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Destination Focus

Florida Keys & Key West

 

The Florida Keys and Key West is a 126 mile long string of Islands connected to South Florida by the scenic Overseas Highway; a road that suspends the traveller in a place that bridges the gap between sea and sky. In the Florida Keys you are a world away from the theme parks of central Florida, in a place that envelopes you with its warmth and beauty, encourages you to embrace its wide open spaces, create meaningful experiences and grants you permission to shed the worries of the real world you just left behind!

 

The turquoise blue waters that surrounds Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and Key West is a treasure trove both above and below. Divers and snorkeler’s splash down into the only living coral reef in North America to discover nature’s idea of an aquarium, while fishermen anticipate the challenge of catching their dinner and kite surfers await the caress of the light trade winds.

On land discover the art galleries, independently owned cafes, varied museums or just sit and relax in the abundant sunshine and recharge your batteries. Then celebrate the setting of the sun each night, at any time of year, by enjoying a cocktail or two, the local live music, authentic diverse cuisine and lively atmosphere.

The Florida Keys and Key West has welcomed travellers for hundreds of years giving safe harbours to explorers, pirates, rum runners and now tourists. Whichever category you fall into we invite you to discover the Conch Republic and most importantly ‘Come As You Are’!

Key Largo
The longest island of the Keys chain, Key Largo gave its name to the famous movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in 1948 - portions of which were filmed there. Bogart went on to star in the film The African Queen with Katharine Hepburn in 1951, the actual boat Bogart skippered in the movie of the same name, resides in Key Largo and is available for day trips.                  

Key Largo is flanked by the Everglades National Park to the west, a premier destination for kayakers, birders and other eco-tourists.

To the east is the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef, and Key Largo has earned the moniker of Diving Capital of the World. Six miles offshore in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is the Spiegel Grove shipwreck, a 510-foot former US Navy ship intentionally scuttled in 2002. But Key Largo’s star attraction is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park - the first underwater preserve in the United States. These two refuges, part of the Keys’ marine sanctuary, feature 55 varieties of delicate corals and almost 500 different species of fish. 

 

Islamorada
Islamorada is the centrepiece of a group of islands called the “purple isles.” Spanish explorers named the area “morada,” the Spanish word for purple — either for the violet sea snail, janthina janthina, found on the seashore here, or for the purple bougainvillea flowers found in the area.  Known as the “Sport fishing Capital of the World,” Islamorada is heralded for its angling diversity and features the Keys’ largest fleet of offshore charter boats and shallow-water “backcountry” boats.

The Keys boast more sport fishing world records than any other fishing destination in the world, according to the International Game Fish Association. Anglers can find sailfish, marlin, dolphin (the fish, not the mammal), kingfish, snapper, barracuda and grouper in the ocean. Tarpon, bonefish, redfish and other species can be found in shallow coastal waters.

Activity, fun and relaxation for the whole family includes hand-feeding hungry tarpon at the docks of Robbie's Marina, or catching a dolphin, sea lion and parrot show at Theater of the Sea marine mammal park.

 

Marathon
Midway down the Florida Keys, Marathon features iconic learning centres with educational focus where visitors can enjoy unique interactive experiences including The Turtle Hospital, the world's only licensed veterinary hospital dedicated to the treatment of sea turtles, and The Dolphin Research Center, a not-for-profit education and research facility since 1984.

Big Pine Key and Lower Keys
Big Pine Key is noted for the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, rated by many as among the most spectacular shallow-water dive experiences to be found. The sheer sweep of the Straits of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico is readily seen from the Bahia Honda Bridge. Bahia Honda State Park, whose beach was named one of the top 10 in the United States by several travel studies, is a prime example of the Lower Keys’ pristine beauty. Popular nature tours, many by kayak, offer unforgettable opportunities to view the unique flora and fauna in this area of the Keys.

 

Key West
Located closer to Cuba than to Miami, Key West is Florida's irreverent southernmost subtropical paradise, a unique confluence of history, climate, natural beauty, cultural diversity, architecture and unabashed romantic appeal.

At day’s end in Key West, visitors gather at Mallory Square to experience the daily “sunset celebration” — a tradition that Key Westers share with visitors. While musicians, jugglers, mimes and other performers provide entertainment, the sun sinks slowly below the horizon as sunset cruise boats sail by in Key West Harbour.

The nightlife in Key West can be exciting and diverse. The “Duval Crawl” is a popular phrase used to describe fun-seekers’ evening jaunts up and down the island’s main street to sample numerous taverns and entertainment offerings. For more culturally oriented visitors, explore one of the many museums or historic sites; theatre is available at several playhouses and the Key West Symphony offers periodic concerts. 

