Exploring...
Florida Vacations
A Guide for International Travel to Florida in the United States


Essential Websites for Florida Travel
Florida is the most south-eastern state in the United States of America. Known as "The Sunshine State", it became a popular winter destination for the well-to-do from colder climates over a century ago, and has gained ever greater popularity since. Its roots in agriculture are still present, with oranges being a chief export. The capital of Florida is Tallahassee, located in the eastern portion of the Florida Panhandle.

The beaches are one of the most popular attractions, along with some of the world's best known theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and Sea World. However, some of Florida's best secrets are in secluded locations away from tourist areas and well worth seeing. Regardless of preference, Florida has something to offer for any kind of traveler.
Florida Vacation Information:

    SARASOTA
There are numerous reasons why Sarasota is one of the most desirable places to... vacation... live... work... and raise a family. While maintaining a small town atmosphere, Sarasota has a big city feel with exceptional amenities… offering some of the finest museums, art and antique galleries, as well as numerous shops and boutiques. Be prepared to include a few evenings in Sarasota with our resident ballet, opera house, symphony, live theatre, comedy clubs, and jazz bars.
Places to Stay & Things to Do in Sarasota

    BRADENTON
With Old Florida flair, Bradenton offers plenty of diversity. Sports, recreation and eco enthusiasts will enjoy 150 miles of pristine shoreline boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Families looking for low key activities can board a water tour, snorkel for sand dollars, shell and picnic on the beach. Get up close to Snooty the Manatee while visiting the South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium. Biking and kayaking, as well as numerous beaches, bars and nightlife are plentiful.
Places to Stay & Things to Do in Bradenton

    ANNA MARIA ISLAND
South of Tampa Bay off the west coast of Florida lies Anna Maria Island, just west of Bradenton. Old Florida charm is the essence of Anna Maria’s seven mile stretch of pristine living… with every location literally a walk or bike ride away. The entire island is surrounded by a sugar-white coastline where loggerhead turtles like to nest and the emerald waters are home to dolphins and manatees. Sans the High-rises, theme parks and water slides, this little island is a fishing birding, kayaking paradise.
Places to Stay & Things to Do on Anna Maria Island

    LONGBOAT KEY
This barrier island off the coast of Sarasota has a cosmopolitan style with easy access to the famed shops on St. Armands Circle, beautiful beaches and the renowned Longboat Key Club golf courses. Sarasota is just over the Ringling bridge offering a lively downtown with three convenient malls, antique shops, galleries, restaurants, night-time entertainment, cultural events and attractions.
Places to Stay & Things to Do on longboat Key

    ST ARMANDS KEY
St. Armands and the island of Lido is a vacationers dream! This is where shopping, dining and nightlife abound and all are within walking distance to Lido Beach and resort accommodations. Naturalists won’t be disappointed either as two additional beaches offer miles of sandy dunes and a marine preserve for birding, hiking and kayaking.
Places to Stay & Things to Do on St Armands Key

    LIDO KEY
Lido Key is a barrier island just off the coast of Sarasota, Florida with three sandy beaches facing the Gulf of Mexico. The island offers St. Armands world class shopping, a seasonal nightclub scene and untouched natural beauty with a woodland trail and mangrove islands. Connected to the mainland by John Ringling Causeway, Lido Key is directly west of Sarasota’s Cultural Center between Longboat and Siesta Key.
Places to Stay & Things to Do on Lido Key

    SIESTA KEY
Located off the coast of Sarasota, Siesta Key offers a bit of everything. Quaint shops, boutiques and cozy bungalow style restaurants that are sophisticated and pricey. Crescent Beach, known for its soft white sand, is among the "Top 10 Beaches of the World" and “Dr. Beach” just rated Siesta Beach... "The Best of all Beaches in the United States". As for nightlife, Siesta offers island style entertainment with one of two bridges accessing the best of Sarasota’s downtown. In other words... You can’t get any better than this!
Places to Stay & Things to Do on Siesta Key

    CASEY KEY
An hour’s drive from Tampa, Casey Key stretches eight miles between Siesta Key and the Island of Venice and runs parallel to the communities of South Sarasota, Osprey and Nokomis. This... lush secluded island on Florida’s west coast is predominantly residential and home to a number of celebrities. There are two public beaches, Nokomis and North Jetty Beach, at the southern end.
Places to Stay & Things to Do on or nearby Casey Key

    VENICE
Known as the "Sharks Tooth Capital of the World", Venice boasts the longest beach in Sarasota County known as Caspersen Beach. Uncultivated, windswept and secluded, this beach is perfect for walking, snorkeling and hunting pre-historic sharks' teeth. Located just south of Sarasota, this quaint, historically preserved town features shops, cafes, symphony and community theatre.
Places to Stay & Things to Do on Venice Island

