Florida’s tourism industry was responsible for welcoming 79.8 million visitors in 2020, a decrease from the record 131.4 million visitors in 2019 attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $96.5 billion to Florida’s economy and supported over 1.6 million Florida jobs in 2019.
Through this public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort.
VISIT FLORIDA facilitates tourism industry participation in domestic and international travel trade and consumer shows, as well as media missions to the top global visitor markets. VISIT FLORIDA also works closely with travel agents, tour operators, meeting and event planners, and is responsible for operating Florida’s four Official Welcome Centers.
VISIT FLORIDA has 76 positions in Florida and an international team of contracted staff covering Canada, Germany, Latin America and the United Kingdom.
16 Feb 23NEWS
Florida tourism hits a new visitation recordFlorida tourism notched another new record for visitation. VISIT FLORIDA estimates a record 137.6 million ...Read moreFlorida tourism hits a new visitation record - News & announcementsFlorida tourism notched another new record for visitation. VISIT FLORIDA estimates a record 137.6 million visitors for 2022. That is a 5% increase over the previous best in 2019. It welcomed 33.2 million travelers in the final quarter of 2022. Florida tourism has now achieved 21 consecutive months of domestic visitation growth. “We could not be more excited with the impressive record-breaking visitation seen in 2022,” said Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA CEO. “Quarter after quarter, Florida continues to dominate the travel market.” Florida welcomed seven million overseas travelers in 2022, which remains below pre-Covid 2019 visitation levels. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the long waits for US visas is hindering a full recovery from many inbound markets.
05 Feb 23NEWS
Graham McKenzie talks to Visit Florida’s CEO Dana Young at #huddle23Graham McKenzie talks to Visit Florida's CEO Dana Young at #huddle23 about the impressive ...Read moreGraham McKenzie talks to Visit Florida’s CEO Dana Young at #huddle23 - News & announcementsGraham McKenzie talks to Visit Florida's CEO Dana Young at #huddle23 about the impressive bounce back in international visitor numbers post Covid.
05 Feb 23NEWS
At #huddle23 in West Palm Beach, we speak to Lauren Pace of Visit FloridaAt #huddle23 in West Palm Beach, we speak to Lauren Pace of Visit Florida ...Read moreAt #huddle23 in West Palm Beach, we speak to Lauren Pace of Visit Florida - News & announcementsAt #huddle23 in West Palm Beach, we speak to Lauren Pace of Visit Florida about how they intend to keep expanding the tourism economy.
31 Jan 23Partner News
15 Free Fun Things to Do in Florida NowIt’s no secret that Florida is a firm favourite amongst British and Irish holiday ...Read more15 Free Fun Things to Do in Florida Now - News & announcementsIt’s no secret that Florida is a firm favourite amongst British and Irish holiday makers. With world-class theme parks, pristine beaches, and stunning national parks it’s clear to see why. Florida is the ultimate holiday destination for families, couples, and solo travellers alike – and for those looking to keep costs down – look no further. VISIT FLORIDA has rounded up 15 of the best free and fun things to do in Florida right now. From historic tours, boat rides, secluded state parks and more, you’ll find a wide variety of free activities to choose from. 1) The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail Loop - St. Pete/Clearwater The opening of the 6.7-mile North Gap completes Pinellas Trail’s 75-mile loop and is highly anticipated. Stretching from Tarpon Springs in the north to St. Pete in the south, the trail has been created along an abandoned railroad corridor and provides a unique, protected greenspace for walking, jogging, skating, and biking, allowing both locals and visitors to get out in nature and explore the coast and all of its distinctive towns. 2) Miami Beach Pride - Greater Miami From 1-16 April, Miami will celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the destination’s largest LGBTQ+ event with expanded programming that includes a Pride pool event, an LGBTQ Family picnic, Queer Art Showcase, and the Pride March and Parade on Ocean Drive. 3) Riverfront Esplanade - Daytona Beach After a $30 million investment, spanning a mile of Intracoastal waterway, the Riverfront Esplanade is a premier gathering space and botanical garden in the heart of Daytona Beach. Composed of more than a mile of waterfront running trail with comfortable benches and swings overlooking the Halifax River, the Riverfront Esplanade also features a dog park with an agility course and a state-of-the-art splash pad. The north end of the Riverfront Esplanade recently opened with the south end scheduled for completion by the end of the year. 4) Bonnet Springs Park and Florida Children’s Museum – Lakeland Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland is a new 168-acre urban oasis bringing Central Florida’s natural beauty to life. It will be a place where art, recreation and fun intersect by design, featuring a vast array of wonderful amenities. Highlights include the Hollis Family Welcome Centre, the Ag American Heritage Garden, The Florida Children’s Museum, Kid’s Treehouse and open-air concerts and events. 