White Egret

The Everglades are subtropical wetlands that stretch down the southern half of Florida from the Kissimmee River near Orlando through Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay at the southern tip of the state. In the wet season the water forms a slow-moving river that is 60 miles wide and over 100 miles long the giving the Glades their ‘River of Grass‘ nickname. The Florida Everglades has several different ecosystems this diversity makes it possible for many different species of plants, animals and birds to call the Everglades home.

One of the places I visited in the Everglades was Everglades National Park. The Park was established in 1947 and covers the southern 25 percent of the original Everglades. It’s the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, and the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states. This year, I was one of the over a million people who visit the park annually.

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Apr
30
Tags (Attractions, Florida, Orlando) by Beverly Martinez-Collins

Hogwarts Castle

By Beverly Collins

I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I was there the day the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure and I have made many other friends who are just as big of fans as I am. I’ve met a lot of these people while writing what we call ‘fan fiction’; these are stories we’ve written about characters from the book. One of the sites we post them on is called Sink Into Your Eyes. I’ve met many wonderful people through this site, many talented writers. One such friend, Peter, came down this fall to visit. He came to see the shuttle launch but, of course being this close to the Orlando attractions, we had to go to the Wizarding World.

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Relax on Fort Walton Beach, FL

As the weather begins to warm up in the North and the spring time thaw starts people’s thoughts turn to warm weather activities and they start looking forward to venturing outside for more than 15 minutes without freezing to death. Many people envision warm breezes, caressing their faces, palm tress gently swaying in the breeze, in short they picture Florida beaches.

Activities at Florida Beaches

White Sand Beach in Destin, FL

I have lived in Florida over 25 years and when people come down to visit they always ask me where the best Florida beaches are and while I want to give them an honest answer it’s really, honestly, hard to choose just one. Having been all over the state and having visited more beaches than I can count I have to say there are too many to call just one my favorite or give it the title of ‘best’. When I’m asked this question tend to I ask a few myself, for instance I ask “What do you like to do at the beach, for instance do you like to fish?” It’s true you can cast a line off of any beach but if you’d actually like to catch something there are a few areas that are better than others. Destin, in the Panhandle, for instance, is known to have Cobia and other species running right off shore this may have something to do with the fact that the 100 fathom curve is only ten miles offshore at Destin and provides the fastest access to deep water fishing in the Gulf, surly the fish must use it too.

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Driving on Daytona Beach

As I watch the news, I see drivers up north getting stuck in snow storms and I think how nice it is to be able to drive on the beach. It’s a much nicer, more friendly environment and getting stuck in the sand isn’t nearly as awful as getting stuck in the snow. Winter is a great time to visit any of our Florida beaches and when you live on the beach as I do, winter is a great time for people watching and driving on the beach. Nearby Orlando is one of the premiere Florida vacation spots, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the premier vacation spots of the world. Winter is a great time to visit Orlando because it isn’t as crowed and it’s much cooler than in the summer, but still not as cold as the winter up north.

Motorsports Capital

Camaro Racing at Daytona International Speedway

When people ask me, as a Floridian, what I like to do during the winter, one of the places I always mention is Daytona Beach. Daytona Beach is known for many things, like the Daytona International Speedway home of NASCAR. During February, I try to go to Speed Week in Daytona, the many races and qualifying for the iconic Daytona 500 make it the place to be.

Harley Bikers and other motorcycle enthusiast gather for Bike Week in March. All these things are great draws to Daytona Beach but what I like about it is that you can drive on the beach there, that’s something you can only do on a few beaches in Florida.

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Universal Studios Orlando

No matter if you have come to Florida to escape the cold and stay warm, or just to enjoy the cool breezes; the time of year to visit Florida is not always relevant due to it’s relatively close temperatures all year round, which makes perfect for places like the beach or theme parks. Well skip the beach today and head on over to places in Orlando, the Theme Park Capital of the World! Orlando offers many different competing companies who each host their own theme parks, however I am biased on this issue and I must say that Universal Studios has the, not one but, two parks that are best worth your time and money. Not only that, but the parks are literally right across the street from each other, making it easy to visit both parks in one day if you’re able to land one of those Two Parks for One deals available, or just visit both over a couple of days. Alright, put on that sunscreen and pop that Dramamine, cause we’re going on a non-stop hop from ride to ride, which in my opinion, are the most important aspects of a theme park.

