LET TRAVELKATZ PLAN YOUR FLORIDA VACATION PACKAGE
Travelkatz will put together a Florida Vacation Package custom tailored just for you. We handle all aspects of your trip so you can sit back, relax and enjoy. We provide two options for every state in the USA consisting of the state capital and the Natural Wonder. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate in contacting us.
Florida State Parks:
Florida State Parks – Florida is the southeasternmost U.S. state, with the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. It has hundreds of miles of beaches. The city of Miami is known for its Latin-American cultural influences and notable arts scene, as well as its nightlife. Orlando is famed for theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Sea World, and the Holy Land Experience. Florida State parks are open daily 8:00 AM to sundown year-round with the exception being parks that allow camping.
Cayo Costa State Park – Only accessible by boat, Cayo Costa is a quick ride from the popular tourist destination of Ft. Myers but a world away. You’ll spend the day walking pristine white-sand beaches dotted with “ghostly tree skeletons”. These are ghost forests, once-verdant woodlands in various stages of death. Don’t worry, they’re not haunted. And often seen are playful dolphins that are close to the shore. If you’re lucky, you can also spot a bald eagle in the high trees. While sunbathing is the prime recreation activity here, you can also camp on your boat or in one of the park’s 30 highly recommended tent sites. These phenomenal areas are found on Captiva Island.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park – A lovely showcase of all the animals that Florida has to offer in a safe environment, run by the state, mostly helping nurse injured animals either for release back to the wild or to act as ambassadors for the species. You’ll have a terrific experience if you want to explore everywhere, and read every description card – you could easily spend 1-2 hours here. Some highlights you should catch are the manatee and hippo feedings which occur at set times throughout the day; a schedule is at the entrance. You’ll really love the jumping fish that greet visitors right near the entrance. This is a great experience at a low-cost. There is camping locally on the nearby Halls River. Visit Homosassa Springs for this adventure.
Anastasia State Park – Certainly one of Florida’s great state parks. Long expanses of golden sand composed of crushed rainbow-colored seashells many of which are still whole; on the beach many are pummeled into a fine dust of gold. You’ll be greeted with warm Atlantic waters, gorgeous Banyan Tree canopy campsites, that are great for biking, and walking your dog, skateboarding, shell collecting, and bird watching. This park is really close to all the amenities of beautiful St. Augustine with its multiple attractions. Because it is found in the great historic American city, St. Augustine, Anastasia State Park is probably the most beautiful part of it all!
Blue Spring State Park – This park is a popular tourist destination; with many available activities including but not limited to canoeing, SCUBA diving, kayaking, fishing, camping, and hiking. There is a great boardwalk, that is lengthy and perfect for viewing fish, manatees, and birds. The children will find amusing playgrounds in-between strolls. There is a small gift shop with great items to purchase, like a manatee face mask, stuffed animals, mermaid dolls and children’s books about manatees. This park is located west of Orange City.
Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park – This State Park is located just off U.S. 19. It contains the ruins of a forced-labor farm owned by David Levy Yulee who was an enslaver and a delegate of the Florida Territorial Legislative Council. There is 175 years plus of history here and a direct relationship to Cedar Key just up the coast along the Homosassa River. This historic park is located in Homosassa.
Fanning Springs State Park – One of Florida’s hidden gems it offers 200 acres of picnicking, hiking, and boating, set along the beautiful Suwannee River that flows through a network of clear springs. This system of springs represents one of Florida’s first magnitude springs providing upwards of 50 million gallons of water daily. The water is a consistent 72 degrees, and makes for refreshing activities on a summer’s day. The spring run area is available for open water scuba diving; you are required to register, provide proper certification, and pay a $15 fee per person. Visitors may enter by car or boat from the Suwannee River. There’s also a boardwalk for strolling while checking out the gorgeous river, and rental cabins that sleep 6 are available. Those wishing to discover a rewarding destination off the beaten trail should consider the appeal of this State Park, situated slightly inland from the natural beauty of the Gulf coast in Fanning Springs.