5) St George Street - St Augustine As the nation’s oldest continuously settled city, St. Augustine has centuries of adventure and romance for visitors to experience. Beautiful architecture inspired by early Spanish settlers characterises downtown alongside shops, boutiques, lighthouses, and historic buildings. Explore the quaint St George Street afoot - once the town’s main thoroughfare now only open to pedestrians – and enjoy learning about Florida’s history in this celebrated coastal city. 6) Egmont Key State Park – St Petersburg The unique cultural and historical significance of Egmont Key State Park makes this pristine island a free must-see. A lighthouse stands on the shore as it has for 150 years and Fort Dade, built during the Spanish-American War is still holding its ground. After touring the historic sites and trails, explorers are beckoned to the beach for swimming, shelling, picnicking, and fishing. 7) Tours and tastings – Orlando Every day, Orlando’s largest premium winery offers free tours with tastings. Lasting about 45 minutes, including a 15-minute video presentation, the tours take you through the production area and provide a view of the 80-acre vineyards. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards also hosts free summer and winter music series, as well as a free open house during the holidays. They’re in Clermont, about 35 minutes west of the Orlando tourism districts. 8) St Mary’s River - Hilliard (near Jacksonville) Launch a canoe on the St. Mary’s River that separates Florida and Georgia on the east coast for free from the Canoe Country Outpost. Observe Florida’s wildlife such as osprey, bald eagles, deer, beavers, and otters. Pitch a tent on the shore for a weekend of free family fun or just make a day trip and canoe. 9) Hollywood Beach Boardwalk (near Fort Lauderdale) Spend the day unwinding at Hollywood Beach, known for its casual atmosphere and international flair. Walk or bike along Hollywood’s scenic oceanfront boardwalk or treat yourself to an afternoon of exploring historic downtown, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and hosts a variety of free street markets and festivals unique to South Florida. 10) Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail – Key Largo Adventurous visitors can kick into high gear on the developing 106-mile Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail following the railroad route completed by Henry Flagler in 1912. Bikers can enjoy 70 miles of trail currently paved in segments that run through colourful Keys communities and incorporate Flagler’s historic railroad bridges. With stunning views of the glittery Gulf and light salty gusts, this trail is a breeze. 11) Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium - Key West Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s third land-based Keys coral nursery has opened at Reefhouse Resort & Marina, expanding the Upper Keys’ resilience-focused coral restoration efforts. Tours are scheduled on Fridays at 10 a.m. at Reefhouse Resort & Marina. Mote – raising brain, star, and branching corals both onshore and offshore – outplants coral along the entirety of the Florida Keys reef tract. A separate Mote satellite land-based coral nursery is at Bud 'N Mary's Marina in Islamorada and free public tours are available each Tuesday at 2 p.m. At the Keys’ Mote Marine Laboratory base on Summerland Key, Mote offers free public tours on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. with reservations. 12) Summer Concert Series – Panama City Beach Hot summer nights are made for music, and the Summer Concert Series has become a beloved summertime tradition in PCB. Enjoy a FREE concert in the park every Tuesday (from June – August) at Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheatre — bring your own chairs and blankets and enjoy the sounds of summer with good food and music. 13) The Village of the Arts – Bradenton The Village of the Arts is an eclectic live-work community, home to galleries, studios, restaurants, bakeries, specialty shops and healing art centres housed in colourfully restored 1920s and 1930s historic cottages. The Village is known for its free vibrant night-time Art Walks on the first Friday and Saturday of every month. 14) Build a sandcastle - Gulf Coast of Florida If you’ve ever been to 30A, Florida, you’ve probably spotted a beautifully crafted, towering sandcastle. The Gulf Coast of Florida is often pegged “The Sandcastle Coast” because of the ideal crafting conditions here! If you’ve seen one of these next-level seaside sculptures, you might be wondering how to make the best sandcastle yourself. Grab a bucket and why not give it a go? 15) Scenic highway drive – Pensacola You could say Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway comes in first place, both in terms of geography (it’s the first scenic highway you’ll encounter as you cross the Alabama-Florida border) and because it was the first scenic highway designated in Florida, back in 1998. It might also top your list of scenic drives for more qualitative reasons: As the name implies, this highway’s vistas put on quite a show. On your way, make sure you stop off at The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola which offers free admission daily. Or just look up to see the Blue Angels practicing.
12 Jan 23Partner News
The Sun is Shining in Florida – Discover What’s NewAfter a two-year travelling hiatus, tourists are ready to explore far and wide and ...Read moreThe Sun is Shining in Florida – Discover What’s New - News & announcements
After a two-year travelling hiatus, tourists are ready to explore far and wide and thanks to Florida’s ever-expanding offering, it’s no wonder that more than one million British and Irish holidaymakers visited Florida between January and September last year.
