Maybe the image you have of Miami is decades old: a neon art deco sign, thumping music coming from a flashy car, Don Johnson in a white blazer.
Some of those impressions may even be more recent. But there's more to Miami than nightlife and glamour. Tucked in...
Why make that 4,500-mile trip year after year? To them, it's simple. The beaches on this...
A small town with a big heart.
The proud residents of Port St. Joe are fond of that municipal nickname, and it's hard to dispute its accuracy.
Founded on a spot of profound natural beauty along Northwest Florida's upper Gulf Coast and...
High on a colorful wall overlooking a grassy lot and an assembly of restaurant patrons is a mural of a man in a cowboy hat and tie, hands held up in delight.
You can almost hear developer Tony Goldman exclaiming, "Now that's art!" while looking down on...
Lazy Horseback Ride on Amelia Island
Our thought was to plan a day at the beach all over Florida.
Family or friends in town and you want to send them off with a winning itinerary, right? A place to lay in the sand or ride a wave. A local joint to grab a burger or a grouper sandwich. A craftsman gallery to browse or buy.
We dispatched Florida reporters, videographers and photographers to plot their day at the beach. Here's a sampling:
Veteran television journalists Janice and Donald Jones went to northeast Florida.
Amelia Island is a tranquil getaway, excellent for a sunset horseback ride or just enjoying a good book. Nearby downtown Fernandina has upscale boutique shopping and a range of restaurants offering cocktails on a porch or barbecue in a hidden courtyard. Watch
Anastasia State Park is two miles from historic St. Augustine and right off A1A. You can enjoy surfing, bike riding, and shell collecting on the beach, paddling and sailing in the lagoon. The park is filled with great walking trails and wildlife viewing. Just outside the park gates, the St. Augustine Lighthouse awaits with spectacular views. Add on a stop at a new favorite restaurant that touts locally-sourced comfort food with a twist. Watch
Flagler Beach is a retro beach town with friendly locals, open-air restaurants, eclectic shops, laid-back surfing, a classic fishing pier and more than a six-mile stretch of spectacular ocean views. Watch
Central Gulf coast
Pass-a-Grille at the southern end of St. Pete Beach offers unheard-of public beach access. Only the Don CeSar, which opened in 1928, rises higher than a few stories. Most structures are private homes and locally-owned businesses nestled among the sand dunes. For food, the Hurricane Restaurant is a large, three-story wooden building famous for its grouper sandwiches and roof-top views of the gulf. Along the bay side of Pass-a-Grille are several cozy art galleries, among them the Nancy Markoe Gallery. Read
Drive west about 10 miles from downtown Bradenton on Manatee Avenue and you will discover Anna Maria Island. Strict regulations govern the type of buildings and businesses allowed on the island. After traveling through the urban landscapes of Bradenton, you might feel you have journeyed back in time once you arrive here. Quaint, family-owned shops and businesses can be found up and down the Island. On Pine Avenue, near the northern end of Anna Maria, you'll find French-milled soaps and specialty olive oils and hand-made clothing and small art galleries. Read
Cayo Costa is a relaxed island destination with great fishing, oak-palm hammocks, mangrove swamps and miles of beautiful beaches. The barrier island, seven miles long and one mile wide, retains its natural wilderness and sense of remoteness because you can get there only by boat. Watch
Henry Flagler's railroad to Key West turned the remote island of Bahia Honda into a tropical destination. Today, the island is home to one of Florida's southernmost state parks, known for beautiful beaches, magnificent sunsets and excellent snorkeling. Watch
These are a few of our days at the beach. What are yours?
- Kevin McGeever, VISIT...
The affluent traveler's delight for decades, the Tampa Bay Hotel's arresting peculiarities no longer surprise leisure lovers requiring posh accommodation. Nowadays, the old hotel's minarets and domes loom over brick ramparts housing University of Tampa offices and classrooms as well as the Henry B. Plant Museum, named for...
It's called the Forgotten Coast, but the 90-mile stretch of Northwest Florida's shoreline from St. Marks west to Cape San Blas once was so dramatically -- if intermittently -- illuminated that it was hard to miss.
Which, really, was the point insofar as...
Hidden beaches are the stuff of vacation fantasies: They combine the joy of discovery with the appeal of having something special all to yourself.
Once upon a time, South Florida was full of hidden beaches. But then we moved here - millions and millions of us.
Bakers across Tampa Bay work in the pre-dawn light while we sleep, ensuring we wake up to warm bread, fresh muffins and crispy cookies.
