Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Florida is the 22nd most extensive, the 4th most populous, and the 8th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state capital is Tallahassee, its largest city is Jacksonville, and the South Florida metropolitan area is the largest metropolitan area in the southeastern U.S.
Much of Florida is situated on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida. Its geography is marked by a coastline, by the omnipresence of water and the threat of hurricanes. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, encompassing approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), and is the only state to border both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is at or near sea level and its terrain is characterized by sedimentary soils. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. Its symbolic animals like the American alligator, Florida panther and the manatee, can be found in the Everglades, one of the most famous national parks in the world.
Since the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León – who named it La Florida (“Flowery Land”) upon landing there during the Easter season, Pascua Florida – Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Indians, and racial segregation after the American Civil War. Today, it is distinguished by its large Hispanic community, and high population growth, as well as its increasing environmental concerns. Its economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century. Florida is also known for its amusement parks, the production of oranges and the Kennedy Space Center.
Florida culture is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; Native American, European American, Hispanic and African American heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes. It is internationally known for tennis, golf, auto racing and water sports.
- ROMANCE A NIGHT AWAY in Miami’s trend setting SOUTH BEACH. Finish your days of sophisticated sunning and shopping at the Beach with dinner in an ultra romantic restaurant, then dance the night away to sultry rhythms at an outrageously chic club. This is the stuff that honeymoon dreams are made of.
- FISHING: You can get to the fishing grounds for big game fish faster in DESTIN than almost Experienced Captains will take you out on full or half day excursions and help make sure that your luck at catching a Big One is more than good. Lady Luck will also smile on your chances of hooking a record breaking bass in PALATKA, LAKE KISSIMMEE or LAKE OKEECHOBEE.
- ORLANDO: WALT DISNEY WORLD. Your love is embellished by the romance of the Magic Kingdom and one of the world’s most famous couples, Mickey and Minnie. Expert planners at their Wedding Chapel arrange memorable weddings and can even provide beautiful wedding wear and trousseau items right on the premises. Remember, this fun filled world has 4 theme parks and is twice the size of Manhattan so you can find romance everywhere.
- THE EVERGLADES: Take a swamp buggy tour or an airboat ride through one of the most unique and exotic eco systems in the world.
- ST. AUGUSTINE: Step back in history as you stroll the narrow streets and surround yourselves with the aura of the past. Hold hands over lunch at a tiny restaurant, browse the boutiques, and explore the town that Spanish settlers discovered.
- GOLF: The state is sprinkled with great courses, many of which have spectacular water views! A world renowned golf museum and courses are just outside JACKSONVILLE.
- THE KEYS: A road trip from Key Largo to Key West at the very tip of the state will introduce you to some of the most romantic getaways on this planet. Take time to steal a kiss as you enjoy the spectacular sunsets and the breathtaking natural beauty of the 800 islands that comprise the area.
- CIGAR lovers delight! You can actually visit "Cigar Row," a street of small frame houses in a Miami suburb where cigars are made.
Tips and Advice
HELPFUL HONEYMOON HINTS
- EXPERIENCE IT FROMN ALL SIDES: Some couples like to enjoy two different honeymoon lifestyles. Consider buying one way air tickets and enjoying a car trip between two different destinations. Rent a convertible, don your sunglasses and enjoy the scenery as you explore Florida's back roads and highways. For example, visit sophisticated Miami, then take a leisurely romantic drive down to the Keys to enjoy a laid back lifestyle of pristine islands and beaches. Or, shop, dine and live in the lap of luxury at a resort in Naples, then take off for the simple life of Marco Island, then enjoy the natural beauty of the Everglades. Beach buffs can share romance on Atlantic Ocean beaches or Gulf of Mexico sands. Many are less than 100 miles apart!
- PICK YOUR PORT: After you've chosen your honeymoon destination or destinations, check a map. Florida has 21 airports and some of the major ones are only 20-40 minutes' drive away from one another.
- LOW BUDGET HONEYMOONS: If you've always wanted to go to Florida but haven't been able to afford it, honeymoon in the summer months when the crowds have gone home and hotel rates and some restaurant prices are lower.
- RENT A CAR: Be sure to get a car rental confirmation number and take it with you. If you are honeymooning in peak season, December-Easter, double check the reservation directly with the rental agency before leaving home.
- TWO TIME ZONES: The western part of Florida's northern "Panhandle" is on Central Time. The rest of the state is in the Eastern time.
- TRY SOME CUBAN SPECIALTIES: A refreshing lime colored Mojito is the perfect introduction to a hearty Cuban sandwich. Be sure to try them both and don't forget to stop for a quick, tiny cup of Cuban coffee just about any time of the day!!!!!
- TO GET INTO SOUTH BEACH CLUBS: Ask your Concierge to arrange it in advance so your name will be at the door. If you want to visit more than one, ask him to arrange entry to all of them, and be sure to dress for a night on the town.
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