In June 2023, the launch of the first-ever MICHELIN Guide in Florida was announced – an accolade only four other states have received. There’s also been increased airlift, billion-dollar developments transforming the state’s hotel and accommodation portfolio, ongoing efforts to highlight experiences suitable for those with accessibility needs through the VISIT FLORIDA Accessibility Hub and of course, plenty of exciting new activities and attractions.What to Expect in 2023…
Brightline train on-track to bring passengers to Orlando in 2023
Expected Summer 2023 | Orlando extension
High-speed rail system, Brightline, which already has stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, is actively constructing a new rail line to bring passengers to Orlando. The service connecting South Florida to Central Florida is expected to open in early Summer of 2023. Additional plans are underway to expand the rail line to Tampa and the Gulf Coast.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Serengeti Flyer – tallest and fastest ride of its kind!
Coming Spring 2023 | Busch Gardens | Tampa Bay
Serengeti Flyer will be the world’s tallest and fastest ride of its kind, a screamin’ swing, upon opening in spring 2023. With each swing, riders will soar higher and higher above Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s expansive 65-acre Serengeti Plain while experiencing multiple negative-G moments before plunging back toward the Earth. Serengeti Flyer will feature twin duelling arms that soar progressively higher reaching speeds of 68 mph and a maximum height of 135 feet at the ride’s peak.
Florida’s second Mandarin Oriental property to open in Boca Raton
Coming early 2023 | Boca Raton, Palm Beaches
The 158-room hotel will be Mandarin Oriental’s second property in Florida and seventh in North America. All rooms and suites will be designed in a sophisticated and contemporary style, with exacting attention to detail that is reflective of the Group’s oriental heritage, complemented with golf course or downtown views. The hotel will feature two rooftop pools; fine dining restaurants and bars, including Mandarin Oriental’s signature MO Bar + Lounge, located on the rooftop with an outdoor terrace; and a Mandarin Oriental cake shop. Inspired by both ancient Asian and European traditions, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer holistic rejuvenation and relaxation, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness centre.
New Pirate-Themed Ride coming to LEGOLAND Florida
Coming early 2023 | LEGOLAND Florida | Central Florida
A brand-new, swashbuckling quest awaits families visiting LEGOLAND® Florida Resort when the Pirate River Quest opens early 2023. Board a family-friendly boat ride to search for Captain Redbeard’s lost treasure through an all-new hilarious adventure. The quest to uncover the lost treasure unfolds brick by brick as families face a variety of exciting sequences built within lush gardens telling the tales of the rowdy LEGO® pirate crew. Riders will sail through the natural waterways while following the all-new story featuring the newest LEGO pirate friend, Calico Jade, and other exotic LEGO creatures, including a flamboyance of bright flamingos, a troop of mischievous monkeys and even a fearsome kraken.
SeaWorld Orlando, Pipeline: The Surf Coaster – the world’s first surf coaster
Coming Spring 2023 | SeaWorld Orlando | Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando is excited to announce the opening of the theme park’s NEWEST roller coaster, “Pipeline: The Surf Coaster”, in the Spring of 2023. This attraction is the world’s first “Surf Coaster”. Riders will feel the power of the ocean in a whole new way, making “Pipeline” every thrill-seeker’s newest obsession. “Pipeline” will take them on an unparalleled journey and will keep them coming back for more. Each rider will get the rush of cutting through waves as they race up to heights of 110-feet in the air and feel like they are about to wipe out when they go upside down on a wave curl along the 2,950-feet of track. “Pipeline” will send riders on a journey reaching max speeds of 60-miles-per-hour, with five different airtime moments and lasting a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds.
Moana Inspired Attraction Coming to EPCOT in 2023
Coming late 2023 | Orlando
Journey of Water, inspired by Moana will open in late 2023. Guests will take a self-guided stroll along an outdoor trail where they can play and interact with water as it travels from the sky to the oceans and back again. Along the way, learning about the importance of water and discover its playful personality—just as Moana did on her heroic voyage. Journey of Water, will open within World Nature, the EPCOT neighbourhood dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty and balance of the natural world.
Luxury and Wellness at Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences
Coming Early 2023 | Singer Island, Palm Beach
Spanning over seven beachfront acres of the Atlantic shoreline on Palm Beach County’s picturesque Singer Island, Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences is a new paradigm of mindful living for those pursuing the best in proactive wellness. Amrit’s team of personal wellness coaches will create individualized programs utilizing the resort’s 100,000 square feet of wellness amenities including: the Aayush Hydrothermal water therapy circuit, indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, an ocean-view demonstration kitchen and plant-centric restaurant, float tank, IV and sound and light therapies, acupuncture, curated skincare, body therapies from around the globe, an extensive hair and scalp rejuvenation program, an array of fitness classes and arguably the most sophisticated, spa-centred Ayurvedic and yoga program in the US. The property’s two new towers – aptly named Peace and Happiness – are home to a resort/residential mix of 155 wellness resort guest rooms and 182 condos.