Naples Marco Island and the Everglades

 

 

Whether travellers are looking for a romantic escape or family getaway, Florida's Paradise Coast - Naples, Marco Island & the western portion of the Everglades - is a natural and cultural gem. With more than 30 miles of soft, white sand beaches, world-class golf, a thriving arts and culture scene, distinctive dining and the best of outdoor adventure, the Paradise Coast is truly a destination with it all.

Located just two hours from Miami, four hours from Orlando and three hours from Tampa, the Paradise Coast is easily accessible with additional connectivity from many US gateways into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW).

 

Discover Florida's Paradise Coast
They call it the Paradise Coast. It's the Southwest Gulf Coast area of Florida that includes the resort cities of Naples and Marco Island, along with The Everglades and several national, state, local and private parks and nature preserves. Providing wide open spaces and outdoor adventure – exactly what you will be looking for in abundance post lockdown.

Naples Beach & Pier
The white sands of Naples Beach hold obvious appeal, and the historic Naples Pier, open 24/7 for fishing as well as people, bird and dolphin watching, is a popular gathering spot for visitors and locals alike to watch the sun set into the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Family Attractions
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is located in a 52-acre old-growth historic botanical garden and is a great spot for families. The zoo, accredited by the Association for Zoos & Aquariums, continues to add new exhibits that entertain as well as educate.

Golf
With over 90 golf courses in the greater Naples and Marco Island area, the region draws professional and leisure players from all over the globe. Although many courses are private, some turn semi-private in the off-season, meaning they offer non-members access between May and December, providing excellent value.

Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park is teeming with protected species including the Florida panther, American crocodile and West Indian manatee, and is the 10th largest national park in the United States. Many don't realise the Gulf Coast entrance to Everglades National Park is FREE to enter and the gateway to the saltwater portion of this expansive national park. Many say it's the most beautiful section of the park, and a favourite with sport fishermen and paddlers for its natural wilderness and quiet beauty. 

 

March - St. Pete/Clearwater

 


St. Pete/Clearwater offers 35 miles of award-winning, spectacular white-sand beaches and breath-taking sunsets. With an abundance of arts and cultural must-dos, adrenalin-fuelled water sports and a fast-growing food and craft beer scene, this is the perfect holiday destination for families, couples and singles alike. A sun-drenched paradise where shorts and sundresses, flip-flops and sandals are the uniform of the day and the sounds of the Gulf provide an audio backdrop to a slower pace. The sun, the sand and the water await.

Start with digging your toes into the powdery sands of Clearwater Beach which was voted as America’s Best Beach on TripAdvisor’s annual list of the 25 Best Beaches for the last 2 years, and with St. Pete Beach ranked at Number 4 for 2019.

 

Beautiful Clearwater Beach not only has brilliant white sands but is also a hub of hubbub with a nightly celebration at Pier 60 filled with crafters, buskers and live music, a great place to watch the sunset. On laid-back St. Pete Beach, build the perfect sandcastle, fly over the water in a parasail or go stand-up paddleboarding on the brilliant Gulf of Mexico.

Find an Old Florida vibe in Treasure Island or Pass-A-Grille, or get active at family-friendly Fort De Soto. There’s no place quite like the pristine beaches of Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands - completely undeveloped barrier islands where you’re guaranteed a blissful break.

Some of the most breathtaking scenery and invigorating experiences are found on the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf. Rent a canoe or kayak to get closer to nature as you paddle through the peaceful mangrove trails. Or if you feel the need for speed, why not hire a jet ski from John’s Pass Village in Treasure Island or try your hand at a private two-man speedboat.

Dial up the heat at St. Pete/Clearwater’s waterfront restaurants, rooftop lounges, nightclubs and bars. Whether it be grabbing a fresh grouper sandwich from one of the local beach bars or enjoying a farm to table dining experience, the area is well known for its culinary options. Along the craft beer trail you’ll stumble upon an array of small independent breweries crafting fresh artisanal beers you can’t find anywhere else. Both beer geeks and newbies will find suds to suit their palate. Other people eat and drink, but there they savour and with the added bonus of gentle sea breezes and sparkling water views, who can deny that this isn’t a winning combination! Nightlife in the area is vibrant and varied. St. Pete/Clearwater has one of the best nightlife scenes in Florida.

St. Pete/Clearwater is home to 26 distinct community neighbourhoods, from the Greek sponge fishing enclave of Tarpon Springs and Celtic-tinged Dunedin in the north to small town Safety Harbour, Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks and a string of other Gulf front beach towns all the way down to artsy Gulfport.

