Travel Destinations

2018 Destination Guide: Florida

Elnicki Wade

St. Augustine, Fla.

In 1513, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon landed his ship on this part of Florida in search of the fountain of youth. He didn't stay long, but he did lay the groundwork for what would become America's oldest city. For almost 400 years, St. Augustine's 42 miles of white sand beaches would witness wars and storms and population growth. Remnants of this unique history remain in structures such as the Gilded Era luxury hotels built by Henry Flagler and the 165-foot-tall lighthouse erected in 1871 to guard the port. Today this seaside resort town bustles with superb restaurants, boutiques, galleries, museums and performing arts venues. You can fill your days with historic discovery or simply relax along the water enjoying the sun and surf.

Eating: Some of its fine waterfront eateries include Café Alcazar, Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge, Purple Olive, Aviles Restaurant & Lounge and Costa Brava Restaurant.

Docking: Accommodating vessels up to 130 feet, Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor offers courtesy cars for provisioning and sightseeing along with ValvTect fuel and onsite marina services from Camachee Yacht Yard.

Palm Beaches, Fla.

The 47-mile stretch of beach along the Atlantic coast from Jupiter to Boca Raton hosts a string of marvelous oceanfront towns called the Palm Beaches, each with its own magic and charisma. The area, especially Palm Beach, was once frequented by foreign aristocrats, prominent socialites and legendary tycoons. Still a playground for the affluent, visitors enjoy land and water sports, one of the largest polo clubs in the country, coral reef and wreck diving on the world's third-largest barrier reef, and fabulous shopping.

Eating: For a taste of Old Palm Beach, the chic Ta-boo Restaurant lends itself to afternoon cocktails and sophisticated dining, and the high-end bistro Buccan features tantalizing dishes near the famous Breakers Hotel and the new Worth Avenue hot spot, Costa Palm Beach. Other great stops include Palm Beach Grill, Avocado Grill and Pistache French Bistro for lunch.

Docking: Palm Harbor Marina combines comprehensive boater amenities and unmatched location to set the standard for superyacht ports. Palm Harbor Marina offers concrete floating docks for yachts up to 250 feet, fully furnished lounge, fitness center and Epicurean Center stocked with gourmet foods and spirits. Four miles north of the Palm Beach Inlet, Old Port Cove Marina can handle yachts up to 200 feet and offers first-rate amenities including a full-service restaurant, captain's lounge and a fitness facility.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

This gorgeous seaside city has matured to a major manufacturing, maintenance and recreation center for boaters. It's known as the Yachting Capital of the World for having 300+ miles of waterways and for hosting the largest boat show in the world. The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District brings music festivals, cultural events and theater within walking distance to the beach. Palm trees, chic boutiques, lounges and hundreds of top restaurants line its streets, especially Las Olas Boulevard.

Eating: Dine at the newly renovated Boatyard on 17th Street, S3 Restaurant and Casablanca . For an easy-going vibe, visit Coconuts, Nanou French Bakery & Café, Park & Ocean, and Waves Rooftop Pool Bar & Grill.

Docking: Pier Sixty-Six Marina's modern facility along with berths up to 350 feet make for a true superyacht destination. Directly adjacent to the beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Bahia Mar Yachting Center can handle vessels up to 300 feet and offers boaters high-speed fueling and access to some of the city's top attractions. The spectacular Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina accommodates yachts up to 350 feet. On the southeast side of the 17th Street Causeway, The Sails handles vessels up to 500 feet in length, and offers fuel and concierge services.

Miami Beach, Fla.

As a sunny collection of urban districts, seaside villages and unique ethnic neighborhoods, Miami Beach has an international flavor all of its own. The Design District sports more than 130 art galleries, antique dealers and one-of-a-kind shops. The stand-out Wolfsonian-FIU Museum displays 180,000 objects from the 1850s to the 1950s. Miami Beach's stunning architecture is showcased during Art Deco Weekend in January. Often called the American Riviera, South Beach is one of the most photographed and filmed areas in the country. Along with glamorous nightlife and shopping promenades like Lincoln Road, there actually is a spectacular beach. Nearby Collins Avenue is home to the Miami Salsa Congress, a fiveday music and dance event held in July. The food scene in Miami Beach is as diverse as it is delicious.

Eating: Among the myriad of options are Prime 112, an innovative high-end steakhouse with sexy décor and energetic vibe; Lure Fish Bar, with fresh sushi, oysters and butter-poached lobster; Otentic Fresh Food Restaurant, for French fare in an intimate setting; and Taquiza Tacos, a petite Mexican eatery serving handmade tortillas, and Bing Pink, a retro diner with 200 menu items.

Docking:Miami Beach Marina, in the heart of South Beach, offers plenty of deep water slips for vessels up to 250 feet. Sunset Harbour Yacht Club offers 125 slips for yachts up to 150 feet and a full-range of services and access to restaurants and provisioning within walking distance. Just north of Miami, Turnberry Isle Marina accommodates yachts up to 180 feet and offers luxury amenities.

Key Largo, Fla.