10,000-bedroom resort to open in Orlando
Coming Summer 2023 | Orlando
Evermore Orlando Resort will be a massive and all-encompassing 10,000-bedroom resort complex. The property is scheduled to open its first phase by the summer of 2023 with Conrad Orlando, following the injection of roughly $1.5 billion in upgrades that includes brand new vacation homes and villas on the 1,110-acre site bordering Walt Disney World.
Riverfront Esplanade to open in the heart of Daytona Beach
Coming 2023 | Daytona Beach
After a $30 million investment, spanning a mile of Intracoastal waterway, the Riverfront Esplanade is a premier gathering space and botanical garden in the heart of Daytona Beach. Composed of more than a mile of waterfront running trail with comfortable benches and swings overlooking the Halifax River.
Surf simulation hub, PerfectSwell Edgewater coming to New Smyrna Beach
Coming late 2023 | New Smyrna Beach
Construction planning has begun on surf simulator "PerfectSwell Edgewater", which is set to open in 2023. Surrounded by natural resources and wildlife corridors, PerfectSwell Edgewater will unite exciting high performance surf technology with the serene natural environment of Edgewater, featuring a world-class PerfectSwell Surf Pool, surf-inspired food and beverage, surf shop, surf training facility, clubhouse, meeting rooms, and cabana and day lounge areas. The development will include a 125-room hotel next to PerfectSwell Edgewater.In case you missed it in 2022…
Virgin Atlantic opened new direct route from London Heathrow to Tampa
November 2022 | Tampa Bay
Virgin Atlantic continues its transatlantic expansion with a new direct route from London Heathrow to Tampa, launching 3rd November 2022, further cementing the airline’s commitment to its Florida heartland. The new year-round Florida service will initially fly four times a week before increasing to daily from 28th November, complementing the airline’s up to four daily flying to Orlando and double daily flying to Miami.
Aer Lingus restarted direct flights from Dublin to Miami
October 2022 | Miami
As of 21 October, Aer Lingus has restarted direct flights to Miami for the first time in two and a half years. The route will operate three times weekly, as part of the airline’s winter schedule. Reinforcing Dublin as the natural European transatlantic gateway, Aer Lingus will offer connections from key UK and European airports to Miami via Dublin where travellers will experience the benefits of pre-clearing US immigration ahead of their long-haul flight.
The Arlo Wynwood Hotel is the first hotel to open in the cultural district of Wynwood
November 2022 | Miami
Arlo Hotels, an independent, experience-driven hotel brand with locations in Miami Beach and New York City’s Midtown, NoMad and SoHo neighborhoods, debuted the Arlo Wynwood this November. The property is the first hotel to open in Miami’s preeminent creative and cultural district, which is home to the largest concentration of street art in the world. With guest rooms starting at $239 per night, the all-new 217-room, nine-story hotel serves as the cultural hub for residents and visitors while offering savvy travellers prime access to the best of the region. Designed by Meyer Davis, an award-winning firm at the forefront of global, upscale commercial design, the property will offer a steady beat of programming, including daily yoga sessions, meditations and a weekly lineup of local guest DJs and live music activations.
Florida Children’s Museum is the greatest of its kind in the USA
November 2022 | Central Florida
The new Florida Children’s Museum opened on 4 November 2022 at Bonnet Springs Park. The 47,800 square feet space has six main galleries full of interactive exhibits that give children a taste of everything from agriculture to music and engineering. The new world-class museum promises to be one of the greatest of its kind in the United States. Spread over two floors there are amazing, fun interactive galleries for children of all ages and abilities where they will be able to learn, play and develop skills in the most enriching of environments. Admission is $15 per person, children under two go free.
Luxury guest house, Victoria 1883, opens in New Smyrna Beach
October 2022 | New Smyrna Beach
Victoria 1883 is a brand-new luxury guesthouse and wedding venue, opened in October 2022. Located in a waterfront location overlooking the Indian River, Victoria 1883 has been beautifully crafted from a home built around 1883. The main house is the longest standing structure in the district. A chic bed and breakfast experience will be offered across seven elegant, individually themed rooms and suites, and come complete with gorgeous outdoor gardens, artful gathering spaces, a speakeasy, wedding venue and more.
