Top 10 Reasons to Visit Daytona Beach
1. Daytona International Speedway
This mecca of motorsports is getting even bigger with the Speedway’s newest expansion project - Daytona Rising. Race fans will rejoice over the $400 million overhaul creating a world-class facility with premium amenities and unparalleled conveniences and experiences by 2016.
2. Festival Capital of Florida
Daytona Beach takes claim to the title of Festival Capital of Florida for good reason with festivals and events taking place year round. Make the pilgrimage for one of our large legendary events like Biketoberfest®, or visit one of the 50 smaller cultural festivals put on throughout the year.
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.
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 de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, and the Marine Science Center.
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!
6. "Original American 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.
7. Thrill Rides
Visitors can choose from a surprising list of attractions including a high-speed ocean view ride on the Sand Blaster roller coaster at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier, a race around Daytona International Speedway with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, a zip lining adventure at ZoomAir Adventure Park or an up-close encounter with marine life while paddle boarding in the Halifax River.
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.
9. Scenic Cruising Opportunities
Cruising is a tradition in Daytona Beach. 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.
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August 10th - 13th:
KEY WEST LOBSTER FEST - Various locations in Key West
It’s the 21st celebration of all things crustacean and signals the start of the Florida Keys lobster season. Highlights: Thursday night lobster boil, Friday night Duval Crawl, lots of live music, Saturday street fair with lobster-inspired culinary creations and a luscious lobster brunch Sunday.
CRAFT BEER BASH - PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm beach Gardens
Imagine an entire festival featuring unlimited sampling of 150 first-rate craft brew and cider selections. Combine that with great live music, yummy food stations, all set at a luxury resort in cool air-conditioned comfort and it’s a great way to spend a hot summer day.
August 19th - 20th:
INAUGURAL ISLAMORADA GRAND PRIX OF THE SEA - Islamorada
Experience non-stop, pulsing action as Powerboat P1 brings Aquax and Superstock offshore races to the Keys. Yamaha and Kawasaki personal watercraft racers along with P1 Panther race boats compete at speeds averaging 75 miles per hour.
August 19th & September 16th:
SUMMER JAZZ ON THE GULF - Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club
This is the 32nd consecutive year for this popular and free Southwest Florida tradition. An appealing and diverse selection of Jazz acts will be presented in a series of four concerts amid a hotel setting that has beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico, stunning sunsets and cool breezes. The Betty Fox Band is the headliner for the first show. Note: Events are open to the general public, not just hotel guests.
August 25th - 27th:
FISHERMAN'S VILLAGE PIRATE FEST - Fishermen's Village, Punta Gorda
All are welcome but ye best prepare to get wet, maties and wenches! There is a mock pirate invasion and anyone standing dockside will be sprayed with water guns by a flotilla of attacking boats encircling the fun-infested waters of Charlotte Harbor. Bring your water weapons and do your best to keep the invaders at bay. Also included: a pirate parade, pirate costume contests and a kid’s pirate treasure hunt.
Through September 4th:
THE LOST WORLD OF DINOSAURS - Flamingo Gardens, Davie
This exhibit that features 27 realistic, life-size dinosaurs has toured botanical gardens through the United States, but it is appearing in SoFla for the first time. If you haven’t been to beautiful Flamingo Gardens, this would be the perfect reason to go. Discover some of the largest creatures that ever lived, unearth bones in the Dino Dig, touch real fossils and see a real fossilized dinosaur egg.
Through September 5th:
BIRDS OF PARADISE - Museum of Science & Discovery, Fort Lauderdale
Developed over eight years by “National Geographic” and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this exhibit captures all 39 known species of birds-of-paradise. The exhibit encompasses sound bites, videos, photographs and artifacts gathered in 18 expeditions. The hands-on, multi-media components and mechanical digital mini-stations allow you to better understand these beautiful creatures.
THE INCREDIBLE DUCK RACE - Curtis Hixon Park, downtown Tampa
Adopt one of more than 5,000 rubber ducks dumped into downtown Tampa’s Hillsborough River and watch them all “race” to the finish line. Proceeds from the adoptions benefit children’s programs and charities via the Tampa Kiwanis Foundation, and there will be lots of fun activities, food, games and other shenanigans at the park leading up to the big race.
