Explore the Sunshine State: Sightseeing in Florida

Florida, the third-largest state in America, draws millions of tourists each year. If you’re thinking about visiting this sunny state, there are plenty of unique things to see and do.

One such place is Ellaville, an abandoned and haunted community that once thrived. If you’re interested in ghost towns or just want to spend some time exploring an old structure, Ellaville makes for a fascinating stop.

It’s the Boating Capital of the World

Florida has long been a haven for boaters from around the world, thanks to its miles and miles of natural waterways that offer endless sightseeing, island cruising, fishing, sailing and diving options.

Fort Lauderdale is also host to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, one of the world’s largest in-water boat shows that attracts boaters from around the globe. Here you’ll find top-of-the-line yachts and accessories from major marine manufacturers.

The Florida Keys are a top boating destination in South Florida. These idyllic islands boast stunning beaches, tranquil bays, and sandbars to anchor on.

Tampa Bay is an ideal boaters’ haven, boasting a multitude of options. While the city itself has fine restaurants and hotels, it’s the hidden bays and rivers bordering the bay that make this such a boater’s haven. Visit places like Beer Can Island, Caladesi Island or Shell Key for an exhilarating day of boating and exploring!

It’s Home to the Florida Manatee

The Florida Manatee, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, is mostly found in coastal waters, rivers and springs throughout Florida. This species is protected under both the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.

When water temperatures dip below 20degC (68degF), Florida manatees head south for warmer waters. They frequently visit natural springs such as Blue Springs on the east coast and Crystal or Homosassa Rivers on the west.

They often travel along coastal wetlands and bays, and in the summertime may venture up the east coast into Georgia and North Carolina.

They feed on plants such as turtle grass, manatee grass, shoal grass and algae. On average they consume between 4%-9% of their body weight in wet vegetation daily.

It’s Home to Amelia Island

Amelia Island, measuring 13 miles long and 4 miles wide, stands as a unique oasis among the barrier islands that circle Northeast Florida. Here you’ll find idyllic beaches and breathtaking natural features as well as historical sites and plenty of outdoor activities.

Amelia Island’s history dates back to 1000 when Timucuan mound-building Native Americans known as Napoyca named their village. These people would remain on this island until the early 1700s when European colonists settled and began fighting for control of the island.

Amelia Island has had a turbulent and complex history, with eight different nations controlling it at various points – including France, Spain, Britain, Green Cross, Patriots of Amelia Island, Confederate States and ultimately the United States.

Amelia Island is home to many historic sites and tours that showcase its captivating past. For even more insight, be sure to book a guided tour at the Amelia Island Museum of History for an even deeper exploration.

It’s Home to Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach attracts tourists from around the world with its 23 miles of soft, sandy beaches and year-round sunshine. This city also has plenty to offer in terms of museums, theaters, antique markets, restaurants and malls – making it a top vacation spot.

Daytona Beach Road Course has been hosting races since 1936 on its wide, hard-packed sand. Since 1902, this area has been the site of high-speed automobile testing and racing.

Daytona Beach was once home to the Timucuan Indians. Unfortunately, European settlers nearly exterminated these indigenous peoples through war, disease and enslavement.

In the 19th century, a wealthy northern tycoon named Matthias Day established a plantation and built an hotel here. As this growing town expanded rapidly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, St. Johns and Halifax River Railway came to this area in 1886.

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