Florida has so much to attract family vacation time. Give TravelKatz a call at 352-277-7300 or go to www.vacationnationradio.com for a “chat”. We are here to help with your next Florida adventure.
Florida Museums – As the southeasternmost U.S. state; with the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other; Florida has hundreds of miles of beaches and several museums well worth the visit. The city of Miami is known for its Latin-American cultural influences and notable arts scene and the Institute of Contemporary Art which opened in its new home in the Design District, while on the other side of the state you can visit the Edison and Ford Museums.
Lightner Museum: In 1947, Otto Lightner purchased what used to be the Alcazar Hotel and transformed it into a living, breathing space for his eclectic and diverse collection of artwork, antiques and collections that once belonged to other millionaires. Lightner makes it fun to get the kids involved and offers a scavenger hunt that gets them up close and personal with everything from shrunken heads to human hair art. This museum is located in the first city – St. Augustine.
Museum of Science & History – This museum – otherwise known as MOSH – aims to bring the community an atmosphere where learning is fun. With everything from a planetarium to an exhibit on the science of energy, MOSH sheds light on an innovative way to understand the unknown for all ages. Located In Jacksonville.
South Florida Science Center & Aquarium: This museum and aquarium provides visitors with an engaging experience thanks to its approach of making science education so hands on. Exhibits such as Nano give visitors the opportunity to build models while the Aquariums of the Atlantic offer daily touch tank demonstrations and live feedings. Visit this museum and science center in West Palm Beach.
Florida Museum of Natural History: As the official state museum, it is constantly expanding with one-of-a-kind exhibits not seen anywhere else. While there you can choose to get up close and personal at a butterfly release in the Butterfly Rainforest, encourage your child’s curiosity inside the discovery room or come face to face with shark jaws ranging in height from 2–9 feet! A not-to-miss museum located in Gainesville.
Museum of Discovery & Science: Have you ever found yourself wanting to hang out with bats, pet iguanas or take a simulated trip to Mars? This amazing museum gives you the opportunity to do all of these in the same day with exhibits to satisfy the whole family. Hang out with the bats in Fort Lauderdale.
John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art: The Ringling combines unique performances, special events and artistic exhibitions to give insight into their quest to find European art and spectacular circus acts. Exhibits include paintings, acrobatic acts, sculptures and decorative arts from around the world. The Ringling also offers art classes and story time just for the little ones! Located on the Ringling Estate in beautiful Sarasota
Salvador Dali Museum: It goes without saying that this is one of the most famous museums in Florida. Founded with the works collected by Reynolds & Eleanor Morse, this museum brings together a collection of over 2,100 breathtaking pieces that include 96 oil paintings, original drawings, photos and of course that famous portrait of Abraham Lincoln that makes you look twice. The calendar of events showcases daily story times and creative activities to engage and educate children. Find this museum when visiting St. Petersburg.
The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens: Celebrating 100 years, this museum kicked off the celebration with the announcement of a fundraiser for the preservation of this whimsical gem in southern Florida. The house was built in 1920 and owned by Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife, Helen Louise Birch. Today, it serves to preserve the history and environment of the region and fosters learning and creative expression. Come celebrate with us when you visit Ft. Lauderdale.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: There’s plenty to see at this museum; a shuttle launch experience, or the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame; schedule your visit around the astronauts’ schedules. You could get a half-day tour from real-life astronauts if you plan accordingly. Fly over to Titusville to enjoy this museum.
TravelKatz will be happy to help you see some of these unusual museums by giving us a call at352-277-7300 or go online at vacationnationradio.com where you can “chat” about it with us.
Florida Festivals can be attended year round because of the wonderful weather! Take your pick and visit St. Augustine, Miami, Jacksonville and Palmetto. You’ll get the taste of Florida with varieties of food such as and obviously – seafood, wine, strawberries and blueberries. Come to Florida and enjoy the weather and festivals!
