North Floridian Hospitality
By Caroline Brame
Interested in taking a trip to Florida? Consider North Florida for the next vacation destination. Although most of Florida's most famous attractions are in the south, the northern part of the state, extending from Pensacola to Jacksonville, offers travelers plenty of what they expect from Florida with a twist of Southern Charm.
The area surrounding the bustling metropolis and unofficial capital of South Georgia of Jacksonville is full of fun activities and sights for the whole family. Amelia Island, home to the Ritz Carlton and the Bausch & Lomb ATP tournament, is a resort community set within beautiful natural beauty. Between hundred year-old live oaks, the marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean is a nature-lovers paradise, a tennis players dream, and the perfect place to get pampered. Travel south to Ponte Vedra Beach, home of the Tournament Players Championship at Sawgrass. Golf lovers will find a plethora of the most prestigious and world-renowned golf courses while the family will enjoy its beautiful beaches and tranquil lifestyle. Following the coastline will take visitors to St. Augustine, the nations oldest city, and home to great shopping and beaches. Take a stroll down St. George Street for old city charm and shopping and stop for a bite to eat at Opus 39, 95 Cordova St, Fiddlers Green, or Saltwater Cowboys, all St. Augustine favorites. Jacksonville itself is home to great attractions, including Alltel Stadium, home to the Jacksonville Jaguars professional football team, the Florida Theatre where you can see concerts, plays, and shows year round, and the beautiful St. John's River.
Traveling west on 1-70 takes you through Florida's plantation region and Tallahassee, the state capital. This is not the home of palm trees and famous beaches, but antique live oaks, sprawling plantation homes, and freshwater springs. With beaches within a 30-minute drive and plenty of lakes, there are plenty of areas to play and with two state universities in town there is plenty of arts and cultural events to enjoy. This area of Florida is so different from the rest, yet many visitors to the state are not aware of all that the area has to offer. Preservation of the past and respect for its natural beauty is what keeps the Tallahassee area ready for more generations to enjoy.
The Florida Panhandle is situated between the southern borders of Georgia and Alabama and the Gulf of Mexico, making it culturally and historically more similar to the Deep South than the rest of the state. The Gulf Coast beaches, known as the Redneck Riviera, are renowned for white sand beaches and warm waters. The emerald color water extends from Pensacola Bay to Panama City, including beaches such as Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Seaside, Perdido Key, Navarre, Sandestin, Grayton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, and Seagrove. Deep-sea fishing is the activity of choice with Destin known as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village"; of course, eating the catch of the day may be more popular. There are seafood and oyster houses on every corner catering to families, couples, or large parties. Seaside, made famous by the movie "The Truman Show", is known for its quaint pastel-colored homes and is the perfect place for a family summer vacation. Panama City is the Spring Break capitol and was named "The Best Beach in America by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. Enjoy great beachfront restaurants and exiting nightclubs at night while basking in the sun during the day. Families will love both its warm temperatures and warm personalities of the locals.
Gorgeous beaches, natural beauty, world-class golf and tennis, southern hospitality, superb vacation rentals, and warm Florida sunshine make North Florida the perfect spot for any vacation.
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