Tag Archive | "Florida"

The Best of Florida Sportfishing

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On board the "Lo Que Sea" out of Ft Pierce, Florida

On board the “Lo Que Sea” out of Ft Pierce, Florida


Story & photos by Dave Houser

“One fish. Two fish. Redfish. Blue fish…This one has a little star…Say!  What

a lot of fish there are.”  Dr. Seuss


It could be that while penning this imaginative phrase in his best-selling 1960 children’s book – a rhyming book for young learners – Dr. Seuss had Florida in mind.  After all, the Sunshine State is literally swimming with fish — and with millions of anglers who choose to chase their finny prey on Florida’s bountiful rivers, lakes and ocean waters.

A case could be made, in fact, that Florida reigns as the Fishing Capital of America.  According to the latest statistics posted by the American Sportfishing Association, Florida ranked number one among all states with 2.1 million visiting fishermen. The state also topped the list for most resident anglers – 3.1 million – far outdistancing second place Texas with 2.5 million.

The reason is simple.  Florida anglers are blessed with 12,000 miles of fishable steams, rivers and waterways, more than three million acres of lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and 1,350 miles of ocean coastline.  All that water provides habitat for 40 species of freshwater fish and more than 80 saltwater species – so Seuss wasn’t just imagining all those fishes.

The charter vessel Lo Que Sea, captained by Glen Cameron, has intercepted a school of dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) off Ft. Pierce, FL, and all lines are in the water as clients prepare to haul in a catch of the colorful gamefish.  (MR available -- this is Jordan Calpus, of Chaska, MN)

The charter vessel Lo Que Sea, captained by Glen Cameron, has intercepted a school of dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) off Ft. Pierce, FL, and all lines are in the water as clients prepare to haul in a catch of the colorful gamefish. This is Jordan Calpus, of Chaska, MN

Statistics, however, simply don’t speak to the pure joy of escaping the grind, getting out on the water and ultimately feeling the resounding strike of a big bass, tarpon or sailfish.  Which serves to remind us of that popular old saying: “A bad day of fishing is always better than a good day at work.”

Seeking out the best places to fish in my home state of Florida, I began musing over that familiar mantra, asking myself why couldn’t a good day at work also be a good day of fishing? So I’m going to work here to pinpoint some of the Sunshine State’s fishing hot spots.  Problem is, there’s so doggone many of them that it’s hard to decide where to begin.  But let’s start at the top to get things rolling.

Destin is a name familiar in fishing circles the world over.  Located on the Emerald Coast in Florida’s northernmost Panhandle region, this town lives by its nickname as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”  The waterfront here is chockablock with charter boats ready to take you into the Gulf of Mexico for an opportunity to catch game fish from a list that seems unending – blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, swordfish, tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, snapper and grouper to name the most popular.

Unless you happen to own a boat capable of offshore cruising, equipped with the gear needed for big game fishing – not to mention the knowledge necessary to find the fish – you’ll be destined (no pun intended) to book a charter.  A reputable source for such arrangements is VIP Fishing Charters (888-965-7410, www.vipfishingcharters.com).  This Fort Lauderdale-based marketing/brokerage firm arranges charters state-wide and handles bookings for a pair of Destin’s most outstanding sportfishing vessels, the 57-foot, 11-passenger Back Down II and S/F Relentless, a 65-foot beauty that also accommodates up to 11 anglers. Before you balk at the cost of such an undertaking – which ranges for the aforementioned craft from $800 for a half day to about $1,600 for a full day charter — there are a number of things you should consider.

Assemble a group, including family members or friends who might like to go along simply for the fun of it, and the cost per person drops accordingly – probably to no more than one would spend for a day of golf or an outing at Disney World.  Consider too the ease and convenience of having everything taken care of for you – licenses, bait, tackle and equipment – plus the benefit of having a skilled and experienced captain who knows where to find those denizens of the deep.  You’ll also come to appreciate the hard working crew who keep you baited up, gaff and land your catch and later filet and pack your fish on ice.  Add all this up and you’ll see the value inherent in booking a charter.