    ENGLEWOOD
This unincorporated community straddles two counties - Charlotte and Sarasota and the shoreline includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Intra-coastal Waterway, Charlotte Harbor and the Myakka River. Many consider this region a waterfront paradise for both saltwater and freshwater fishing, cruising, sailing and the great outdoors. Few places in Florida can boast of so many tropical beaches.
Places to Stay & Things to Do in Englewood

    MANASOTA KEY
Off the coast of ENGLEWOOD is this enchanting barrier island where high-rises and traffic lights are non-existent; just a two-lane road shaded by live oak trees and pristine beaches. The north end has private homes tucked behind lush tropical foliage with boat docks and privately held sandy beaches. At the south end are low-rise apartments, condos and a few restaurants and souvenir shops. If you’re looking for solitude, Blind Pass Beach provides the best opportunity with a nature trail of dunes dotted with wild flowers on Lemon Bay. This is definitely Old Florida at a much slower pace.
Places to Stay & Things to Do on Manasota Key

    PORT CHARLOTTE
Offering 165 miles of man-made waterways there’s water...water...everywhere for boating, fishing, and gazing at picture perfect sunsets along the banks of the Peace River. Golf, tennis, nature preserves and one of the most spectacular natural ecosystems in the United States, Everglades National Park, are only a short drive away.
Places to Stay & Things to Do in Port Charlotte

    PUNTA GORDA
Offering 165 miles of man-made waterways there’s water...water...everywhere for boating, fishing, and gazing at picture perfect sunsets along the banks of the Peace River. Golf, tennis, nature preserves and one of the most spectacular natural ecosystems in the United States, Everglades National Park, are only a short drive away.
Places to Stay & Things to Do in Punta Gorda

Retire to Florida, Retirement Communities, Senior Living Facilities

    BEACHES
The pristine shores and waterways of Anna Maria Island and Manasota Key provide exceptional sport fishing as well as birding, kayaking and sandy guided turtle walks. Sophisticated Longboat Key is ideal for golf, tennis and pampered luxury...while Lido...features St. Armands... the epicenter of shopping that’s just a short stroll from the public beach.

Ranked year after year among America’s most beautiful, is Siesta Key’s Crescent Beach, where "Siesta Beach" has been ranked #1 and the very "BEST" in the Nation! Toddlers to seniors relish the feel of its ultra-fine, stark white sand. Drive across Casey Key’s one-lane, swing-bridge and glimpse the lodgings of Stephen King and Martina Navratilova. Then head to the Island of Venice where you can sift the sand and find the teeth of fossilized sharks. There’s even a "Dog Beach" where humans can catch a few rays while paddling with their four-legged friends.

Let’s find the right beach for you!


International Travel & Information Sites:

    Events, Activities & Things to Do

    Currency Exchange

    world time zones - represented graphically

    Time & Date - time zones, international dialing codes, meeting planner & distance calculator

    Light Packing Suggestions - get it all in one bag - watch your liquids!

    Trip Journal - create your own travel website with a few clicks.

    Visa information - lists visa information for most countries - lots of ads.

    Delta Arlines - select nationality and destination, gives passport and visa information.

    Airport Sleeping - guide to sleeping in airports, including reviews.

    Independent Travel - independent packing and backpacking information.

    Language Translator - free translation site.

    Yahoo Language Translator - free translation site.

    General travel advice - plus more detailed information for some countries.

    Frequent Flyers - information site for members of frequent flyer networks.

    Travel Post - international airport wireless internet guide.

    Health Service - health info for travelers.



Airline Information:

    Amadeus - look straight into the database used by most travel agents and airlines. An excellent planning tool as you don't have to visit every airline in existence to find out if they fly on a particular destination or not. This of course excludes chartered services and low cost carriers which are not booked through Amadeus. (Tickets not Available).

    Check My Trip - use your name and Amadeus booking number to keep an eye on the status of your scheduled flights. Extra useful in that your friends/family/relatives/favourite pet can keep up to date with your itinerary down to the last minute. Again, this does not work for low cost carriers.

    Attitude Travel - lists low cost/budget airlines world wide.

    Kayak, Expedia, Ebookers - online air-travel and usually a lot more.

    Air Treks - round the world tickets and planning application.

    Sky Scanner, Air Ticket, Trabber, Fly UK, Side Step, Fare Cast, & Fare Compare - various search engines for flights.



Mapping:

    Google Earth - Fly around the globe, navigate cities, measure distances, and just generally allow yourself to be amazed by the blue planet. Inspiration and education free of charge. Beware though, GE requires a good internet connection and a fairly powerful computer to show off at its best.

    Street Maps - city street maps for a range of countries.

    Road Mapping - road mapping site for the UK, USA and Europe.



News Sources:

    Irin Global - news from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Helps you avoid conflict zones in exotic places.

    British Broadcasting Corporation - for the broad overview.

    Kidon Media - local newspapers and news sources from all continents.

    World Health Organization

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