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Florida

Florida, “The Sunshine State”, known for its warm weather, its hundreds of miles of sandy beaches and some of the world’s best known theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, Epcot, The Kennedy Space Center, MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, Island of Adventure, Wet 'n' Wild and Legoland Florida.

Whatever your interests, from music to painting, porcelain to archaeology, thrill rides to outer space; Florida has something for every holidaymaker. Whether you want to just relax around the pool in a luxury holiday villa rental, laze around on an unspoilt sandy beach soaking up the sun, visit the home of American space flights, take a safari through the Florida Everglades National Park, or just while away the days in one of Florida's many excellent theme parks. Some of Florida’s best kept secrets are in secluded locations away from tourist areas and well worth seeing. Florida has something to offer for every kind of traveller during their vacation time.

Whether you rent a holiday apartment in the Florida Keys, stay on International Drive or rent a private holiday villa in a secluded location no part of Florida is more than an hour and a half's drive from the ocean.

Geography

The Florida peninsula, spanning two time zones, is warmed by surrounding subtropical and tropical waters and cooled by the trade winds. It is situated on a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Straits of Florida. The NW of Florida is a gently rolling panhandle area, cut into by deep swamps along the Gulf coast. The boundary with Georgia and Alabama is formed by the St. Marys River in the northeast and the Perdido River (“The Lost river” in Spanish) in the northwest. Much of the East coast is shielded from the Atlantic Ocean by narrow sandbars and barrier islands that protect the shallow lagoons, rivers, and bays. Immediately inland, pine and palmetto flatlands stretch from the Georgia border almost to the southern tip of the state. Central Florida has many lakes, with Lake Okeechobee being the largest. The Everglades, which includes Big Cypress Swamp, is a unique wilderness region of subtropical plant growth and animal life and extends over the centre of the southern part of the peninsula. Florida's SW coast, on the Gulf of Mexico, is dotted with tiny islands, and the Florida Keys, extending South and West from the Southern tip of the state, is linked to the mainland by a causeway. Florida is separated from Cuba to the South by the Straits of Florida.

History

Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León made the first European contact with Florida in 1513, which named it La Florida ("Flowery Land"). It gained statehood in the USA in1845 and it was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Indians, and racial segregation after the American Civil War. Today, its’ economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century, it is also distinguished by its large Hispanic community, high population growth, as well as its increasing environmental concerns.

Culture

Florida’s culture has been influenced by a mix of people from many different places and cultural backgrounds. All over the state you will find different cultures sharing their traditions. From the Native Americans to the Florida "Crackers" to the Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Greeks, Asians, African Americans, White Americans and dozens other ethnic groups. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes. Also, as one of the New Spain states, it shares history, culture, food and many other things with the Spanish, especially Cuban and Puerto Rican.