Let’s head down south now to the Florida Keys, that 125-mile-long string of 800 sparkling islets extending from the mainland to Key West. Many piscatorial pundits will argue that the Keys offer Florida’s, in not the world’s, finest fishing.

The waters of the Atlantic and Gulf converge here in a warm swirl attracting huge numbers of game fish including marlin, sailfish, tuna, swordfish, kingfish, mahi-mahi, grouper and a variety of sharks for those who choose to target the toothy creatures.

These dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) are among more than a half-dozen of the highly prized and good-eating gamefish hooked during an offshore charter onboard Lo Que Sea out of Ft. Pierce Marina, FL.

These dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) are among more than a half-dozen of the highly prized and good-eating gamefish hooked during an offshore charter onboard Lo Que Sea out of Ft. Pierce Marina, FL.


Key West is homeport to a couple of excellent sportfishing vessels that also can be booked through VIP Fishing Charters.  Absolute is a nimble 40-footer that welcomes up to six people and goes out fully equipped at $650 for a half day charter and $950 for the full day.  Then there’s the Garlington, an ultra-luxurious 61-foot fishing yacht decked out in leather, teak and granite that commands considerably more dollars.  Let’s put it this way: if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.

On another note, the Keys offer some of the best inshore fishing anywhere in the country, thanks to its myriad islets surrounded by shallow water flats dotted with stands of mangrove that provide ideal cover for bonefish, tarpon, permit and snook.

I can tell you from personal experience that this is one of the most exciting and demanding kinds of fishing you’ll ever undertake.  Standing barefoot on the bow of a miniscule 16-18-foot skiff and fly-casting for tarpon that you can see in the gin-clear water no more than 40-feet away is challenging enough but when you hook one of these big – and I mean BIG monsters (state record is 243 pounds) — you hit the water and hang on for a long hard fight that will leave you arm-weary and exhausted.  I guarantee you it’s a thrill of a lifetime.  If you’ve a mind to try it ask VIP to put you in touch with flats fishing expert Yancy Perkins, a guide they describe simply as “awesome.”

A couple of guides I know tell me that Charlotte Harbor and the Boca Grande Pass, over on the Gulf side near Ft. Myers, is another great place for inshore angling.  It’s often billed, in fact, as the “Tarpon Capital of the World.”  A reputable local guide is Roger Crafton (941-270-1528, www.bocafish@ewol.com).

Florida’s wave swept 450-mile-long Atlantic coastline is rife with great angling possibilities.  Due to space limitations, however, I just can’t elaborate on them.  So once again I suggest you go to VIP’s info-packed website to review your choices.  VIP books charters out of a half dozen marinas from St. Augustine down to Miami.

The charter vessel Lo Que Sea, captained by Glen Cameron, has intercepted a school of dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) off Ft. Pierce, FL, and all lines are in the water as clients prepare to haul in a catch of the colorful gamefish.

The charter vessel Lo Que Sea, captained by Glen Cameron, has intercepted a school of dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) off Ft. Pierce, FL, and all lines are in the water as clients prepare to haul in a catch of the colorful gamefish.

I can share one Atlantic offshore experience of my own, going back to last March when I was invited to join a group from Minnesota onboard the sportfisher, Lo Que Sea.  We were under the command of Captain Glen Cameron, a decorated skipper with a long list of pro tournament wins, for an offshore foray out of Ft. Pierce Marina.  Roiling seas made the 16-mile trip out to the fertile fringe of the Gulf Stream somewhat uncomfortable (Bonine to the rescue!) but thanks to Cameron’s skillful read of the water, and some help from circling seabirds, we managed to tie into several schools of mahi-mahi and extricated eight 20-25 pounders of the species, sometimes referred to as dolphin fish.