Immerse yourself in some of the area’s awe-inspiring art and culture in downtown St. Petersburg. Here you will find the world-famous Dali Museum, featuring the largest collection of artist’s work outside of Spain, as well as more than 70 incredible street murals, which adorn the buildings around Central Avenue. Another fantastic stop is The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center. Get lost in a swirl of glass sculptures before heading to the Morean Glass Studio and Hotshop to see resident artists creating glass art right in front of your eyes.

Located just 90 minutes from Orlando and 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, St. Pete/Clearwater is your perfect beach destination and ultimate Florida holiday.

Top things to do in St. Pete/Clearwater:

  • Spend the day on one of our beautiful ‘Award-Winning’ beaches with Clearwater Beach voted as America’s Best Beach on TripAdvisor’s annual list of the 25 Best Beaches for 2 years in a row and St. Pete Beach ranked as Number 4 for 2019.
  • Celebrate the amazing sunsets at Pier 60 Festival, a nightly sunset celebration that takes place in Pier 60 Park on Clearwater Beach.
  • Explore natural adventures within our pristine park system. Swim, fish and snorkel, or hire a Canoe or Kayak and meander through the many mangrove swamps and waterways.
  • Observe astounding art at the Salvador Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg which houses the largest collection of the artists’ work outside of Spain.
  • Discover our diverse heritage from Tarpon Springs, a historic riverfront town famous for sponge diving, to Dunedin with its Scottish Heritage and antique shops galore.
  • Visit Winter the Dolphin, star of the ‘Dolphin Tale’ movies at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
  • Quench your thirst on our thriving Craft Beer Trail or tantalise those taste buds on one or more of the seven stops along the oh-so sweet Chocolate Trail.
  • Bike, jog or rollerblade along the 38 plus mile Pinellas Trail.
  • Play a round of golf at more than 50 challenging courses.
  • Enjoy a day at one of the many state of the art spas.
  • Shop amid fabulous boutiques both fine and eclectic.
  • Why not attend one of our many festivals or events that take place throughout the year including the Clearwater Jazz Holiday or the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
  • Sports fans can take in a game at one or more of the area’s professional teams including Tampa Bay Rays (Baseball), Tampa Bay Rowdies (Soccer) or Tampa Bay Buccaneers (American Football).

Click here for some of our best St. Pete/Clearwater deals!

March - Utah


In Utah cities, mountains, rivers and cultures converge. With five national parks, 44 state parks, six national forests, seven national monuments, 14 ski areas, deserts and mountains, natural beauty is around every corner. From the red rocks of southern Utah’s Mighty 5® national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion) to the Greatest Snow on Earth®, Utah is jam-packed with jaw-dropping landscapes and world class outdoor adventures - all just waiting to form part of the ultimate US road trip.

The Mighty 5®
Each of southern Utah’s Mighty 5® national park boasts unique features and some of the most breath-taking landscapes on earth. Arches National Park is home to over 2,000 naturally formed sandstone arches, towers, fins and balanced rocks, including Landscape Arch, the second longest in the world!

Witness the rugged terrain of deep canyons, towering mesas, buttes and spires in Canyonlands National Park. The mesmerising landscape you see today has been carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries.

Capitol Reef National Park is almost like a planet unto itself. Here you get a real feel for what the earth might have been like millions of years ago. Experience spectacular coloured cliffs, sweeping vistas, massive domes and deep canyons. 

The distinctive red rock pillars, called hoodoos, in Bryce Canyon National Park have been carved into the parks natural amphitheatre over millions of years. Take a walk through the impressive spires and watch the golden colours change as the sun rises and sets.

Follow the Virgin River throughout Zion National Park’s canyon, the luscious greenery contrasting the massive sandstone either side of you. Don’t miss your chance to hike The Narrows or climb the incredible trail to Angel’s Landing for an unforgettable experience!

Scenic Byways
Time on the road in Utah passes quickly as no matter where you are travelling there’s a scenic byway to take you there.  The 27 state and national scenic byways are destinations themselves connecting the Mighty 5® national parks with state parks, national monuments and vibrant cities and welcoming towns. 

Punctuating the drive are breathtaking views, national monuments and recreation areas, as well as state parks to visit. You'll pass through pioneer towns like Henrieville, untouched by time and experience award-winning local cuisine in Boulder.

Hidden Gems
There is no doubt that Utah's national parks feature some of the most astonishing landscapes in the world. But Utah’s state parks, and national monuments and recreation areas are equal to, and sometimes more alluring.