Top Tourist Attractions in Florida

Amelia Island home to six golf courses is one of the southernmost of the Sea Islands, a chain of barrier islands that stretches from South Carolina to Florida. Amelia Island is also home to Fernandina Beach, a charming shrimping village with 50 blocks of historic buildings, delightful eateries, and unique holiday B&Bs. Rent a vacation villa in Amelia Island to spend a fantastic golf holiday with family or friends.
Universal Orlando Resort
is the highest ranked after Walt Disney World, and is the largest of the Universal Studios Theme Parks. The resort is made up of the original Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Other attractions at the resort are a restaurant complex, a nightclub, CityWalk, and three resort hotels. Holiday villas to rent in Orlando direct from the owners, to enjoy a visit to the theme parks.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
is located on the Atlantic coast of Florida; the city is most famous for its beaches and boats. It is also known as the “Venice of America” because of its expansive and intricate canal system. Fort Lauderdale was once just a major spring break destination but is now a stylish and sophisticated city.
Kennedy Space Center
is one of Florida’s popular tourist attractions; it has been the launch site for every US human space flight since 1968 and is currently a launch site for unmanned rockets. There is also the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex which offers museums, movies, a rocket garden and bus tours of shuttle preparation and launch facilities. Before a rocket launch it is possible to but a launch pass from the Visitor Complex but keep in mind, for safety reasons, the closest approach available is at least 4 miles away, and often much further.
Walt Disney World
is Florida’s most popular attraction located in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando, it is the flagship of Disney’s worldwide theme park empire. It is also by far, the largest and most-visited theme park resort in the world. Walt Disney World is made up of four theme parks: The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Some visitors describe it as a magical land of fun and fantasy.
Key West
is known as the southernmost city in the continental United States and is actually located closer to Havana than to Miami, it was for many years the largest town in Florida which grew prosperous from the valuables of shipwrecks; it later went into a decline in the late 19th century when navigation improved which led to fewer shipwrecks. Although Key West today has been heavily restored and revitalized, the town has still retained some of its sense of individualism and isolation, somewhat detached from the rest of Florida. If you rent a holiday townhouse, villa or apartment in Key West there are many tourist attractions to visit include Ernest Hemingway’s former home, the Southernmost Point, the lighthouse and several drinking establishments.
Everglades
, some people may think of the Everglades as a big swamp but it is actually a vast, shallow, slow moving river of grass that extends from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. It has an incredibly unique ecosystem and a subtropical wilderness that can support creatures like alligators, bottlenose dolphins, bald eagles and manatees. There are endless opportunities in the everglades amid the miles of grass, mangroves, cypress and hardwood hammocks for hiking, bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, boating, camping and fishing.
South Beach
used to be a place where crime kept residents indoors at night and hotels stood mostly vacant. In the late 1980s helped by the TV show Miami Vice’s popularity a renaissance began with an influx of fashion industry professionals moving into the area. South Beach is now known for its luxury villas and homes, hip clubs and wild nightlife and is the richest and most popular area of Miami Beach; it is now one of the top tourist attractions in Florida. The area is also famous for its art deco design.
The Florida Keys
at the southern tip of Florida are a 120 mile long chain of small tropical islands (or Keys) stretching from Key-West at the southernmost point to Key Largo in the north, they are connected to the mainland by a series of bridges, the most famous and spectacular bridge is the Seven Mile Bridge in the Lower Keys which has frequently been used as a location for films including True Lies and Fast 2 Furious. US Highway 1, the “Overseas Highway” runs from Key Largo, Islamadora, Marathon, Lower Keys and finally to Key West, the most distant and most famous of the Florida Keys.
Tampa Bay
and Bahia Beach home to 3 of the top ten beaches in the country and dozens of pristine golf courses, this West Coast community in Florida is a true hot spot among the world's top destinations. There are things to do for the whole family whether you are a sports fanatic, looking for history and culture activities, want to relax floating along a quiet river or go fishing for mighty tarpon. You can have a vacation townhouse to rent on the Tampa Bay waterfront, let a luxury villa on Bahia Beach.

Cities and Towns in Florida

Kissimmee, is a perfect family holiday destination; very well known for its themed dinner theatres, swamp tours and outdoor activities. In downtown Kissimmee, spend some time in Kissimmee Lakefront Park and walk around the waterfront, stopping for ice cream, some splashing in the fountain pool and perhaps a cast into the lake known for it’s bass. For visiting Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld Orlando or any other theme parks, consider a vacation villa to rent short-time in Kissimmee direct from the owner.
Miami,
and Miami Beach is a large sprawling city with a vibrant nightlife on Florida's South-eastern coast, it has a reputation as an extremely violent city, though in truth it is probably no more dangerous than most cities in the world at night. So if you are looking for somewhere to go with a great nightlife, why not rent a holiday apartment in Miami, this could be the place for you.
Orlando
, is a vibrant community with countless parks, tennis courts, and golf courses located in central Florida, it is the closest major city to the Walt Disney World Resort and has many luxury holiday villas to available to rent at very reasonable prices making it a great place for a family holiday.
Palm Beach, is located on the South-eastern coast of Florida and is a very reserved quiet area, which takes its noise laws very seriously; it is an exclusive land of luxury mansions and villas, expensive cars, and large society balls. It’s also one of the few places in the world where loggerhead, leatherback, and green sea-turtles come ashore on one selected beach to nest.
St. Augustine, (San Agustín in Spanish), located in the north-east of Florida is a small jewel proud of its 400 years history, it has been settled since 1565 when it was founded in 1565 by the Spanish Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, although the first known landing was actually in 1513 which makes it America's oldest city. Augustine is full of romantic ambiance and old world charm, it is home to the site of Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the United States which given its fine state it is difficult to believe that the fortress was built in the late 1600s.
Tallahassee, the state capital is one of Florida's most historic cities is and located in the North-west of Florida. Being far from the theme parks Tallahassee is often overlooked by tourists.

