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Florida Travel Guide

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About Florida

Florida, otherwise known as the Sunshine State, is world-renowned for its year-round warm temperatures and attracts millions of visitors from all over the globe every year. Whilst the world-class theme parks – including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove - remain a major draw for holiday makers, the rest of the state has plenty to offer too.

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For many, Orlando is a dream holiday destination; home to outstanding resorts and hotels, a wide variety of restaurants and evening entertainment venues, art, theatre and cultural attractions, as well as award-winning golf courses and shopping at premium outlet malls and designer boutiques. This high-energy city has something to offer visitors of all ages. For a great day trip, just over an hour’s drive from Orlando, head to Busch Gardens in Tampa and experience thrilling rollercoasters, live shows, water rides and animal adventures.

Surrounded by the calm waters of the Gulf Coast on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Florida boasts some of the world’s best beach resorts and the only living barrier reef in the United States. This holiday hot-spot is perfect for water sports of every kind, including snorkelling, fishing, diving and surfing or if you prefer, simply relax on the sand and watch the incredible spectacle of dolphins frolicking close to the shore. Along Florida’s Gulf Coast, you’ll find miles and miles of soft, white, sandy beaches and the thriving beach communities of Clearwater, Sarasota and Naples. Whilst on the on the vibrant Atlantic Coast, you’ll find popular locations such as West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

With a Caribbean vibe and laid-back ambience, the Florida Keys are a real treat for anyone looking for total relaxation. Made up of a series of small coral islands, the Florida Keys are home to fine dining, boutique shopping and miles of soft beaches and some of the best diving in the world. Don’t forget head to Key West at sundown and celebrate the golden sunsets like a local.

One of the most popular outdoor adventures is exploring the Everglades National Park, in search of alligators. This area of Florida is teeming with wildlife, including snakes, turtles, frogs, insects, fish and the Florida panther. To explore the area, you can kayak, canoe and hike, but for a touch of adrenaline, jump on airboat and glide your way through the dense forests and marshlands.

For a touch of Southern charm, Panama City Beach has 27 miles of pristine white sand beaches and a year-round calendar of family-friendly events. This northwest Florida beach destination is best explored in, on and under the water, but there’s still plenty to enjoy on land – beachfront dining, shopping and discovering the two state parks are firm favourites.

Internationally known for golf, tennis, auto racing and water sports, Florida is a haven for sports fans. From PGA golf tournaments in Jacksonville to auto racing at Daytona, Florida has a fantastic range of sporting events to see. Whilst Daytona Beach is best known for the speedway, it has 23 miles of beautiful Atlantic beaches that aren’t to be overlooked. Learn to surf, take a paddleboard tour or simply soak up the sun.

Drive south of Daytona Beach and visit the jaw-dropping Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where you can get up-close to rockets and even see live rocket launches. Examine the history of space flight and find out what the future holds for mankind’s exploration of space.
 
With some of the world’s most exciting cruises departing from Florida, consider a cruise and stay holiday, combining the adrenaline fuelled theme parks of Orlando with an enchanted tour of Caribbean islands. If you’d prefer to stay on land, try a two-centre holiday with Orlando and the Gulf Coast or even a three-centre holiday and add a stopover in Miami or the Florida Keys.

Whether it’s a first, second or tenth visit to Florida, endless options will mean you can experience something new with every visit and give you plenty of reasons to return.

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 new Cici & Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, the iconic Daytona Beach Boardwalk & Pier, 20 exciting golf courses, 50 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 overhaul that created a world-class facility with premium amenities and unparalleled conveniences and experiences.The mecca of motorsports is the world's first motorsports stadium 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 Turkey Run. 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 Bandshell as their Summer Concert Series entertains with fireworks on Saturday evenings. And celebrating Independence Day Weekend is always popular with the fan favorite Coke Zero Sugar 400.

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, Sugarmill Botanical 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, this area 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

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach, Florida offers 27 miles of stunning white sand and emerald green waters along the Gulf of Mexico and has an average year-round temperature of 23 degrees Celsius and an average of 320 days of sunshine annually.


Fun in the sun for all of the family is a guarantee in Panama City Beach; with great attractions, top-notch restaurants, beach activities, amazing accommodation and world-class events, you'll never forget your Panama City Beach holiday.

Panama City Beach offers a wide range of accommodation options for every budget, suiting all types of travellers, from family groups to couples and singles.

Getting to Panama City Beach is now a breeze, thanks to the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), serviced by Delta Airlines located just 10 minutes away from the famous sugar-white sandy beaches.

Top 10 Must Do’s
 
1. Stroll on the super white sand beaches and enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

2. Take a morning dolphin cruise on a 50 foot catamaran to Shell Island and spend the afternoon snorkelling, swimming and relaxing.

3. Meet Roux, a rescued baby bottle-nosed dolphin, at Gulf World Marine Park and learn about their rehabilitation programme of Gulf marine life.

4. Bike through the winding paths of Panama City Beach's Conservation Park and enjoy a scenic picnic overlooking the protected wetlands.

5. Shop the boutiques at Pier Park and reward the kids with an ice cream.

6. Make a splash at Shipwreck Island Water Park on its Pirates Plunge attraction or the 65 foot Tree Drop and then relax and take in the sunshine on the Lazy River.

7. Cast a line off the Russel Fields Pier or its twin M.B. Miller Pier for Spanish mackerel or flounder.

8. Dive for treasure in Panama City Beach's natural or artificial reefs.

9. Visit Heron Pond Nature Trail at St. Andrews State Park to birdwatch for snowy egrets, great egrets, blue herons and little blue herons and spot white-tailed deer or the occasional alligator.

10. Check out the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheatre, located in the heart of Panama City Beach, where you can enjoy the sounds of many local and international bands.

 

Click Here for some of our Best Panama City Beach Deals! 

Florida Keys


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 traveler 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 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.
 
 
10 must do’s in the Florida Keys and Key West
 
1. Key Largo: Dive/Snorkel at John Pennekamp State Park – the crown jewel of the state park system and the first undersea park in the U.S., John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park encompasses approximately 70 nautical square miles and the coral reefs and their associated marine life are a divers and/or snorkelers dream!
 
2. Key Largo: Kayak and explore Everglades National Park- it is the only eco-system of its type in the world with the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, it boasts rare and endangered species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve and a wetland of international importance.  Key Largo is considered to be the Gateway to the Everglades.
 
3. Islamorada: Fishing – Sport Fishing Capital of the World – Take a charter boat out to one of the only place on Earth where it is possible to catch a sailfish in the morning, and then venture into the backcountry in pursuit of bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and redfish in just inches of water. 
 