Monument Valley is the iconic symbol of the American West, with a deep tribal history located in the heart of the Navajo Tribal Park. The towering sandstone formations soar between 400 to 1,000ft high. Explore the 17-mile scenic drive on your own, via a guided jeep tour, or get up close and personal by hiking or horse riding through the valley.

The vast Grand Staircase-Escalante area boasts a mixture of colourful sandstone cliffs soaring above narrow slot canyons. In Goblin Valley State Park the landscape, covered with sandstone goblins and fascinating formations, is often compared to Mars. Bring your camera to capture the view from the canyon rim at Dead Horse Point State Park as you look 2,000 feet down towards the Colorado River. And admire the three spectacular natural bridges in White Canyon at Natural Bridges National Monument, each carved by the incredible force of water.

Northern Utah
The culturally vibrant Wasatch Front of the western Rocky Mountains is home to many of Utah's liveliest downtowns. The state capital, Salt Lake City, is an artsy, cultural centre with a bustling dining and shopping scene.  Take a free guided tour of Temple Square, home to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and containing more than 15 attractions related to their heritage and beliefs.

Nearby Antelope Island State Park, the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, is home to free-roaming bison and antelope herds. It's a craggy adventure destination with miles of hiking and biking trails.

Bear Lake State Park is a story of two halves; during the summer months sail, water ski, paddle or scuba dive the brilliantly blue waters. In colder months the park transforms into a winter wonderland to experience the likes of snowmobiling and ice fishing.

Head to the mountains to Wasatch State Park or Uinta-Wasatch Cache National Forest, or detour to Timpanogos Cave National Monument for spectacular colours and formations. Walk where dinosaurs once roamed and study real life fossils embedded into the rocks at Vernal and Dinosaur National Monument.

International Dark Sky Places
With very little light pollution and clear weather Utah boasts the highest concentration of International Dark Sky Places in the world, including four national parks, four state parks and five national monuments. You’ll have no problem catching incredible views of the moon, constellations, planets and even the Milky Way! Many areas offer their own night sky programmes with telescopes and astronomers at hand to talk you through exactly what you can see.

Little Hollywood
Film buffs will be in their element as they delve into Utah’s movie heritage. Since the early 1930s, Utah has been Hollywood’s go-to outdoor filming location and the state has played a starring role in big screen hits including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Footloose, Independence Day and Dumb and Dumber.

Having shot five films in the area John Wayne named the towering mesas of Monument Valley as ‘the place where God put the West’. Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump also famously ended his cross country run here, while Thelma and Louise took their final leap at Dead Horse Point State Park. In Arches National Park a young Indiana Jones discovered the Cross of Cortez in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Fans of HBO’s futuristic drama series, Westworld, will also recognise Utah’s iconic and diverse landscapes.

Each January, the annual Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Salt Lake, Ogden and Sundance Mountain Resort. Founded by Robert Redford, the 10-day celebration showcases the best in independent film making.

Adventure and activities
Adrenalin seekers are spoilt for choice with an abundance of outdoor activities across Utah including hiking, mountain biking, rafting, climbing, canyoneering, horse riding and off-road adventures. 

There are thousands of miles of great walking and hiking trails throughout Utah. Choose between a stroll to stunning rock formations or a mountain walk with views of alpine lakes and dense forests. Utah’s mountain biking trails range from gentle introductory rides to extreme slick rock terrain. If you are tempted by a wet and wild adventure, Utah is also home to rivers and lakes that offer some of the most incredible water-based activities - white-water rafting, kayaking and swimming.

Local activity operators throughout the state offer guided tours from a just few hours to full day or multi-day experiences.

Getting to Utah
Fly directly into Salt Lake City from London Heathrow with Delta Air Lines, or for access to southern Utah, Las Vegas is just a one and a half hour drive. Once in Utah, getting about is straight forward. You’ll just want to hit the road, explore and savour the fresh air, blue skies and stunning scenery around you!

February - Daytona Beach

 


Daytona Beach is a wonderful blend of the easy beach lifestyle and world-class arts and entertainment events. With a variety of small and large festivals, spectator sports, racing and natural beauty, you'll never run out of things to do when visiting Daytona Beach. Indulge yourself with visits to distinctive boutiques and outlets. Discover the burgeoning restaurant scene and vibrant social atmosphere of microbreweries and wine bars. The area is bursting with flavors to savor! With the wide variety of accommodations, including oceanfront hotel rooms, that the Daytona Beach area has to offer you’ll find just what you’re looking for. What’s more, you won’t have to wander far to catch a view. Your hotel room veranda is the perfect venue to soak in the sun rising over the Atlantic. Grab a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and sit back to enjoy the scene. While Daytona Beach is known for its 23-miles of beautiful Atlantic beaches and sunny weather, there’s so much more. Discover the endless adventures that await you on your next Florida vacation in Daytona Beach. Come and experience it for yourself!

