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.

 

The Many Wonders Grapevine Texas Has To Offer Vacationers

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Are you a tourist or a local looking for fun activities in Grapevine, Texas? If yes, then Grapevine will give you the best vacation you have ever had. There are many amazing things to see and do that are very close to the major Grapevine hotels. Here are the wonders Grapevine has to offer vacationers:

1. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad

While travelling by train can be a holdover for you, it is one of the best things to do in Texas. Experience the historic Grapevine Vintage Railroad, which will take you years back to when trains were the central transport means. The Vintage Railroad will take you to Fort Worth Stockyards from Grapevine. You will get to hear the wheels of the train move on the steel tracks and enjoy the view of the cabin sways. The railroad provides standard rides between February and December. Special rides that you can take part in include the North Pole Express and a Jazz Wine Train trip.

2. Grapevine’s Wineries

Just like its name suggests, Grapevine is the ideal destination for the best wines in Texas. For a glass of white or red wine, visit any of the nine local vineyards. The GrapeFest is the biggest wine festival in the Southwest, and it takes place in Grapevine. The town is also home to Urban Wine Trail Texas. You can visit wineries along the Main Street, including Bingham Family and Messina Hof Vineyards. Just one block from Main Street, you will find the Homestead Winery where you can taste wine at the century-old Victorian home. If you want a real Texas vineyard, you can tour the Delaney Vineyards & Winery. The stunning winery is located within an attractive building that looks like an 18th-century French castle.

3. Biggest Indoor Waterpark in the State of Texas

The Great Wolf Lodge offers the biggest indoor waterpark in Texas. You can have an exciting time riding at the Coyote Cannon or descend the Alberta Falls’ swift banking turns. You can also have a relaxing time at its hot Springs’ soothing waters. Your family can have a great time playing at the water tree called Fort Mackenzie while your kids get special rides. The waterpark is not restricted to seasons; it is available all year round due to its pleasant 84 degrees of temperature. However, only Great Wolf Lodge’s guests can play there.

4. Lake Grapevine

If you love being outdoors, Lake Grapevine is suitable for you. The lake is located to the north of Grapevine’s Historic Downtown, and it’s only a few minutes ride from the town. The lake is scenic and surrounded by rolling hills covered in beautiful lush trees. You can go out to the lake on a kayak or a boat and attempt catching the white bass that is available in plenty. You can join a hired sailing trip or a romantic cruise at night under the stars.

The shoreline of the lake offers the opportunity for hiking the trails for nine miles of wilderness. Close to the lake, you will find the Meadowmere Park and Oak Grove Park that have 26 miles of great paths ideal for cycling and hiking. You can also have a picnic at the lakeside and enjoy the panoramic views.

Conclusion

Grapevine’s fine wineries, stunning lake, exciting waterpark, and Vintage Railroad as well as luxurious hotels are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many wonders that vacationers can enjoy. If you are looking to have a good time in Grapevine, these are some of the sites to visit.

Visit Lubbock Texas For A Memorable Vacation

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Lubbock might not be the very first place you think of when it comes to a traveling destination for you and your loved ones, but that is actually a plus. You are less likely to be encumbered with long lines to attractions while still getting top-rate experiences. Let’s go through a few of the sites that make Lubbock a gem in the Lone Star state.

Buddy Holly Center

Did you realize that we have Lubbock, Texas to thank for being one of the birthplaces of rock n roll? It’s true! Charles Hardin Holley, professionally known as Buddy Holly, was born in Lubbock and it is where he started his career in the early 1950s. He went on to have several hits (which he wrote and recorded himself, quite unusual for the time) that are influential in the music industry to this day, before dying in a plane crash at the age of 22 in 1959. That day is forever known as ‘The Day The Music Died’.

Lubbock has a wonderful attraction built in memory of Mr. Holly which is absolutely a must for your visit. The Buddy Holly Center opened to the public featuring a museum, a fine arts gallery, a preservation of one of Buddy Holly’s band members’ house, and a performance venue. Museum items on display include everything from childhood letters to Buddy’s iconic eyeglasses. If anyone along for your vacation is a music-lover, this is the place to go. Plus, there are several hotels in Lubbock near the center, so this could be your jumping off point for other attractions.

Silent Wings Museum

If you have someone in your party that is more into military might than in the roots of rock music, there is definitely something in Lubbock that suits the bill. Lubbock was once a training area for pilots during the days of World War II. This history is remembered and honored by the Silent Wings Museum, a museum dedicated to educating the public of the glider pilot program that took place in Lubbock. The crown jewel of the museum is an actual glider plane from the era, that was rescued and restored after being found used for advertising on top of a tire store in Fresno, CA!

Caprock Winery

The idea of a winery might seem like a novelty in West Texas, but the fact is that Caprock Winery has been producing award-winning wines just outside of Lubbock since 1988. You can take a tour of the facility along with doing wine tastings five days a week (excluding Sunday and Monday). There is even a lounge area where you can enjoy a glass of their wine next to a roaring fireplace or on their patio (depending on the time of year).

Joyland

Okay, so the kids have been good during these trips to all the adult attractions and now they deserve to cut loose. What better destination could there be than an amusement park?! Joyland Amusement Park boasts over 30 rides, from roller coasters to rides for the littlest of your little ones. It is also very competitively-priced for an amusement park, with group rates and discounts easily obtainable online. It is an oasis for the young as well as for the young at heart.

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.

Get Off The Plane: Other Ways To Explore America

America is a huge country – Texas alone is the size of most of Europe – and there is too much to see in a single trip. Unfortunately, most people restrict their exploration of this vast country because, although traveling by plane covers a lot of distance, it can get expensive flying from one state to another. Fortunately, there are ways to travel that are easier on your budget, and let you see more of the country. Get off the planes and try these different methods of travel.

By Train

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Few people know that you can travel around the whole country by rail with a train pass from Amtrak.com. Amtrak offers USA Rail Passes for 15-day, 30-day or 45-day trips. If you’re savvy about using public transport in each stop on your tour, they’re an affordable way to see the country. The most scenic route is the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco, which is one of world’s greatest train journeys. In around 48 hours you will cross the farmlands of Nebraska, scale the Rockies beyond Denver while you eat egg & bacon for breakfast in the diner, snake through rocky river valleys in Colorado and pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains to reach Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area.

By Boat

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You might not believe it, but there are some fantastic things to see along the coastline of the country. You can plan your perfect trip around the coast by buying a boat with help from boatfinancing.co, or you could get some friends together and split the cost of hiring a chartered boat for the duration of your travels. If you’re charting the course, you have full control over where you go, and how long you stay there. Alternatively, there are some amazing cruises that let you see more of the country; cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, or the Caribbean are popular, but you can also dock in New York or New Orleans. Not to mention the cruise itself has a lot on entertainment and activities on board, so you never feel bored while you’re traveling.

By Road

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The American road trip has been a popular genre in literature, and it features many coming of age stories, Unfortunately, some of the best routes have been forgotten in favor of the interstate or flying. It’s time to bring back this mode of travel and explore parts of the country you might never have seen before. When you’re planning your road trip, you can schedule as many pit stops as you want, change your route whenever you’re bored, and stay in a single place for as long as you like. The beauty of a road trip is that you can dance to the beat of your own drum. Just make sure you stay safe on the road.

If you don’t feel like driving, you can also take the bus. Book the Great American Crossing tour, and you’ll experience New York, Detroit, Mount Rushmore, and many more cities over the course of 21 days.

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