4. Islamorada: Robbie’s Marina - A nostalgic destination reminiscent of why some of the most talented artists, writers, fishermen and presidents have called the Florida Keys home. Robbie’s rests peacefully among coconut palms with shimmering views of the nearby islands where the unspoiled Florida Bay and the exquisite Atlantic Ocean converge. With free entry, a private sandy beach, fabulous restaurant serving fresh local food and quaint art and craft pavilions one cannot help but understand why so many artists have chosen this place to immortalize in paintings. The kids will also love feeding the enormous tarpon!
 
5. Marathon: Dolphin Research Centre - Bring your family to meet with the family of dolphins and sea lions. Spend an hour or stay all day learning about these incredible marine mammals. Dolphin Research Centre, a not-for-profit research and educational facility offers several exciting daily presentations demonstrating the dolphins’ high flying athletics, dolphin education fun facts, dolphin research, new behaviour training, medical behaviours, and much more. Enjoy dolphin swims and other encounters, as well as other fun chances to touch a dolphin. 
 
6. Marathon: Turtle Hospital – visit the Turtle Hospital and see how they rehab injured sea turtles and return them to their natural habitat, learn how they conduct and assist with research aiding to sea turtles and work toward environmental legislation making the beaches and water safe and clean for sea turtles.
 
7. Big Pine Key: Visit Bahia Honda State Park and Recreation Area at mile marker 37. With its white sandy beaches and abundant wildlife, Bahia Honda Key frequently makes the list of most beautiful beaches in America.
 
8. Big Pine and the Lower Keys:  spending a half day or full day exploring the backcountry waters off the lower Florida Keys.  Encounter key deer, sea turtles and dolphins in their natural habitat as well as explore the Great White Heron National Sanctuary.  
 
9. Key West: Sunset at Mallory Square – celebrate the end of the day at Mallory Square where every evening you can enjoy free live music and street entertainers, art and craft stores and enjoy a cocktail as the sun goes down.
 
10. Key West: Day trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park - Explore a 19th Century Fort and snorkel crystal clear water with incredible marine life. Almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West lies the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. The 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequent the area.
 

Fort Lauderdale

 

Say Hello Sunny in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Blue skies, golden sands, swaying green palms and turquoise waters - year round. Greater Fort Lauderdale, located in the ‘Subtropical’ South East Florida, specialises in warm, sunny days with an average temperature of 25’C year round and 3,000 hours of sunshine annually.

 

 
Relax and enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches and 300 miles of navigable inland waterways – giving Greater Fort Lauderdale the nickname the Venice of America. Visitors can also try something new on their next holiday – paddle boarding along the Intracoastal, kayaking by moonlight and exploration of the exotic Everglades. Choose to dine in one of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s thousands of restaurants or shop till you drop at Sawgrass Mills, North America’s largest designer outlet mall.

Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB launched Hello Sunny TV at the beginning of this year which is an exciting new way to view the destination with live streaming from various locations and events and destination videos on demand. https://www.sunny.org/tv/
 
Top 10 must do’s section
 
1. Hit the beach
 
Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts 23 miles of Blue Wave Beaches - some of the cleanest, safest and most beautiful beaches in the US - from Deerfield Beach in the north to Hollywood in the south.
 
2. Go shopping
 
Visit the Galleria Mall, Sawgrass Mills designer outlets and the boutiques along Las Olas Boulevard. 
 
3. Dine out
 
Fort Lauderdale lays claim to more than 4,000 restaurants ranging from intimate cafes to al fresco waterfront dining spots to quaint bistros, ethnic eateries and world-renowned steakhouses. 
 
4. Cruise
 
The Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the world's largest two cruise ships operate out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. 
 
5. Get on the water
 
See the Venice of America aboard a sightseeing cruise. Greater Fort Lauderdale is also a haven for yachting, with thousands of yachts of every size moored in the Marina
 
6. Get in the water
 
Greater Fort Lauderdale is paradise for water sports enthusiasts with paddle boarding, jet-skiing, parasailing, boating, fishing and diving as just a few of the options on offer.
 
7. Nature
 
Explore the exotic Everglades, the river of grass, home to the unconquered Seminole Indian tribe. Take an airboat tour and see the alligators in their native habitat.
 
8. Golf
 
With over 20 golf courses in Greater Fort Lauderdale, it is a perfect destination for a golfing holiday.
 
9. Entertainment
 
Greater Fort Lauderdale is a hub for world renowned performers, many of which perform at The BBT Centre and Hard Rock Live. 
 
10. Culture
 
With more than 20 museums, Greater Fort Lauderdale is fun for the culture vulture. With museums ranging from the Museum of Discovery and Science to the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum, Antique Car Museum and the Young at Art Museum, there is certainly a museum for all. 

Click here to check out wonderful deals to Fort Lauderdale

Miami


With its fine dining, exotic nightlife and rich culture, Miami has everything you need for the perfect vacation, sun soaked and glamorous!
 
Miami has a tropical climate with extremely hot summers. Temperatures can reach 90°F during the summer months.
 
From the exotic wildlife of the Everglades to the exciting nightlife of South Beach, from deep blue oceans to shallow emerald bay, Greater Miami offers visitors the best of all worlds - a destination where the cutting edge of urban chic coexists with the beauty and splendour of a tropical paradise. 
 
Great year-round weather, relaxed atmosphere and some of the best hotels in the world are the backdrop for a vibrant cosmopolitan metropolis.  Boasting a vibrant arts and cultural landscape, renowned nightlife scene and world-class dining and entertainment, Miami draws an eclectic mix of visitors from sizzling celebrities to frolicking families seeking fun in the sun.
 
Mention “Miami” and the first thing that will come to mind is the beach. Mile after mile of sparkling waters, golden sands, tanned tourists… the images are glamorous but they are surpassed only by the reality.  Miami Beach – from Cape Florida down south to Golden Beach up north – is a legendary  resort destination, setting the gold standard for hospitality and constantly reinventing and renovating itself to catch the latest waves of visitor expectations.  
 
To the south and west, Everglades National Park, the third largest in the U.S. National Park System, is a unique 1.5 million-acre eco-system of sawgrass prairies, mangrove swamps, subtropical jungle and the warm waters of Florida Bay.  Nearby, the primarily underwater Biscayne National Park is teeming with sea life and plants, and features living coral reefs as well as the longest stretch of mangrove forest left on Florida's east coast within its 173,000 acres. With an unparalleled mix of ethnic and cultural groups spread throughout the city's environs, Miami has “a live and let live” philosophy.  Visitors instantly pick up on the local laid-back mood; and stress melts away upon arrival.

