Miami Beach
+27...+33° C
Miami News - The Web journal of the Florida "Sunshine" State - ww.miaminews.org
 Florida best

Key West - South of Miami on Highway 1, visitors soon reach the chain-link islands known as the Keys, which challenged Flagler’s great railroad-building empire and also served as home to Ernest Hemingway during some of his serious drinking years.This tiny island might be at the end of the Keys, but should also garner a spot at the top of your list. This little refuge knock your socks off with exciting festivals, laid-back bars and fascinating people. However, the shores themselves can also be a bit overcrowded. Known for warm beaches and eccentric residents with a live-in-the-moment philosophy, Key West offers a relaxed yet unexpected seaside adventure. Do as the residents (known as Conchs) do and see where that free spirit might take you. Perhaps you'll end up at the aquarium, at a Duval Street bar, in a Mallory Square shop or even touring Ernest Hemingway's old home. Or maybe you'll skip all four activities. Key West once threatened to go rogue in 1980 with a mock secessionist movement to create "The Conch Republic"; so this is definitely the place to throw a set itinerary out the window. Take a stroll, sip a margarita, spy a six-toed cat and set your own pace.

Orlando - Orlando is nicknamed "The City Beautiful" and its symbol is the fountain at Lake Eola. Orlando is also known as "The Theme Park Capital of the World" and its tourist attractions draw more than 51 million tourists a year, including 3.6 million international guests. Orlando is one of the world's premier travel destinations. Orlando is a time for relaxation and fun-filled vacation! However, an Orlando getaway can cost a pretty penny and it’s become more necessary than ever for vacation-seekers to go bargain hunting. A world-renowned destination, Orlando is the place to make all of your vacation dreams come true. Of course, it is beloved for its theme parks: Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld Orlando and many others. But it also beckons with world-class resorts, shopping opportunities for every budget, all-season golf courses, and some of the most enticing dining opportunities on the planet. Less known but equally inviting are the downtown sections of Orlando itself and many nearby towns in Central Florida – places that celebrate public art and take pride in offering a myriad of cultural opportunities.

Fort Lauderdale - Often overlooked for Miami, Fort Lauderdale's less chaotic, less crowded beaches are its greatest asset. Fort Lauderdale is both family- and budget-friendly, offering significantly lower hotel room rates than other nearby Florida beach towns. To the citizens of Fort Lauderdale, their home offers quintessential Florida -- beaches, palm trees, shopping and relaxation -- without the see-and-be-seen attitude and the exorbitant prices of the state's other beachside cities. You can judge if they're right, but certainly expect a different atmosphere than their close rival, Miami Beach. Fort Lauderdale's wide stretches of white sand surpass those of its southern neighbor and, to some, are the best shores statewide. And when you consider its fantastic scenery, great dining options and a range of things to do, Fort Lauderdale is also somewhat affordable compared to similar vacation spots. The "Venice of America," nicknamed for its 185 miles of waterways and canals, is slowly but surely climbing the ranks of top beach destinations to the cheer of its residents.

Daytona - Hearing "20 miles of beachfront" will tempt many vacation-seekers, but the typical Daytona beachgoer usually has something else in mind. Despite recent efforts to appeal to families (Orlando, amusement park central, is just an hour away), Daytona annually attracts thousands of visitors in search of speed and spring break. And although many college kids have moved to trendier locales (Miami Beach, for one), this east Florida city still remains a frequented spot. Its reputation as the "it" party place has welcomed a different type of celebratory atmosphere — the ever-expanding NASCAR empire. Best known for the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona draws travelers who hope to see their favorite race car drivers up close. Residents and visitors alike share a passion for all motor vehicles. Daytona Bike Week and Biketoberfest are regular events that bring thousands to the shore. In addition, supercross and kart racing take place regularly. People love their cars so much that vehicles are actually allowed on the beach. So gather your family or your friends, pile into your car and motor down to the sand.

Naples - Overflowing with golf courses, gourmet eateries and boutique shops, Naples offers travelers an upscale Florida retreat. The luxury resorts and costly activities make a Naples vacation quite expensive. But luckily, the beaches are free to enjoyNamed after the coastal Italian city, Naples is known for its laid-back ambience, quiet luxury and world-class golf. Though Florida's version doesn't have the history, the sights, or the artwork of its namesake, its extravagance mimics that of European waterholes along the Mediterranean. With gently lapping waves on the white sand beaches of southern Florida's Gulf Coast, America's Napoli qualifies as one of the most relaxing and romantic beach destinations in the States. High-end restaurants and first-class hotels await those who retreat from the shore. Party animals and young families will probably want to seek another beach because Naples doesn't have the distractions (Oops, we mean, attractions) you are looking for. Relaxation is the name of the game here, so leave the tots with your parents or the keg at the frat house, pick up your special someone and venture down to Florida's city of love.