Tampa welcomes its first 5-start hotel, the Tampa EDITION
September 2022 | Tampa Bay
The opening marks the debut of EDITION's 15th property worldwide, and Tampa's first-ever five-star hotel. The hotel joins other new developments and will usher in a new generation for this burgeoning destination as part of Water Street Tampa, a $3.5 billion urban development project transforming the city.
15 Florida restaurants awarded MICHELIN Stars
Launched June 2022 | Miami, Orlando, Tampa
The very first MICHELIN Guide Miami, Orlando and Tampa launched with 15 new MICHELIN-Starred restaurants—four One Star restaurants in Orlando, 10 One Star restaurants in Miami, and one Two Star restaurant in Miami. Read the guide to find out where to tuck into sushi, Korean barbecue, Colombian fare, and more, then start making your reservations. Click through to see all the new MICHELIN Guide restaurants in Florida, and including 29 new MICHELIN Bib Gourmands.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium opened third land-based coral nursery
August 2022 | Florida Keys
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s third land-based Keys coral nursery has opened at Reefhouse Resort & Marina, expanding the Upper Keys’ resilience-focused coral restoration efforts. Mote – raising brain, star, and branching corals both onshore and offshore – outplants coral along the entirety of the Florida Keys reef tract. A separate Mote satellite land-based coral nursery is at Bud 'N Mary's Marina in Islamorada and public tours are available each Tuesday at 2 p.m. Reservations can be made at mote.org/Islamorada. At the Keys’ Mote Marine Laboratory base on Summerland Key, Mote offers public tours Tuesdays at 10 a.m. with reservations.
08 Nov 22NEWS
Dana Young of Visit Florida explains how well the state is doing post pandemicDana Young of Visit Florida explains how well the state is doing post pandemic - News & announcements
27 Oct 22NEWS
Florida Huddle registration opensVISIT FLORIDA has opened registration for next year’s Florida Huddle, the official travel trade show ...Read moreFlorida Huddle registration opens - News & announcementsVISIT FLORIDA has opened registration for next year’s Florida Huddle, the official travel trade show for the State of Florida. It takes place Feb. 2-4, 2023 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center located in West Palm Beach. West Palm Beach is part of The Palm Beaches’ region – a collection of 39 cities and towns nestled in southeast Florida. Next year marks a return of Florida Huddle to West Palm Beach since 2014, but the first time Florida Huddle and Encounter will be held concurrently in the county. Florida Huddle will showcase the best of the Sunshine State to international and domestic tour operators and wholesalers. Approved buyers will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Florida partners, including destinations, hotels and attractions. “Florida is the No. 1 destination in the country for overseas travelers, and this event will further showcase our state’s amazing array of tourism offerings to tour operators and wholesalers from around the globe,” said VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young. “We’re proud to have been selected as the location for this year’s Florida Huddle and Encounter. We look forward to showcasing the beauty of our destination and the breadth of offerings to attendees,” said Jorge Pesquera, president & CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches. After the success of last year, Florida Encounter, VISIT FLORIDA’s official event serving the meetings industry, and Florida Huddle will be held concurrently. Qualified buyers can register for Florida Huddle 2023 free-of-charge by January 11, 2023.
09 Sep 22Partner News
Daytona – It’s not just MotorsThe formation of Nascar in the USA will forever be associated with Daytona, Florida. ...Read moreDaytona – It’s not just Motors - News & announcementsThe formation of Nascar in the USA will forever be associated with Daytona, Florida. From the very early days of running races half on the beach and half on road to the modern-day Daytona International Speedway which houses some of the most iconic races in the motor sport calendar the city will always be famous. You would however be mistaken to think that is all that is on offer, from glorious beaches, art, history, and entertainment to some of the best food in the sunshine state the modern Daytona is a must visit destination . We took the opportunity to chat with a local restauranteur who was born and has lived in the area all his life to find out more.