Cameron owns a share of Lo Que Sea but normally captains his pride and joy, Flo Rider (772-332-1155, www.fishingftpierce.com), an immaculate 43-foot Torres, custom-built for offshore duty, which was undergoing maintenance on the day of my charter.  Flo Rider commands a rate of $1,250 a day for up to 6 passengers.

For all the excitement surrounding saltwater angling, I’ve always favored freshwater fishing — for bass in particular – and have found no better place than Florida to kindle my passion. So in saving the best for last, I’ll take you to a pair of my favorite locations  — both legendary landmarks in the annals of bass fishing – Lake Okeechobee and the St. Johns River.

Notable not only for its size (731 square miles) as the largest U.S. lake located enitrely in one state, Florida's Lake Okeechobee is also widely regarded as the nation's premier bass fishing lake. Shallow flats fringed with Kisseemee grass,  as seen in this photo made near Clewiston, are the favored fishing grounds of anglers in the know as they provide cover for the lake's lunker large-mouth bass.

Notable not only for its size (731 square miles) as the largest U.S. lake located enitrely in one state, Florida’s Lake Okeechobee is also widely regarded as the nation’s premier bass fishing lake. Shallow flats fringed with Kisseemee grass, as seen in this photo made near Clewiston, are the favored fishing grounds of anglers in the know as they provide cover for the lake’s lunker large-mouth bass.


Measuring 731 square miles, “Big O” is the nation’s largest lake contained within the boundaries of a single state and is second only to Lake Michigan overall.  More to the point, it is one big bass factory.  Searching for a guide, I contacted Todd Kersey at Bass Online (888-629-2277, www.bassonline.com), an organization like VIP that markets and coordinates fishing trips through a hand picked network of the state’s best bass guides.  Kersey put me in touch with veteran guide and tournament pro Capt. Mark Shepard in Clewiston on the lake’s southern shore.

I met Shepard at Jolly Roger Marina at zero-dark-30 on an April morn in the company of my ladyfiend Melinda Renner, visiting from her home in New Brunswick, Canada.  Melinda’s a lawyer and not at all into fishing but she seemed eager to give it a try. We dumped a couple of dozen wriggling shiners  — the live bait of choice here on the Big O – into the live well on Capt. Mark’s 20-foot Ranger bass boat and motored out onto the lake – just as the sun was peeking up over the water.  We’d hardly had time to marvel in the beauty of it when Mark eased the boat to a halt next to a stand of Kissimmee grass, a spot he described as his favorite “honey hole.”

Thus the stage was set for an action-packed fishing spree.  In little more than two hours we’d netted and released 20 largemouth bass, most in the 3-5 pound range (on 24 shiners!).  Under Shepard’s patient tutelage, Melinda soon joined the fray, landing well more than her share of fish.  Shepard says he’s found that women often make better anglers than do men.  “They’re more patient,” he notes, “and they listen better.”  It must be said, however, that it was yours truly who netted the big one – a 7½-pound largemouth – a lunker weighing in just shy of an 8-pounder that recently won a Big O pro tournament for Shepard.

Highland Park Fish Camp

Highland Park Fish Camp

It was a great day of fishing that veritably repeated itself a few days later on the hidden backwaters of the St. Johns River near Deland.  Nestled on 30 cypress forested acres next to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge and connected to the St. Johns River system by a canal, Highland Park Fish Camp (800-525-3477, www.hpfishcamp.com) stands at the heart of a backwoods fantasyland — hardly more than a stone’s throw from Orlando with its gaudy aggregation of theme parks.

A rustic reminder of “old Florida,” the camp has been owned and operated by the Rawlins family for 51 years, and it takes due pride in its reputation as the foundation of fresh water fishing in Central Florida.