St Augustine Lions Seafood Festival: This historic festival, sponsored by the local Lions club, is the largest and most family oriented of all festivals held in St. Augustine. Come and join the fun! This festival features tons of delicious seafood as well as food for the land lubbers, nearly 100 arts and crafts vendors, kiddie rides, family shows and a wide range of musical entertainment ranging from jazz, salsa, classic rock, country, pop and Americana music. Food, entertainment and fun for everyone. Eat, Shop and Tap Your Toes! Funds raised are to assist those in need in the local St. Augustine area. March 22 -24
Coconut Grove Food & Wine Festival: The Coconut Grove Food and Wine Festival is an annual event held in the historical and prestigious Coconut Grove township located in the heart of Miami. Coconut Grove is the pioneer community of Miami. With its plethora of shopping, restaurants and nightlife it is a natural location for this important event; long a cultural and arts mecca of Florida. The Festival will bring together tourists and residents alike since it is held during high season and on Memorial Day Weekend. We take this opportunity to honor all Soldiers killed in action serving in the U.S. Military. If anyone that has served or is serving in the Military or is a First Responders Fireman and Police when showing I.D. or badge gets a free General Admission and Free Drink. The Festival will benefit several local charities and is open to families, locals and tourists. Enjoy food samplings from Coconut Grove restaurants, caterers and bakeries, Craft beer, fine wine and spirits, chef demonstrations, automotive showcase, live music from local bands, Pet Contest, a waiter’s race, contest for best decorated booth and more. The end of May – annually
Great Atlantic Country Music Festival: This festival will kick off the beginning of beautiful beach weather at noon on Saturday at the Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville beach. The FREE Festival offers live music, fresh seafood, a festival marketplace and rides and games for the entire family. June 15, 2019
Desoto Seafood Festival: We are proud to announce that the Heintz & Becker DeSoto Seafood Festival will be back at Sutton Park in Palmetto on April 5th, 6th & 7th 2019! This is presented by the Hernando Historical Society. More info will be forth coming in the next week or so.
Bradford County Strawberry Festival: Strawberry Festival is a 2-day event being held from Saturday, April 06 and Sunday, April 07, 2019 at the North Florida Regional Chamber of Commerce in Bradford County.
Taste of Key West: The gates open at 6 p.m. for FREE general admission. Foodies can stroll edibles and drinkables, including seafood, tropical and Caribbean flavors, European dishes, vegetarian offerings and desserts and buy tickets based upon what looks best! The open-air event promises a bounty of beverage and palate-pleasing plates. Restaurants and food vendors from across the Lower Keys and Key West donate their staffs’ time and extraordinary culinary talents to create delectable small plates. In addition to the scrumptious food, libations are free-flowing throughout the event. A selection of wines from across the globe are provided by Republic National Distributing Company. Connoisseurs can expect to be wowed with vintages from vineyards and wineries. If wine is not up your alley, no worries — a vast selection of beers is also offered. There is a charge for the tasting which support other events and agencies that helps benefit The SMART Ride 16, the mid-November bike ride from Mimi to Key West that annually benefits participating Florida Agencies who specialize in healthcare and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. This year’s Agencies include AH, Pridelines, Broward House, Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Metro Wellness and Community Centers, Miracle of Love, Inc. and Compass Community Center.
THE Strawberry Festival: Unfortunately, we missed this one this year but there is always 2020 in late Feb. and early March in Plant City
The Kumquat Festival in Dade City: You will have to wait until next year.
PLACE OF INTEREST
Key West, a U.S. island city, is part of the Florida Keys archipelago. It’s also Florida’s southernmost point, lying roughly 90 miles north of Cuba. Famed for its pastel-hued, conch-style houses, it’s a cruise-ship stop also accessible from the mainland via the Overseas Highway. It’s known more for its coral reefs – destinations for diving and snorkeling – than for its beaches.
Most attractions are in its Old Town neighborhood, the western half of the city. On Duval Street, the main drag, pedicabs ride past restaurants serving local specialties (conch and fish), bars serving brightly colored frozen drinks and shops selling Key lime pies and hand-rolled cigars. Waterfront Mallory Square hosts nightly events with art, craft and food vendors, jugglers and musicians. At the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, descendants of the famed American author’s cat roam the grounds and exhibits explore his life in Key West, where he lived for more than a decade.