Just an hour south of Miami Beach lies Key Largo, the luscious island made famous by the Humphrey Bogart movie. Key Largo is home to scuba diving paradise John Pennekamp State Park, Everglades National Park and the only living coral barrier reef in American waters. Ocean Reef Club, on the north end of the key, is an upscale private club with luxurious lodgings, a dozen restaurants and lounges, water sports, a newly remodeled spa, mini-golf for kids and two championship 18-hole courses for adults. The next three tropical islands Islamorada, Marathon and Big Pine Keys are renowned for deep sea fishing, snorkeling, easy living and cool cocktails at sunset.

Eating: Restaurants recommended by the locals: Alabama Jacks, The Fish House Restaurant & Market, Buzzard's Roost Grill & Pub, Sundowners, Skippers Dockside, The Catch and Gianni Ristorante.

Docking: The refined private Ocean Reef Club exudes the very essence of the Florida Keys with poolside service, boutique shopping and a wide range of events and excursions yachts up to 175 feet are accepted.

Key West, Fla.

Key West is a tropical heaven for water lovers on board all kinds of vessels from kayaks and jet skis to catamarans and superyachts. The footloose and spirited irreverence that characterizes the Keys is amplified in the pastel houses and festive atmosphere that blanket the island. The blended cultural heritage was inspired by Bahamian wreckers, commercial fishermen, spongers and Cuban cigar makers. Many visitors begin the day savoring a café con leche before visiting the Ernest Hemingway House, Truman Little White House, or simply bicycling around. Fishing, swimming, diving and snorkeling in the balmy waters are premium activities. The Hemingway Rum Co., home of Papa's Pilar Rum, recently opened a tasting room with distillery tours located within walking distance of the Key West Bight. From midday until late at night, live music and laughter drifts out of breezy waterfront saloons on Duval Street.

Eating: Seafood and Latin-inspired cuisine abound at Santiago's Bodega and Garbo's Grill. Upscale eateries: Latitude's, Louie's Backyard Restaurant and the Commodore. Kick-back cooking happens at Blue Heaven, Nine One Five and Salute on the Beach. Locals like to hang out at Pepe's Café, Sandy's and El Siboney.

Docking: Conch Harbor Marina can take vessels up to 200 feet and provides ValvTect fuel, an expansive pool, and two onsite dining options. Key West Bight Marina, at the historic seaport, handles yachts up to 140 feet in length with 33 deepwater slips. Stock Island Marina Village welcomes vessels up to 300 feet with state-of-the-art floating docks, shuttle service to downtown Key West, and an on-site boutique hotel with swimming pool. Key West's newest luxury property, Oceans Edge Key West Resort and Marina features panoramic ocean views, six amazing pools and an open-air waterside restaurant and bar and can host vessels up to 125 feet with 25 feet dock depth.


Tournament Players Club Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

As the world headquarters of professional golf, the courses at TPC Sawgrass present an unparalleled sports experience. It boasts two immaculately maintained golf courses, both designed by the renowned Pete Dye. The Players Stadium Course and Dye's Valley Course offer two distinct styles of design and play.

Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, Fla.

One of the most exclusive private clubs in America, this course is a staple on golf enthusiasts' bucket lists. Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, the course is expertly routed over two sand dunes, offering elevation changes not often found in Florida golf. The club is well known as Ben Hogan's favorite spot to warm up for The Masters.

International Polo Club Palm Beach, Wellington, Fla.

Palm Beach is a premier polo destination, hosting the largest field of high-goal teams and the most prestigious U.S. polo tournaments. World-renowned players and polo enthusiasts come to Wellington's Polo Club each winter season to share their love of the sport. Matches are open to the public, with a wide range of accommodations including elegant grandstand viewing, field tailgating, stadium seating and exclusive sponsor boxes (January-April).

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Approaching its 59th consecutive year, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is the largest show in the world, with exhibits ranging from yacht builders and designers to exotic cars and brokerage yachts (October 31 – November 4, 2018).Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami, Fla.The 250-seat planetarium unveils the mysteries of the heavens, while the three-level aquarium explores the region's aquatic ecosystem. Other engaging exhibits investigate issues such as living in outer space without gravity, the story of flight from feathered creatures to rocket ships, and the complexities of vision in robots and humans.

Art Basel Miami, Miami Beach, Fla.

Art Basel stages the world's preeminent modern and contemporary art shows, held annually in three locations: Basel, Hong Kong and Miami Beach. Each show is defined by its host city with events at public museums, private collections, nonprofit spaces and art galleries. The Miami show offers a comprehensive look at the dynamic state of art today (December 6-9, 2018).

Ocean Reef Club Vintage Weekend, Key Largo, Fla.

Honoring classic transportation by land, sea and air, Ocean Reef Club hosts Vintage Weekend, a four-day celebration of antique and classic planes, automobiles and yachts (first weekend in December).

Key West Super Boat Races, Key West, Fla.

Watch some of the fastest powerboats in the world at the Key West World Championship. An international collection of boat owners and manufacturers shows off their finest to an audience of celebrities and fans. Company and private boats will give participants thrilling fun runs through the local waters around Key West (November 4-11, 2018).

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