Melinda and I had the good fortune to join elder statesman and lead guide, Capt. Ron Rawlins, to test our developing skills against the St. Johns’ wily bass.  Crappie, bluegill and other panfish are plentiful here as they are at Okeechobee, but it is the largemouth that remains the favorite of most sportfishers.  HP’s rates – half day at $275 and full day for $375 – are right in line with those of Mark Shepard at Okeechobee and most other Florida freshwater guides.

The backwaters of the St. Johns River bordering Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Reserve are some of the most productive fishing waters in Florida and consistently produce bumper catches of largemouth bass, crappie and panfish. The region is located near Deland, FL.

The backwaters of the St. Johns River bordering Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Reserve are some of the most productive fishing waters in Florida and consistently produce bumper catches of largemouth bass, crappie and panfish. The region is located near Deland, FL.

Weaving our way along a network of backwater byways, gliding through a misty mélange of primeval forest, marsh and swamp, we were so hyped by the scenery and countless sightings of birds – heron, egret, spoonbill, osprey – and ‘gators by the dozen, that fishing almost seemed a sideshow to this parade of nature.

We soon focused on our quarry, however, anchoring about 10 yards off a mat of lily pads fringing the river’s bank, where Ron gave us the lowdown on casting our baitfish (wild shiners again) right up next to the pads.  He added just a bit of weight to the leader so as to prompt the shiner to swim in under the pads – and into the waiting grasp of hungry bass.

Melinda Renner, of Charlo, New Brunswick, lands a largemouth bass on the St. Johns River near Deland, FL

Melinda Renner, of Charlo, New Brunswick, lands a largemouth bass on the St. Johns River near Deland, FL

It worked for me as I netted several nice 2-5 pound fish in quick succession.  Melinda soon latched onto the technique too, earning top fish of the day honors with a fat 6-pounder.  It wasn’t long before we’d filled a rather large cooler — with the notion of hanging onto these fish as we’d soon be heading home – where a nice mess of fillets would serve as a succulent reminder of our memorable morning on the St. Johns.  A lasting reminder as well that Florida rules the nation as First in Fishing.


Attachment-1[1]   During his 33-year freelance career, Dave Houser has established himself as one of America’s most widely published travel journalists. More than a thousand of his articles and tens of thousands of his photos have appeared in leading magazines, newspapers and online publications worldwide. He has received nearly 40 awards for his work, including three Lowell Thomas Awards He  currently devotes most of his attention to offbeat/adventure, RV and auto travel, cruising, fishing, travel health, environmental issues and senior lifestyles. He’s journeyed to 167 countries and all 50 states — but says there’s plenty left on his bucket list of places ripe for discovery.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Adventures in the Florida Keys

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Snorkeling in Key Largo

Snorkeling in Key Largo

Escaping the snow of the northeast, I’m hiding out in the Florida Keys this week. My first stop is always Captain Slate’s Atlantis Dive Center just over the bridge in Key Largo. In operation since 1978, Slate is the premier snorkel and dive operator in the region. In 2004, he received the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Award for his early work on diver and boater safety. Slate took a group of eight of us 7 miles out to sea to Grecian Rocks, a coral reef located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Surrounded by aquamarine waters, the vibrant reef is easily one of the premiere snorkeling spots in America. Before we snorkeled, Slate took advantage of his glass bottom boat to show us the Christ of the Abyss statue, a 9-foot tall bronze statue attached to a concrete base and placed in 25 feet of water back in 1965. Then we were off the boat watching a stingray swim gracefully above the sand. Purple fan coral way swaying with the current attracting barracudas, while I spotted a very cool midnight parrotfish with her neon blue lips poking at the brain coral. Visibility was outstanding and all was bliss for the next hour.


steve1  Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Smart Deals: The Alfond Inn

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The Alfond Inn, Winter Park, Florida

The Alfond Inn, Winter Park, Florida

What’s the Deal:  The Alfond Inn, a new boutique hotel in Winter Park, Florida, opened its doors for guests on August 18. Winter Park, which was Florida’s first planned community when it was built in the late 19th century, is located about 30 minutes north of Orlando. It’s known for its lakes, Spanish-Mediterranean style architecture, and brick streets edged with with live oaks and Spanish moss. It’s home to the Morse Museum, which has arguably the finest collection of Tiffany artworks in the world, as well as the esteemed liberal arts institution, Rollins College.

