IN honour of surprising beaches, #USA holiday specialists My America Holiday hereby unveil a quirky fact about some of Florida’s best Gulf and island beach destinations.
Tampa Bay with its mix of major theme parks and exciting nightlife is an all-action #Florida holiday #destination. From the thrills at Busch Gardens, the Africa-themed adventure park, to the world-class Florida Aquarium, there are plenty of activities for all of the family to enjoy.
SURPRISING FACT: The name Tampa is understood to come from the Calusa phrase “Sticks of Fire” – most likely because Tampa sees some nasty lightning each summer. It’s also how the local hockey team got its name.
Palm Beach is where the rich and famous come to bask in warm winter temperatures at a fabulous beachside location, and the evidence is all around. Sleek mansions and well-watered lawns line the ocean front, while there's spas and shopping aplenty.
SURPRISING FACT: The average winter temperature in Palm Beach County is 74 degrees, which makes snow near to impossible. The last time white flakes fell in South Florida was 1977.
Punta Gorda and the Englewood beach area in Florida have the best of both worlds. The quaint harbour side town of Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach offers arts, culture and gorgeous sunsets. Plus, it is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country. While the relaxed, laid-back nature of in the Englewood Beach area is ideal for couples looking for a romantic beach break.
SURPRISING FACT: Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute relays shoreline mileage for Charlotte County at 830 miles including river passages, mangrove-edged aquatic preserve and 28 miles of sandy beaches. Approximately 84% of the Charlotte Harbor shoreline is preserved land.
New Smyrna Beach, a small beach town with shopping, culinary delights, world-class fishing, and beautiful beaches of course. It is an ideal venue for activities such as surfing, kayaking, world-class fishing, boating, river tours, museums, parks and more. New Smyrna Beach is a holiday destination that suits everyone.
SURPRISING FACT: New Smyrna Beach is an East Coast surfing hot spot. Everywhere, you see surf shops featuring the lingo and brand name stock.
The islands of the Florida Keys are a slice of pure paradise. There’s a turquoise ocean, beaches and superb sunsets. The ocean is a lot of what any Florida Keys holiday is all about. It’s everywhere you look, glittering in the sunshine and teeming with all manner of exotic marine life - so the snorkeling and diving is superb.
SURPRISING FACT: There are over 800 keys in total, stretching over 180 miles. The longest key is Key Largo, which is 30 miles long and 0.5 miles wide.
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and soak up the rays in a place that holds the Guinness World Record for most consecutive days of pure, unadulterated, blissful sunshine. From families picnicking on the silken sands, to paddlers in kayaks riding the water, to visiting cultural landmarks such as The Dali Museum, St. Pete/Clearwater has something for everyone.
SURPRISING FACT: The area is famous for its picturesque Gulf sunsets and each night Pier 60 comes alive with a festival to celebrate the sight, featuring performers, market stalls and magnificent views.
With a 27-mile long stretch of sugar-white sand, Panama City Beach is the sweetest place to be for beach lovers. This is pure paradise for anyone who loves to feel soft sand between their toes. Golf is another big plus point for Panama City Beach holidays, with no less than five championship courses.
SURPRISING FACT: Panama City Beach is known as the “Shipwreck Capital of the South”, with numerous ships that have run aground over the years. Several more have also been purposefully scuttled to create habitat for reef fish and marine invertebrates. Divers can view brightly colored fish, sea turtles, and manta rays.
Greater Fort Lauderdale is perfect for families, beach-lovers and watersport enthusiasts alike. This city resort is known as the 'Venice of America', so is perfect for couples looking for a romantic beach getaway. The canals and rivers winding through the city give the city a unique charm.
SURPRISING FACT: The population is only around 170,000 people – similar in size to Canterbury in Kent.
Sarasota is home to some of the best beaches and one of the hottest arts scenes that Florida has to offer, Sarasota is a real cultural corner. That means sparkling blue seas and endless sunshine - all backed up by the very best in museums, theatre, opera and more. With the vibrant local arts scene, there are events on all year round.
SURPRISING FACT: Sarasota County is made up of over 42% water.
Opt for a Bradenton holiday and you get three-in-one, since laid-back Anna Maria Island and up-scale Longboat Key are right next door. This is a part of the coast that offers family friendly holidays, with delightful boutiques, historic buildings, a charming traditional pier, and relaxed night-life.
SURPRISING FACT: Bradenton is home to the historic Gamble Plantation, the only antebellum plantation house surviving in peninsular Florida.
Daytona Beach is where fans flock to 'World's Most Famous Beach' for the NASCAR racing and bike events but there are also sections of shore where vehicles are banned, and dunes and turtles take over instead. If it's beach you want, then Daytona Beach holidays deliver soft sands and iconic piers under the hot Florida sun.
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