With over NINE HUNDRED courses and warm weather year around, Florida is the obvious and outstanding first choice for a golf vacation -- whether you’re visiting on business or over the holidays. The state of Florida stretches from Pensacola some 835 miles by highway to the southernmost point in the United States, Key West. Even at that, with 900 courses, we’re talking about a golf course every linear mile! With so many choices, you’ll be hard-pressed to see them all. If you should decide to take some time away from the links, there’s plenty to see and do in Florida as well. The state has hundreds of miles of warm beaches and coastline, and more natural and man-made attractions than any band of golfers could possibly shake a stick at!
Major metropolitan areas with international airports include Tampa, Miami and Orlando, while a myriad of commuter flights are available to smaller destinations like Pensacola, Tallahassee, Gainesville, Jacksonville, etc., which are too far from the main hubs to afford convenient transportation. The interstates are wide and span the state rather nicely, while I-4’s fee-based system provides a quick, smooth cross-state option. With so many championship courses in any one location, though, it’s hard to imagine wanting to travel very far.
At the far northeast, just below the Georgia border, are Amelia Island Plantation’s four courses for a total of 72 championship holes. The Silver Medal winner according to Golf Magazine, AIP has bragging rights, with courses designed by Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Tom Jackson and Bobby Weed. They’ve been known to offer up some packages which include unlimited golfing while at the resort. Though Florida has so much to offer, you’ll find yourself planning several golfing vacations to get all of Florida in!
Visitors to the central (Orlando) area can savor pampering at Jack Nicklaus’ very own luxurious signature course and resort. For those with a more modest budget, there are still ample options for golf as well as plentiful accommodations. Hotels are often quite reasonable, and the course selections arguably the very best the U.S. has to offer. Other activities include Disney, of course, and all of the other attractions. Just an hour to the east or a little further to the west and you can enjoy a day or three at the ocean. The Gulf’s waters remain swim-trunk warm nearly year-round, and the Atlantic side is comfortable for swimming about 9 months out of the year. With so many courses on or near the coast, you’ll want to visit the ocean and play them as well!
Miami is a nightlife hotspot, with rich cultural ties and history. As we’re so close to the southern end of the state, going to the Gulf-side becomes more practical as well. Meanwhile, there’s the Everglades National Park to experience, and scuba diving takes on a Caribbean flair beginning a short distance away at Key Largo, the first of the islands in the chain that leads to Key West. While on that trail, you may want to stop off at one of the restaurants in the Keys (another word for islands) and sample the conch soup. From north to south, you’ll find splendid scenery year-round, and extraordinary golfing opportunities. Florida really is the golf vacation destination of the world!
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