Activities

Outdoor. Florida offers so many outdoor activities, the Everglades is a great location to rent a holiday home and go trekking, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and walking.
Water Sports
. Florida is the perfect place if you like water sports. With 8,500 miles of tidal shoreline, 35 rivers, 7,800 lakes and 320 springs. With some of the top beaches in the country, the warm waters make it perfect for boating and sailing all year round. There are so many adventures awaiting you including boating, scuba diving, sailing, diving, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, wake boarding, kite surfing, windsurfing, parasailing to name just a few.
Fishing
. Anywhere you go in Florida you can find a great fishing spot, whether it's freshwater water fishing in one of the many lakes and rivers or saltwater fishing in the tidal flats and bays, or far offshore in the Atlantic Gulf Stream or Gulf of Mexico.
There are many varieties of fish to be caught in Florida including:
Freshwater Fish - Largemouth Bass, Suwannee Bass, Bluegill, Black Crappie, Redear Sunfish, Spotted Sunfish, Redbreasted Sunfish, Channel Cat, Brown Bullhead Catfish, Pirate Perch, Seminole Killifish, Florida Gar, Longnose Gar, Golden Shiner. Saltwater Fish - Black Drum, Red Drum, Spotted Seatrout, Silver Perch or Yellowtail, Whiting, Gulf Flounder, Gag Grouper, Goliath Grouper, Black Sea Bass, Sand Perch, Bluefish, White Mullet, Greater Amberjack, Blue Runner, Crevalle Jack, Spanish Mackerel, Pinfish, Sheepshead, Gray or Mangrove Snapper, Vermillion Snapper, Lane Snapper, Yellowtail Snapper, Bluestriped Grunt, Common Snook, Leatherjacket, Atlantic Needlefish, Atlantic Spadefish, Orange Filefish, Remora or Sharksucker, Scrawled Cowfish, Pigfish, White Grunt, Ladyfish, Tarpon, Hardhead Catfish, Gafftop Sailcat, Gray Triggerfish, Queen Triggerfish, Scaled Sardine, Spanish Sardine, Bay Anchovy, Threadfin Herring, Ballyhoo, Blue Chromis, Leatherjacket, Bluefin Killifish, Gulf Killifish, Rainwater Killifish, Sailfin Molly Crabs and Mollusks - Sand Crab, Blue Crab, Stone Crab, Swimming Crab, Gulf Scallop.
Golf. Florida is a golfer's paradise, whether you are a professional or a budding amateur who wants to improve their handicap, Florida is the place to visit. With over 1250 golf courses, many of which prominently feature in the lists of America’s top courses and the remarkable climate it is obvious to see why it is such a popular golfing holiday hot spot. Why not rent a holiday villa or vacation townhouse and use it as a base to visit a few of the famous golf courses like:
Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida, near Jacksonville, ranked number ten on Golf com's most recent "Top 100 Courses You Can Play". It’s iconic 17th hole is the most recognizable island hole in golf, a 30-foot island of green surrounded on all sides by water.
Doral, just East of the Miami International Airport known as "The Kingdom of Golf". There are five 18 hole golf courses, the most famous of which is the ultra-challenging Blue Monster, where the PGA tour event is held annually.
Bay Hill in Orlando, a family vacation destination where you can also play championship-quality golf at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club and Lodge. The club is semi-private, so you must play with a member or be a guest at the lodge.
Copperhead, named as one of the top five courses on the PGA tour by the players themselves, is located in Innisbrook in the Tampa Bay region; it is one of the most exquisite yet underrated courses in Florida. Built in 1972 and considered one of the most exacting courses in the state, with it’s unique elevation changes and fast greens.
Seminole, ranked number 10 in the Golf Digest's ranking of America's Best Golf Courses in the USA is located in Juno Beach, north of ritzy Palm Beach, Florida. It's a private club with only 300 members of which golf legend Ben Hogan was an honorary member. Designed in 1930 by legendary course designer Donald Ross, it has a "links-style" layout bordering the Atlantic Ocean, with immaculate fairways and wind-swept sand dune hazards. You may need an invitation from a CEO or dignitary to play at the Seminole Golf Club.

Welcome Worldwide Holiday Rentals

On Welcome-worldwide.com rent holiday properties all over Florida. Luxury holiday villas with pools for rent in Orlando, beach villas to rent in Tampa Bay, waterfront vacation townhouses to let in Tampa and holiday apartments rentals in Miami. Welcome-worldwide.com can assists holidaymakers with all holiday accommodation rentals in Florida. Holiday letting on Welcome Worldwide Holiday Rentals is done directly through the owners. With Welcome-worldwide.com you can rent a holiday home property suitable for all kinds of holidays: beach holidays in beach villas or beach condos, city holidays in city apartments or in holiday townhouses, rural holidays in rural houses or B&B’s, golf holidays in golf villas or golf apartments.

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