Florida's sandy beaches, stellar attractions, historic spaceport, ancient city, everglades, and coral keys are just waiting to be discovered. Northwest Florida?from Pensacola to the Suwannee River?teems with wildlife, historic sites, and summer resorts. Its famed stretch of stark white beaches called the Emerald Coast can be reached via US 98 between Pensacola and Panama City. Also within this region is the state's capital, Tallahassee, and the tiny fishing villages of Cedar Key, Appalachicola, and Carrabelle.
East of the Suwannee River are the breezy seaports, country inns, and historic districts of northeast Florida. Here, visitors discover the birthplace of Florida's shrimping industry and the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine. Sightseeing is enjoyed via the Buccaneer Trail, a tolled segment of FL A1A between Fernandina Beach and St. Augustine. Houseboating, sailing, and fishing are popular on the St. Johns River.
Farther south on FL A1A is Florida's central-east region, encompassing Daytona's world-famous beach and speedway, the Kennedy Space Center, fertile fishing grounds, and several beachside state parks. The Indian River is the site for a zany annual raft race, and it is a fine spot for houseboating and other water sports.
Inland, central Florida presents worlds of entertainment: circus clowns, water ski shows, performing killer whales, and massive theme parks. But this region is also home to Thoroughbred horse farms and rolling hills ribbed by groves of citrus. Tours of citrus-processing plants and horse farm country are offered.
The state's central west coast is a region of contrasts, from its posh hotels to some of the best tarpon fishing in the state. Visitors enjoy the docile manatee at Crystal River Springs and the boat cruises of Tampa Bay, as well as Sarasota's Ringling Museum and Gulf Coast beachcombing.
Last stop on a Florida discovery tour is the state's southwest coast, a myriad of natural beauty with 10,000 islands surrounded by gulf beaches. Featured here are Sanibel and Captiva islands, the Thomas Edison winter home, and the Everglades National Park.