Backstory: The Alfond Inn’s unusual philanthropic and sustainable business model sets it apart.  Owned by Rollins College, a private coeducational liberal arts college in Winter Park, The Alfond Inn was built with a $12.5-million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Net operating income from the Inn will endow The Alfond Scholars program.  Income will be directed to the fund over the next 25 years or until the endowment principal reaches $50 million, whichever comes later.

Details: The Alfond Inn is a Preferred Boutique Hotel with 112-guest rooms, equipped with complimentary High Speed Wireless Internet Access, iPod docking stations and flat screen televisions. The Inn’s restaurant, Hamilton’s Kitchen, is overseen by Chef J. Christopher Windus, who came from Todd English’s bluezoo. The Alfond Inn is also pet friendly, welcoming dogs in designated pet-friendly rooms and suites. Pets can expect water bowls, a doggy gift basket and signature treats at turndown.

Fine print: Introductory “Welcome Rates” start at $99 per night, based on double occupancy, and are good through September 30, 2013.

Booking: The Alfond Inn

Dali Museum

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Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida


By Eleanor Berman

There are a handful of museums around the world whose buildings are as creative as the works inside.  Add to the list the new Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Architect Yann Weymouth won an international competition to design a building worthy of the surrealist master, and the result is a show-stopper, a dramatic, light-filled showcase for the largest collection of Dalí’s work outside of Spain.

Photos may show the most prominent features of the new Dali, swirling, gridded glass forms on the top and sides, but it is only inside that you can appreciate the full genius of the design. Inspired by the geodesic domes of Buckminster Fuller, who designed the artist’s own museum in Spain,  the undulating windows, are made of more than 900 triangular-shaped glass panes, no two alike, infusing the interior with light and offering a uniquely surreal view of St. Petersburg’s waterfront.

The entry through a dim grotto-like space makes it even more striking to emerge into a light- flooded three-story atrium where a central staircase spirals upward. The stairs invite to the galleries, which are located on the third floor, safely above hurricane flood level.


Helilical Staircase, Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Flordia


The $36 million structure, the first designed explicitly for this collection, doubles the space of the original museum. It holds some 2140 pieces, including 96 oil paintings, eight of them master works measuring over five feet. One side of the third floor is devoted to Dali’s paintings, placed in a series of intimate spaces that allow for contemplation. Each of the big master paintings has a gallery to itself.  The paintings trace the changes in Dali’s style over the years and include his famous melting watches. Galleries on the opposite side feature changing exhibits, as well as some of Dali’s surreal films and objects such as his iconic lobster telephone.

The museum’s “Avant-Garden” outside is also a playful wonder, with boulder outcroppings, eerie tropical plantings, a “golden rectangle” with multi-color paving and a labyrinth.

The museum is the latest jewel in a city enjoying a spirited revival after decades as a sleepy retirement refuge. The new Dali anchors one end of the expansive waterfront along Tampa Bay, a picturesque landscaped promenade filled with strollers and joggers from daybreak to moonrise. At the other end stands the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, a 1925 landmark whose $93 restoration was the start of the revival that continues throughout the city. Stay here if you can, and ask for a waterfront view.

More changes can be seen all along the waterfront. The Museum of Fine Arts, a fixture here since 1965, expanded in 2008 with an exciting modern wing, also designed by Yann Weymouth.  Across the street from the promenade, Beach Drive has grown into a restaurant row with lively sidewalk cafes and cuisines of all kinds. Adding crowds to the scene is the Chihuly Collection, one of the few permanent exhibits of the work of the popular Northwest glass artist Dale Chihuly, which opened in July, 2010.