Top 10 things to do
  1. Art Deco District: Miami’s South Beach includes more than 800 historic buildings erected in different architectural styles during the 1920s, 30s & 40s.   Walking food tours around Lincoln Road include the architecture and history of Miami’s development
  2. Miami Seaquarium: book one of the VIP experiences and take a walk along the sea bed on the Sea Trek Diving Experience or choose to swim with a dolphin or a seal. 
  3. Everglades National Park: A World UNESCO Heritage site, it is the largest designated sub-tropical wilderness reserve on the North American continent. Explore some of it on an airboat tour to spot the alligators and learn about the ecosystem of this area. 
  4. Zoo Miami: This 750-acre zoo showcases more than 3,000 animals (500 different species) in large open-air exhibits. The zoo (the only tropical zoo in USA)  and its botanical gardens are the oldest in Florida and maintain numerous conservation projects.
  5. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: visit the National Historic Landmark and museum of this beautiful waterfront villa in Coconut Grove, a quaint waterfront village.
  6. Wynwood Walls: World famous street artists showing off their skills on the largest collection of murals in this vibrant neighbourhood of street art and art galleries.  Enjoy and afternoon or evening here with lunch or dinner at one of the local restaurants.   To learn more take a guided walking tour or for the more adventurous a moped tour.
  7. Little Havana: head to Calle Ocho (8th Street), Miami’s famous Cuban district for Latin flavours around Domino Park.  Try Cuban cuisine, coffee and hand-rolled cigars and enjoyed the lively ambiance of this neighbourhood.
  8. See Miami off shore:  To see Miami from the water gives you a different perspective,  and is a delightful way to see the city.  For adrenalin junkies should try the Thriller speedboat tour or for a more leisurely trip take the Island Queen or a catamaran tour.  Explore the man-made islands (Star Island, Hibiscus Island, Fisher Island) and check out the millionaires’ mansions in and around Biscayne Bay. 
  9. Arts and Culture: Miami has a dynamic performing arts scene year round and a vast array of museums for art, history and science such as Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum and Museum of Science. Sports and sports arenas abound in Miami where you cheer on the local team.
  10. Shopping: Retail therapy is possible throughout the city with numerous boutiques and malls, from Lincoln Road in South Beach or the Miracle Mile of Coral Gables to shop ‘til you drop at Aventura Mall or grab a bargain at Dolphin Outlet  Mall.  Those who wants designer labels then Bal Harbour Shops are for you and vintage stores around the Design District offer retro chic.

The Palm Beaches

In The Palm Beaches, the communities range from cities bursting with vibrant nightlife, an innovative culinary landscape and prime shopping to natural areas meant for hiking, biking, birding – and hitting the beach. They’ve got quaint villages rich in history, elegant resort areas boasting golf and spas, and charming neighbourhoods right on the water.

Located two hours south of Orlando and one hour north of Miami, The Palm Beaches offers visitors everything from classic luxury to natural wonder. America’s First Resort Destination® is a collection of 39 diverse cities and towns that stretches across 47 miles of pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches, from Boca Raton to Jupiter.

For those that love to play in the sun, this is where you’ll find the most adventuresome things to do in Florida. Start the day watching the sun rise out of the Atlantic from peaceful Delray Beach atop of your stand-up paddleboard. For some real adventure, get up close to gators on a Florida Everglades airboat tour with Airboat Rides West Palm Beach, or come face to face with moray eels while diving at Blue Heron Bridge, one of Florida’s best SCUBA diving sites. And no Florida getaway is complete without a round of golf in The Palm Beaches at one of more than 160 golf courses in Florida’s Golf Capital.

 

Each district offers unique experiences, culture, and collection of events for visitors to enjoy. These districts include: Palm Beach and Worth Avenue, Clematis Street, CityPlace and Convention & Entertainment District in West Palm Beach, Northwood Village, Antique Row, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter/Juno Beach Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Downtown Boca Raton, Boca Town Center and Glades Road, Wellington, and Lake Okeechobee. 

Where to stay?

Jupiter
Don’t let the lavish mansions of Jupiter fool you – locals love Jupiter, for its breath-taking natural scenery and laidback tiki bars.

The Jupiter Waterway Trail carves out a natural playground of surfing beaches and crystal-clear inlets. Canoe the Loxahatchee River and stop of at Riverbend Park, which also offers horse trails and hiking through Seminole Indian historic sites. Right in town, the turquoise lagoons of DuBois Park and Jupiter Beach Park are ideal for swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and snorkelling.

The brick-red Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is one of the oldest and most iconic structures in The Palm Beaches.

Climb all 105 feet to the top for a gull’s-eye view of the coast; afterwards, wear your best flip-flops to Guanabana’s and other low-key local favourites for fresh-caught seafood and tropical drinks.  Catch a concert at Harbourside Place. Or simply wiggle your toes in the sand at one of our beach resorts. In Jupiter, there’s always something or nothing to do.

Palm Beach Gardens 
If The Palm Beaches are Florida’s Golf CapitalⓇ, then Palm Beach Gardens is the jewel in the crown, Just inland from the coast. This is, after all, the hometown of The Professional Golfers Association of America.

At the storied PGA National Resort & Spa, you’ll find five championship courses that are as challenging as they are picturesque. The Champion – is ranked as the most difficult course in Florida.

Shop like a pro in Palm Beach Gardens, with a retail scene that rivals the golf. The Gardens Mall has high-end department stores and runway-ready designer labels, while the open-air Downtown at the Gardens offers more than 50 boutiques, restaurants and a movie theater.

If you prefer shades of blue over greens, join Lacuna Tours for a sightseeing eco tour or family-friendly fishing trip in the Lake Worth Lagoon.

West Palm Beach
Overlooking sparkling Lake Worth Lagoon, Clematis Street is home to funky sidewalk cafes, colourful murals and buzzworthy bars. Hop on a free trolley to City Place, a shopping district and open-air plaza with events and live music.  Bargain shoppers love Palm Beach Outlets, with savings on more than 100 name brands.

Art aficionados come for the museums and stay for the shows. View extensive collections of pieces at the Norton Museum of Art. Walk through the jungle-like Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. Or take in a performance (concerts, comedy shows, operas and more) at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

It’s hard to beat West Palm Beach for family fun. Sitting side by side just south of downtown, the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society and South Florida Science Center & Aquarium offer more up-close animal encounters and hands-on learning experiences.

Plan your visit around our year-round calendar of amazing events, from SunFest to the Palm Beach International Boat Show.

Delray
Next door to Boca Raton, Delray Beach is famous for its lively main street, inviting beach weather and interesting culture that stretches back centuries.

The center of the action is Atlantic Avenue and this pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare boasts, gaslight-style street lamps and a seemingly endless patchwork of restaurants, galleries and even a pinball museum with a sea of shiny, playable machines.

Just off Atlantic Avenue, Pineapple Grove colourfully blends galleries, murals and public art alongside bistros and wine bars. At Old School Square, you can catch anything from art auctions to cabaret performances by Broadway stars.

