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A Florida travel guide – sugar-white beaches, culture-packed cities and world-class amusement parks

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Vacations in Florida encompass more than colorful reefs filled with tropical fish, lush nature preserves and Art Deco mansions. Take a break in Florida to discover an exciting diverse landscape, pulsing city centers and a world of culinary flavors.

Get your bearings

Jutting out on a peninsula in the southeast corner of the United States, Florida is a colorful canvas of lush landscapes and lively cities. Oak and magnolia forests of the Panhandle give way to barrier beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Bustling Tampa overlooks the beach enclaves of St. Petersburg, culturally vibrant Sarasota and sophisticated Naples. In the northeast, the Spanish architecture of cities like St. Augustine fronts the Atlantic Ocean. Pristine beaches stretch south to ritzy Palm Beach then on to vibrant Miami and down to the reef-filled Florida Keys. Orlando sits center stage, surrounded by lakes and canals. The swamps of the Everglades fill the southern tip.

Family Fun

Rare white Bengal tigers roam enclosures at Busch Gardens, which features 10 high-octane rides including the Scorpion roller coaster. The famous ”Jaws” white shark sets pulses racing at Universal Studios Florida and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is populated with beloved Disney characters. In Miami, check out the roller-skating cockatoos at Jungle Island. Reef snorkeling among colorful schools of fish is a main attraction in the waters off the Florida Keys. Gulf of Mexico beaches provide warm waters, gentle surf and soft, white sand.

Beaches

Fronting the Atlantic, trendy Miami Beach buzzes with inline skaters and street entertainers. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park draws visitors with its nature trails and lighthouse view of the Miami skyline. Stroll the windswept dunes of Canaveral National Seashore or picnic at nearby Lighthouse Point Park. Clearwater Beach on the Gulf of Mexico has soft, white sands and Caladesi Island State Park is the place for a secluded spot. Farther south, catch the sun sinking into the Gulf from the pier at Naples Beach

Natural Wonders

Throughout Florida, natural marvels abound such as colorful coral reefs at Biscayne National Park, near Miami, and the unspoiled habitat of the Everglades. The secrets of the mangrove swamps can be uncovered with a guided airboat, canoe or swamp buggy tour. On the Panhandle, a huge underground cave at Florida Caverns State Park is open for exploration. Alligators and manatees prowl jungle-choked waterways in Wakulla Springs State Park. A glass-bottom-boat ride puts you up close. 

Florida flavors

Seafood reigns supreme throughout the Sunshine State, especially on the coast. Meaty stone crab out of the shell and succulent lobster, flambéed in garlic and brandy, are two local favorites. Try smoked mackerel or the fresh catch of the day. South Florida menus serve a diverse assortment of Latin American and Caribbean specialties like spicy tapas and zingy ceviche. Smaller inland towns specialize in catfish and ‘gator tail. Don’t leave without tasting Florida’s famous key lime pie, with its graham-cracker crust topped with meringue. 

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