Top 10 Things To Do In Florida

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed in Florida! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Florida’s most important sights.

Florida Marco Polo Guide

1. FLORIDA KEYS
Florida Keys makes number 1 on our list thanks to its bewitching mix of liberality, a super relaxed lifestyle and a tropical climate.

2. SOUTH BEACH MIAMI
Crazy, creative, trendy and full of life: with its magnificent Art Deco architecture, the South Beach
neighbourhood is the very best reason to pay Miami a visit.

3. EVERGLADES
Meeting an alligator in these wetlands is an unforgettable experience – but don’t forget the countless other species that are also worth a look!

4. KEY WEST
Awash with artists, hedonists, Mojitos, Key Lime Pies, drag queens and Hemingway clones, this city on the Keys is the most liberal spot east of San Francisco.

5. MAGIC KINGDOM PARK®
Orlando has been shaped by Disney World®, the mother of all theme parks – and Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom Park® is the princess of all fairy tale castles.

6. KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
Get a taste of exciting contemporary history: it was from this space station that America took its first steps toward the stars.

7. PENSACOLA
Founded in 1565, Florida’s western most city is a pleasant, peaceful place. Alongside the Old Town, the gleaming white beaches are a magical attraction.

8. LITTLE HAVANA
Florida would be unimaginable without Cubans. Miami’s Little Havana – with the Calle Ocho at heart – brims with Cuban life like nowhere else in the USA.

9. ST. AUGUSTINE
With its romantic alleyways and plazas, St. Augustine – Florida’s birthplace – still has an unmistakably Spanish Colonial feel to this day.

10. TAMPA AREA BEACHES
Pinellas Peninsula by Tampa is a real tropical paradise. The soft, white, sugar fine sand makes the peninsula a real Mecca for all lovers of sun and fun!

 

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Low Budget Florida

Let Marco Polo show you how to visit Florida without spending a fortune…

Florida Marco Polo Guide 

 

Miami

The Jazz on South Beach: A dorm bed costs $20–35 and a room costs $50–100. On top of that, the Jazz has a club coordinator who provides guests with access to the South Beach clubs. 28 rooms | 321 Collins Ave. | Tel. 1 305 6 72 21 37 | www.jazzhostels.com

Jerry’s Famous Deli: No deli really, rather a good ol’ diner from the time of the big road cruisers. It serves over 600 dishes, mainly burgers and sandwiches, and the portions are always huge. 1450 Collins Ave. | South Beach | Tel. 1 305 5 32 80 30 | www.jerrysdeli.com

Tap Tap: Haitian cuisine amidst works of Caribbean artists in super-bright colours. The grilled chicken comes highly recommended. 819 5th St. | Miami Beach | Tel. 1 305 6 72 28 98

Miami creativity for free: Every Sunday and every second Saturday of the month there is no charge for the Miami Art Museum. This fabulous museum exhibits both established and young artists and has outstanding collections.

 

The Keys

Harriette’s Restaurant: A yellow box building with a green roof. It serves up lots of calories for little money. Pictures of local softball teams and trusty regulars hang proudly on the walls. MM 95.6 | Key Largo | Tel. 1 305 8 52 86 89

The Whale Harbour Inn: Nowhere else in Florida will you get so much seafood for only $30. Islamorada | MM 83.5 | Tel. 1 305 6 64 98 88 | whaleharborrestaurant.com

Key West Aquarium: One of the oldest aquariums in the US, which has shark and turtle basins as well as a touch pool with manta rays and crustaceans. Shark feeding happens daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 4.30pm. Open daily 10am–5pm | Admission $13 | 1 Whitehead St. | www.keywestaquarium.com

 

The Everglades

Bird watching: A good pair of binoculars is all you need to enjoy spotting cranes, frigate birds, swallow-tailed kites and 347 other species. Bird check lists are available from the visitor centres.

The wonders of the Everglades in black and white: In the Big Cypress Gallery, a good 18 miles east of Ochopee, landscape photographer Clyde Butcher presents the dramatic and idyllic results of his quest for timeless beauty. Free admission | Open daily 10am–5pm

 

The West Coast

City tour (nearly) for free: Well, 25 cents is as good as, no? In St. Petersburg, an old-fashioned trolleybus serves 13 stops and covers most of the city’s attractions. Park your car at St. Petersburg Pier and get aboard the yellow-painted Looper bus for a city tour. Daily 10am–5pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-Midnight.

The Lazy Flamingo II: This restaurant serves oysters, mussels and shrimps and is a favourite with the locals. 1036 Periwinkle Way | Sanibel | Tel. 1 239 4 72 69 39

 

The Panhandle

City view: You can enjoy a superb view of the state and capital city from the Observatory on the 22nd floor of the New Capitol Building in Tallahassee. If the visibility is good then you can see all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Free admission | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm | 400 S Monroe St.