Adventure awaits in Daytona Beach! Explore 23 miles of relaxing, white sand beaches, world-famous Daytona International Speedway, the Cici & Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, the iconic Daytona Beach Boardwalk & Pier, 20 exciting golf courses, 60 annual events and festivals, dozens of museums and galleries, family attractions, an eclectic selection of unique dining options, fishing, wildlife -- and plenty of watersports and outdoor fun. It’s just an hour’s drive to Orlando and other Central Florida attractions.


Top 10 Reasons to Visit Daytona Beach

 1.  'World Center of Racing'
There are plenty of things to be proud of and fueling the need for speed is an accomplishment we don’t mind bragging about. Legends of the sport began racing on our beaches in the early 1900’s and they continue racing towards championships today at Daytona International Speedway.

Race fans are rejoicing over a $400 million transformation that created a world-class facility with premium amenities and unparalleled conveniences and experiences. The mecca of motorsports is a state-of-the-art motorsports facility and is also home to a family-fun attraction, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

2.  Festival Capital of Florida
One big thing that makes Daytona Beach stand out is the flair for festivals. Daytona Beach takes claim to the title of Festival Capital of Florida for good reason with festivals and events taking place here year round.

Make the pilgrimage for one of our large legendary events like BikeWeek and Biketoberfest®, Halifax Art Festival, or the Daytona Turkey Run classic car show. During Speedweeks is also a great time to visit several of the 60 smaller cultural festivals put on throughout the year. Festivals are constantly being added to the line-up, so please visit FestivalCapitalofFlorida.com for the most up-to-date information.

In the summer, weekly live entertainment fills the historic Daytona Beach Bandshell as the Summer Concert Series entertains every weekend followed by fireworks on Saturday evenings. In 2020, the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the exciting final race of the NASCAR regular season, is moving to August 29.

3.  Rich History
Daytona Beach is full of history beginning with our native ancestors the Timucuan Indians, Spanish and French settlements, sugar mill plantations and the man who put Florida on the map as a tourist destination, Henry Flagler. Today, you can learn about and even see our humble beginnings in some of our parks, preserves and historic sites. Take a walk through history while you tour Rockefeller’s Ormond Beach home, The Casements, or visit the ruins of old sugar mill plantations at Bulow Creek State Park, Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens, Sugarmill Ruins or DeLeon Springs State Park.

4.  Ponce Inlet
This southern part of our beach destination is full of activities and dining options for all to enjoy. More than just an inlet, the quaint Town of Ponce Inlet is home to the tallest lighthouse in Florida, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. Open for tours, the lighthouse also hosts special events throughout the year. While you’re here, learn about the wonders of sea life at the Marine Science Center or go for an aquatic adventure with Ponce Inlet Watersports.

5.  Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier
There’s something nostalgic about a boardwalk beach experience. The boardwalk and pier is focused on two important parts of every vacation – fun and food. Take snack time to the next level at the Main Street Pier – enjoy lunch with a view from Joe’s Crab Shack located towards the end of the pier directly over the Atlantic.

Not in the mood for seafood? Don’t worry. They have a pizza place, ice-cream shop and a roof top bar called The Roof where you can indulge in tropical drinks and a picture worthy view of Daytona Beach.

6.  World's Most Famous Beach
A beach trip isn’t complete without one day or five spent at the beach. Choose your place in the sand along 23 miles of beach featuring easy access points for driving on in select areas or parking nearby. And check out the many beachfront splash parks, beach volleyball courses and jungle gyms for fun along the shoreline.

Take a drive on the beach or bring a bicycle for a truly enjoyable ride in the sand. Not all of your fun will happen on dry land. There are plenty of adventures to be had in the Atlantic from paddle boarding and surfing to kayaking and parasailing.

7.  Thrill Rides
Visitors can choose from a surprising list of attractions including a race around Daytona International Speedway with the NASCAR Racing Experience. Explore a dozen water rides at Daytona Lagoon Waterpark Entertainment Center, a Daytona Beach Zipline Adventure or enjoy the calm thrill of up-close encounters with marine life while paddle boarding in the Halifax River.