Key West Hop-on Hop-off Narrated Trolley Tour: Discover all the points of interest in Key West while you hop on and off at any of our designated trolley sightseeing stops. Visit over 50 points of interest including the Southernmost point of the United States, Hemingway’s House, shops and establishments along world-famous Duval Street, Key West’s famed beaches, Mel Fisher Museum, and the Butterfly Conservatory. Explore Key West while hopping on and off at any of our designated trolley sightseeing stops. Visit over 50 points of interest with this all-day pass as our expert guides provide live narration and entertainment with stories only locals could tell!
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory: The butterflies were so beautiful and flying free. It is hard to put into words the experience. It is relaxing, mesmerizing, and a place of tranquility. The butterflies are plentiful, and the flamingos were bright and easily photographed. There is also a wonderful gift shop with a lovely assortment of items. Lots of items to choose from. A most enjoyable experience. It is a unique one for all.
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum: Interesting trip to the Hemingway House learning about his life. A lot of interesting information and artifacts throughout the home. The grounds on the home are lush and are nice to walk around. You can wander around by yourself or take a guided tour that’s offered throughout at various times. Also, if you love cats it’s loaded with them! Neat place to stop by when in Key West. The Hemingway experience is more about the story than the house. We strongly recommend getting the tour and listening to the great stories that are told.
Harry S. Truman Little White House: This one is fascinating as most of the “little” White Houses are. This one tends to reflect the “real person” behind the office. That means often that what you see is not so glamorous or impressive but important real way of life stuff. And the stories told by the docents are the heart of the matter. The guide weaves Key West history, and Harry Truman together so you feel that you are sharing his private life as it was experienced here with you. It was fun, funny, most informative, and you will come away with renewed interest in knowing more about Truman. A real MUST.
Dry Tortugas National Park: This is an absolute must see National Park. The fort is fun to explore and the snorkeling around the moat is beautiful. Taking a seaplane out to the dry Tortuga is the way to go. The plane trip is half the fun! Snorkeling was great and the views from on top of the wall were fabulous! If you go by boat, the trip out and back is about two and one-half hours each way, but the experience is wonderful. Take time to snorkel, tour the park, walk the beach, and simply take in the history and beauty of the place. Fort Jefferson is built on this island. It consists of seven islands. Brown Pelicans hang out at the island. Beautiful sandy Beach, snorkeling is available. Camping is available. There is a fee for the ferry to take you there. The Yankee Freedom staff were friendly and helpful. They provided breakfast and lunch on the boat and it was a delicious spread.
Key West can be reached by car, boat or plane. There are flights from Tampa direct to Key West, so give TravelKatz a call at 352-277-7300 and we will make this vacation a memorable one for your family and friends.
Florida State Capital: Tallahassee
Tallahassee is an Apalachee word meaning “old fields” or “old town.” It was given its name by Octavia Walton, the teenage daughter of Florida’s territorial secretary George Walton, who believed it meant “beautiful land.” In fact, though Walton is credited with officially suggesting the name in the 1824, the Apalachee had been calling the area Tallahassee since the 16th century. The city was chosen as Florida’s capital for its location midway between St. Augustine and Pensacola, two major population centers at the time. The young Octavia Walton, meanwhile, went on to become a prominent 19th century writer and socialite, known by the more exotic nom-de-plume Madame Le Vert.
Challenger Learning Center: The best parts about the Challenger Center are the planned group activities. Summer camps are wonderful, and field trips are lots of fun as the class is split between mission control and astronauts with tasks to complete. For individuals, though, the planetarium is the most interesting part. CLC does a bang up job of putting you in the mindset of Mission Control and NASA. The training exercise is very well done and the sets are very well done.
