Where can you find rockets blasting toward outer space, race cars roaring around speedways and amusement rides zooming through magical lands? Central Florida is home to exciting adventure. A visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral lets you explore the history of NASA’s space travel, and if you’re there at the right time, you might get to witness a blastoff. Racing fans will want to visit Daytona Beach, home to NASCAR’s famous Daytona 500. For children and kids-at-heart, a trip to Disney World, Universal Studios or one of the other amusement parks in the Orlando area is a must. A quick skip to Cocoa Beach provides a relaxing change of pace.
Ponce de Leon knew he found someplace special in this Feast of Flowers when he arrived in 1513. Since then, visitors have been drawn to the natural beauty of north Florida. Explore the heritage of the area in St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the United States. Old World charm oozes from the quaint shops and restaurants lining the picturesque streets of this historic town. Grab a camera and head to Ocala, where you’ll find thoroughbred horse farms with rolling green pastures and tree-lined driveways. For a change of pace, check out the nightlife in the urban area of Jacksonville.
With sugary white sand and clear emerald waters, it’s no wonder the Florida Panhandle is home to many of the nation’s top-ranked beaches. Snowbirds will enjoy sinking their toes on the shore and soaking up the rays. Whether you enjoy active watersports, a game of golf or deep-sea fishing, the Emerald Coast has it all. Destin and Panama City Beach are hubs of shopping and entertainment. Many state parks in the area burst with tranquil beaches, natural sand dunes and wildlife refuges, while others serve up rivers and waterfalls to explore. Motor to Apalachicola for some of the nation’s best oysters.
From uninhabited areas full of wildlife to urban centers full of nightlife, south Florida is a place of contrasts. Bring your binoculars, and look for crocodiles and manatees hiding in the wetlands of the Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve. Relax in the classic beach towns of Naples and Fort Lauderdale, where the sandy shores greet the jeweled waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Visit Miami to check out all the activities this big city offers, and then catch the unforgettable Overseas Highway for a road trip to Key West, a charming town that serves as the southernmost tip of the continental United States.