23 Jul 22NEWS
New ways to experience fun on Florida’s Historic CoastWith more than 455 Years of history, there are innumerable ways to experience the storied ...Read moreNew ways to experience fun on Florida’s Historic Coast - News & announcementsWith more than 455 Years of history, there are innumerable ways to experience the storied past of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches. The City of St. Augustine boasts more than 25 intimate inns and historic boutique hotels with a wide range of options. Two new hotels opened this past year: the Renaissance St. Augustine Historic Downtown, which was built to replicate the historic San Sebastian Hotel of the 1800s and the Homewood Suites by Hilton, which is located on the banks of the San Sebastian River. Boutique hotels and inns have gone techie! Guy Harvey Resort St. Augustine Beach is the latest lodging property in the area to offer contact-free guest services and mobile keys ensuring safe and secure on-site experiences. At The Local Inn, checking in is anything but vintage at this mid-century 21-room inn located near Anastasia State Park and historic downtown St. Augustine. It is all digital, even the bicycles. The Bayfront Marin House B&B was among the first to achieve this digital trend with their in-room digital concierge “Angie,” programmed with information about Bayfront Marin House and important area information. Fun times can be had by the sea at the Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort, one of the few Embassy Suites Resorts in the chain, which recently completed a new wing adding more than 40 rooms to the resort. The Collector Luxury Inn and Gardens is now offering private lessons to guests to learn the art of craft cocktails. Also, with every two-night stay booking The Collector provides guests a $25 gas card to help fuel their St. Augustine adventure. Other hotels set to open in the months ahead include the Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Historic and the Hyatt Place Resort on Vilano Beach. Learn and explore A new water shuttle service, Dolphin Bay Scenic Water Shuttle, provides daily shuttle services across the Matanzas Bay between St. Augustine Municipal Marina and Vilano Beach. The shuttle provides visitors with a scenic trip across the bay while learning more about the area’s natural environment and historic culture. Enjoy magic and mind reading experiences in a boutique showroom at the Casa Monica Resort & Spa. Indulge in a complimentary cocktail in the opulent Cobalt Lounge before being ushered into the Magic Hideaway, where Master Magician Bill Abbott will host an intimate performance of sleight of hand. This summer visitors to the oldest city will be able to enjoy participating in an architectural tour with Genteel & Bard walking tours. St. Augustine’s newest tour will provide participants with a guided walk-through history, focusing on the architectural beauty and the stories behind some of the area’s most significantly important buildings. The guides on these tours wear a microphone so you can hear loud and clear through your complimentary souvenir earbuds. There is more magic: Take a night time kayak adventure that showcases a natural phenomenon, bioluminescence created by billions of jelly combs and dinoflagellates in the night-time waters of Guana Lake. The local outfitter GeoTrippin Adventure Company offers an exclusive night-time paddle on the lake where paddlers can experience this fascinating show on select dates throughout the year. Sports facilities As home to the PGA Tour, TPC Sawgrass, host to The PLAYERS Championship and the World Golf Hall of Fame, St. Augustine l Ponte Vedra Beach has often been referred to as the golf mecca. The latest news is that The PXG Women’s Match Play Championship, an event on the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour, returns to the World Golf Village October 30-November 6 Now America’s fastest growing sport, pickleball is also taking the sports stage on Florida’s Historic Coast. To accommodate this easy to learn and a fun competitive sport, courts all over the area are adapting to accommodate play and competitions. The Yards at Ponte Vedra Beach is a one-of-a-kind sports complex for golf, tennis and more, with an emphasis on pickleball. All is well on Florida’s Historic Coast Great retreats and pampering moments help keep your getaway to St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches refreshing. The spas at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort, the Casa Monica Resort & Spa and several of the day spas in the area have provided rejuvenating experiences for visitors. Now there are even more opportunities for visitors to experience a healthful retreat. The Bayfront Marin House Inn St. Augustine offers summertime guests a new Wellness Retreat Package where at check-in the refreshing begins with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to prepare for the in-room couples massage. Tasty new experiences Walk the streets of St. Augustine and you can find lots of tasty cool treats. Tedi’s Ice Cream, which has been a favorite on St. George Street since the 1960s, along with modern treats like Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, the eclectic Peace Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches on Aviles Street, Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar and Mayday Handcrafted Ice Cream on Hypolito Street - each offers yummy hand-crafted cool tastes. Mayday Handcrafted Ice Creams, named in honor of some innovative Americans who served our country in World War II, have opened their ninth Mayday location (Midtown). There are great new food tour offerings here, too. The St. Augustine Experiences Tours has added two new tours: The St. Augustine Historic Tour, focusing on history and architecture, and the new Dining at Twilight, an evening culinary experience t. And The Tasting Tours has also added some really fun themed tours including the Shiver Me Timbers Swashbuckling Cocktail Tour and the St. Augustine Sangria Stroll. Getting here in 2022 is even easier Florida’s Historic Coast remains an easy access drive destination. There is also great air service available via Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), approximately 50 minutes north of St. Augustine and Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) approximately 50 minutes to the south. Both airports are served by all major airline carriers.
