The Gulf Coast of America

The Gulf Coast is the stretch of Florida which faces the Gulf of Mexico. This stretch of coastline attracts visitors due to its 800 miles of beautiful beaches, its fantastic all year climate and also because all of its resorts have a character of their own. However, the main attraction is its amazing wide white sand beaches that gently shelve to the safe calm warm waters, making the area very popular with families on their package holidays to America. The beaches along this coastline are varied with something for everyone, especially relaxing in the sun and family fun. The Gulf Coast resorts make excellent bases for visiting the Disney World and Universal Theme Parks, the Busch Gardens African Theme Park in Tampa, the Everglades National Park, the Big Cypress Swamp and Weeki Wachee Springs which has an underwater theatre. There is plenty of accommodation to choose from, ranging from family-friendly hotels to luxury penthouses to friendly historic homely inns. Eating out isn't a problem as the area offers a wide and varied choice of eateries to suit all budgets.

The Gulf Coast is home to some of Florida's most characterful resorts. Clearwater is very popular with couples and families as it offers a relaxed family-friendly atmosphere. The famous beach resort of Sarasota is a more upmarket cultural resort which offers interesting museums, art galleries, antique shops, theatres and top class concerts. On the other hand there is St Petes Beach which offers visitors a relaxed island atmosphere or the romantic Marco Island which has all the charm of a small Florida island and appeals to sports enthusiasts and big game fishermen. The cosmopolitan city of Naples is home to some amazing architecture, mixed together with lots of Florida charm.

Choose from the many and varied beaches like the family-friendly Clearwater, the secluded un-spoilt Caladesi Island or the exclusive white sandy beaches of Naples in South Florida. The crystal clear warm waters are perfect for swimming and water sports including scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing, jet-skiing, parasailing and sailing. Children will love collecting shells on the beaches, especially at Sanibel Island. The whole family will love exploring the coastline by boat with lots of different trips on offer. Choose from hiring your own motor boat or taking a dolphin watching tour, deep-sea fishing trip or just relaxing on a sunset or catamaran cruise, the choice is yours! Fishing trips are very popular here with casual family trips and laid-back fishing in the inland waterways to the more serious sport and deep-sea fishing expeditions where you can catch barracuda, snapper, grouper, tarpon and mahi-mahi.

Away from the beach there is plenty to see and do. Florida's Gulf Coast has more than 100 golf courses. Mix together the great all year round weather with the lush green tropical scenery and inexpensive green fees and you have perfect conditions for golfers of all handicaps. For culture vultures there is the opera and ballet at the Performing Arts Centre and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, the Salvador Dali Museum in St Pete, the Gulf Coast Railroad Museum in Parrish and for some Cuban culture there is Ybor City in Tampa. The area has various manatee parks and there are lots of nature reserves, wetlands and conservation areas along the coast which are home to rivers and lakes and are inhabited by alligators, turtles, armadillos, pelicans, osprey and ibis. Most people who visit the USA will want to do a bit of shopping! Visitors can grab a bargain at the local outlet malls such as Ellenton and Tanger Factory Stores in Fort Myers where you can pick-up some great designer brands at bargain prices.

Winter is one of the most popular times to visit the Gulf Coast as the humidity is at its lowest, there is very little rainfall and temperatures average 17-20C with around 9 hours of sunshine a day. Spring and autumn are also a good time to visit with temperatures averaging 21-25C with plenty of sunshine; however the evenings are much cooler. The easterly winds along the coast create ideal conditions for water sports with sea temperatures reaching 16-20C in St Petersburg during the winter and 18-21C in Naples.

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