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Nov
17
Tags (Florida, Florida Keys, Travel) by Beverly Martinez-Collins

Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys

I have lived in Florida over half my life and one place I’ll never get tired of visiting is the Keys. When I first moved down here and heard the word “Key” I had no idea what that meant or what that was. I found out a “Key” is a derivative of the Spanish word Cayo, which means Small Island. The Florida Keys are a chain of small islands that begin about 20 miles south of Miami; the main chain swoops south-southwest for about another 120 miles or so Overseas Highway. The Keys divide the Atlantic Ocean on their east from the Gulf of Mexico on their west, not a bad spot to be in. At the southern most tip, Key West, we are only about 90 miles from Cuba which has added its flavor and influence to the Keys.

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South Beach Miami

I have a friend I met while in college recently come back for a visit. He’s French and is used to international type beaches, shops, cafes and clubs and often brags that there isn’t anything like them anywhere else in the world so while he was here I set out to change his mind.

I just love Miami South Beach. Some people think of it as the international playground for the rich, famous and beautiful people but not me; I live in Miami Beach so I know the ‘real’ South Beach and trust me you find all kinds there.

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Space Shuttle Endeavour Launch from KSC

Cocoa Beach has got to be one of the best Florida beaches of all; there is so much to do in such a small area, you see, Cocoa Beach is only 15 square miles and ten of that is water. When I am asked “What’s so great about Cocoa Beach?” Many things spring to mind; there’s Ron Jon’s, unique clothing and souvenir shops, many restaurants, and a lot of family fun with two miniature golf courses, a go cart track and of course, the beach with a fantastic pier. It’s also great to be so close to so many other things to do, like in Orlando, but I what I really love is just the town it’s self.

Cocoa Beach started to come on the radar when in the 1960′s two things happened: One, NASA came to the area in the form of the Kennedy Space Center. One of the coolest things you will ever do is watch a rocket launch and there is no better place to be when one goes off than standing on the beach. There are no buildings to obstruct your view and on a clear day you think you can literally see them achieve orbit. If it’s a Space Shuttle Launch not only can you see and hear it but on the beach you can feel the sound of it go through you, it’s wild.

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Daytona Beach Main Street

When I think of Daytona Beach several things come to mind. I remember hanging out on the beach during the day getting ‘the perfect tan’ then going back to the room to freshen up, out to dinner and then clubbing all night. I really enjoyed meeting all the people from all over the country there to party and have a good time.

Biketoberfest

Many of the bars of Daytona Beach are on the Main Street strip. One of the draws to Daytona Beach is Biketoberfest 2010, held in October. Bikers from all over the country and world converge on Daytona Beach for a few days of booze, bikes and babes. The Hogs Breath, Dirty Harry’s, Froggy’s and the Boot Hill Saloon, the Bank and Blues club; these are just a few of the names you’ll see. If you go to any one of these places during Bike Week or Biktoberfest you’ll find a party going on, wet t-shirt contests, live music, drink specials, food, fun and some fabulous bikes, its well worth the trip.

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Beach on Amelia Island

Tucked into the Florida coastline just as you pass the border in from Georgia you’ll find a great little spot for a nice, quiet, fun filled family vacation, it’s called Amelia Island. Amelia Island is the southernmost of the Sea Islands, which is a chain of barrier islands that stretches along the east coast from South Carolina to Florida. Because it is just inside the boarder from Georgia, Amelia Island still has some of that Southern charm, the streets are lined with oaks rather than palms and the businesses are more sedate meaning you’re more likely to find them advertised in wood block signs than neon. It’s a little more subtle than the rest of Florida; it’s very quaint and peaceful.

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