27 Jun 22Partner News
Florida’s Culinary Delights Shine with MICHELIN RecognitionIt’s no secret to us that Florida has an incredible and diverse dining scene ...Read moreFlorida’s Culinary Delights Shine with MICHELIN Recognition - News & announcementsIt’s no secret to us that Florida has an incredible and diverse dining scene worth celebrating, but following the inaugural edition of the MICHELIN Guide Orlando, Miami and Tampa, MICHELIN Guide inspectors have given 118 Florida restaurants, representing 35 cuisines, their global stamp of approval. Besides bestowing stars on an impressive 15 restaurants, the guide also singled out 29 restaurants for Bib Gourmand honours and recommended an additional 74. What’s a Bib Gourmand? “Bibs” are given to restaurants that offer “good quality and good value.” This means that in the U.S., diners can get two courses plus a glass of wine or dessert for less than $49 – a great recommendation for clients looking for a special treat on a budget. For delicious bowls of “finely tuned” ramen, head to Ichicoro Ramen in Tampa (Bib Gourmand), enjoy world-class steaks, tapas-style small plates and great views of the Walt Disney World fireworks at Capa, Four Seasons Orlando (One MICHELIN Star), and for refined plates of classic French cuisine, visit L’Atelier de Joël Rubuchon, in Miami’s Design District (Two MICHELIN Stars). Explore beyond Orlando, Miami and Tampa, and gastronomic delights continue with independent restaurants and bars serving the very best of Florida’s fresh produce, including unbeatable seafood and Florida’s famous citrus fruits.
09 May 22NEWS
Visit Florida reauthorized for another five yearsFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an authorization for Visit Florida, extending its life as the ...Read moreVisit Florida reauthorized for another five years - News & announcementsFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an authorization for Visit Florida, extending its life as the state –funded destination marketing organization through October 1, 2028. The proposed budget for 2022-2023 includes $50 million to fund Visit Florida’s marketing efforts. It received $80 million for the current fiscal year, which included $30 million in federal stimulus money. The agency has been applauded for its efforts to accelerate the tourism recovery during and the Covid-19 pandemic.
27 Apr 22Partner News
Florida is made for family fun!Tourists continue to flock to the Sunshine State to make vacation memories that will ...Read moreFlorida is made for family fun! - News & announcementsTourists continue to flock to the Sunshine State to make vacation memories that will last a lifetime. With world-class theme parks, pristine beaches, an array of child-friendly attractions and stunning parks and trails to explore the great outdoors, Florida is the ultimate family playground holiday destination. There is so much to see and experience in the Sunshine State; family fun is everywhere. Here is just a sampling: Winter haven: The world's first Peppa Pig Theme Park has partnered with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to earn its accreditation as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) since opening in February 2022. IBCCES is working with the Peppa Pig Theme Park to conduct staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training and make more tangible updates to the in-park communications. The extended commitment will require the Park to continue ongoing staff training past its grand opening to ensure that team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to interact with all families and children with learning difficulties specifically for those with Autism. In addition to staff training, IBCCES conducted an in-depth review of the new Park to develop a detailed Sensory Guide. This guide features a review of every attraction by providing insight into how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by the five senses. Special offers and vacation packages are available https://www.peppapigthemepark.com/florida/places-to-stay/vacation-packages/. CENTRAL FLORIDA: Situated in the heart of Central Florida, the dramatic, 260-acre landscape of Safari Wilderness sets the scene for an unforgettable family adventure. Located halfway between Tampa and Orlando, this family-owned, working ranch offers an up-close encounter with herds of roaming exotic animals — and now, guests can stay a little longer. Safari Wilderness recently launched an accommodation option with ten beautifully appointed safari tents. Throughout the property, located within the Green Swamp, the second-largest wilderness area in Florida (after The Everglades), guests can enjoy close-up encounters with wildlife, local waterfowl and upland birds. In addition, overnight guests have the exclusive opportunity to experience organised sundowner safaris, bird watching safaris, and mountain bike excursions. DESTIN-FORT WALTON BEACH: Families looking for the ultimate, fun-filled getaway should look no further than Destin-Fort Walton Beach. Signature sugar-white sand beaches, vibrant emerald-green waters, and warm weather set the scene for an unforgettable escape with endless activities for all to enjoy. Families can enjoy educational and adventurous experiences, from exploring marine wildlife at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park to stargazing and camping at Henderson Beach State Park. Along with 20 miles of coastline, plus protected bays and bayous, the best way to explore Destin-Fort Walton Beach is on, and in some cases, under the water. The destination's expansive ocean areas and beaches make water-based adventures welcoming and possible for every family member. Think kayaking over the stunning crystal-clear water, endless shelling, surf lessons, and perhaps a family-friendly dolphin tour on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruises. CRYSTAL RIVER: Meet our gentle manatees, tackle some incredible fishing, explore lakes and rivers, hike through unspoiled forests, go scalloping, or explore our parks and attractions. However