fact, a light sweater or jacket is advisable to take the chill off the indoor
climates. The powerful rays of the sun also make it a good idea to wear a hat or protective
sunscreen when planning to be outdoors for long periods.

Today, Greater Miami is an international crossroads of commerce, culture, sports, entertainment,
transport and tourism. This cosmopolitan city boasts beautiful beaches, right next to one of the
USA’s most vibrant urban centres. Often called the ‘City of the Future’, Miami contains dramatic
skyscrapers, modern hotels and an international financial district. Greater Miami is famed for
conch fritters, black beans and rice, cowbells and castanets, salsa and compas, jig and rumba. It
offers a unique blend of 21st century and Old World architecture, sports facilities and sunbathing
opportunities, big-city culture and small-town neighbourhoods. The American Airlines Arena, a
distinctive, neon-lit addition to Miami’s futuristic skyline, has emerged as a focal point for the
city’s renaissance. This home for the Miami Heat basketball team is across from the new Miami-
Dade Performing Arts Center. Ornamented by a parade of palm trees, Brickell Avenue’s towers of
mirrored glass and steel command some of the area’s most coveted views of the Atlantic Ocean
and Biscayne Bay. Bayside Marketplace is a restaurant, shopping and entertainment complex on
the bay. Nearby, the Metro-Dade Cultural Center is a Mediterranean-style complex housing the
Center for the Fine Arts, the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and one of the largest
libraries in the southeast. Trips across the half dozen causeways that span Biscayne Bay are short
and scenic, connecting mainland Miami to the seaside attractions. Bal Harbor, Surfside, Sunny
Isles, Key Biscayne and Miami Beach are minutes from the heart of the city.

MIAMI BEACH: Renovated hotels along Ocean Drive and throughout the Art Deco District have
captured national praise for the Art Deco, Streamline Moderne and Spanish Mediterranean
Revival styles which dominate the 1 sq mile area. Just north of the Art Deco Historic District,
multi-million dollar restorations have transformed many of the well-known hotels along Collins
Avenue. The striking new architecture of the recently expanded Miami Beach Convention Center
makes it an instant landmark. The updated and hip Lincoln Road Mall is a hub of the arts and
entertainment: the street now houses the South Florida Arts Center, the Colony Theatre and the
headquarters of MTV Latino, the New World Symphony and Sony Latin America. At the
southernmost tip of Miami Beach, South Pointe Park offers an ideal vantage point to watch luxury
cruise ships make their way out to sea. Boat watching is also a favourite pastime at the
International Yacht Harbor, one of the largest marinas in South Florida. All year round, the warm
sand, azure waters and pleasant breezes of Miami Beach beckon sunbathers, picnickers and
outdoor diners.

ELSEWHERE: Biscayne National Park offers glass-bottomed boat rides through mangroves and
islands and out to tropical coral reefs rising 8m (25ft). Miami Metrozoo represents state-of-the-art
zoo design, with exotic animals in habitats very similar to their original homes in the wild.
Miccosukee Indian Village, west of Miami, shows how this Native American tribe existed (and still
exists) in the heart of the Florida Everglades. The Monkey Jungle gives visitors the chance to see
North America’s first colony of wild monkeys in lush tropical jungle surroundings. Vizcaya, south
of central Miami on Biscayne Bay, is a beautiful 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palace set in

10 acres of picturesque formal gardens. The Miami Museum of Science & Space Transit
Planetarium has many attractions, including a laser show. With over 3000 exotic animals, 500
species of plants and the largest crocodile in captivity, Parrot Jungle Island opened in June 2003,
after its US$47 million relocation to Watson Island, mid way between Miami and South Beach, off
the MacArthur Causeway.

