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At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you get the unique chance to tour – up close – NASA’s launch and landing facilities. Experience interactive simulators, live shows and jaw-dropping encounters with massive rockets, as well as have the opportunity to meet a real member of NASA’s Astronaut Corps. It’s all what you can expect from an inspiring day at Kennedy Space Center. If you are lucky, you could even witness an awesome rocket launch - an experience worth waiting for !! CLICK HERE to check for next scheduled rocket launch
Orlando HeliTours is Orlando Florida's premier helicopter operations and touring company. Providing services from 3 to 30 minute scenic flights over Orlando and it's famous attractions.
Located on the left by Mile Marker 10 on US192 travelling east by Rock Chuch
It's a great way to see all the places you want to visit and you can purchase photographs of your experience afterwards. Check out their helicopter tour packages by clicking here
For over half a century, Gatorland has been creating fond vacation memories for millions of visitors who have entered through its gaping gator mouth entrance. Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining "Old Florida" charm with exciting, new exhibits and entertainment including the very rare white alligators and children's splash area. Known internationally as the "Alligator Capital of the World," Gatorland today provides affordably priced family-fun with thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, one-of-a-kind reptilian shows, aviary, petting zoo, swamp walk, educational programs and much, much more.
Wet 'n Wild - Orlando located on International Drive close to SeaWorld and Universal Studios, features a full-day of fun for the entire family. Honoured by Aquatic's International as the first true water park, Wet 'n Wild's world-class signature thrill rides and quality service offer something for fun-lovers of all ages, with over 30 action-packed acres of slides and flumes, surf and sun. It’s all yours at the water park that started it all.
“Catching a wave” has never been such a rush! Fantasy Surf at Fantasy World Resort in Kissimmee, Florida offers a truly interactive aquatic sport activity. It’s ideal for family participants of all ages who will slide, ride, and surf in a safe, controlled indoor environment.
Fantasy Surf features the patented FlowRider™ system that has the look of surfing and wakeboarding, ride of snowboarding, and tricks of skateboarding. The thrills and techniques developed from this water experience have even spawned a new competitive sport – Flowriding !!
Fantasy Surf, located off of US 192 and State Highway 535, is an ideal way to cool off while enjoying Orlando-area theme parks. The indoor flowrider surf machine in Orlando experience, also featuring lite dining in “The Lull” café and shopping in the “Offshore” surf shop, will be a great destination for parties, school and corporate groups, board sport aficionados and for people who want to learn a new sport.
Move over Mickey, there’s a new tourist attraction in town – well, almost in town. Orlando’s vision of an expansive recreational cycle trail network spanning from Polk City to the west, circumnavigating Orlando as far north as Lake Mary, east to Oviedo and as far south as Kissimmee is on the drawing board. Click here to see all cycle trails available to you. Bike rentals are available at the start of most of the trails. We have cycled West Orange Trail which is currently 22 miles long starting at Killarney Station (where you can hire bikes) just off SR50 at Oakland near Clermont and runs all the way to Apopka on alphalt. The route travels east then north and ideal for all ages. Planned to eventually connect with the Seminole Wekiva Trail to the east and eventually to the Lake Minneola Trail to the west.
Escape the concrete jungles of Central Florida and take a trip back in time to Wekiva Island, an old-world Floridian recreational-escape.
From observing endangered species while canoeing the pristine waters of
the Wekiva River to a rousing game of volleyball or a family-friendly game
of corn toss, the island is the ideal way to spend the day in the great
The owners of Wekiva Island, purchased this slice of paradise with the idea of educating visitors on the wonders of the Wekiva, while supplying the best in outdoor amenities. Think locally sourced cypress chairs ideal for observing the wildlife, a kitschy tropical concession to refuel, plush outdoor facilities and a huge selection of kayaks and canoes.
Wekiva Island is an eco-recreation destination where families, young adults and seniors alike can enjoy the benefits of Mother Nature in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Come see what the buzz is all about. Click here to go to their website.
