Florida Parks: The Best Way to Explore the Florida Keys

Lots of visitors to the Florida Keys rave about the food, the nightlife, and the welcoming atmosphere, but the best way to experience the Keys is through Florida’s state and national parks. These are some of the most beautiful and unique public lands in the continental U.S. People travel the world over to swim, snorkel, and fish here. Read on to find out why.

Bahia Honda State Park

Located on Bahia Honda Key north of Key West, this park is best known for two of its beaches. In fact, you might even recognize them from photos. One’s on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island and one’s on the Florida Bay side of the island. Beach equipment rental is easy at the island concession stand, which also offers food service and a small gift shop. Visitors enjoy hiking, fishing, biking, as well as birdwatching. You can pitch a tent or park your RV in designated areas, with reservations; marina slips are also offered for overnight docking. No trip to Bahia Honda State Park would be complete without snorkeling – reserve your spot on the snorkeling tour of Looe Key Marine Sanctuary in advance by phone or online.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Get a real feel for American history while enjoying some great outdoor activities at this landmark fort on the southern part of Key West. Tours of Fort Zachary Taylor are offered every day. Learn more about how American troops served during the Civil War and the Spanish American War by walking the same paths, looking through the same gun ports, and watching re-enactors bring history to life. Nature trails offer hiking and scenic views; bring a bike for the bike trails. Swimming at the sandy beach here is popular; you can also rent umbrellas, beach chairs, and snorkeling gear. The picnic areas here have grills, so consider stopping by a grocery store for supplies on your way in; if you’d rather let someone else do the cooking, visit the park’s cafe for light refreshments in the shade. If you have a fishing license, there are also designated fishing spots here.

Biscayne National Park

Another of the Florida Keys’ parks with expansive underwater acreage, this one is located at the northernmost part of the Keys. Initially created to preserve the last of the undeveloped Keys, today, tourism is the primary draw. See the best of Biscayne National Park on a guided tour from the Dante Fascell Visitor Center. View some of the historic shipwrecks that are part of the Maritime Heritage Trail and the colorful marine life that’s grown up around them. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent, and guests can take a self-paced tour around the key, exploring mangrove-sheltered shallows. The park’s shorelines are home to wading birds and shore birds, as well as dolphins and turtles, so be sure to pack binoculars. Don’t miss Jones Lagoon and Hurricane Creek. Feeling adventurous? You can camp at Biscayne National Park, too, at Boca Chita and Elliott Key. These campsites are pack in/pack out, and offer trails and swimming; however, the amenities are pretty basic. And be sure to try the fishing here. The area is especially well-known for bonefish, grouper, tarpon, and spiny lobster. Seize the Day Charters  can ensure any required licensing is in place for a relaxing trip.

Florida’s state and national parks offer visitors a unique and up-close look at the Sunshine State’s natural beauty. From snorkeling and diving to fishing, birdwatching, kayaking, and more, it’s easy to immerse yourself among the plants and animals that make the Florida Keys such a special place to visit in these parks.

 

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Great Vacation Spots You Might Not Have Considered, But Should!

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You want to go on vacation, but you don’t want to join the hordes of people in New York City, Los Angeles, or Miami. Here are some vacation destinations that offer lots of entertainment without the mobs. They provide a range of options from parks to skiing to Victorian Christmas celebrations.

1) Dublin, Ohio

Dublin, which is near Columbus, was named after the Irish capital and boasts a number of attractions that play up its heritage. That includes a number of pubs, taverns, and shops, plus an Irish Festival held every August. Visitors can also enjoy the Glacier Ridge Metro Park which has an observation tower that provides views of the park’s 1037 acres. The park also contains debris from glaciers that is between 12,000 and 17,000 years old. Dublin Ohio hotels range from the modest to the luxurious, and there are many different ones to choose from.

2) Sedona, Arizona

Sedona boasts both natural beauty and an artistic vibe. Visitors can hike or cycle along desert trails and take in such impressive sites as an extinct volcano and massive buttes. They can also travel to the Grand Canyon or go birdwatching. Sedona also boasts a variety of spas, shops, and art galleries. Several different festivals take place in Sedona, including the Sedona VegFest (January) and the Sedona Film Festival (late February to early March).

3) Cape May, New Jersey

Located on the coast of southern New Jersey, Cape May is a small town (population 3600+) famous for its many Victorian buildings. The entire town is considered a National Historic Landmark. During the holiday season, Cape May is decorated in a Victorian style. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MACA) sponsors Christmas Candlelight House Tour and holds a Dickens Christmas Extravaganza.

4) Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida

Sanibel and Captiva are a pair of islands off Florida’s southwestern coast. They are linked by a short bridge, and a longer bridge connects Sanibel, the bigger island, to the Florida mainland. According to the official website, the islands have “15 miles of beaches, 25 miles of bike paths, 50 types of fish, 230 types of birds, 250 kinds of shells, and 0 stoplights.” Sanibel Island is home to the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which is known for its mangroves and migratory birds.

5) Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Coeur d’Alene is located in northern Idaho, and it is roughly 30 miles east of Spokane, Washington. It sits on Lake Coeur d’Alene’s northern shore. The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes runs through the town. It is a 72-mile long trail that runs roughly east-west from Mullan to Plummer. During winter, travelers enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing along the trail. Coeur d’Alene is also home to a variety of museums and galleries. The Museum of North Idaho is dedicated to the region’ history, while the Art Spirit Gallery is devoted to works by artists in the area.

6) San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio was originally established as a Spanish trading post and mission in 1718 and became a city thirteen years later. It is thus the oldest city in Texas. Attractions in the city include the Alamo and SeaWorld. The latter will hold a Christmas celebration from mid-November until early January. There will also be a number of events commemorating the city’s tricentennial. The Witte Museum, for example, has an exhibit dedicated to the city’s history that will remain until January 6, 2019. There will also be various Christmas events like the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling along the San Antonio River Walk.

The Best Experiences You Can Have in Miami

Miami is easily one of the greatest cities in America, and it has so much to offer anyone who’s visiting for the first time. There are tons of fantastic experiences that you can have there, and we’re going to look at some of the very best of them to help you decide how you want to spend your time in Miami and which experiences you want to have while there. Read on now to learn more about all this.

Visit the Venetian Pool

The Venetian Pool in Miami is known around the world for being perhaps the most beautiful swimming pool in the world. That might sound like a strong claim, but it’s one that really does hold up. The pool is registered in the National Register of Historic Places, which tells you just how highly regarded this place is. Be sure to experience it for yourself while you’re in Miami

Embrace Nature at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park might not be the catchiest name in the world, but it certainly is one of the best parks around. It’s a beautiful park by the sea that feels very secluded compared to other parts of Miami, making it a great place to head to when you want to relax and take things easy. You should head there and make the most of it while you’re in this part of the world.

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Take a Speedboat Around the Sea Off the Coast

Hiring a speedboat from a Miami boat rental company and taking to the water is something that you’ve really got to try while you’re in the city. It’s such a fun experience and there is no better location in the world for this kind of activity than the sea off the coast of Miami. As long as you’re safe and are responsible, you’ll have a great time and you won’t regret the experience.

Visit the Miami Design District

If you like art galleries, interior design and great modern architecture, you definitely need to head to the Miami Design District. This is where you’ll find all of this stuff and much more. It really is one of the most fun and vibrant places you’ll find anywhere in Miami. This is where the Institute of Contemporary Art is located as well.

See Some of the Very Best Art at the Perez Art Museum Miami

Another place for great art is the Perez Art Museum Miami. It collects international art from all over the world and brings it together in carefully curated collections for visitors like you to enjoy. It’s certainly one of the best cultural attractions in Miami, so don’t miss out on it.

Miami is full of wonderful experiences waiting to be had. So if you’re going to be visiting this wonderful city anytime soon, you’re certainly going to be in for a treat. Make sure you keep the ideas mentioned here in mind when you’re planning how to spend your trip and what to do while you’re there.

Don’t Visit Florida Without Doing These

If you are thinking of going traveling to Florida, you will probably already have some keen ideas in mind as to what to do. But the truth is that there are probably one or two things which you have not even considered, and yet which you could find yourself enjoy hugely if you do visit this state. Florida has so much to offer that it is hard to know where to begin, but there many sides to traveling there which are little-known wonders, and it is these which are worth looking into. Let’s have a look at some of these now, to get you inspired for your own trip.

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Rent A Boat

One great way to get around Florida, as with many similar destinations, is to rent a boat. There are many reasons you might want to do this, not least that it is a quick and easy way to add some instant style, luxury and comfort to your trip. Boat rental is one of those simple things that can add so much glamor to a holiday that you can hardly believe it. You probably won’t appreciate it until you try it yourself, so just give it a go when you are due to be traveling to Florida. You will be amazed at how much this simple act can add to your overall journey, and you won’t have to spend a great deal of money to do it either.

Cast A Spell

This next one is great for family traveling with kids, or even for any adults who enjoy a little sprinkle of magic in their holidays. Florida is home to the great Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a sprawling amusement park in the design of the famous Hogwarts castle. As you can imagine, this is something like a more modern Disney World, and yet much more enjoyable for people of all ages. If you are in Florida as a family and stuck for ideas as to what to do, you could do much worse than to go to the set of Hogwarts. The attraction routinely receives five-star reviews, and it is not too pricey to enter, so it’s well worth a look if you’re in the area.

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Hit & Swing

Are you a big golf fan? As it happens, Florida is one of the very top destinations not just in the US, but in the world, for ardent golfers. With some two hundred plus golf courses to choose between, there is hardly any surprise in that, so if you are a keen golfer you might not want to leave Florida before having a swing at one of those courses. If you have always wanted to play golf in one of the most beautiful settings on earth, then you need look no further than Florida itself – and it could be the ideal way to wrap up your holiday too.

These suggestions are a great way to get started in Florida, but bear in mind that there is much more besides. Take a look around and see what hidden gems you can discover too.

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