Florida State University: Walking through the gates to the fountain with the palms and castle like building is a beautiful way to begin your campus tour. You can get around very easily and people are very friendly and helpful (students and staff). The architecture was very nice. It has a very historical, home feel. Home to the College Football Champions, the Florida State Seminoles; the beautiful campus, is one of the best laid out campuses. Really doesn’t feel as big as you would expect for such a large school but wow! The stadium is huge!
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: A wonderful place to hike and to view scenery and wildlife. Great for birding, hiking, alligator spotting, fishing from shore, kayaking with your own or a rental/borrowed kayak or canoe. Very knowledgeable staff can answer any question or find the right answer. Great visitor center. The Florida Trail goes thru the refuge and you can also see a historic lighthouse. The best time to go is November thru May to avoid the bugs.
Mission San Luis de Apalachee: Part park, part museum, part reenactment… all of this makes it a great place to visit! Visitors of all ages can go there many times. Each time you’ll see and learn new things. Easy to find, easy parking. You will be impressed. This place is great, has a great intro video, then a guided tour. The employees are dressed in era clothing, and have great presentations. There is a fun scavenger hunt for kids. The property is clean and the staff knowledgeable.
You’ll walk into the 17th century at this beautiful location on a hill overlooking Florida’s Capitol city. Reconstructed period buildings: chapel, small fort, governor’s house, black smithy and extremely impressive huge round palm thatched roof council house this being the capitol for the Apalachee Indians of that period. Friendly costumed interpreters and demonstrations. Very easy walking around the complex, in the museum and auditorium with excellent introduction to both the Spanish Mission and the Native American cultures on this very site.
Cascades Park: This 24-acre park in downtown Tallahassee is beautiful, and a great place to spend time outdoors. The kids like playing in the Imagination Fountain, a play area. There are also miles of multi-use trails, an amphitheater for performances, and a Korean War memorial. The park is also a storm water management facility, with a network of underground channels, open streams, and retention ponds. Designed to flood, giving relief to nearby neighborhoods during major storms. Cascades Park is a very well-done outdoor area that is great for a morning/early evening stroll and hosts some fun festivals throughout the year, as well. The landscaping is very beautiful and well maintained. You can work up a good sweat with a more intense walk, or just enjoy a casual stroll. There is a cafe and restaurant if you’re in the mood.
Tallahassee Museum: This is not a typical museum. It is more like a historical zoo. Fantastic outdoor scenic pathways wind around what is ecologically typical for Florida. You pass large spaces for different kinds of animals, birds and reptiles found in Florida. There are fun, colorful dinosaurs planted along some of the pathway, making it very kid friendly. There are displays of real buildings you’d have seen in the 1800s Florida. -a store, farm house, work barn and farm. They have a ropes course that runs through the park. People of all ages can participate. Bring your camera!
Little did we dream that small building was the gateway to another world. Fifty-two breathtaking acres provide a stunning backdrop to about thirty permanent exhibits. In the museum’s “Old Florida” exhibit, you can board a railcar and travel back in time to the 1800’s: Restored historic buildings include a lovely old church and a one-room school house, just waiting for a new generation of students to occupy its desks while learning something new. In addition to the museum’s “Old Florida” exhibit, the half-mile Nature Trail loops through several expansive and diverse habitats, affording hikers inspiring views of native plants.
The museum is also home to the beautiful Bellevue Plantation house, which is original to this site and houses period furniture as well as some interactive exhibits children can enjoy. This is probably the closest they’ll come to hauling buckets of water for drinking and bathing. The lawns surrounding the plantation house were lush and green, even in January. Little wonder the grounds are a popular venue for weddings and community events.
The Museum (or Zoo-seum, as tour guides like to call it) also serves as a wildlife refuge for animals who would not survive in the wild. Many of the residents have been rescued and rehabilitated, including panthers, wolves, river otter, white-tailed deer, grey foxes, bears and alligators. One of the favorites is a friendly little duck named Perky who, after being shot by a hunter in a neighboring town, was sent to live at the Tallahassee Museum by the hunter’s wife, who’d opened her refrigerator to discover the poor thing was still alive! The museum is also home to Jim Gary’s 20th Century Dinosaurs. These colorful creatures, made from abandoned automobile parts, look right at home among in the swamplands amid all towering cypress trees and tropical foliage.