you enjoy Crystal River, Homosassa, Inverness, and Floral City, your family will leave with great memories and a desire to return soon. Whether walking the boardwalk at Three Sisters Springs, dining along King's Bay or during a Manatee Tour, encounter Crystal River and Homosassa's most notable locals, the manatee. Families can book a tour to swim alongside manatees in their natural environment or a kayak tour where they can spot their noses when they come up for air. It's an unforgettable experience best enjoyed with loved ones in the Manatee Capital of the World. ST. PETE/CLEARWATER: St. Pete/Clearwater's record-breaking 361 days of sunshine per year greet families with the perfect place to make long-lasting vacation memories. Fun in the sun is guaranteed at St. Pete/Clearwater, as host to some of the nation's top beaches (including St. Pete Beach, recently named the #1 beach in the U.S. according to TripAdvisor). Fort De Soto Park's North Beach is much-loved for its family-friendly features. Venture beyond the pirate ship-themed playground onto the beach to find a tidal pool perfect for little feet to wade in. Visitors will also find bike rentals for the park's six-mile paved trail (including surrey bicycles that seat up to eight!), a mile-long beach, and a fishing pier. Curious kiddos can come face to face with St. Pete/Clearwater's aquatic ecosystem on Get Up and Go Kayaking's tour of Shell Key Preserve. This crystal-clear kayaking adventure takes guests through the mangroves to see a wide variety of fish, including snook and sheep fish, and many diverse birds nestling in the trees. Paddle by the bird sanctuary where guests commonly see Great Blue Herons, Pink Roseate Spoonbills, and Anhingas swimming alongside the kayak! Kids will be fascinated by rescued marine life at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, former home to beloved late dolphin Winter from the "Dolphin Tale" movies. Be sure to stop by Winter's memorial and exhibit to learn more about her rescue, prosthetic tail, and personality. And, kids will delight in visiting rescued dolphin Hope, star of "Dolphin Tale 2," and her friends PJ and Nicholas. AMELIA ISLAND: As generations of visitors have discovered, Amelia Island is a special place for families–a destination full of exciting activities to be enjoyed together, creating lasting memories. Favourite family pastimes on Amelia include river cruises, nature programs, fishing, jet-skiing, kayaking, hiking the trails of Fort Clinch State Park, horseback riding on the shore, Segway Safaris, and of course, miles of gorgeous beaches. Fort Clinch is one of the best-preserved 19th-century forts in the country, where daily tours with period reenactors depicting garrison life bring the fort to life. Sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing are popular on the park's beach. Hikers and cyclists can enjoy a six-mile trail through the park and view some of the tallest dunes in Florida. Self-guided nature trails provide opportunities to learn about and observe native plants and wildlife. Two full-facility campgrounds and a youth camping area provide overnight accommodations for a family adventure. Kids of all ages enjoy taking an exciting Segway tour of Amelia Island with Kayak Amelia or Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Kayak Amelia offers excursions through Fort George Island, one of the most ecologically and historically significant places along the nation's East Coast. The Omni Amelia Island Plantation also offers daily Segway tours at Amelia's Wheels. Guests can enjoy one of several Segway tour options, including tours through the maritime forest to the beach or discovering wildlife around the resort. MARTIN COUNTY: Tucked away along South Florida's enchanting Atlantic Coast exists an idyllic slice of paradise called Martin County. A true hidden gem of the Treasure Coast, with more than 20 miles of uncrowded beaches and over 100,000 sprawling acres of parks and conservation lands. A magnet for multigenerational getaways, this is a place for unwinding and reconnecting. Tired of entertaining the kids yourself? No problem! The Children's Museum of the Treasure Coast offers a variety of spaced-out attractions and events for the kiddos! The kids can do it all from being a supermarket manager, mechanic, firefighter, veterinarian, or doctor for the day! Not only can your kids spend the afternoon learning and exploring the museum, but they can also participate in the museum's ever-changing calendar of events. For example, the museum hosts special Sensory Friendly Days for children with Autism. These days, the museum limits the number of guests and modifies its lights, sounds, and other aspects to create a safe and inclusive environment. As a result, it's one of the most popular spots for curious little ones (and big kids, too!). To learn more about all the child-friendly adventures waiting to be discovered in Martin County, check out the Kids By Kids video series. JACKSONVILLE: This popular city has plenty to offer and entertain all ages, from the littlest to the teens, from interactive museums and endless outdoor activities to one of the nation's largest sweet shops. Families with kids, teens and adults of all ages will have a blast in Jax. One of the highlights is exploring the most extensive Urban Park System in the U.S. Jacksonville's outdoor attractions extend beyond its 20 mile beaches and include 450 city parks, seven state parks and two national parks, plus dozens of unique gardens and an arboretum. The 80,000 acres of parks provide plenty of room for visitors to safely social distance outdoors with activities such as eco-tours at Kingsley Plantation and Kayak Amelia, one-of-a-kind hiking at Betz Tiger Point, where visitors can catch a glimpse of dolphins and rare birds and biking the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, famous for its populations of hawks, storks and kingfishers. To find out more and travel inspiration for your future Florida gateway, head to VISITFLORIDA.com.
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