8.  Golfing
Visitors can soften their spikes at several Daytona Beach area courses popular with pros, experienced players and those still learning the links. Boasting two, four-star courses as rated by Golf Digest, LPGA International leads the pack. DaytonaBeach.Golf is your source for a golf package that fits your budget. Here’s hoping the greens are kind… 

9.  Scenic Cruising Opportunities
Cruising is a tradition in Daytona Beach. Whether you’re cruising down Atlantic Avenue in your vehicle or taking in the sights on your Harley, you’re sure to log some miles taking in all that the Daytona Beach area has to offer. Motorcyclists come from all over the world to ride our streets and our most celebrated stretch of road – the Ormond Scenic Loop or as the locals call it, 'The Loop'. At just over 30 miles long, 'The Loop' has the most diverse natural scenery remaining in northeast Florida with unobstructed views of two rivers, creeks, marshes, beach and the pristine hardwood hammock forest that canopies the road.

10.  Spectacular Accommodations
You’re sure to find the perfect place in Daytona Beach to rest your head after a day of fun in the sun. We have a little bit of everything with a myriad of beachfront and mainland accommodations varying from trusted name brand resorts and hotels to quaint, independently-owned small inns and B&Bs. Those who like to be at one with nature have camping options that range from sleeping under the stars in a pop-up tent to lounging in the comforts of their RV or camper at any one of our campgrounds. No matter your pleasure, Daytona Beach accommodations meet all lifestyles and budgets.

Click here to see some of our great deals to Daytona Beach

February - Tampa Bay

 


The hip, urban heart of Florida’s west coast beats in Tampa Bay.

Located west of Orlando on the Sunshine State’s Gulf coast, Tampa Bay ranks at Florida’s Most diverse vacation destination, with family fun for every adrenaline level -- from thrill rides at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay and eye-to-eye encounters with manatees and giraffes at ZooTampa to quiet moments beneath the waves at The Florida Aquarium. Four cruise lines make Port Tampa Bay the key embarkation point for trips to Mexico, the western Caribbean, and Cuba. The Gulf’s sugar sand beaches lie a short drive away. Shopping options range from luxury items to bargain brands.

Food and drink lovers will find Florida’s Most creative chefs, as well as deep-rooted, iconic favorites such as award-winning Bern’s Steak House and The Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant and a pillar of historic Ybor City, Tampa’s Latin quarter. Food halls put the destination’s most delicious offerings close at hand in vibrant setting buzzing with activity. More than two dozen tasting rooms have earned Tampa Bay international acclaim as a hub for craft brewing.

For more than 130 years, Ybor (EE-bore) City’s Cuban masters have rolled cigars by hand inside the historic neighborhood’s cigar shops. Outside, Spanish-speaking locals solve the world’s problems over strong Cuban café con leche and authentic Cuban sandwiches. Ybor City is the open and welcoming home to Tampa Bay’s LGBT community, along with exciting nightclubs and funky shopping venues.

Steeped in Florida’s year-round sunshine and warm weather, the 4 km Tampa Riverwalk links downtown’s most popular hotels, restaurants, cultural attractions and parks like gems on a string. As it winds its way along Garrison Channel and the Hillsborough River, the Riverwalk provides beautiful space for a morning jog, after-lunch walk or hand-in-hand sunset stroll. Rental bikes, electric shuttles and the Pirate Water Taxi make moving through downtown simple and easy. The sparkling waterfront offers exciting options for exploring that include self-drive electric boats and self-propelled water bikes.

Tampa Bay also has some of Florida’s Most important cultural institutions. Tampa Museum of Art houses a diverse collection of ancient and modern art in a striking jewel-box building that seems to float above the Hillsborough River. At night, the museum becomes a work of art itself as the colors of Leo Villareal’s “Sky: Tampa” swirl across the façade. Nearby, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the largest theater complex in the Southeast, hosts Broadway shows, Opera Tampa, and the Florida Orchestra as well as home-grown theater.

Always evolving, Tampa Bay is busy adding nearly 3,000 new or re-invented hotel rooms over the next two years. The offerings include new waterfront properties such as the Current, a Marriott Autograph Collection property opening in 2019, along with luxury brands such as a new JW Marriott opening in 2020 and 5-star Edition Tampa opening in 2021 – the same year Tampa Bay hosts Super Bowl LV!

Top Tampa Bay Experiences

1.    Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay
Take a white-knuckle ride at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay, among the world’s top-rated theme parks. Cheetah Hunt® gives you the feel of chasing prey across the Serengeti. Cobra’s Curse brings you eye-to-eye with the Snake King before hurtling through an amazing ride. In 2019, Tigris opens as Florida’s tallest triple-launch coaster. Tampa Bay CityPASS makes access a bargain.