Situated on Florida's highest peninsular point, Bok Tower Gardens is a 205-foot tower boasting 57 bells that play in concert every day. The tower itself stands in graceful watch over 200 acres of woodland gardens, offering a variety of tropical plants and the opportunity to view some central Florida wildlife. Explore the Longleaf Pine/Turkey Oak Habitat and enjoy a nearly mile-long trail along which you can see endangered plant life. With 20 rooms, the property's Pinewood Estate is considered one of the state's finest examples of Mediterranean Revival architecture. Great for walks, picnic's and just getting away from it all and relaxing !!
Why not see Florida from above and ascend anywhere from tree tops to several thousand feet. Once you're airborne your pilot will point out the spectacular sites of this area, from the theme parks to the Orange groves and forests, to swamps absolutely untouched for thousands of years. The flying area has many wonderful things to see.
Once you have landed and the balloons are stored away prepare for a Traditional Champagne Toast. Non-alcoholic beverages are also available. Then return to the Best Western Lakeside for an all you can eat breakfast buffet.
Passengers are then presented with a Flight of Ascension certificate by their pilot. Click here to visit nearest operators website.
you feel like a change from Disney and would like to find out more about
Florida’s history, then take a drive over to the East coast and visit St.
Augustine. It is only around a two hour drive from your villa in Orlando.
Occupying a stretch of gentle coastline and white sand beaches along the North Florida Atlantic Coast, St. Augustine attracts thousands of visitors each year who enjoy the history, community, beauty and ambience of America's oldest city.
St Augustine was first established under Spanish rule in 1565, making it the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States. In the years after its founding, the city shifted to British rule for a period and then transferred back to Spanish control in 1783. In 1821 the United States purchased the area that included St. Augustine from Spain.
It wasn't until the late 1800s that the city really began to develop as a popular tourist location under the entrepreneurial eye of oil magnate Henry Flagler who saw the advantages of having wealthy, Northern Visitors coming to St Augustine for their winter retreat - he also built the railroad through Florida to Key West.
Flagler brought the railroad to St Augustine and by doing so encouraged many wealthy people to visit St Augustine and stay in the hotels that he had built. These hotels were very large and opulent, the grandest being the Ponce De Leon Hotel, which is now home to Flagler College. St Augustine is a great place to spend a day or more, if time allows.
Visit the first Catholic Church to be built in the United States - Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. Built in 1890 by Henry Flagler, in memory of his daughter, Jennie Louise Benedict, who died in childbirth. Henry Flagler, his first wife, Mary, his daughter Jennie and granddaughter, Marjorie, are all laid to rest in the family mausoleum. The beautiful church has lovely stained windows.
The Bridge of Lions takes you across to Anastasia Island where you can visit the Alligator Farm - Crocs, Gators, Birds, Mammals and Reptiles (12 and older $21.95, 3-11 $10.95 - hours 9-5).
The very first Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” is in St Augustine in the Castle Warden building on San Marco Ave. It has housed Ripley’s collection of oddities since 1950.
The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a 15 acre waterfront historical site where St. Augustine, Florida began. This is where Spanish Explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles, established the first and oldest continuous European Settlement in the United States of America. You can even drink from the legendary waters and see if your visit grants you the secret to eternal youth. Although despite my efforts, I have not seen any discernable changes, perhaps I needed to drink some more!
Enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride along narrow, tree-lined streets. As you slowly pass by centuries old structures, your driver will narrate the story of old Saint Augustine, a great way to learn about this historic city which boasts 36 original colonial buildings and 40 reconstructed buildings.
Take some time to sit, relax and enjoy the view from the city plaza; formerly the old slave market. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the diverse architecture, If all that history makes you thirsty, then visit the San Sebastian Winery, located at 157 King Street (10-6 Mon. thru Sat. 11-6 Sun) It offers free winery tours and wine tasting daily. The winery is a great place to visit and also pick up a few bottles of good, local wine to take back to the villa and enjoy. We have enjoyed several and can highly recommend the Blanc du Bois which is very similar to a Sauvignon Blanc and costs around $12 per bottle.