West Palm Beach - Home to America's millionaires and billionaires (Donald Trump, Jimmy Buffett, Tiger Woods and Mark Zuckerberg -- to name a few) for nearly a century, West Palm Beach provides the most luxurious version of the relaxing Floridian lifestyle. Or so people think. Its actually Palm Beach -- the coastal neighborhood adjacent to West Palm -- that serves as the spot where these moguls and celebrities choose to build their waterfront winter homes. Its younger sister, West Palm, was originally an off-shoot. Now the latter is a vacation spot in its own right, offering travelers an array of away-from-the-shore attractions and hotels options for all budgets. You might only be able to distinguish between the two areas by crossing the Intercoastal Waterway and looking at the housing prices. While the rest of the country battles snowstorms, residents of West Palm sip on piña coladas and watch the tide roll in. And despite the area's tradition of catering to glamorous, designer-decorated clientele, Palm Beach's shores and West Palm's historical neighborhoods appeal to many types; in fact, the famous clientele is part of the allure.

Tampa - Everyone knows that Tampa is the place for families. And for animal lovers. And for conventioneers. But possibly -- even if you don't fit into any of those demographics -- Tampa is for you too? This balmy city by the bay still has plenty of charms away from the amusement park, the aquarium and the convention center (although Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium are not shabby ways to spend a day). There's lots of history here -- for example, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders stopped here on their way to Cuba during the Spanish-American War. And you'll also find a few choice museums, including the Museum of Science & Industry. And then there's the sports -- this is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL). It's the namesake city of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, and the actual spring training home base for several other major league teams. And when you've exhausted all that Tampa has to offer, you can just pop over to St. Petersburg for some sophisticated dining or to Clearwater for the beach.

Destin - Midwestern and Southern families flock to "The World's Luckiest Fishing Village" for its white sands and frequent sunshine. Destin is one of Florida's most affordable beach towns, though temperatures, visitor volume and room rates are at their highest in the summer. Nicknamed the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village," Destin has grown into one of the most popular vacation spots on the Florida panhandle. Founded in the 1830s, Destin used to be a sleepy fishing town until a bridge connected the skinny peninsula with Florida's mainland. With a baseline population of 12,000 residents (which inflates to 40,000-plus during the summer), this town retains an intimate, friendly atmosphere. Destin's beaches each summer for the city's trademark bright white shores, made up of pure Appalachian quartz. This unique sand not only stays cool in the summer heat, but with the sunlight's reflection, it also gives the waters an emerald tint. Golfers traverse seaside bunkers, while kids splash in the water parks. More adventurous visitors snorkel and scuba dive off the coast or charter a boat to try their luck at deep-sea fishing.

Sanibel island - You'll be hard-pressed to find a place in Florida with quieter and calmer shores than Sanibel Island. Here, the pastime is "shelling" — collecting assorted seashells along the sand — rather than partying, making this beach an excellent choice for families. This secluded Fort Myers offshoot is considered even more low-key, quiet and quaint than its Gulf Coast neighbor, and that's saying a lot. Casual is the order of the day on Sanibel Island; a shabby chic vibe permeates the Periwinkle Way galleries, restaurants and shops; seashells cover every sandy and linoleum surface. In fact, the abundant seashells have become this island's (and its smaller sister, Captiva's) claim to fame. You'll find plenty of beachcombers practicing the "Sanibel stoop" -- what locals call shelling -- on any lengthy stretch of sand. Plan on joining them for at least one afternoon of your stay; that is, if the mood strikes you. The residents of laid-back Sanibel wouldn't have it any other way. You're probably in town to pick up a few shells -- and everyone agrees that Bowman's Beach is the best place to try the Sanibel stoop.

Emirates launched its 10th destination in the United States with the start of daily nonstop passenger service between Dubai and Orlando International Airport on 1st September. A VIP delegation and a contingent of international media were aboard the inaugural flight, which carried passengers from 29 different countries to Orlando. Emirates’ daily flight EK219, will depart Dubai at 3:50 a.m. local time and arrive in Orlando at 11:40 a.m., a flying time of 15 hours and 50 minutes. EK220 will depart Orlando International Airport Terminal B at 2:20 p.m. and arrive into Dubai International Terminal 3 at 12:30p.m. the following day, with a flying time of 14 hours and 10 minutes. Emirates has carried more than 11 million passengers on U.S. flights since launching services to New York in 2004. The airline currently serves ten U.S. gateways – Orlando, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Washington and New York (JFK).

Copyright 2015 Miami News. All rights reserved