STRAWBERRY CLASSIC CAR SHOW - Union Station Depot, Plant City
Classic cars, classic music and classic street food vendors bring you back to a simpler time of shiny Firebirds and ’57 Chevys. Plant City’s monthly community car show will feature classic and antique trucks in August, as well as the usual BBQ, raffles, DJ, kids’ activities and shops and restaurants staying open until the event ends.
9TH ANNUAL GECKO BALL - Gulfport Casino Ballroom, Gulfport
You know summer is winding down when you start to hear about GeckoFest in Gulfport, and the Gecko Ball kicks off the festivities with a wild dance party, “geckotinis” and hors d’oeuvres. This year’s theme is Geckostock, paying homage to the free-spirited hippie culture of the 1960s, so guests will come dressed head to toe in Woodstock-era costumes and enjoy throwback music while bidding on a well-stocked silent auction.
August 26th - 27th:
MOUNT DORA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL - Elizabeth Evans Park, Mount Dora
One of Mount Dora’s most delicious annual events, the Seafood Fest is a great way to try all of the region’s best fresh fish and seafood dishes, including fish and chips, lobster mac and cheese, crab cakes, shrimp kebobs and more. Kick off this year’s fest with a Friday night wine and pub crawl wearing your best pirate or wench attire for prizes.
PADDLE AT THE PORCH - Back Porch Seafood & Oyster Bar, Destin
Forget running on the beach. Thanks to our gorgeous Florida coastline, paddle boarding events are becoming a thing. Pick your distance based on experience from the 1-mile beginner ride to the 3-mile recreational race and the 6-mile elite race. Awards will be presented to the first three finishers in each category.
FESTIVAL OF THE CHARIOT - Jacksonville Beach
Festival of the Chariots, or Ratha Yatra, originated in India as a celebration of the invitation to the Lord of the Universe to enter festival goers’ hearts. The Jax Beach festival features a Bhakti Yoga Festival centered on love and devotion, plus a 25-foot tall chariot, live music, vendors, workshops and more.
August 19th - 20th:
PENSACOLA COMIC CONVENTION - Pensacola Interstate Fair Grounds Expo Hall
This convention proves geeky, sci-fi love has no borders as fanboys and fangirls of seemingly diverse genres can coexist under one roof. Top celebrities scheduled this year include pro wrestling legend Scott Steiner (Big Bad Booty Daddy), actor Rick Cosnett (“Vampire Diaries” and “The Flash”) and paranormal investigators The Ghost Brothers (Dalen, Markus and Juwan). Also includes a live ghost investigation at the haunted Victorian Inn with the Ghost Brothers. Of course, no comic con would be complete without a costume competition, so start planning your duds now.
PICKIN' IN THE PARK - Silver Springs State Park
Celebrate the end of “summer” — the season, not the weather — with an evening of acoustic jams on the banks of the spring at the state park. The musicians and instruments vary each month but usually include banjo, upright bass, guitar and fiddle. Foot tapping and cheering is a must.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE - Castillo San Marcos, St. Augustine
It’s never too late to “find your park.” Coming off the National Parks Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, love for our nation’s historical and natural treasures is still at an all-time high. Although many parks always feature free admission, this is your chance to visit St. Augustine’s historic fort at no charge.
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/
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Top 10 things to do
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: visit the National Historic Landmark and museum of this beautiful waterfront villa in Coconut Grove, a quaint waterfront village.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
With 15 distinct dining and entertainment districts, 47 miles of pristine beaches, and a staggering collection of attractions and cultural venues, it is no surprise the destination has ranked among the world’s best in both the Luxury and Summer Vacations categories by US News & World Report. With so much to offer, The Palm Beaches truly is the best way to experience Florida. Following is a sampling of destination claims, story ideas, and new announcements and celebrations for the destination.
Panama City Beach
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 bird watch for Snowy Edgrets, Great Edgrets, Blue Herons and Little Blue Herons and spot White Tailed derr 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.
Top Things to do in Tampa Bay
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
Coast Bike Share
With a smart phone and a credit card, you can see Tampa Bay on two wheels.
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®
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