St Augustine has many motels / hotels and most popular chain restaurants, as well as some really nice independent restaurants so if you plan to stay over, it is the best way to take in the delights of St Augustine.
There is no finer way to explore the magical underwater world of the “Nature Coast” than by scuba diving. The sparkling waters of the Crystal River beside the Plantation Golf Resort and Spa provide access to the very best Florida diving. From November through March, be prepared to meet the gentle giant of the river, the Florida manatee, source of the mermaid legend.
Other popular sites include King’s Springs, downriver from the Plantation Golf Resort & Spa, and many caves and grottoes of King’s Bay.
Do not miss the excellent Florida diving at Rainbow Springs (named for its amazing variety of multi-coloured fish and plants), Devil’s Den, and Blue Grotto.
Click here to visit the Fun 2 Dive Manatee Tours website.
There is a huge variety of marine life to be seen. In addition to scuba dive and spear fishing charters, they offer snorkelling & shelling excursions. They're located right on the Intracoastal Waterway and can get out to the Gulf in only 5 minutes. It's all about convenience....park your car next to the Scuba Shack/dive shop, get your tanks and gear inside and walk down the ramp to get on the boat. No shuttle vans or gear hauling.
They offer 2-tank, 3-tank and 4-tank scuba dive charters, including night dives. Nitrox, air, scuba gear and equipment rental are also available in the dive shop. "Bubble watchers" (non-diving friends and family who would like to come along for a boat ride) are also welcome.
Their roomy custom dive boats are U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified, an important safety feature. Call them for the best scuba diving and spear fishing in the Sarasota, Bradenton, Longboat Key, St. Pete and Tampa Bay area!
Much more than a simple museum, the Orlando Science Center is a hands-on world of discovery and special effects where you can touch a tarantula, become chief operator at a nuclear reactor or hang off the side of a building. The center is divided up into nine main areas all aimed at showing young people how science works in every day life through a series of attention-grabbing exhibits and live shows.
Anna Maria Island - Gulf Coast
What was once a best-kept secret among Florida
day-trippers, Anna Maria Island, has always been known for its sugar-white
coastline, emerald Gulf waters and quaint
business district. Today, it is now known as a vacation favourite among local, national and international travellers. We're talking miles of pristine beaches along with award-winning restaurants and specialty shops.
Enjoy a picture-perfect Florida sunset at the Sandbar Restaurant set on the beach - perfect end to a day !! What makes Anna Maria Island so attractive to visitors and year-round residents is its private island feel and close to everything you ever need.
Anna Maria Island is an ideal place to relax and getaway from it all. Each of the island's areas provides easy access to spectacular beaches and outdoor activities, while at the same time offering an enjoyable selection of shops, restaurants, performing arts and other attractions.
Why not combine Anna Maria Island in a 2 centre break - we will soon be offering you this facility to book a villa near the Orlando attractions and then wind down for the second week in a luxury villa or condo on Anna Maria Island - watch this space !!
Clearwater Beach - Gulf Coast
Many know Clearwater for its beaches, which are among the best in Florida.
Clearwater is connected to the barrier island of Clearwater Beach to the west via a two mile nicely landscaped causeway which includes a walking and biking path. From here you can experience beaches, beaches and more beaches. A string of barrier islands with fine white sand beaches line the Gulf of Mexico along the Pinellas coast. They start with renowned Clearwater Beach to the north and parade south with Sand Key Park, Indian Rocks Beach, Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille and Fort de Soto Park.
Clearwater Beach has an excellent marina where one can find numerous charter, party and rental boats for fishing, sailing, cruising, para-sailing, and dolphin watching. Half-day and full-day fishing trips are available. The marina also berths a large number of private boats and has transient slippage for visiting boaters.
The centre of Clearwater Beach is punctuated by Pier 60 - a long and wide concrete pier jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico that serves as a great fishing platform and strolling avenue for non-fishing persons.
Many enjoy gathering here at sundown to watch the sun go down. Adjacent to the Pier is a small park with facilities for the enjoyment of children. Clearwater encourages and organizes activities at the Pier including numerous outdoor musical performances.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a small but interesting aquarium where one can see live dolphins, otters, and sea turtles. This non-profit facility is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured and sick marine mammals.
