Florida Travel Guide

Florida holidays are particularly popular with families who have children of all ages. From family-friendly inns and hotels to luxury penthouses, Florida has top-class accommodation to suit everyone. When it comes to dining out visitors will be spoilt for choice with restaurants to suit all budgets and palettes, from seafood diners to romantic al fresco dining and much more. Shoppers will not be disappointed as Florida is a shopper’s haven with amazing shopping malls, designer boutiques and quaint little local stores. For culture vultures there is an array of attractions including state-of-the-art museums, art galleries, world-class ballet and opera. Entertainment ranges from stylish nightclubs to live music.

Sports fans are also looked after, with golf and fishing especially well catered for. With over a thousand golf courses, golf enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice. The warm climate here is ideal for all year round golfing although the peak golfing season runs from January to April. Keen fishermen can choose from the fresh-water inland lakes, line fishing from the shore or sport fishing where they may be lucky enough to catch barracuda, marlin, tuna, tarpon and grouper. Florida’s sunny climate and warm waters are perfect for water sports which include scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, kite-surfing, water-skiing, jet-skiing, parasailing, kayaking and more.

Orlando offers an unforgettable fantasy world with the Disney and Universal theme parks, however many people forget that there is so much more to the ‘Sunshine State’.

Florida also has some amazing green regions with lakes and rivers, the Atlantic Space Coast and the beautiful sandy beaches of the western Gulf Coast and the Atlantic coast. Florida has 1200 miles of coastline with wide white sandy beaches which are very popular with children and swimmers as they gently shelve down to beautiful calm waters, making them very safe for families with younger children. Nature parks are plentiful in the state, including the famous Everglades National Park, the Rookery Bay Nature Preserve and the Big Cypress Swamp. Children will love alligator spotting in the Everglades, an unforgettable experience of swimming with the dolphins down in the Keys and of course, exploring the Kennedy Space Centre.

Then there are the resorts of Naples, Marco Island, Sarasota, Clearwater and St Petes Beach which make perfect bases from which to visit places like the Orlando theme parks and Tampa’s Busch Gardens African them park.

Florida’s Space Coast has 70 miles of wide sandy beaches, family resorts like Cocoa Beach, the world famous NASA complex at Cape Canaveral and great wildlife parks.

The vibrant city of Miami is famous for its fashionable at deco South Beach, lively nightlife and a great selection of trendy restaurants, cafes and bars.

When you need a relaxing break a boat ride along the coast for a spot of dolphin watching or a riverboat cruise inland past mangroves and manatees or a peaceful catamaran cruise taking in the beautiful Florida sunsets is just the ticket.

Florida has two distinct weather seasons: the dry season during the autumn and winter, and the wet season during the spring and summer. The winter months are considered to be the best time to visit as temperatures average around 23C and most days are dry. Summer months are hot, wet and humid with temperatures often reaching 32C. The sea breezes from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean keep the coastal areas of Florida much cooler than the inland areas.

Tarpon Springs, Florida: A Great Place to Call Home

Tarpon Springs is a great place to live. If it’s Tarpon Springs real estate you are interested in, Tarpon Springs offers many types of homes, from bungalows to gated communities to mansions. You can enjoy the waterfront view from your front porch along the beautiful Anclote River. There are many beautiful waterfront communities in Tarpon Springs along the Gulf of Mexico and bordering Lake Tarpon. For roughly $3 million dollars you can buy a 6000 square foot home that is reminiscent of old European grandeur on S. Florida Avenue that has a wide open view of the Gulf of Mexico. The property sits on 1.6 private acres. On the low end, you can buy a condo-hotel with waterfront access for under $150,000. There are many other great choices in between for Tarpon Springs real estate on and off the water.

For recreational activities in Tarpon Springs, my family and I have spent many days at Howard Park, with picnic facilities, playgrounds and its own beach where we enjoy the beautiful Florida sunsets. Tarpon Springs is known for its historic Sponge Docks and the biggest Epiphany celebration in the country, held annually in the month of January. You can enjoy authentic Greek food and pastries in its many restaurants. We enjoy a little restaurant called Plakas where they say they are the “Greek McDonalds”. They have wonderful gyros and offer appetizers of Greek specialties such as marinated octopus! The Sponge Dock area also offers shopping, day-trip cruises, casino cruises or fishing trips. You can have a tour aboard a sponge boat and watch divers as they retrieve sponges from the Gulf of Mexico. You can also visit authentic Greek clubs where men spend the afternoon telling stories and playing cards.

Along with its Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs offers a 120,000 gallon aquarium, a Performing Arts Center, a Cultural Center, and the Leepa-Ratner Museum of Art which has been brought to the city by the St. Petersburg College of Tarpon Springs. For the fourth time in four years, St. Pete College has been rated number 1 in the state of Florida for distance education.

We also enjoy attending the Sunset Beach concerts, The Fine Arts Festival each April and attending wine tasting events at the Tarpon Springs Castle Winery. The historic downtown area offers First Fridays and Second Saturdays where the shops and restaurants are open late and there often is free entertainment to enjoy while you shop and dine.

Tarpon Springs, in northern Pinellas County, is centrally located to Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and is only 90 minutes away from Disney World and Sea World which are in Orlando, Florida. Tarpon Springs is a great place to call home or buy real estate with all it has to offer.

Madeira Beach Rentals Allow Florida Vacationers to Escape Crowds and Chaos

Springtime will be here before we know it, and with that, droves of vacationers from all over will flock to Tampa Bay’s beaches to soak up the sunshine. They come from all over and fit a variety of demographics – college kids driving a few hours south for Spring Break, or northerners who haven’t had their fix of vitamin D in what seems like eternity.

But those swarms of early vacationers and Spring Breakers can make finding a peaceful beach retreat nearly impossible, especially for those not familiar with the area. Most outside of Florida only know St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach when it comes to Tampa Bay’s beaches. But the smaller, lesser known beaches, such as Madeira Beach, are where you’ll find the perfect blend of ‘peace-and-quiet’ along with premiere restaurants, entertainment, recreation, and affordable accommodations.

Unlike St. Pete and Clearwater Beaches, which are cluttered with large, high-rise hotels and barely any sight of natural ambiance, the ever-quaint Madeira Beach still manages to capture the essence of “Old Florida.” There are no ultra high-rise hotels – just a few multi-story small vacation condos scattered about.

Beaches are wide, with natural sea oats and plentiful beds of sand. Instead of boisterous teenagers and young college kids drinking alcohol, children build sandcastles, while their families cook out the day’s fresh-catch or play beach volleyball, and couples embrace for a quiet moment marveling at the magnificent Florida sunset.

At night they all retreat in quiet, comfortable rental condos, most fully-equipped with kitchens so they can still enjoy the conveniences of home while enjoying a much-needed getaway. Kids have their own bedrooms, while mom and dad can enjoy some alone time in a master suite.

They stay for a week or more, because the rate of a vacation rental is far cheaper than a hotel, with far more perks – privacy, peace and quiet, full amenities like in-house laundry, a full kitchen, private balconies overlooking the Gulf, all while enjoying the same proximity to nearby restaurants, recreation, and entertainment.

Many will stay in some of the more popular Madeira Beach vacation rentals, including Villa Madeira, Trillium, and Arie Dam, just to name a few. These vacation rentals, and the area itself get the majority of their business from repeat guests who, by chance, happened to stumble upon them. Though the area does not command the widespread attention of some of the other more popular Tampa Bay beaches, those who frequent Madeira Beach will tell you it’s just the way they like it – charismatic, quiet, and carefree.