Panama City Beach: Loads of special offers and other discount incentives available on their Chamber of Commerce website. www.pcbeach.org

 

The East Coast

Sawgrass Mills shopping centre: Find more than 350 stores and designer outlets all under one roof. You are sure to find a bargain at the biggest mall in southern Florida! 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd. | Fort Lauderdale

The Pirate House Inn: Something between a youth hostel and a guesthouse, which has beds in dorms as well as private rooms at absolutely rock bottom prices. 5 rooms, 2 dorms | 32 Treasury St. | St. Augustine | Tel. 1 904 8 08 19 99 | piratehaus.com

Lazy beach days: If you want to sunbathe or go for a cooling dip then head for Midtown Beach as it is the only public beach in town. Ocean Blvd. | Between Royal Palm Way and Gulfstream Rd.

Al’s Pizza: A popular pizza canteen with cheerful staff and delicious food. 303 Atlantic Blvd. | Tel. 1 904 2 49 00 02

 

Orlando

Theme park fun: If you’re going to visit Walt Disney World (disneyworld.disney.go.com) or Universal Studios (www.universalorlando.com) it is worth checking out this valuable information from MoneySavingExpert before you go: www.moneysavingexpert.com!

Grape’s Wine Bar & Gourmet Bistro: A choice of 120 different wines, snacks and light meals in a functional urban ambience. 9101 International Dr. | Pointe Orlando | Tel. 1 407 2 48 28 38

Ocala National Forest: An adventure park that charges no admission fee. The forest is blessed by the sun and characterised by its deep shades of green, slender palm trees, knotty oaks, sand pines and flowing rivers. Despite the fact that it is close to the entertainment capital of Orlando, you can certainly find peace and relaxation in this dense national forest. Visitors can swim and snorkel in crystal-clear springs or paddle through palm forests and observe sea eagles and even black bears. A range of outdoor activities including canoeing, cycling and walking can also be pursued here. Ocala National Forest | Ocklawaha Visitor Center | Daily 9am–5pm | Tel. 1 352 2 36 02 88 | CR 315 and SR 40 | Close to Silver Springs

 

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Top 10 Party Beaches!

Let yourself be inspired by Marco Polo’s selection of Top 10 Party Beaches! Have fun planning the holiday of a lifetime where you can party until the sun comes up!

Group of people party on the beach.

1. Paradise Beach, Mykonos, Greece

Paradise Beach is a magnet for the young from all over the world. The sound is turned up in the early evening when DJs take to the turntables. The beach vibrates to the sound and night becomes day.

Greece Marco Polo Guide

 

2. Bloemendaal, The Netherlands

The best beach pavilions are in Bloemendaal where party-lovers congregate in the trendy lounges and chill-out areas on the shore. Sometimes several pavilions join forces and hold parties at the same time, turning Bloemendaal into Holland’s answer to Ibiza.

Netherlands Marco Polo Map

 

3. Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

The throb of V8-engines, the roar of Harleys right on the 37km (22 mile) long sandy beach and the thunder of the Altantic. Daytona Beach on Florida’s east coast is the ultimate meeting place for the young and young at heart. Open the throttle!

Florida Marco Polo Guide

 

4. Santa Cristina Beach, Lloret de Mar, Spain

Life is a beach! Young people from all over Europe descend on the Spanish party mile near Barcelona with its more than 100 bars and clubs, especially at the weekends. During the day, chill out on Santa Cristina Beach – it’s not quite as crowded as Central Beach.

Costa Brava Marco Polo Guide

 

5. Anjuna Beach, Goa, India

Dancing to the beat under decorated palms and coloured lights with lasers shooting into the evening sky, video installations and masses of other party freaks. The trance and techno parties on Anjuna Beach are wild and legendary. The latest trend is silent disco where music is played through headphones.

India South (Goa & Kerala) Marco Polo Guide

 

6. Golden Sands, Varna, Bulgaria

Chart hits, old favourites and lazing around in the sun. In the Golden Sands resort on the Black Sea in Bulgaria partying to live music and international singers turns night into day.

Bulgaria Marco Polo Guide

 

7. Drums’ Beach, Tel Aviv, Israel

Groove to the beat every Friday evening at sunset in the south of Tel Aviv when bongo players and drummers congregate on Drums’ Beach and pound out their rhythm like there’s no tomorrow.

Israel Marco Polo Guide

 

8. Bodrum, Turkey

In Bodrum, the place to be on the Mediterranean, the younger generation and thirty-somethings from nearby cities gather here to party under the stars. Insider tip: Party all night long in Club Halikarnas.

Turkey Marco Polo Guide

 

9. English Harbour, Antigua

This island in the Lesser Antilles has 365 beaches to offer, so deciding where to go is not so easy! Those who love sailing around the Caribbean anchor their yachts in English Harbour. Sundays at Shirley Heights is party time with a glass of rum punch and the sound of steel drum bands.

Caribbean Marco Polo Map

 

10. Nikki Beach, Marbella, Spain

The guests at Nikki Beach Club on the Costa del Sol are sexy, cool, trendy, wealthy and come from all over the world. Relax on one of the upholstered sunbeds under the palm trees or a white sunshade. Don’t miss one of the famous ‘White Parties’!

Costa Del Sol (Granada) Marco Polo Guide

 

Content taken from the Marco Polo World Map with 100 Dream Beaches.

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