TRAVEL: Miami International Airport (MIA) (website: www.miami-airport.com), located 7 miles
from central Miami, ranks 12th in the USA for total passenger traffic, with approximately 30
million travellers passing through its portals annually. Parking at the airport is simplified by a
state-of-the-art people-mover system that connects the parking areas to the main airport
terminal via moving walkways. Airlines serving the airport include Air Canada, Air France,
American Airlines, British Airways, Continental and Delta Airlines. Miami Air International is an
upmarket charter airline specialising in cruise travellers, and incentive and corporate travel.
Supershuttle offers easy, door-to-door transport to and from the airport. Customer service
representatives are on call 24 hours a day and are located outside the airport baggage claims
area. More than 19 of the 63 Dade County routes serve Greater Miami and the Beaches every
day, as well as the Miami Seaquarium, the Orange Bowl Stadium, the Cultural Centre and

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Miami in 2005: Jan
14-16 Art Deco Weekend, Miami Beach. Feb 4-13 Miami Film Festival. Feb 17-21 Miami
International Boat Show, Miami Beach. Feb 19-21 Coconut Grove Arts Festival. Feb 24-27 Coral
Gables Bluefest, Coral Gables. Feb 25-27 South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Miami. Mar
Carnaval Miami, Little Havana. Apr 22-May 1 Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. May 8-9 Great
Sunrise Balloon Race and Festival, Miami. Jun 3-6 South Florida Boat Show, Miami Beach. Jun
Goombay Festival, Coconut Grove. Nov-Jan 2006 Santa's Enchanted Forest, Tropical Park, Miami.

Fort Lauderdale
Greater Fort Lauderdale is one of the premier tourism destinations in South Florida. During the
1920s, this sleepy outpost boomed when real estate speculators dredged the Everglades, forming
irrigation canals and creating the ‘Venice of America’. Brick-paved pedestrian promenades,
columned porticos and hundreds of new palm trees make the city’s famed beachfront strip one of
the best in the USA. In total, there are 23 miles of beach front, 300 miles of inland waterways
and 3500 restaurants. Riverwalk, a linear park, links hotels, restaurants and attractions along the
banks of the New River, leading to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Water taxis ply
Fort Lauderdale’s canals and the Intracoastal Waterway. Opportunities to explore the natural
world in Greater Fort Lauderdale include Butterfly World, dedicated to the study, care and display
of beautiful butterflies from all over the globe; Flamingo Gardens; the Water Taxi; and the
Museum of Discovery & Science. The Secret Woods Nature Center features wetlands, mangrove
swamps and numerous plant and animal communities. It is possible to ride an airboat through
the Everglades at Sawgrass Recreation Park or Everglades Holiday Park. The Old Fort Lauderdale
Village & Museum is a historic village in the centre of Fort Lauderdale, comprising the 1905 New
River Inn (housing the museum), the 1905 Philemon Bryan House (the administrative offices of
the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society), the 1907 King-Cromartie House (museum) and the
Replica 1899 Schoolhouse. The new Hoch Heritage Center is due to open in 2005. The Society
produces exhibits on the area’s development, the history of sports in South Florida, regional
architecture, Seminole Indian culture and even a silent movie theatre. The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki
Museum, on the Seminole Indian Reservation, includes profiles of historic leaders, artefacts,
traditional crafts, toys and jewellery exhibits. The Von D Mizell Library is just one of several
attractions in Broward County with important affiliations to the African-American community.
Displays feature the black heritage of Broward County, especially authors and artists, as well as
memorabilia of Dr Mizell, one of the area’s first African-American doctors. Bonnet House is a
historical estate of 14 hectares (35 acres) that reflects the history of South Florida. The

waterfront estate includes a plantation-style house, art gallery, a bamboo bar and shell museum
and eight outbuildings. Other attractions include Stranahan House, the home of the area’s first
ferryman, Frank Stranahan, and the Graves Museum of Archaeology & Natural History with
exhibits on the Tequesta Indians of South Florida, as well as ancient Egypt and the Near East,
marine archaeology, pre-Hispanic Americas and the Carole Jacobs Mineral Collection. Boats can
be hired from Bahia Mar Marina or visitors can hop aboard The Jungle Queen, a paddleboat. Also
in the area is Sawgrass Mills Mall, the world’s largest designer outlet mall, which features over
275 speciality shops.

TRAVEL: Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL) (website: www.fll.net) is located
in Fort Lauderdale. It is served by 24 airlines including Air Canada, Air Jamaica, American Airlines,
Continental, Delta, TWA and United.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Fort Lauderdale in
2005: Feb 4-6 Fiesta Tropicale (South Florida’s Mardi Gras). Feb 12-Mar 13 13th Annual Florida
Renaissance Festival, Deerfield Beach. Apr Fort Lauderdale Seafood Festival, Smoker Park. Nov
19th Annual Sound Advice Blues Festival, Fort Lauderdale.

