Florida does have the nickname of being The Sunshine State, so would you expect anything less than awesome beaches, gorgeous weather and some of the most beautiful parks in the country? Do you want to visit St. Augustine, the country’s oldest city, or do you want to take a trip down to the coastal areas? If you are in need of inspiration while planning your Florida vacation, check out these beautiful locations in sunny Florida.
This is a barrier island that is located directly off of the southwest coast of the state, and it is not located too far from Ft. Myers. Although it is situated within the borders of Lee County, Sanibel Island became incorporated in the mid-1970s. By car, it is a 45 minute drive from the Southwest Florida International Airport. However, if you are interested in completing the drive, you can book Florida Shuttle now to reserve your transportation from the airport and secure the best rates.
The actual island is only around 12 miles long and nearly 5 miles wide. The main thing that has made the island a popular vacation destination is the shelling beaches, and because the island has a distinct geographical location, it lies east to west. This allows it to act as a natural scoop while gathering seashells that are along the beaches. Thousands of tourists descend on the island every year on the hunt for that one elusive seashell.
Sanibel Island has an average population of 5600. However, this number fluctuates greatly during the winter as this is the island’s peak tourist season. By having a yearly temperature average of 75 degrees, it is easy to understand why so many northern ‘snowbirds’ come to the island to escape the harsh northern winters.
Although Sanibel Island is considered a wildlife refuge in its own right, more than 60 percent of the island is nationally protected reserves, and you can explore much of this wildlife reserve by biking part of the 26 mile bike trail or walking along the 17 mile stretch of sandy beach.
You do not have to travel to the west coast of the United States to experience the ‘Hollywood Lifestyle’. Nestled between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Florida is one of the classic Florida towns that has been intriguing beach goers since the first part of the 20th century. One feature that allows Hollywood to stand out is the one of a kind promenade on the oceanfront that is known as the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. This boardwalk stretches an astonishing two miles along the Atlantic side of the state.
Constantly revered as one of the best boardwalks in the country, this thoroughfare is a brick paved haven for bikers, joggers, roller bladers and walkers, as well as those who prefer to just observe all of the boardwalk action while eating at one of the countless cafes and eateries that line it. With the ease of access to the ocean and the village like atmosphere, this is a must add to your destination list. Enjoy a stress-free night on the town dining with the family, or relax and enjoy a delicious oceanside meal while the little ones are entertained in the sand that is only a few steps from the boardwalk.
There are two parks along the boardwalk that attract kids from every age range who want to stay cool in the dolphin play fountain or paddleball on the historic courts of Garfield Street.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
The crystal clear Ichetucknee River quietly flows through six miles of forests and covered hammocks before it meets with the Santa Fe River. The upper part of the river has a 3 mile area that is state protected. The river also has its own springs, eight of them in fact, and each one has its own individual personality and charm. In the early 1970s, the top spring in the river was officially recognized as a National Natural Landmark. Even today, this part of the river remains as one of the most pristine rivers that is spring fed in Florida. This has been achieved because motorized vehicles are not allowed in the area, litter and trash are minimized and the carrying capacity is heavily monitored and enforced.
Because it has a natural beauty, tubing is allowed from May and September, making Ichetucknee one of the most popular destinations in Florida. There is also a wide range of other activities visitors can enjoy while visiting the park including:
- Scuba diving
- Wildlife viewing
Wild turkeys, otters, alligators, turtles, beavers, wood ducks, limpkins and raccoons can be seen in and along the river bank. If you are looking to make your visit to the park a day trip, there are picnic areas that are fully equipped with grills and tables throughout the park. You also have the option of enjoying a full concession that offers food and outdoor products between the months of May and September. The concession stand closes for the season after Labor Day.
This city is not only the state’s capital, it is the symbol of a true genteel southern town. You will still find the residents are gracious, have manners while living against the perfect backdrop of plantation homes, rolling hills and oak-canopied roads. The city is also home to universities and colleges like Florida A&M and Florida State University, and of course, it is home to the State Legislature. You can see that the new state capital building towers over the center city, and it is next to the old capital building. Do not forget to visit the gallery that sits on top of the new 22-story capital building. It is from this vantage point that you will be able to get a breathtaking view of hills and quaint, tree-lined streets.
Walk along the streets that are bordered by majestic gracious homes, or stop by one of the numerous restaurants, inns, bars, parks and galleries. Tallahassee has something for everyone.
This is just a small sampling of some of the most gorgeous area in Florida. What are you waiting for? Start planning your Florida vacation today!