To be convinced that St. Pete has morphed into a young town, check out the lines waiting to get into rock concerts at the State Theatre on Central or Janus Live on Second Street and look at the many listings for live music in local papers like  Creative Loafing, the area’s alternative weekly.

From Dali to downtown, this is definitely not your grandpa’s St. Pete.

For more info, visit the Dali Museum


Eleanor Berman, a New York freelance writer and award-winning author of a dozen travel guides, has covered 82 countries and all 7 continents. She has written for many national publications, including Travel & Leisure, Ladies’ Home Journal, Diversion, Robb Report, Boston Globe, Atlanta Constitution, Denver Post, Miami Herald, and the New York Daily News. Among her guide book awards are a Lowell Thomas award for Traveling Solo, Thomas Cook Book of the Year for Eyewitness Guide to New York, and Independent Publishers IPPY award, best guide of the year, for New York Neighborhoods.







Tampa: Republicans (and Democrats!) Are Welcome

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By Eleanor Berman

Whatever your politics, when the Republicans picked Tampa for their 2012 convention, it was an alert to a city that’s worth discovering. Read the full story

Swinging in St. Pete

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Gulfport Casino Ballroom

By David McKay Wilson

At the Gulfport Casino Ballroom, where big bands drew huge crowds to Florida’s west coast in the 1930s and 40s, swing is still king.

I discovered the thriving dance scene in the Tampa Bay area in late October during a weeklong trip to St. Petersburg, where by day, we discussed the future of digital journalism at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Come nightfall, I joined the Tampa Bay swing-dance community, a friendly group of dancers from 18 to 80 that includes college students from the region’s colleges, unemployed construction workers, medical professionals, a few retirees, and a handful of tourists, looking for some fun. Quite welcoming to out-of-town visitors, the dancers move to an eclectic blend of blues and big-band tunes that provides a steady beat for those who love to Lindy Hop or do the sultry dance they call West Coast Swing.

Dancing at Zendah Grotto.

On Sundays, the crowd descends on the Zendah Grotto, a Masonic Hall tucked away on Ohio Avenue, just off Air Cargo Road by Tampa International Airport. Tuesdays you’ll walk along the cobblestone streets of Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood to dance at the historic Don Vicente Inn. Come Wednesday, it’s the Gulfport Casino Ballroom,

I showed up for this year’s Halloween dance as a journalist in a T-shirt that proclaimed, “Trust me. I’m a reporter.”  In one corner, a fearsome Dracula danced with the leather-clad Catwoman while a deranged Mad Hatter eyed an angel with wings and a halo suspended over her shoulder-length blonde locks. Dance partners I’d met in Tampa welcomed me to Gulfport like an old friend. I’d found home for a week.

I had a rental car, so driving to these dance halls from downtown St. Pete was a breeze – a half-hour to Tampa and 15-minutes to Gulfport. The car helped me explore the local beaches as well.

The Gulf of Mexico was crystal clear one evening when we drove out to St. Pete Beach to watch the sunset, and take a dip. We parked at the Don Cesar, the landmark pink palace that greets you as you arrive over the causeway. After a day listening about the digital transformation of American media, the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico were a welcome respite as I swam along the shore.

After drying off, I joined a dozen colleagues for dinner at the Don Cesar’s Sea Porch Café for a grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich, plantain chips and zesty pineapple guacamole, and a savory Asian pear tart for dessert.

The next morning, I was off to Fort DeSoto Park, that spit of preserved land off the Pinnelas Bayway, where cyclists were getting in their miles before the sun rose, and the predawn light streaked the early morning sky as the sun rose over the Skyway Bridge. Sandpipers scurried along the sand, a great blue heron dipped his beak into the warm waters, looking for breakfast, and light streaked across the morning sky, announcing another hot, humid day in Florida.

