In this video I talk about the seven best and must-see sights in Florida beyond the Orlando Theme Parks. Listen and see as I take you on a highlights tour of each of them. Watch the video below:
In the video you will hear about these must-see sights
I had not expected to find the oldest inhabited town in the United States in Florida. But it is. St Augustine is the longest permanent settlement, dating back to the 1570s. It’s a gorgeous place. The highlight is the Castillo de San Marcos fortress built in the 17th Century by the Spanish that settled and controlled the town. There are grand buildings built by wealthy pioneers like Henry M Flagler, co-founder of Standard Oil, that now are museums (like the Ligtner Museum that used to be the Alcazar Hotel) and a college (Hotel Ponce de Leon is now Flagler College).
Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral is a fascinating place. During the tour of the “Rocket Garden” full of the early American space rockets, the guide pointed out that the early trips into space were really ballistic missiles with tiny cramped capsules for astronauts perched on top. You can get up close to the actual “Atlantis” Space Shuttle went into space 33 times, head out to the launch pads and walk under a vast Saturn V Rocket of the type used to power the Apollo missions to the moon, meet a real Astronaut and hear how NASA is preparing to take man all the way to Mars and back.
Miami South Beach
Strolling around the beautifully preserved Art Deco district along Ocean Drive Miami South Beach, it is hard to believe that before the 1980s it was a shabby and deteriorating area at threat from developers, mostly inhabited by poor fixed-income pensioners, drug dealers and displaced Cubans. It was so bad that the “Miami Vice” TV show regularly used it as the scene and inspiration for many of its crime storylines, focused on drug dealers and thugs. Things started to change after Barbara Capitman and her supporters succeeded in getting almost a square mile of South Beach on the National Register of Historic Places. It developed from there to what it is today. A mecca for hip bars and restaurants and a magnet for the beautiful people to congregate and preen. I loved the area.
Both Ernest Hemingway and ex-USA President Harry Truman fell in love with Key West and had homes there that you can now tour. Both provide fascinating insights to the stories and lives of these influential men. Key West has an iconic marker for the Southernmost point of the USA that every visitor lines up to take their picture with. Cuba is just 90 miles away from there. Eclectic, vibrant and sometimes eccentric the Old Town is full of distinctive wooden buildings, busy bars and diverse restaurants – along with some unusual museums too such as the Shipwreck Museum that tells the story of how residents of the town became wealthy from the many ships that floundered on the coral reef surrounding the area.
Everglades Safari Park
Alligators and Snakes. There is nothing like an encounter with a few scary creatures to make for a thrilling day! You can see them up close at the Everglades Safari Park by zooming through the Everglades on a thrilling Air Boat in the wild before watching a show featuring massive alligators, a baby one and fearsome snake.
Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates
The prolific inventor Thomas Edison and car magnate Henry Ford were great friends and eventually owned magnificent winter houses next to each other close to Fort Myers Florida. At the time Edison bought the land the location was remote and difficult to reach. Edison set up laboratories and worked out of here on many of his inventions, including how to make the United States self-sufficient in rubber. Ford, meanwhile, used the house to be with his close friend at his birthday and enjoy time relaxing with the man. The estate and houses are beautifully maintained and offer a fascinating insight into these two American business icons.
Long stretches of sparkling white sand with a warm welcoming ocean have made the area popular for snow birds fleeing the harsher winters further north in the United States, young people heading there for rowdy Spring Break parties and families looking for a sunny and affordable vacation resort. Rows of condominiums and hotels follow the line of the beaches while set back behind them are bars and restaurants offering a diverse range of food for all budgets. There are people surfing, sailing and swimming creating a warm and welcoming area holiday destination.
I visited it on a Titan Travel “Best of Florida” tour: http://bit.ly/TitanFlorida