Palm Beach
This is a popular hang-out of the rich and famous, who spend their days buying jewellery in
Cartier on Worth Avenue or sipping iced-tea at the polo matches. The resort is also home to the
Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, a tribute to the railroad mogul who established the area as an
exclusive holiday destination by laying out the opulent palm-lined boulevards. Other attractions in
the area include the Burt Reynolds Ranch & Film Studios, a 68 hectare (168 acre) ranch featuring
a mini-petting farm, gift shop and museum; the Rapids Water Park, with four gigantic
waterslides; the Sailfish Marine and Lion Country Safari Park, with more than 1000 wild animals,
free boat cruises, miniature golf and a dinosaur and reptile park; and the International Museum
of Cartoon Art has a permanent collection which includes 100,000 original drawings, 10,000
books and hundreds of hours of film and videotape. Other museums in the area are the
Children’s Museum of Boca Raton, South Florida Science Museum and Morikami Museum &
Japanese Gardens. West of Palm Beach is Lake Okeechobee, the second-largest lake in the USA,
celebrated for its large-mouth bass fishing.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in Palm Beach in
2005: Jan 15-30 South Florida Fair. Mar 17-20 Palm Beach Boat Show. Apr 27-May 1 Sunfest,
West Palm Beach.

The Keys
From Miami to Key West is only 45 minutes by air. The first Key from Miami is Key Largo, the
longest island of the Keys chain and the site where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall battled
with both Edward G Robinson and the elements in the movie Key Largo. Key Largo’s star
attractions are John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park the first underwater preserve in the USA
and the adjacent Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary. These two refuges feature 55 varieties of
delicate corals and almost 500 different species of fish. Key Largo also features the world’s only
underwater hotel, where guests can spend the evening in the midst of the marine life of the
Keys. Islamorada is the centrepiece of a group of islands called ‘The Purple Isles’ that includes
Plantation Keys, Windley Key and both Upper Matecumbe Key and Lower Matecumbe Key. Known
as the ‘Sportfishing Capital of the World’, Islamorada is famed for its angling opportunities and
features the Keys’ largest fleet of offshore charterboats and shallow water ‘backcountry’ boats.
The Keys boast more sportfishing world records than any other fishing destination in the world.
Anglers can find sailfish, marlin, kingfish, snapper, barracuda and grouper. Long Key State Park
has nature trails leading to tropical hummocks and Grassy Key is the site of the Dolphin Research
Center. Marathon, heart of the Florida Keys, and neighbouring Key Colony Beach, boast 18- and

9-hole golf courses respectively. It is also home to Crane Point Hammock, a 26 hectare (63.5
acre) land tract that is one of the most important historical and archaeological sites in the Keys.
The area contains evidence of pre-Columbian and prehistoric Bahamian artefacts and was once
the site of a Native American village. At Crane Point is the Museum of Natural History of the
Florida Keys and the Florida Keys Children’s Museum, which explores the islands’ rich natural
history. Big Pine Key is noted for the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, a national refuge for
miniature Key deer, tropical forests and even a few alligators in the Blue Hole. Ernest Hemingway
purchased a pre-Civil War mansion in Key West and lived in it for 10 years while writing some of
his best-known novels. His legend remains and visitors continue to seek out his home now a
museum and his favourite bar. In the evening, visitors gather at Mallory Square to ‘call it a day’.
The daily ‘Sunset Celebration’ is a tradition that Key Westers share with visitors. While musicians,
jugglers, mime artists and an occasional fire-eater provide the entertainment, the sun sinks
slowly below the horizon.