Delray Beach is a place that proudly puts its rich history on display. The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum showcases the heritage and innumerable contributions of African-Americans in Palm Beach County. And you’ll find much more than a moment of zen at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens; the museum features six lush gardens inspired by famous gardens of Japan – perfect for a relaxing afternoon stroll.

Boca Raton
Boca Raton has exceptional attractions, shopping, fantastic events, and beaches. From luxurious spas to outstanding events.

Discover a one-of-a-kind balance of natural beauty and cultural attractions, exciting events and slow-paced, sun-kissed leisure. Relaxation should be at the top of every itinerary in Boca Raton (“Boca” for short).

While downtown, Mizner Park offers splurge-worthy local boutiques and the Boca Raton Museum of Art  and breezy Mizner Park Amphitheatre, which is the backdrop for many of Boca’s best concerts and events – from food festivals and farmers markets to the dazzling Festival of the Arts BOCA. Downtown Boca is where Brazilian Beat makes for a mesmerizing, samba-filled evening, celebrating Brazilian culture, from music to food.

Take a walk on Boca’s wild side at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, where you’ll learn about local marine life and even pay a visit to rehabilitating sea turtles. Follow it up with a family picnic at Spanish River Park or other beautiful Boca Raton beaches.

Things to do 

Beaches
The Palm Beaches are home to the best beaches in South Florida and we have a beach to fit your every mood.

Relax on the remote, dog-friendly beaches of Ocean Cay Park in Jupiter. Those looking for entertainment can stroll the promenade at Singer Island Municipal Beach or stand on the famous pier at Lake Worth Municipal Beach. For a day at the beach with a side of history, head to Peanut Island.

Active pursuits include spotting manatees at Loggerhead Park in Juno Beach. In the area visit, Loggerhead Marine life Center, a sea turtle conservation center). Families will find gentle, kid-friendly waters at Carlin Park in Jupiter and Red Reef Park in Boca Raton.

Favourite snorkelling spots include Coral Cove Park in Tequesta and the Underwater Snorkel Trail at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach, where you’re likely to spot stingrays, giant starfish and submerged sculptures of sharks, mermaids and more.

Art & Culture 
Be Inspired in Florida’s Cultural Capital® and look around: It isn’t hard to see why The Palm Beaches’ scenic beauty has inspired generations of artists and collectors. Browse prestigious collections and exhibits at the Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Norton Museum of Art. At the Flagler Museum, step inside the Gilded-Age Palm Beach mansion of railroad baron Henry Flagler to view historic exhibits alongside period artwork and furnishings.

There’s always something happening in the West Palm Beach Arts and Entertainment District. See Tony-winning musicals at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre.

The Palm Beaches’ events calendar is filled with artful happenings year-round.  Shakespeare by the Sea draws fans of The Bard to Jupiter’s Carlin Park. And SunFest in West Palm Beach packs the waterfront for four straight days of great music, art, good vibes, and dancing in the street.

Activities 
From wild animal encounters to water slides to epic mini-golf courses, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the seemingly endless activities and attractions in The Palm Beaches.

Ever wished you could feed a giraffe, pet a sloth or get up-close with a koala? In The Palm Beaches, you can! At Lion Country Safari, you’ll spot everything from big cats to rhinos and have friendly giraffes eating out of the palm of your hand.. Learn about our beloved local marine life at Manatee Lagoon and Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.

The Palm Beaches are a favourite destination for PGA champions, but our mini-golf parks let little golfers get in on the action. Kids will love the eye-popping obstacles at Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf in Jupiter.

Take a thrill ride or a chill ride at Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach, which has everything from laid-back lazy rivers to slides that plunge you into total darkness.

Shopping
Better leave room in your suitcase – shopping in The Palm Beaches is as enticing as the beaches.

The heart of Palm Beach shopping is Worth Avenue, a retail mecca that rivals the best shopping districts in the world. Worth Avenue stores range from the international design houses of Chanel, and Gucci, to fine jewellery and home furnishings. Between the shops you’ll find art galleries, beauty salons and stylish patio cafés serving cool sips and inventive bites. Another Island favourite is The Royal Poinciana Plaza. This newly reimagined property has eclectic mix of shops and restaurants that has become a shopping oasis on Palm Beach.

Beyond Worth Avenue, fashionistas throughout Florida flock to the Town Center at Boca Raton. The West Palm Beach shopping scene is as vibrant as it is diverse. City Place and Clematis Street are walkable shopping, dining and entertainment districts worth a browse, And you never know what delightful treasures you’ll unearth on Antique Row.

Golf
With year-round play and courses designed by the greatest architects in the game, it’s easy to see why The Palm Beaches is Florida’s Golf Capital®. On our more than 160 sun-soaked golf courses, we have, the world’s best golfers live and play here.

Serious players will want to tee things off in Palm Beach Gardens. For its golf offerings, the PGA National Resort & Spa is unmatched in Florida resorts. Test your skills on The Champion, a Jack Nicklaus-designed course. Each year, top pros gather on this course to compete in the Honda Classic, a premier stop on the PGA TOUR.

More jaw-dropping water views await at Red Reef Executive Golf Course in Boca Raton.

The Palm Beaches is also an outstanding destination for golf instruction. Schools like John Prince Golf Learning Center which will help unlock your champion potential. Test your new skills on one of our public courses – ideal for golfers on a budget.

Spa & Wellness
Our resort spas rank among the best in the world, and grand pampering beckons at The Spa at The Breakers with a quintessential Palm Beach spa boasting breezy indoor-outdoor treatment suites and flowing rose quartz sand. Treat yourself like royalty at the Alhambra-inspired Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, featuring custom-tailored treatments amid palatial gardens.

Find your happy place at Eau Spa at Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa, an adult fairy-tale come to life where you can sip champagne in chairs that dangle above reflecting pools in a playful relaxation garden.

For a more budget-friendly experience, lose yourself in the dark-wood richness of nSpa at Delray Beach Marriott.

For a different type of rejuvenation, try a beach- or poolside vinyasa session at various West Palm Beach hotels. The Spa at the Seagate Hotel offers vinyasa yoga in addition to other fitness classes.

During October, be sure to take advantage of special offers as part of Spa & Wellness Month.

Tampa Bay

 
Treasure awaits in Tampa Bay! With first-class hotels, distinct heritage, authentic culture, thrilling attractions, delicious cuisine and premier shopping, there is no better place to discover Florida’s riches. The award-winning Tampa International Airport, located just seven miles from downtown, as well as a first-rate cruise port, makes it easy for you to conquer Tampa Bay with ease. Home to a vibrant waterfront district, culturally engaging venues and museums, and countless activities that offer unique experiences for you and your crew, Tampa Bay is just waiting for your takeover. 

