Guide to the Gulf Coast

The length of Florida’s Gulf coastline stretches an amazing 770 miles and is a popular tourist destination due to its plethora of dazzling white beaches and year-round sunny weather. If you have rented a villa in Orlando then you can easily reach this fantastic coastline to spend a few days relaxing by the sea.

Although the gulf coast runs for miles, the most sought after areas for holidaymakers are between Tarpon Springs, North West of Tampa, through to the southern end of Marco Island on the edge of the Everglades. Between here, the area splits off into 5 different areas all keen to share their version of the idyllic seaside lifestyle.

Located on Florida’s West Coast here lies the stunning peninsula of Clearwater. A popular spot for families, it has everything one can expect from a coastal town, with a great selection of restaurants, golf, and shopping, as well as dozens of beach activities to get involved in. It is worth noting that Clearwater is also known for its rich and diverse culture so you can expect to find plenty of museums, festivals, and shows which can be a welcome break in-between beach days.

St Petersburg, another popular area is located on the peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. St Pete, as it is sometimes known, is the cultural hot spot of Florida, renowned for its museums such as the Holocaust museum and the Salvador Dali Museum. A popular attraction with families is St Petersburg Pier, here you can catch a sightseeing tour as well as shopping, seaside activities and plenty of restaurants to suit all tastes. For those looking for nightlife, head down to Baywalk entertainment centre, where you can find dining, shopping and a selection of activities to suit all ages.

Tampa encompasses everything keen tourists are looking for in a Florida holiday. Visit the famous Busch Gardens amusement park, great for families with its African safari-inspired theme, or, if you are looking for something more relaxed there are plenty of restaurants, museums, and entertainment venues. You’ll be spoilt for choice and never short of something to do here!

Downtown Tampa

If you have time whilst in Tampa and want to take in a little culture, visit the historical city of Ybor founded in1880’s by cigar manufacturers. Now a national historic landmark you can expect to see some interesting architecture from the factories themselves and other unique buildings in the area. You’ll also find here plenty of things to do with districts dedicated to dining, shopping, and entertainment.

If you are looking for a more relaxed vacation then traveling further south you will find Bradenton which is home to the world’s oldest manatee as well as Florida’s largest artist community. Bradenton is also the training home of the Pittsburg Pirates, sports fans will love catching a game in one of Florida’s best training stadiums. Saratosa boasts a cultural experience dedicated to the arts with museums, ballet, opera, and world-class theatre shows, giving the area a very sophisticated and artsy vibe. Activities such as lawn bowling, tennis, golf, boating and bird watching are all available in Sarasota, not forgetting the famous Ringling Brothers circus founded in 1917.

The next region along is Fort Myers, known as the ‘City if Palms’ due to its streets lined with Palm trees and for its pristine beaches. The big attraction here is the home of the American inventor of the lightbulb, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford who built the first Ford car dealership.

A lovely sunset at Fort Myers beach

Lastly, moving further South you will find Naples and Marco Island is known as the Paradise Coast. In Naples, you will find its home to more than 80 championship golf courses, acres of green parks perfect for picnics as well as a beautiful beach more than 10 miles long with some of the coasts calmest waters. White sandy beaches are lined with elegant waterfront homes attracting wealthy and retired visitors looking for a little piece of paradise. Marco Island is a quieter area, especially at night so is best enjoyed in the day with plenty of activities such as fishing, water sports and exploring the abundance of wildlife of the Ten Thousands Island by land, boat or air.

The Gulf Coast has something for everyone and with 360 days of sunshine each year it is the perfect holiday destination to visit!

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