Florida Guide > Places to Visit
The Gulf Coast
Sunshine state rentals are exactly that, renting a villa in the Sunshine State, the colloquial name for Florida. Villa rentals are available in Orlando for ease of visiting the Walt Disney parks, a trip to Kennedy or even the beaches on the east coast of this sunshine state of Florida.
To experience a different area away from the world of Mickey Mouse and all his friends, try the Gulf of Mexico coast. This western coast of the sunshine state is quieter than the Orlando metropolis and has the most wonderful beaches.
Direct flights from the UK into Tampa, a wonderful airport to greet you and as you collect your car you head south perhaps through Clearwater with its miles of sandy beaches.
Travel south over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and fairly soon you will reach the northern end of Sarasota. Sarasota is the jewel of the coastline of the sunshine state and is a cultural city with theatres, orchestra and concert hall and the famous Ringling Estate.
After a lunch looking out over the marina at Marina Jacks why not take a trip over the Ringling Bridge to St. Armand’s Circle and visit the upmarket shops and Mote Marine centre, a world famous aquatic institution.
Continue south and you will soon come to the small town of Venice with its jetties where more often than not dolphins can be seen.
Next on this coast is Englewood, a small town with a yet another wonderful beach and the State Park of Stump Pass. Englewood is also home to a unique area called Rotonda West. This is a community of mainly residential homes but also rental homes. The area is circular with a diameter of three miles and has 30 miles of freshwater canals and several golf courses. Therefore your choice of villa could be to look out onto a golf course, conservation area or one of the canals. Whichever you choose you will be sure to see a great deal of wildlife from birds to racoons, armadillos, alligators and even a bobcat.
Not to be missed on this tour of the sunshine state is Gasparilla Island, joined to the mainland by a causeway. Just one small town on this island and that is Boca Grande. This is indeed Old Florida with properties owned by the wealthy that prefer to stay in the warmth of Florida particularly in the winter. At the far end of this peninsular is a well photographed light house that now houses a museum showing the days when the phosphate boats used to unload their wares.
Before too long the sprawling city of Fort Myers will come into view and this is the launching pad to Captiva and Sanibel Islands – again not true islands as they are attached to the mainland. Both these islands are haunts for shell and whale teeth collectors even to the fact that people are often said to have a ‘Captiva Bend’ due to searching the ground so long!
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Page added on: 27 December 2011
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