Florida, Texas and Arizona

Winter 1999 CSANews Issue 34  |  Posted date : Mar 04, 2007.Back to list

You've been enjoying the warm weather at your winter destination of choice, but do you really know all it has to offer? Are you an adventurer or a creature of habit when it comes to the winter months? Maybe this is your winter to pull out a road atlas and go exploring.

Another veiw of the Sun-Belt
You've been enjoying the warm weather at your winter destination of choice, but do you really know all it has to offer? Are you an adventurer or a creature of habit when it comes to the winter months? Maybe this is your winter to pull out a road atlas and go exploring.

St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States. Visitors escape to the past, touring the streets by horse-drawn carriage or motorized trolley. St. George Street, a cobbled lane that intersects the historic district, offers quaint shops and great restaurants amid several "oldest" attractions, including the oldest wooden schoolhouse, the oldest house and the oldest jail.

Taylor County is located along Florida's Gulf Coast, south of Tallahassee. The Taylor County coast, from Steinhatchee in the south to Econfina in the north, has changed little since 1900. This is especially true of the small villages along the coast. Steinhatchee, Dark Island, Cedar Island, Dekle Beach, Keaton Beach and Adams Beach have not grown in population since the beginning of the century. The local shore is dotted with makeshift boat docks, boats, crab traps, fishnets and other fishing equipment found in Florida's coastal villages 100 years ago. There are endless photo opportunities along this sparsely populated area. It is also a great place for fishing, bird-watching, sightseeing or doing nothing at all.

Arcadia was incorporated in 1886. Located east of Sarasota, the town features more than 300 buildings in its downtown historic district. With more than 20 antique and collectible shops, Arcadia is now a destination for antique lovers.

Dade City, just 30 minutes north of Tampa, is a charming historic town that traces its roots back to 1889. The downtown area features more than 50 antique, gift and specialty stores ­ all within walking distance of each other. The Pioneer Florida Museum houses horse-drawn buggies, a steam-powered locomotive and numerous historic buildings.

Bartow, less than a one-hour drive from Tampa or Orlando, is known as "The City of Nostalgia" during the winter holiday season. The "Light Up Bartow Christmas Parade and Promenade" continues to grow each year, with dozens of lighted floats, family entertainment and delicious seasonal foods. Bartow boasts many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. From the genealogical library to the historical museum to the antique district to the turn-of-the-century homes, this quaint town has a lot to offer.

Glendale is now home to one of the largest collections of ancient and contemporary beads. The Bead Museum collects, preserves, documents and displays beads and ornaments used for personal adornment from ancient, ethnic and contemporary cultures. The 7,000-square foot museum features an exhibit area, gift shop, book store and reference library and will host bead-making workshops and conferences.

Tucson invites your family to come visit its "living museum," the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It displays the wide range of animals and plants found in the Sonora Desert and is a good introduction to the Old West Country's natural attractions. Abutting the museum is Saguaro National Park, which contains the finest specimens of towering saguaro cacti found in the world.

Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon. This Western artists' community, named after a pioneer resident, is surrounded by some of the most striking scenery in the country. Sedona's stunning red-rock formations are a result of millions of years of geological activity. In addition to its beauty, Sedona offers a wealth of shops, art galleries, restaurants and annual festivals. The mild climate makes it an ideal day trip from the Valley any time of the year. Sedona is a two-hour drive from Tempe, approximately 119 miles.

Grand Canyon. While being one of the seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is also the most popular natural attraction in the U.S. and easily accessible from the Valley. The many activities available to you at the Grand Canyon allow you to enjoy being as active or inactive as you choose. Viewing is spectacular all year. The Grand Canyon is a seven- to eight-hour round trip drive, approximately 538 miles.

Galveston Island is known for its exquisite gulf sunsets and beaches, with a wide variety of shopping, historic homes, museums and fantastic dining. In fact, Galveston Island has more than 550 designated historical landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places, and more than 121,500 restored historic homes. Relive the past in Galveston's 15 museums, including a classic car museum, railroad museum, flight museum and historical theatre. The Mardi Gras museum features Galveston's Mardi Gras festivities, past and present.

Wimberley has long been the destination of artists ­ and with very good reason. Located just 45 minutes southwest of Austin, Wimberley is one of the prettiest areas of the Hill Country, with giant cypress trees, oak trees and magnificent scenery waiting to be discovered while horseback riding, canoeing, bird-watching or enjoying a nature tour.

The first Saturday of each month (April to December) is Wimberley Market Days featuring crafts, jewellery, clothing, books and more.

Brownsville is home to the Gladys Porter Zoo, one of North America's finest zoos. Visit with more than 1,500 rare and endangered species of mammals, reptiles and fish in a beautiful natural setting.

Enjoy Charro days, Brownsville's Mardi Gras held annually at the end of February. It's four days of parades, dances and carnivals.

Wherever you find yourself roaming this winter, be adventurous...and discover the beauty of the landscape around you. You've earned your time in the sun ­ make the most of it!

Special thanks for information provided by FLA USA and the Arizona Office of Tourism.