Top Things to do in Tampa Bay

Tampa Riverwalk
The Tampa Riverwalk runs for 2.4 miles along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel, linking downtown’s favorite attractions like gems on a string. 

Coast Bike Share
With a smart phone and a credit card, you can see Tampa Bay on two wheels. 


Top Things to Do in Tampa Bay

Tampa Riverwalk 
The Tampa Riverwalk runs for 2.4 miles along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel, linking downtown’s favorite attractions like gems on a string.

Coast Bike Share
With a smart phone and a credit card, you can see Tampa Bay on two wheels.

Tampa Theatre
Built in 1926, the movie palace was Tampa Bay’s first air-conditioned building. Today, the theatre is operated as a non-profit company and has a repertoire focused on art-house films and classics.

Tampa Bay History Center
Tampa Bay History Center houses 12,000 years of local history, starting with the Tocobaga Indians who first called the waters of Tampa Bay home. Interactive exhibits, including a café version of Tampa Bay’s iconic Columbia Restaurant, give visitors a deep understanding of the forces that created today’s Tampa Bay region.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo’s collection of more than 2,000 animals spans the globe, with species from every continent. The zoo is certified as a rehabilitation site for injured West Indian manatees and has treated hundreds of the gentle sea cows, returning most of them to the sea.

TECO Historic Streetcar Line
Tampa Bay’s TECO Historic Streetcar Line links downtown, the Channel District and the Ybor City National Landmark District with nine distinctive electric streetcars that run along a dedicated rail line.

Ybor City National Historic Landmark District
Named for its founder, 19th Century cigar magnate Vicente Martinez-Ybor, this Tampa Bay community was the entry point and melting pot for generations of immigrants from Cuban, Spain, Sicily, Germany and Eastern Europe.

The Florida Aquarium
Swim with the sharks -  if you dare. The Florida Aquarium helps visitors discover the intricate nature of Florida’s aquatic ecosystems. Visitors follow the water from inland springs and swamps downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa has been a part of Tampa Bay’s landscape since the 1950s. Today is combines an African wildlife preserve and breeding program and a theme park filled with pulse-pounding roller coasters. Busch Gardens Tampa’s newest addition is Falcon’s Fury.
 
 

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.

See our unmissable deals to Tampa Bay here

Florida Events

 

SOUTH FLORIDA

FANTASY FEST – Leave the youngsters at home and head for this non-stop, adult-themed mega-party, featuring lavish floats, parades, costume competitions (one for pets, too!), street fairs, island bands and great food. This year’s theme is “Oh…The Games We Play.” Book your table early for the extravagant and outrageous Headdress Ball, Fantasy Fest’s premier gay and lesbian event, which has a first-place prize of 3,000 for best headdress.
When: Oct. 19-28 for the entire festival; Oct. 25 for the Headdress Ball
Where: Where else but Key West (various locations)
Web: fantasyfest.com and headdressballkeywest.com

MIAMI BROWARD CARNIVAL – Two great counties have joined forces to throw a multi-event party that showcases steel bands, parades, concerts, beauty pageants, colorful and elaborate costumes, scrumptious food and arts and crafts. The biggie events are: Carnival Sunday Parade and Concert, Junior Carnival, Steel Band competition and the King/Queen competition.
When: Sept. 22-Oct. 8
Where: Various locations in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties
Web: miamibrowardcarnival.com

WET & WILD IN NAPLES – Naples is the place to be for these five splashy events, all under the Pro Watercross umbrella:

  • Hydroflight athletes will perform timed free style routines, showing off their best flips, dives and spins as they attempt to rack up points in a quest to advance to the World Championships. Oct. 26-28
  • SUPCross changes up the pace, as stand-up paddle boarders (hence SUP) compete in closed-course racing. Oct. 26-28
  • Hydro Expo is the latest addition to the Pro Watercross World Championship and brings together all things watersports and beach-related. Oct. 30-31
  • The Pro Watercross World Championship features the world’s best athletes in the explosive and exciting sport of personal watercraft racing. Nov. 1-4
  • The MotoSurf event attracts the best motor-powered surfboard riders from around the world in a thrilling contest of nerves, fitness and skill. Nov. 2-4

Where: All events are at Lake Avalon at Sugden Regional Park in Naples
Web: prowatercross.com

CELEBRATE ORGULLO – This 15-day multi-genre extravaganza showcases Hispanic LGBT Pride (that’s what “Orgullo” is in Spanish) during Hispanic Heritage & LGBT Pride Month. You can see great art work, take a walking tour of Little Havana, attend writer workshops and go to a Plantain Festival. This year, the life of Salsa Queen Celia Cruz will be celebrated, including a look-alike contest and a documentary film.
When: Oct. 1-15
Where: Various locations in Miami Beach and Miami
Web: celebrateorgullo.com

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW – Celebrating its 37th year, the show will feature amazing military and civilian aircraft, some doing death-defying stunts performed by some of the best pilots in the world. Also, enjoy an expanded aircraft exhibit, a kids area and food and refreshments.
When: Oct. 19-21
Where: Punta Gorda Airport, Punta Gorda
Web: floridaairshow.com

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW – Whether you are a serious buyer or a serious gawker, you’ll enjoy this nine-day car-a-thon. One of the most popular exhibits is Million Dollar Alley, which features brands such as Rolls-Royce, Porsche, Ferrari and Lotus. Memory Lane will showcase 20 classic beauties from yesteryear. Topless in Miami features spiffy convertibles and Havana Classics will display historic cars from 1950s Cuba.
When: Oct. 5-13
Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach
Web: miamiautoshow.net

HARVEST FESTIVAL AT FLAMINGO GARDENS – Celebrate fall on all four October weekends with free hayrides, a pumpkin patch, a decorating station, music, games, crafts and contests, including one for scarecrows.
When: Oct. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28
Where: Flamingo Gardens, Davie
Web: flamingogardens.org

30th ANNUAL DING DARLING DAYS – Enjoy a week of fun eco-activities in this amazing wildlife refuge. It features free tours (via tram, foot, kayaks and paddle boards), birding, archery clinics, a butterfly house and kids crafting.
When: Oct. 12-14
Where: J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island
Web: dingdarlingsociety.org

CORAL GABLES HISPANIC CULTURAL FESTIVAL – Enjoy a weekend filled with art, crafts, culture, folkloric dance performances, great food and lots of activities for the kids. Pets welcome.
When: Oct. 20-21
Where: Intersection of Biltmore Way and Lejeune Road, Coral Gables
Web: gableshispanicfestival.com

SUN FIESTA, THE JEWEL OF VENICE – It moves to a new location this year, but they certainly have not cut back on the fun. Events and highlights include: Miss Sun Fiesta Pageant, live entertainment, the Arts & Crafts Alley, Kids Korner, bed races, a giant food court, two beer tents with seating, raffles, a silent auction and new this year, a 5K race.
When: Oct. 19-21
Where: Venice Airport Festival Grounds, Venice
Web: womenssertoma.com/sun-fiesta