SPECIAL EVENTS: The following is a selection of special events occurring in The Keys in 2005:
Jan 29-30 20th Annual Key West Craft Show. Feb 12-13 11th Annual Pigeon Key Art Festival,
Marathon. Mar 19-20 32nd Annual Original Marathon Seafood Festival, Marathon. Apr 22-May 1
23rd Conch Republic Independence Day Celebration, Key West. Apr 23-24 Annual 7 Mile Bridge
Run, Marathon. May 11-15 Key West Songwriters Festival. Jun 13-18 Cuban American Heritage
Festival, Key West. Jul 9 21st Annual Underwater Music Festival, Big Pine Key. Jul 18-24
Hemingway Days Festival, Key West. Jul 20-23 Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament (in
conjunction with the Hemingway Days Festival). Oct 21-30 27th Annual Fantasy Fest, Key West.
Nov 13-20 Key West Offshore World Championships (powerboat racing). Dec 31 New Year's Eve
Celebrations, Key West.


FOOD & DRINK: Miami/Miami Beach: There are more than 300 fine restaurants, and most
hotels maintain excellent dining rooms. Some gourmet eateries are expensive but many popular
restaurants have economy prices. Cuban and Mexican food is very popular in Miami, and because
Florida is surrounded almost entirely by water, seafood is a State speciality. Fresh stone crabs are
not available anywhere else in the USA. Orlando: International Drive is the centre of a variety of
restaurants that include Chinese, tapas, Cuban, Asian/Pacific rim and even fondue. Tampa: There
is a clear emphasis on Latin cuisine in Tampa but all tastes are catered for, with everything from
international restaurants to fast food.

NIGHTLIFE: Miami/Miami Beach: Nightclubs exist in most hotels and resorts. The Coconut
Grove area, with its trendy nightclubs and cocktail bars, offers a swinging nightlife both inside the
clubs and on the streets where many people just come for a stroll, in order to be where the
action is. The most lavish and lively clubs are Cuban supper clubs. Les Folies and Les Violons,
both on Biscayne Boulevard, are highly recommended and feature spectacular shows and
excellent food. Tampa: The best nightlife on the Gulf Coast can be found in Ybor City, which is
Tampa’s lively and historic Latin quarter. The action centres on Seventh Avenue, which closes to
traffic at weekends to allow the party atmosphere to spill out on to the streets.

SHOPPING: Miami: The city’s main shopping streets are Flagler Street, between Biscayne Bay
and Miami Avenue; and Biscayne Boulevard, between Flagler Street and north to 16th Street.
Luxury and designer shops can be found at Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables, south of
Miami. Miami Beach: The principal shopping area is Lincoln Road Mall. Just north of Miami Beach
is the Bal Harbour Shopping District. Fort Lauderdale: The famous Sawgrass Mills Factory Outlet
Mall is located on the northwest edge of the city and many boutiques can be found near the

waterfront. Tampa: The main shopping area is around Franklin Street Mall. Orlando: Shoppers
can take advantage of a huge range of retail outlets from factory outlet malls such as Lake Buena
Vista Factory Stores to designer malls such as Orlando Premium Outlets and the Mall at Millenia.

Sport: Florida’s sports opportunities are endless. Greyhound-racing is held in Bonita Springs,
Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, the Keys, Miami, Orange Lake, Palm Beach,
Pensacola, Sarasota, St Petersburg and Tampa. Harness-racing is popular in Pompano and
thoroughbred horse racing in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Tampa. Other spectator sports include
professional basketball, played in Miami at the American Airlines Arena; professional football, with
the Miami Dolphins playing at the Pro Player Stadium in Miami and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
team in Tampa; and polo, played at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. Other sports on offer
include golf, tennis, fishing, boat-racing, motorcar-racing, rodeo, baseball, diving and sailing.
Hunting and fishing licenses are sometimes required by persons over 16 years of age; check with
the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (website: www.floridaconservation.org).
For further information and brochures on any of the above-listed sports, contact the Florida
Sports Foundation, 2930 Kerry Forest Parkway, Tallahassee, FL 32309 (tel: (850) 488 8347; fax:
(850) 922 0482; e-mail: info@flasports.com; website: www.flasports.com).

THEATRE & CONCERTS: Miami/Miami Beach: The best known theatres include the Theater of
Performing Arts at Miami Beach Convention Center Complex and Coconut Grove Playhouse, which
plays major Broadway hits. The Concert Association of Florida books many major stars; their
shows are usually staged at Dade County or Miami Beach Auditoria. Fort Lauderdale: Parker
Playhouse was created by Zev Buffman, owner of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, and shows
usually move on from there to the Parker. The Sunrise Music Theater often features big-name


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