Just across the Clearwater Pass to the south is Sand Key Park - a broad, generally less crowded beach. If you enjoy a beach with a little less activity, this is the place to go.
Caladesi Island State Park - Gulf Coast
One of the few completely natural islands along Florida's Gulf Coast, Caladesi's white sand shores have been rated as the nation's #1 best beach.
Beach lovers can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Saltwater anglers can fish from their boats or throw a line out into the surf. Nature enthusiasts watch wildlife while hiking the three mile nature trail through the island's interior or paddling a three mile kayak trail through the mangroves and bay.
Picnic tables and shelters are located near the beach; picnic pavilions can be reserved for a fee. The park has a marina with electric and water hook-ups for boaters. The park also has a snack bar and gift shop.
Join a Ranger on Sundays at 1pm for a hike along the
picturesque nature trail. Learn about the natural and cultural history of
this unspoiled barrier island. Participants should wear comfortable shoes
and bring water and a hat. The walk will proceed at a leisurely pace and
take about an hour. Meet in front of the Ranger Station at the “foot” sign.
At Caladesi Island, recreational opportunities are endless! A mangrove-covered kayak trail winds from the marina to the St. Joseph Sound and back. Kayaks are available for rental through the Cafe Caladesi. The nature trail is a great place to find Osprey in old pine snags or cross paths with a gopher tortoise. Remember to bring water and sunscreen!
Caladesi Island is accessible only by private boat or via the Caladesi Connection ferry service. Cost for the ferry is $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 4 to 12. Trips depart hourly beginning at 10am.
Ferry passengers are allotted a four-hour stay on the island. No pets are allowed on the ferry. Contact the ferry office at 727-734-1501 for more information. Located one mile west of Dunedin off the Gulf Coast. For further information about about Caladesi Island State Park, call the park office at 727-469-5918.
Driving Directions to Honeymoon Island From Orlando: I-4 west to I-275 south to SR-60 west. Cross Courtney Campbell Causeway, then turn right on US Hwy 19 north. Left on Curlew Rd. (SR-586). Follow SR-586, crossing Dunedin Causeway, to Honeymoon Island State Park for Caladesi ferry.
Sarasota Beaches - Gulf Coast
Siesta Key Beach - This famous beach boasts the finest, gleaming white sand around. The sand is 99% quartz - aside from being gorgeous, this sand never gets hot, even on the hottest day. Siesta Beach has concessions, restrooms, lifeguards, picnic areas, playgrounds, showers and a large, free parking area. Siesta is known for the Drum Circles on Sunday night, and is famous for sunset viewing! Located on Ocean Boulevard; take Midnight Pass Road north from the South Causeway at Stickney Point; or travel across the north causeway and follow signs to the beach! Siesta Key Beach has been voted 2nd best beach in all of USA in 2009 & 2010
Turtle Beach - Also on Siesta Key, Turtle Beach is located almost to the end of the Key. The beach itself is shorter and nearly non-existent at high tide; making it a good choice for people who have trouble walking long distances or want to keep a very close eye on children. There are no lifeguards. Parking is limited but free; there are picnic tables and a small playground. Take Midnight Pass Road south to the beach on your right; Turtles Restaurant is across the street.
Palmer Point Beach - At the very southernmost tip of Siesta Key, you can generally walk across to the beaches of Casey Key since the closing of Midnight Pass. There are no amenities. Take Midnight Pass south to the very end.
Lido Beach - If you are staying on the north end of town, Lido Beach, located on Lido Key may be for you. Just as expansive and sweeping as Siesta Key Beach, but not as crowded (except on special occasions, like the Grand Prix Races on the 4th of July, when it is packed!) Lido Beach has lifeguards, playground, rest rooms, concessions, and a large free parking lot. Located about a half mile west of St. Armand's Circle where you will find excellent shopping, bars, restaurants and even a Starbucks.