In a city as diverse as Tampa, visitors can try confections from many countries, including Italy, Cuba and Greece. Some bakeries produce hearty breads...
In Palmdale, Fla., alligators outnumber humans by more than 100 to 1.
The 2000 census counted 329 souls in the shorter than three-mile stretch along Highway 27 that defines the blink-of-an-eye, unincorporated town in Glades County.
On the other hand, Palmdale's
What first strikes a visitor is the banyan tree. It is as sprawling and mighty as the story of Thomas Alva Edison, whose estate it decorates.
The tree came to the inventor's Fort Myers winter home in 1925, a four-foot Ficus benghalenis producing white sap that Edison and...
The Cuban Cafecito: Florida's Little Jolt of Inspiration
Miami looks and sounds like the United Nations. We hail from Cuba, Haiti, Latin America -- and plenty of U.S. cities, too.
At Calle Ocho in Little Havana, expect no Gucci shops or blonde models. This is where we keep the real Miami, the cigar-rolling, coffee-drinking, domino-playing variety. If you address someone in English and they answer you with a puzzled look and a Spanish response, don't take it personally. It's a Miami thing. Just dive in.
Lunch at La Carreta, 3632 SW 8th St., where you can have a Cuban sandwich or pulled pork. Stop at Versailles Restaurant, 3555 SW 8th St., the unofficial Cuban exile headquarters, for café con leche. But do it our way: on your feet at the outdoor window, where you can get the pulse of the neighborhood.
Watch cigars being made at Credito Cigar Factory, 1105 SW 8th St., then stroll past Maximo Gomez Park, 801 SW 15th Ave., where the old-timers play their favorite game: dominoes.
If you've worked up a thirst and are truly brave, drive to Palacio de los Jugos (Juice Palace), 5721 W Flagler St., where you can find fresh tropical juice smoothies and a freshly roasted pig in a chaotic outdoor setting. Don't worry, they're not screaming at you.
Here are a few more video stories to consider and then experience for yourself:
Nuevo Latino Cuisine
Some of South Florida's premier chefs are taking traditional Latin food to a new level by combining old customs with new ingredients. Chef Douglas Rodriguez is redefining Cuban cuisine while Chef Juan Chipoco features a new take on the traditional Ceviche.
Novelawood, the Hollywood of the Americas
Miami, home to some of Latin America's biggest stars, has become the center of the Spanish television world and the telenovela rules the air.
From edgy downtown districts to enclaves in historic towns, Florida is teeming with opportunities to experience original art by local and internationally renowned artists. Each month, cities across the state bring together art lovers and curious visitors for a festive celebration of the best artists, galleries and
It's an image that lingers in the American consciousness like a soft, warm dream:
Oak-lined courthouse squares. Gazebos and band shells. One-chair barber shops. Vest-pocket cemeteries. The town café, gossip for breakfast and meatloaf for lunch. Old-time movie theaters, with one screen and a real marquee and...
Erv Stokes' grandfather came to the Everglades during World War II to serve as pastor of the Chokoloskee Church of God. His daddy Odalph stayed in the Everglades and made his living hunting, trapping, skinning and, occasionally, wrestling alligators.
Erv, born and raised in the Everglades,...
Armando Neito is the typical Sawgrass Mills customer.
He's from Brazil, has an energized bargain-hunting look in his eye and, like lots of other shoppers in Florida's largest outlet mall, walked around...
The How to Do Florida video series explores quintessential Florida experiences such as lobstering in the Florida Keys and surfing off Cocoa Beach. Keep watching for the checklist of necessities to ensure the quality of your own Florida experience.
Here are the five latest videos:
Alligator Education in St. Augustine
How to Do Florida host Chad Crawford visits St. Augustine Alligator Farm for a personal experience with the captive gators. Then on to the Everglades for an airboat ride into to the heart of the wild. The caution here is "Observe, don't disturb."
Feeding Marine Life in Key Largo
Up close and personal with the resident population in the Atlantic Ocean off Key Largo. Nurse shark, barracuda and goliath grouper are regular customers of Capt. Slate's unusual food service.
Horse Camping in Florida Cracker Country
Riding horses whose origins date to Spain and the 1500s, How to Do Florida host Chad Crawford and his daughter eat and sleep under the stars, then herd cattle in Osceola County, once the cow capital of the world.
More How to Do Florida...
"Florida's nice, for sure. The only problem: There's no mountains."
That's what out-of-staters have been telling me for years.
I've got a ready reply: "Just look up."
Florida's clouds are our mountains.
Like the Rockies, they dwarf us. Like the Pyrenees, they frame the landscape. Like the Alps,...