PLACES WITHIN 3 HOURS OF
Clearwater, just west of Tampa, is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area – one that offers visitors a cornucopia of vacation opportunities.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium offers animal interaction programs, dolphin photo opportunities and stingray feedings.
Plus, with 35 miles of sugar-sand to choose from in the area, you're sure to find the perfect beach for you.
Lake Mirror Park offers a historic promenade, amphitheater and pedestrian walkways.
Hollis Garden, found around the walkway, is a breathtaking formal garden that showcases more than 10,000 flowers and Florida indigenous plants.
History comes alive in Lakeland's legendary downtown Historic and Antiques district. Come visit the antiques dealers, specialty shops, art galleries, museums, restaurants and pubs, right in the heart of downtown Lakeland.
Englewood is so lovely that two counties – Charlotte and Sarasota along Florida’s Gulf Coast – insist on sharing in its beauty.
Englewood's uncrowded beach is pure and wide and has excellent facilities. Just south, you'll find Blind Pass Park, a fantastic place for shelling and finding sharks' teeth.
Plenty of golf is available in and around Englewood, and the birding is great.
You can also try parasailing or rent a jetski. Fishing in Englewood is also outstanding and several companies will take you out on their boats.
Absolutely embark on an eco-tour of Lemon Bay. You’ll almost certainly see dolphins, manatees, and all kinds of shorebirds and wildlife.
Nicknamed The Athens of Florida, the city of DeLand was founded in 1876. Located in Central Florida between Orlando and Daytona Beach, DeLand is home to Stetson University, Florida's oldest college. Stetson's stately red-brick buildings, Greco-Roman columns and magnificent oaks exude the aura of a quaint New England college town. Stetson Mansion, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is a blend of cottage, Gothic, Tudor, Moorish and Polynesian details. In addition, DeLand offers visitors the chance to explore the Museum of Art - DeLand and De Leon Springs State Park. At the park, you can take a dip 25 feet down to the mouth of the springs that release about 16 million gallons a day. Feeling even more adventurous? Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle down the Spring Garden Run beside the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge for an eyeful of birds and other wildlife.
Found near the very center of the Florida peninsula, Lake Wales offers a glimpse of Old Florida and a deep dive into the Florida of today and tomorrow. In Lake Wales, tower bells ring from the Historic Bok Sanctuary – a collection of gardens and frequent site of outdoor concerts. Murals enliven the historic downtown, designed by the firm of famed city planner Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Also, don’t miss the Lake Wales Art Center. The church, with its cupolas and bell towers, dates to 1927. Lake Wales: Not Out of the Way, Just Out of the Ordinary.
Dunedin, located along the Gulf Coast just west of Tampa, is known for its annual Scottish celebrations and its quaint downtown, among its other allures.
One of the oldest towns on the West Coast of Florida, Dunedin has a wooded and subtropical setting with almost four miles of picturesque waterfront, a relaxed lifestyle, and activities for all likes and ages, making Dunedin a truly delightful place to visit.
In Dunedin, you will find a charming and active downtown, beautiful parks, recreational activities for all ages, history, culture and educational opportunities.
Also, just off the coast of Dunedin are Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands, both renowned for their unspoiled beauty.
Along with award-winning beaches, St. Petersburg is home to the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum, top-rated restaurants, and beautiful Fort De Soto Park. The St. Pete Pier combines the peaceful blue waters of Tampa Bay with the vibrant greenery of downtown St. Petersburg’s parks, creating the ultimate place to stroll, bike, dine, drink, shop, swim, and take in a concert. Downtown St. Petersburg is the city’s heart, home to great shopping, restaurants, bars and cultural attractions. After making a stop to check out the largest collection of Dali’s work outside of Spain, swing by the Chihuly Collection on Central Avenue to witness mind-blowing glasswork. For more information and more ideas for what to do in St. Pete, check out Visit St. Pete-Clearwater.
For close to 60 years, Cape Canaveral has been the world’s launchpad for manned space flight. Mercury. Gemini. Apollo. The space shuttle. At the Kennedy Visitors Center, you can stroll through a garden of rockets or watch one rise into the blue. Cape Canaveral, located midway between Jacksonville and Miami along Florida’s Space Coast, also offers Atlantic beaches, a popular cruise ship port, the nearby Brevard Zoo, and friendly hotels, inns and restaurants. Also near the space center is Canaveral National Seashore, 24 miles of undeveloped beach with 1,045 plant species and 310 bird species. Plan your trip to Cape Canaveral.
Weeki Wachee is an Old Florida attraction that has gained international attention thanks to underwater shows starring honest-to-goodness mermaids. A 400-seat theater with a wall of underwater windows allows guests to watch the twice-daily shows. The mermaid attraction is part of Weeki Wachee State Park. Families can fill the day at neighboring Buccaneer Bay water park, but purists most love visiting the original attraction where mermaids are still swimming, animal shows still entertain and educate, and guests escape the pressures of life by canoeing, kayaking, and taking river boat cruises on the Weeki Wachee River.