South Lido Beach - At the very south end of Lido Key is a natural oasis
known as South Lido Key Beach Park. The park is bordered by four bodies of
water; The Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay, and Brushy Bayou. There are
nature trails, a canoe trail, picnic and BBQ facilities, restrooms and a playground. Swimming is limited due to currents and boat activity.
Cocoa Beach - Atlantic Coast
Orlando's closest beach along the famous Space Coast, aptly named as it is one of the closest beaches to watch a Shuttle Launch. NASA's JFK Space Centre is only 15 miles North of Cocoa Beach.
Cocoa Beach was made famous in the 60's by "I Dream of Jeannie" TV sitcom.
Those who cherish the great outdoors will want to visit the Cocoa Beach
Pier. You can toss in a line from the pier, or rent a charter from one of
the captains waiting to take you to sea. Surfers call the area around the
pier the best surf area in Florida. All outdoor activities are available.
You can rent jet skis, go para-sailing, swim, snorkel, scuba dive, or just
relax and soak up some Florida sunshine.
For more sun time, visit Lori Wilson Park. This beach has the distinction of being one of the only coastal hammocks in existence. (A "hammock" refers to a beach that borders a natural marsh.) There is a small nature centre in the park giving information about the natural habitat of the area. With its gentle slope to the water, the beach is perfect for swimming. Volleyball nets and horseshoe pits are permanent fixtures.
Nature lovers will love the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. This 140,000 acre state park is home to hundreds of species of shorebirds, waterfowl, alligators, and other endangered mammals. You can drive the 6-mile long Black Point Wildlife Drive, or walk one of the trails that lead through the marshes.
Daytona Beach - Atlantic Coast
Daytona is one of the USA's most famous beaches with a 23 mile long, 500
foot wide expanse of sand. It is actually a collection of a number of
beaches that banned together to make a huge sea-side park. Floats,
umbrellas, windsurfers, bicycles, four-wheelers, and motor scooters are
available to rent on the beach. It is one of the few beaches anywhere that
will allow motor vehicles to be driven on it. Jet skis, sailboards, and
powerboats can be rented at the Halifax River and the Intracoastal
Waterways. The Boardwalk is located along Daytona Beach. This is a group of
amusement centres, rides, mini-golf, arcades, and snack bars for your
Daytona is known world wide for its beaches, and the Daytona International Speedway, one of the finest motor-racing facilities of the country. It has overtaken Ft. Lauderdale as "the place to go" for Spring Break.
The beach has seen many land speed attempts in the past, including Sir Malcolm Campbell reaching 276mph with Bluebird in 1935. Daytona is home to 'Race Week' and the Daytona 500 in February and 'Bike Week' in March so can get very busy during these periods.
A perennial favourite with visitors, Orlando Premium Outlets offers designer fashions, home goods and electronics at discounted prices.
Over 150 stores including Dior, AG Guess, Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Nike, Fendi, Banana Republic, Giorgio Armani, Levi's, Tag Heuer, Bose, Sketchers, Gap Outlet, Lacoste, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Adidas, Puma, and Diesel to name a few.
Orlando Premium Outlets - 8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821 - Tel: (407) 238-7787
Formerly on the site of the old Belz Outlets
Store which has been completely demolished and replaced by Orlando Premium
Outlets costing a massive $150 million that now provides an enhanced
shopping experience you will struggle to find elsewhere. It is Orlando's
Largest Outlet Mall with over 180 designer brands and not to be missed -
expect to take at least 2 days to get around all of it.
The Mall at Millenia continues to add famous names to their roster of stores, offering the most luxurious and sought after names in fashion. Recent additions include Juicy Couture, featuring the hottest fashions for women, men and children; Salvatore Ferragamo, one of the most prestigious and best “Made in Italy” luxury brands, featuring a selection of shoes, leather goods, accessories, fragrances and apparel for women and men; Abercrombie & Fitch, specialising in All-American leisure lifestyle clothing; Abercrombie, which caters to youth fashions; and Pottery Barn Bed & Bath, offering furniture, luxurious linens and decorative accents for your home.
Airports - Getting Here By Air
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