GOOMBAY FESTIVAL – This spirited annual event is known for its island-style food, arts and crafts, non-stop live entertainment and dancing in the streets.
When: Oct. 19-20
Where: Bahama Village neighborhood, Key WestWeb: fla-keys.com/calendar

MIAMI ATTRACTIONS MONTH – Actually two months long, it’s the ultimate BOGO experience. Enjoy an amazing array of Miami’s best attractions on a buy-one, get-one-free basis or some other form of serious discount. Attractions include, among others: Zoo Miami, Monkey Jungle, Miami Seaquarium, the Biltmore Hotel, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Miccosukee Indian Village and Jungle Island. No membership or sign-up required – just go and save a bundle!
When: Oct. 1-Nov. 30
Where: Throughout Miami-Dade County
Web: miamiandbeaches.com

SOUTH BEACH SEAFOOD WEEK & FESTIVAL – Kick off the annual Stone Crab season and enjoy a myriad of other seafood yummies prepared by Miami’s top chefs and restaurants. Also: live bands, culinary and mixology demonstrations, a kids zone, health village and VIP hospitality benefits.
When: Oct. 16-20
Where: Various locations in Miami Beach
Web: sobeseafoodfest.com

SOUTH FLORIDA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL – Just as the South Beach event (above) is ending, head over to this one for more yummy eats. It features the Kitchen Lab, where some of Miami’s top chefs will give demos and share secrets. Great live music and lots of activities for the young ’uns, too: bounce house, slides and interactive games.
When: Oct. 20-21
Where: Miami Marine Stadium, Key Biscayne
Web: coconutgroveseafoodfestival.com

GOOD EATS IN NAPLES – Back to back, there’s the Naples Foodie Camp and then the Naples Stone Crab Festival. Foodie Camp is a 10-day event that features chef-led 90-minute cooking classes at top area restaurants. Besides great stone crab claws, the Stone Crab Festival also has live music, art and fun activities for the whole family.
When: Oct. 15-25 and Oct. 26-28
Where: Various locations in Naples
Web: FoodieCampNaples.com and stonecrabfestival.org

BOYNTON BEACH HAUNTED PIRATE FEST & MERMAID SPLASH –The featured events are a costume contest, pirate invasion and a mermaid pageant. Much more, too, including live music and lots of activities for the kids.
When: Oct. 27-28
Where: Along E. Ocean Avenue between Third Street and Federal Highway, Boynton Beach
Web: bbpiratefest.com

AMERICAN DANCESPORT FESTIVAL – One of the largest events of its kind, this two-day competition will feature some of the best hybrid ballroom/sports dancers in the world, with two world championships up for grabs.
When: Oct. 13-14
Where: InterContinental Hotel, Miami.
Web: americandsf.org

LIGHTS! CAMERAS! ACTION! – There are two noteworthy film fests this month in SoFla: Cinema Italy and the Naples International Film Festival. Both feature great flicks but so much more: opening and closing night parties, after-show parties, documentaries, tributes, documentaries, short films, and dinners and cocktail parties. The Naples event includes an evening of comedy with Steve Martin and Martin Short and a screening of “Star Wars” with live music by the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.
When: Oct.5-9 and Oct. 25-28
Where: Miami Regal Cinema, South Beach and various locations in Naples
Web: cinemaitaly.com
and naplesfilmfest.com

BRAZILIAN FESTIVAL OF POMPANO BEACH – Get your Brazilian boogie on at the sixth annual fest, expanded to two days this year. Two stages will feature internationally-known Brazilian acts, including Chimarruts, Marcelo D2, Elba Ramalho and Don & Juan. Much more, too: a kids zone, skate board competition, more than 100 exhibitors and mouth-watering Brazilian food.
When: Oct. 20-21
Where: Pompano Beach Community Park in Pompano Beach
Web: brazilianfestpompano.org

KITETOBER FEST – Check out the amazing display of creative kites, windsocks and wind spinners. Bring your own kite or purchase one on site. There will be kite-flying competitions for children and adults, bounce houses, face painters, DJs and food trucks. Don’t miss the 100-foot flying squid, the 30-foot flying scuba man, the 30-foot flying Nemo fish and the 150-foot flying rainbow.
When: Oct. 20-21
Where: Haulover Park, Miami
Web: skywardkites.com

THE AMAZING BEES FESTIVAL – What could be better than your child getting educated and having a lot of fun at the same time? The whole family will get an appreciation of how important these little buzzers are for our planet. Dress up as your favorite bee and enjoy all the activities: face painting, bounce houses, food vendors, children’s yoga, classes, dancing, movies, clowns, stilt walkers and so much more.
When: Oct. 20
Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, Boca Raton
Web: amazingbeesfestival.com

BLUES AND BOOZE-GROOVE IN THE GLADES – Jonny Lang will headline this inaugural music festival, supported by Robert Randolph and Family Bond and Albert Castiglia. A wide variety of craft beers and cocktails will be available.
When: Oct. 6
Where: Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, Miami
Web: miccosukee.com

BEER! BRATWURST! LIVE MUSIC! BAVARIAN BEAUTIES! MORE BEER! – It being October, we could only be talking about Oktoberfest. Here are some of the celebrations:

GROVETOBERFEST – Speaking of beer – there will be more than 500 of the craft variety available and a lot more, too: food and beer pairing demonstrations, live music and games galore.
When: Oct. 13
Where: Peacock Park, Miami
Web: Grovetoberfest.com

ANTIQUES AND VINTAGE COLLECTIBLES SHOW – Browse and shop in air-conditioned comfort as dealers will be selling depression glass, linens, vintage post cards, vintage jewelry, small furniture, quilts, coins, clocks, military memorabilia, pottery, movies memorabilia and much more.
When: Oct. 13-14
Where: Southwest Focal Point Community Center, Pembroke Pines
Web: ppines.com

ARTS & CRAFTS SHOWS – The calendar says October is in fall and that means the Arts & Craft show scene starts to heat up. Here are four this month:

  • Brickell Art Festival, Oct. 20-21 on South Miami Avenue between 13th Street and 14th Terrace in Miami. miamieventsandfestivals.com
  • Buckler’s Craft Fair, Oct. 13-14 at the Expo Center at the South Florida Fair Grounds, West Palm Beach. fleventsandfestivals.com
  • Coral Springs Craft Guild Craft Show and Holiday Boutique, Oct. 5-6 at La Quinta Hotel in Coral Springs. coralspringscraftguild.com
  • Las Olas Art Fair, Oct. 20-21, along Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. artfestival.com

 