2.    Tampa Riverwalk
Running 2.4 miles (4 km) along Garrison Channel and the sparkling Hillsborough River, the Tampa Riverwalk provides a pedestrian-only path linking popular hotels, restaurants, museums, and performance venues like gems on a string. It is the perfect place for a morning jog, an afternoon bike ride, or a hand-in-hand sunset stroll.

 

3.    Dolphin spotting 
Thrill to the sight of a fin breaking the water during The Florida Aquarium’s Dolphin Quest excursion aboard the Bay Spirit II. Tampa Bay is home to bottlenose dolphins, manatees and other sea creatures all year round and an important nursery ground for their young. For a close-up encounter, step inside the Florida Aquarium to discover the connections that unite Florida’s delicate ecosystem from springs and wetlands to reefs and the Gulf of Mexico.

4.    On the Waterfront
Take to the water along Tampa Bay’s sparkling downtown waterfront. Sporty types will want to try out their sea legs atop a rented paddleboard. Captain your own Tampa e-boat for a slow cruise through downtown. Hop on and off the Pirate Water Taxi as it travels up and down the waterfront. Or bring your own crew and brews for a pedal-powered exploration above the Kraken Cycleboat.

 

5.    Luxury and discount shopping
Shop ‘til you drop among International Plaza’s 200 luxury brands, including Tiffany’s, Hugo Boss and Apple. Tampa International Airport is moments away, so you won’t have far to tote your bags. Bargain hunters will treasure the high-end brands at bargain prices at Tampa Premium Outlets – definitely worth the 20-minute drive north of downtown.

6.    Brew Bus
Join your friends (and make new ones) on an afternoon tour of Tampa Bay’s amazing craft breweries and leave the driving to this crew when you do. They’ll get you from Coppertail to Cigar City to Angry Chair and back with plenty of restaurant stops along the way so you can also soak up the superb food scene here in Florida’s hub for craft brewing.

7.    Tampa Bay History Center
People have called Tampa Bay home for more than 12,000 years, leaving behind a legacy written in wood, steel, and cigar smoke. Hands-on exhibits let visitors trace the history of the region from its earliest days to the 21st Century. Explore the inner working of the factories that make Tampa Bay the Cigar Capital of the World. The newest addition includes a life-sized pirate ship, sunken treasure and exciting tales of discovery. Sample a piece of culinary history when you bite into an authentic Cuban sandwich at the museum’s Columbia Café.

8.    Ybor City
Stroll the brick streets beneath iron balconies that preserve the unique flavor of Tampa Bay’s historic Latin Quarter. Savor Spanish and Cuban favorites at the Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant. Stop in a cigar shop to see Cuban masters still rolling smokes as they have for 130 years. Listen for the crowing of Tampa Bay’s wild chickens – a direct connection to the waves of Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants that built Tampa Bay into the Cigar Capital of the World. Step into Cuban territory at the park dedicated to the original Cuban revolutionary, poet and journalist José Martí.

 

9.    Bern’s Steak House
Florida’s top steak house also houses the world’s largest private wine collection at more than a million bottles. Located in the heart of toney Hyde Park, Bern’s has spent 60 years perfecting the kind of style and service that has lifted it into highest echelons of dining in the U.S. After your sumptuous main course, be sure to step upstairs to the Harry Waugh Dessert Room for their famously decadent macadamia nut ice cream. 

10.    Food Halls
Mix and match the plethora of local pleasures at two new food halls – Sparkman Wharf and Heights Public Market at Armature Works. Located at opposite ends of the Tampa Riverwalk, both eateries offer flavorful combinations of local restaurants created by some of Tampa Bay’s most dynamic chefs. Enjoy your meal while basking in the Florida sun at waterfront Sparkman Wharf. Watch boats bob on the Hillsborough River at Heights Public Market, which has your taste buds covered from Cuban sandwiches to ramen to breakfast and beyond. 

11.    Tampa International Airport
We know, it’s exceeding rare than an airport makes the list of memorable experiences. But, trust us on this. With flights from Europe on British Airways, Icelandair, Norwegian and (soon) Delta, TPA consistently ranks among the best airports in the U.S. for efficiency and all-around experience. A recent $1 billion expansion has added even more local restaurants, the country’s only in-airport brewery, and a new rental car facility that gets visitors on to their holiday in record time. Coming or going, it’s something to text home about.

12.    Tampa Bay CityPASS
As the only Florida destination in the CityPASS system, Tampa Bay gives families the perfect way to explore everyone’s favorite attractions without breaking the bank. For a single, steeply discounted price, CityPASS provides access to Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay, the Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, and MOSI – the Museum of Science and Industry. Take your time – each booklet is good for 9 days.



