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Three South Florida Vacation Destinations
Florida. This sub-tropical wonderland is a treasure trove of variety. From the Gulf Coast to the Keys, there’s never a flat moment, and never a dull view. With 1,197 statue miles of coastline, 11,000 miles of inland waterways, dynamic cities, amazing food and friendly folks, Florida is a tourist destination without equal. Of course, with so much variety to choose from, how in the world do you choose just where to visit and what to do in the Sunshine State? Panhandle or Atlantic Coast? Miami or Tallahassee? Space Center or Disney World? The choices are almost endless!
Today, let’s focus on three great South Florida attractions, away from Miami, worthy of your next great Florida adventure.
Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park might reasonably be better named Biscayne National Treasure. This gorgeous jewel in our nation’s treasure box of stunning parks is a true wonder, full of fun and activity for all. Protecting the distinctive marine ecosystem of Biscayne Bay, 95% of the park is water; so, if ocean-based activity or ecotourism is your thing, you simply can’t pass-up a visit to Biscayne National Park.
Scuba diving, snorkeling, and sport fishing opportunities abound. Please note, however, that fishing in Biscayne National Park is regulated by the State of Florida, so plan ahead if fishing’s your goal. You’ll need the appropriate fishing license before you can cast your rod. For boating, likewise, restrictions are in effect. Personal watercraft, such as jet skis and water scooters, are strictly prohibited on the waters of Biscayne National Park. Other types of private pleasure craft are permitted, however, so bring your sailboat and spend the day relaxing beneath the endlessly blue skies of Biscayne Bay.
John Pennekamp State Park
Located on Key Largo, the largest of the Florida Keys, the 70 nautical square mile John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has the distinction of being the “first undersea park in the United States” (www.pennekamppark.com). Named for Mr John Pennekamp, an environmentally-conscious newspaper editor, the park was first opened to the public in 1963. This gorgeous and innovative destination featuring some of the only coral reefs in the United States is the most visited of all the Florida State Parks. Scuba diving and snorkeling are just some of the more popular activities at Pennekamp State Park. For the slightly-less adventurous, the park features a large, saltwater aquarium alongside a theater where you can see videos centering on the biology and ecosystems preserved and protected by the park. Perhaps the most unique attraction to be found at Pennekamp State Park is a nine-foot tall underwater statue of Jesus called the Christ of the Abyss. Resting 25 feet below the ocean surface, the Christ of the Abyss is a popular destination for underwater tourists of all stripes and colors. Crafted in Italy, the statue has an identical twin which stands beneath the waters of the Mediterranean, just offshore from the historic city of Genoa.
The Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway, also signed as US Highway 1, is 125 miles in length and takes about 3 hours to drive nonstop. En route from Florida City to Key Largo and Key West, this gorgeous route takes in no less than 43 bridges and 59 of the Florida Keys. This is one highway that’s truly world-famous. People the world over are familiar with its stunning vistas of warm, bright blue waters and expansive never-ending skies. The Florida Keys are a variety-packed, year-round destination with something for everyone, no matter what the season. However, travelers should note that hurricane season typically stretches from June to November with the most powerful storms occurring in September. Peak season generally runs from December through April when demand for lodging is at a premium, so if you’re planning to go, be sure to book reservations well in advance.
Florida is an incredible place for vacations long and short. Whatever your interests, whatever your budget, Florida has something for you. Sunny beaches and expansive skies, history, culture, and smiles, all this, and more, awaits you in the Sunshine State. Why not make Florida your next vacation destination? Come visit! We’ll be glad you did!
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