CENTRAL FLORIDA

CHILLIN’ ON THE LUCIE – Bring your swimsuits and lawn chairs for a different kind of country music concert, held at the Sandpiper Bay Club Med over a five-day stretch. The all-inclusive event features nonstop music and activities at the resort, and headliners include Wynonna and The Big Noise, Joe Nichols, Uncle Kracker, RaeLynn, Cassadee Pope, Thompson Square, Parmalee and more.
When: Oct. 3-7
Where: Port St. Lucie
Web: chillinonthelucie.com

OKTOBERFEST TAMPA – Join thousands of merrymaking, stein-hoisting attendees at Tampa’s largest Oktoberfest, held at downtown’s beautiful waterfront park. Enjoy cold beer, dancing, games, live music and bratwurst, or test your German mettle by entering the Grain Sack Toss or the Beard & Mustache Competition.
When: Oct. 12-14
Where: Curtis Hixon Park, downtown Tampa
Web: oktoberfesttampa.com

WINTER SPRINGS ARTOBERFEST – More than a hundred artists feature their drawings, crafts, jewelry, paintings, photography, sculptures and other fine art works at this Oktoberfest-themed event held just as the Florida weather is beginning to cool down. Stroll along the quaint Blumberg Boulevard and sample German beer, wine and dishes while you shop.
When: Oct. 20-21
Where: Winter Springs
Web: www.wsfota.org

THE FOX SQUIRREL CORN MAZE – Yes, Florida has autumn, too! Create family memories at this popular Plant City pumpkin patch that has everything you could ever want from a fall festival: kettle corn, crafts, local honey stands, pumpkin painting, cornhole games, duck races, dummy steer roping and a good, old fashioned corn maze, all set against the backdrop of a real central Florida farm.
When: Weekends throughout October
Where: Single R Ranch, Plant City
Web: futchentertainment.com

INDIAN RIVER LAGOON SCIENCE FESTIVAL – Educational institutes and other organizations across the Treasure Coast come together to host an exciting array of hands-on activities, games, exercises and other interactive displays aimed at teaching guests of all ages about science, technology, engineering and math. The free event features local school bands, live animal demonstrations and other stage performances.
When: Oct. 27
Where: Veterans Memorial Park, Ft. Pierce
Web: irlsciencefest.org

SPIFFS INTERNATIONAL FOLK FAIR – In its 44th year, this folk fair transforms St. Petersburg’s waterfront into a microcosm of the world, with a multitude of ethnic crafts, arts, food, cooking demonstrations and entertainment. Highlights include the Giving Tree Music drum circles, Polynesian dancers, Irish music and other performances celebrating the fabric of cultures that make up the United States.
When: Oct. 25-28
Where: Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg
Web: spiffs.org/folk-fair.html

FRUITVILLE GROVE PUMPKIN FESTIVAL – The Fruitville Grove farm goes all out during the month of October, hosting a free, tot-friendly fall fest every weekend that includes a petting zoo, playground, bands and pumpkin-filled photo ops. Shop for decorative gourds, scarecrows and other home décor, then dine on caramel apples, pumpkin pie and other treats from the vendors.
When: Weekends throughout October
Where: Sarasota
Web: fruitvillegrove.com/festival

FESTIVAL CALLE ORANGE – Latin music fills the streets of downtown Orlando, bringing a 10-block Latin dance party to the heart of the city for a day. Brush up on your salsa and bachata moves while enjoying 30 nationally and internationally renowned bands and performers entertaining on three stages. Kids under 10 are free and can take part in games and activities created just for them.
When: Oct. 28
Where: Downtown Orlando
Web: calleorange.com

AUTUMN IN THE OAKS FESTIVAL – Enjoy live contemporary and bluegrass bands and shop for local honeys, jellies and soaps at this charming fest in beautiful DeLeon Springs. Cast your vote in the chili cook-off and bring your guitar, banjo or drums to join in one of the special jam sessions. This year also brings a kids’ play zone and car show to the mix of fun.
When: Oct. 20
Where: DeLeon Springs
Web: deleonspringscommunityassociation.com

MOUNT DORA BICYCLE FESTIVAL – Cyclists from all over the world love this three-day weekend of multiple routes along gorgeous Mount Dora, ranging from a photo scavenger hunt to crushing hill climbs, as well as pre-ride breakfasts, a beer garden and other activities. This year offers new “Gran Fondo” timed challenge options for the chance to be named the Gran Fondo King and Queen.
When: Oct. 4-7
Where: Mount Dora
Web: mountdorabicyclefestival.com

BIKETOBERFEST – Motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the country join the crowd of 100,000-plus guests who visit Daytona Beach for this fun, four-day party that fills the streets with a thunderous roar. Enjoy daily and nightly live bands, check out the latest gear at the swap meet and bike show, sample locally made craft beer and take part in countywide rides with fellow bikers.
When: Oct. 18-21
Where: Daytona Beach
Web: daytonabeach.com/biketoberfest

CLEARWATER JAZZ HOLIDAY – Some of the top names in jazz, blues and bluegrass bring their best to Clearwater’s Coachman Park, drawing tens of thousands of adoring fans year after year – now a nearly four-decade tradition. This year’s top acts include The Doobie Brothers, Morris Day & The Time, George Thorogood and the Destroyers and The Devil Makes Three. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the breeze coming off the nearby Gulf of Mexico waters.
When: Oct. 18-21
Where: Coachman Park, Clearwater
Web: clearwaterjazz.com

 

NORTH FLORIDA

HAUNTED TALES AND GHOSTLY TRAILS – Monticello, heralded as the South’s most haunted small town, promises some serious goosebumps for Halloween. Explore the town’s spirited sites on an after-dark tour on Saturday nights, or get the shivers at the Scary Storytelling Concerts on Friday nights. The 90-minute shows aren’t appropriate for children under 10.
When: Friday and Saturdays throughout October. Check the website for details.
Where: 420 W Washington Street, Monticello 
Web: monticellojeffersonfl.com/most-haunted-town-in-the-south

FORGOTTEN COAST PADDLE JAM — Rack your kayak or stand up paddle board and head to the Apalachicola River for three days of water-based activities including a sunrise paddle in the park, paddle sport treasure hunt and 1, 3 and 8-mile races. And if records are meant to be broken, you’ll get a shot to be in the Guinness Book of World Record as part of the largest floating kayak raft. Also includes a youth Glow Party, Praise in the Park, live entertainment, outfitters and exhibitors and a new paddling fishing tournament.
When: Oct. 5-7
Where: Apalachicola and St. George Island
Web: paddle2love.com