The new Salvador Dali Museum

St. Petersburg tourism officials are looking forward to January 11, when the new Salvador Dali Museum will open on the city’s waterfront. The new museum, with its wraparound glass and internal spiral staircase, will provide exciting architectural complements to Dali’s surrealist works, which have attracted hundreds of thousands of art lovers to the Dali Museum on Third Street since opening in 1982.

In late October, however, eyes were focused on weather reports from the Midwest, then getting hammered by an autumn snowstorm. The mighty Tampa Bay tourist industry was gearing up for the winter season, and working to dispel fears that petroleum from the BP oil spill had washed up on the shores of Florida’s west coast.

“This blizzard could be good,” said Tom Prados, a bartender at Cervice, the popular tapas restaurant on Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete. “Maybe this will start off our season a little earlier.”

For more information:

Gulfport Casino Ballroom

Tampa swing dances

Salvador Dali Museum

David McKay Wilson has written on travel over the past 30 years as a freelance journalist, with his travel stories appearing in The Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Hartford Courant, New Haven Advocate, and Gannett News Service. An avid cyclist and skier, Wilson enjoys vacationing in the mountains and by the sea. His articles on public affairs have appeared regularly in The New York Times. He’s currently the nation’s top freelance writer for university alumni magazines, with his work appearing in publications at 81 colleges and universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown and the University of Chicago.

Contest: Win a 2 Night Golf Getaway to Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Florida

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Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club

Our two-night “Golf Getaway for Two” at Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Aventura, Florida has just ended. This prize is for a two-night stay in a Fairmont Golf  View room included a round of golf for two and a group golf clinic at Fairmont Turnberry Isle in Aventura, Florida.

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica

But the good news is that our latest contest is a three-night “Getaway for Two” at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This prize is for a three-night stay at the luxury all-inclusive Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa. So enter daily for a chance to win!

Smart Deals: Trump International Beach Resort, Florida

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THE DEAL: A special 15% off discount on a stay at the Trump International Beach Resort through the end of January 2011 for readers of Everett Potter’s Travel Report.

WHAT’S THE DEAL: Located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale in the enclave of Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, Trump International Beach Resort is a lavish oceanfront oasis on 10 acres, complete with its own private and pristine beach and delightful grotto-style pool complex. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the Trump International offers 390 oversized guest rooms and suites, each with a private balcony and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean or Intracoastal Waterway. There are two restaurants, three lounges, tennis courts and business center, along with the Aquanox Spa.

DETAILS:  To get your 15% discount, click here. Remember, you must click on “Corporate Rates” and use the rate code “Potter”.

Win a Free 4 Night Vacation in the Florida Keys — a $1,600 Travel Contest Prize — at Hawk’s Cay and Hyatt Key West

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Hawk's Cay Resort.

Our latest travel contest has just ended and one lucky winner has won a 4-night stay in the Florida Keys at Hawks Cay Resort and the Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa.

But the good news is that our next contest — for a getaway at Mohonk Mountain House — begins on July 7, 2010. So come back and enter daily for a chance to win.


Hyatt Key West

Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels

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Biking the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop

Co-founders of the non-profit
Bike Florida, Linda Crider and Herb Hiller have
spent the past 30 years leading the Florida biking movement. This past October,
they launched their first long-distance bike tour, a 260-mile weeklong jaunt
that starts and ends in Palatka on the St. John’s River. You’ll cruise on backroads to
America’s oldest city,
Saint Augustine, the Merritt
Island and Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuges, state parks, and
along the Atlantic Ocean, with numerous beaches
to stop and rest. All tours are fully supported with luggage-carrying vehicles,
on-road guides, maps, overnights in B&Bs, breakfasts, dinners, and
naturalist-led programs. Hiller is a longtime travel writer who specializes in
Florida, so
few know this state better than him. Cost is $1,250 per person and the tours are
available fall, winter, and spring. Bike Florida.

Click here for more Active Travels