Yet another fascinating exhibit at the Tallahassee Museum is Big Bend Farm. On weekends, history comes alive with costumed interpreters demonstrating period crafts such as spinning, weaving, and candle dipping. For in addition to its accredited preschool program, the museum sponsors all sorts of educational classes for all ages, including hands-on courses in blacksmithing, gardening, cooking with herbs, quilting, and a host of other skills.
However, the thing that will make you wish you lived closer is the Tree-to-Tree Adventure Course, hands down! The adventure course is designed in such a way that once a child is hooked onto the cables, he cannot get off until his feet are safely back on the ground. That’s why you’ll be completely comfortable letting our six-year-old daughter complete the course along with the rest of the children — there was no chance of falling! Have a blast on the course wearing headlamps; that prospect sounds amazing who wouldn’t love that?
Museum of Florida History: The museum is a purrrfect addition to your Florida Vacation Package. It does a great job with Florida’s ancient history and native people and then colonization. It does not get into much past WWI. There was a terrific exhibit of art depicting the Seminole Indians of the past and today. Be sure to check out the bronze sculptures on the far side of the building. They depict three different native families of different time periods. The museum tells a very thorough story of the history of Florida; dating from 1513 going forward, the state has a very lively history of ownership, fights, and ancient civilizations. Hallways wind through many rich exhibits that display all manner of artifacts. There was no charge to tour the museum either. There is a deli in the lobby area.
There is a lot to see in our Florida capitol and plenty of places to stay. We will be glad to help you put a Florida Vacation Package together for you. Just give us a call at 352-277-7300
THE Top 5 Hotels in Florida are:
5. Ritz-Carlton, Naples: This U-shaped resort with two orange Mediterranean-style towers overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and is near the Naples Zoo. Antiques and artwork embellish interiors, as do Waterford chandeliers and Asian carpets. The resort’s daily interactive environmental programs for children include nature walks, microscope time in the kid-size lab, and field trips. Rooms in buttercream and light green have dark-wood furniture. Nibble on fresh nigiri rolls at the Sushi Bar or opt for Gumbo Limbo’s bar, the best place for a burger on the beach.
4. The Kimpton Hotel Zamora, St. Pete Beach: A stylish 50-room spot with bayou-side pool and patio and Spanish-inspired architecture, the hotel also has an open-air rooftop bar and lounge. Loaner PUBLIC-brand bikes are a nice added touch for exploring St. Pete Beach and downtown St. Pete is only 20 minutes away.
3. Casa Monica Hotel, St. Augustine: Built in 1888, the landmarked Casa Monica embodies the Moorish Revival style, with intricate wood and wrought-iron balconies on its facade, frescos, Moroccan-style archways, fountains, and chandeliers in the splashy lobby. The Cobalt Lounge is a local hangout. Ask Mr. Foster, the country’s oldest travel agency (now part of Carlson Wagonlit Travel) was once headquartered here.
2. The Pillars Hotel, Fort Lauderdale: Situated along the Intracoastal Waterway, the hotel is an interesting mix of British Colonial architecture and 1930s Art Deco flourishes. With only 18 rooms, you might think you were staying in a private mansion. The Secret Garden restaurant, open only to guests and club members, serves Moroccan-influenced food. The beach is only a five-minute walk away, and the hotel even has a yacht to charter for sailing on nearby Lake Sylvia.
1. The Alfond Inn, Winter Park: Couples and business travelers are both satiated here: The inn offers workstations, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, and comfortable down beds for harried road warriors. Dogs are allowed too, provided they’re registered in advance. The hotel also hosts guided tours of its more than 100 pieces of art from The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College nearby.
FLORIDA VACATION PACKAGE MADE EASY
Another option for our Florida Vacation Package is the Natural Wonder. See our selection of choice below to see if it fancies your style. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us with any questions or concerns.
FLORIDA Natural Wonder: The Everglades
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