PIRATES OF THE HIGH SEAS FEST — Set sail for the long Columbus Day weekend by feting a different kind of marauding sea adventurers. With three days of fun lined up, families will be busy as they seek for treasure on a scavenger hunt, prepare for pirate invasions, take photos during the kids parade and ooh and ahh during the fireworks show.
When: Oct. 5-7
Where: Panama City Beach
Web: visitpanamacitybeach.com/piratesofthehighseas

14TH ANNUAL CREEKSIDE FESTIVAL — This family-friendly fest celebrates Florida’s natural beauty with two days of live bluegrass music, arts and craft vendors, food trucks, pony rides and tours of the historic Princess Lodge, home to the first in-ground swimming pool built in Florida. Festival goers can also explore the regional park on the hiking trails or kayak through the salt marshes.
When: Oct. 6-7
Where: Princess Place Preserve, Palm Coast
Web: flaglerchamber.org/creekside-festival

AMELIA ISLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL — You’re going to jump, jive and wail on Swing Night or enjoy your smooth sax with a side of wine during the Jazz and Wine Tasting evening out. The eight-day fest, now in its 15th year, has three nights of themed performances in addition to the two headlining concerts featuring Henry Johnson and the Requinte Trio with Janis Siegel. Sunday’s always popular Dixieland Jazz Brunch, and the festival’s grand finale, requires a reservation.
When: Oct. 7-14
Where: Fernandina Beach
Web: ameliaislandjazzfestival.com

GREEK FESTIVALS — Opa! Despite our love for all things German in October — think beer, brats and dirndls — there’s more than one reason to go gaga for Greek eats like perogies and gyros stuffed with shaved lamb and feta.

  • 59th Annual Pensacola Greek Festival (Oct. 12-14, Pensacola): More than 30,000 people show up for a little fun-loving celebration of the Greek island of Samos with culture, food, dance and faith. pensacolagreekfestival.com
  • St. Augustine Greek Festival (Oct. 12-14, St. Augustine): St. Augustine creates a virtual Greek village for it’s annual fest complete with a Kafenio serving Greek coffee and pastries, a Taverna with Greek beer and wine and an authentic Agora or marketplace with traditional Greek foods. stauggreekfest.com

STRUMMIN’ MAN UKULELE FESTIVAL — Chances are you’ll hear at least one cover of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World at the ukulele fest hosted by the Ukulele Orchestra of St. Andrews. The festival will includes performances by Gerald Ross, Heidi Swedberg, John Atkins and headliner Taimane. Also includes a live streamed “Aloha Friday Jam” instructional event on a giant LED wall.
When: Oct. 12-14
Where: Panama City Marina
Web: standrewsukes.org

BLAST ON THE BAY — To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the songwriters festival will more than 40 talented Nashville musicians featuring favorites from previous festivals, as well as some new faces. The artists, who have penned hit songs for Faith Hill, George Strait and Jason Aldean, will play more than a dozen venues including Thursday’s VIP beach reception and Sunday’s grand finale at the Indian Pass Raw Bar. This is a ticketed event in 2018.
When: Oct. 18-21
Where: Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach, Cape San Blas, Indian Pass
Web: blastonthebay.com

PARTY IN THE PINES — Enjoy two days of country music paired with Southern hospitality at Bienville Plantation, a hunting and fishing resort. Festival guests will have access to various camping accommodations this year as well as to the island-themed Cruzan Beach lounge area complete with cornhole and volleyball. But what about the music? The Zac Brown Band and Little Big Town are the headliners. Other acts performing include Dan + Shay (season three winner of The Voice), Granger Smith, Cassadee Pope and more.
When: Oct. 19-20
Where: Bienville Plantation, White Springs
Web: partyinthepines.com

14TH ANNUAL FLORIDA BAT FESTIVAL — Learn the real story behind 13 of the most common myths or superstitions from the caretakers who know the species best. Visitors to the conservancy have a chance to get up close with more than 200 fruit bats. Also includes games, activities, bounce houses, food trucks, a beer garden and more.
When: Oct. 20
Where: Lubee Bat Conservancy, Gainesville
Web: gainesvillechamber.com/bat-festival

1890s FESTIVAL — Turn back time under the live oak trees in Victorian McIntosh when more than 30,000 people arrive for the annual event. A spoon chime crafter, glassblower and candle maker will hold live demonstrations and more than 280 other arts and craft vendors will have booths. Also, the McIntosh Scottish Clan will be at the festival for the first time in 40 years. Kids will love a tour of the historic railroad depot and the craft area which will have face painting and sand art.
When: Oct. 20
Where: McIntosh
Web: friendsofmcintosh.org

ST. MARKS STONE CRAB FESTIVAL — When the stone crab haul begins for Gulf Coast fisherman, it’s a sure sign for the small community of St. Marks, which sits where the Wakulla and St. Marks Rivers meet, to hold a party. Now in its 21st year, the annual event is a communitywide celebration of the stone crab season plus the music and arts community. Also includes a parade, children’s activities, educational vendors and more.
When: Oct. 27
Where: St. Marks
Web: stmarksstonecrabfest.com

FLORIDA FOREST FESTIVAL — Yes, there are crosscut saw and chainsaw competitions, but there are more accessible events if you’re not a budding Paul Bunyan like the Strutt Your Mutt Contest, a 5K Run, Antique Car Cruise and Lumberjack Show. Help Taylor County toast itself as the “Tree Capital of the South” at the event which also includes a free fish fry, Miss Florida Forest Festival Queen pageant, carnival, parade, arts and crafts vendors, live music and kids’ activities.
When: Oct. 27
Where: Forest Capital State Park, Perry
Web: floridaforestfestival.org

PUMPKINPALOOZA — Who says the munchkins get to have all the fun on Halloween? Saturday night’s festivities are adult-only starting with a Monster Mash Pub Crawl and ending with an adult costume contest after live music and fireworks. On Sunday, the kids are the star of the show. They’ll get to enjoy a spooktacular afternoon of trick-or-treating, a costume contes … and a four-legged pet costume. That’s right, get Fido or Fifi some matching duds.
When: Oct. 27-28
Where: Destin Harbor
Web: emeraldcoastfl.com/pumpkinpalooza

2018 NAS JAX AIR SHOW — Jacksonville’s premiere air show invites you to pull up a tailgate chair on the lawn of the birthplace of the Blue Angels. Yes, although the famous flyers are now based in Pensacola, Jacksonville is the official birthplace of the Blues. Other famous performers include the Geico Skytypers, who can produce 20-25 characters of a written message in less than two minutes; and the husband and wife team of Gary and Ashley Shelton, who performs an aerobatic wing walking routine in midair. In addition to these and many more daredevil air tricks along the St. Johns River, there will be military and civilian aircraft on display, food and a Kids Zone. Friday (Oct. 26) is a practice day.
When: Oct. 27-28
Where: Naval Air Station Jacksonville
Web: nasjaxairshow.com

 

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