Tampa Premium Outlets® 
Tampa Premium Outlets® is located 20 miles north of downtown Tampa. Shop more than 110 designer and name-brand outlet stores at savings of 25% to 65% every day in a relaxed, contemporary “Key West”-style complete with palm trees throughout common area and water features to enhance the outdoor shopping experience. Relax and enjoy lunch in the Food Pavilion offering multiple dining options. 

Area Attractions include Adventure Island, Busch Gardens, Glazer Children’s Museum, Lowry Park Zoo and MOSI - Museum of Science & Industry.

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January - February - Bradenton, Anna Maria Island & Longboat Key

 

Bradenton is a laid-back, local Florida town, experience Florida like a local with its farmers markets, arts village, riverwalk, science and nature museum and an award-winning local brewery. Less than 10 miles beyond Bradenton lies the 7½mile stretch of Anna Maria Island, where the pristine beaches and laid-back lifestyle are the perfect tonic. Here, you’ll find cosy family homes and apartments, beautifully decorated, on or near the beach, catering to all budgets.  There are splendid oceanfront restaurants serving delicious fare throughout the day, with plenty of independent and authentic eateries to choose from including al-fresco options to catch those stunning sunsets. As with most people, you’ll find it difficult to visit Anna Maria Island and not fall in love with the unspoiled vibe of the area. 

 The Bishop Museum 
The Bishop is a museum of science and nature and the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Home to fascinating exhibits, as well as a digital state of the art planetarium and the manatee rehabilitation centre, where you can get up close to the manatee which are rescued and brought back to health before being released back in to the wild. The Bishop has also recently opened an interactive section of the museum where kids can dig for fossils and look through the microscopes in the science shed. 

“The Greenest Little Mainstreet in America”
Florida’s first LEED Platinum and Net Zero Energy Retail Park 
On the quaint island of Anna Maria, history is being made with the first platinum LEED and Zero Net Energy Commercial Park. On Pine Avenue, a collection of Historic 1920’s bungalows have been retrofitted into boutique shops and cafes with a green twist. The historical relics are completely powered by solar energy and geothermics.

Village of the Arts
If you’re an art lover, the Bradenton Area is the place to visit! A national arts magazine has listed Bradenton as one of the nation's top 10 small cities for art. A stroll through our colourful streets has something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie, a vinyl enthusiast or a quilt lover, you will discover a range of services that range from knife sharpening to yoga.

Bradenton Riverwalk
As Downtown Bradenton’s showpiece, the Riverwalk serves as an outdoor gathering place and host for many diverse events and activities. The stretch is a mile and a half and is one of the longest public riverwalks in Florida. Running alongside the Manatee River, the Riverwalk includes a Family Fun Zone with a splash fountain and playgrounds, a great lawn for picnics, kayak launch, a day dock for boaters, a botanical walk, public artwork and the 400-seat Mosaic Amphitheater.

Eco Tourism and Agritourism
When our visitor’s need a break from the sun and sand, there are several agri-tourism treasures for them to explore, offering entertainment and education for curious minds of all ages. All they need to do is head inland. Here are just a few of the many great places to start:

  • The Bradenton Area boasts not one, but two world-class wineries:
    • Bunker Hill Winery - is a "GREEN" Environmentally Responsible Winery and offers complimentary tours and tastings of their handcrafted wines. 
    • Rosa Fiorelli Winery - has a 10-acre Muscadine vineyard and their wines have won more than 100 awards. Tours include your choice of an authentic Italian lunch and wine in a complimentary souvenir glass to take home.
  • Dakin Dairy Farms - A visit to Dakin Dairy Farm is not only fun; it’s good for you! The farm is one of only three dairy farms left in the Bradenton Area.
  • Mixon Fruit Farms - has always been famous for its plump, juicy citrus, its gift shop and Groveside Café. But now, visitors can take a ride on the Orange Blossom Express through the groves past the Children’s Magical Maze and Wildlife Rescue, where the family will delight in an interactive show with rescued Florida animals, reptiles and birds. Our favorite thing about Mixons … their homemade orange swirl ice cream!
  • Robinson Nature Preserve - Robinson Nature Preserve in Bradenton is an exquisite nature preserve that is a popular destination for wildlife photography and bird watching, Tucked into the corner of northwest Bradenton, it includes 487 acres of coastal saltern, marsh, and mangrove habitat.
  • Turtle Watch Tours - In the Bradenton Area, the beaches are shared with Florida’s abundant wildlife and families visiting from May through November can experience “turtle nesting season”.

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