Florida Keys Vacation & Destination Information
Teeming with activities for visitors of all ages and interests, the islands of the Florida Keys make for a classic Florida vacation and include famous destinations such as Key Largo, Islamorada and, of course, Key West. Your time in the Florida Keys can be as action-packed or as relaxed as you desire. Adventure-seekers can test their skills on a fishing charter. Get up close and personal with tropical fish on a snorkel trip, or dive to explore a famous Florida Keys ship wreck. Visit local art galleries and museums. Shop for unique gifts. Feast on fresh seafood at fine Florida Keys restaurants. Hang with the locals or just hang on a hammock. Simply unwind and let go with the outgoing tide. You will be, after all, on island time.
Miami is the essence of all that’s fashionable – the incomparable shopping, the glittering nightlife and the endless golden beaches. It’s family friendly too, with the Seaquarium and Parrot Island Jungle thrilling kids of all ages. Lodging choices abound – from the luxurious to the intimate – on Miami Beach, South Beach and more. And with the shimmering lights of the nightlife as your guide, you’ll find an endless variety of mouth-watering restaurants, vibrant discos, and trendy nightclubs.
It’s hard to believe that a destination so remote, so exotic and so magnificent could be part of the United States. But Hawaii is all of that, and so much more. When you picture a perfect paradise in your imagination, chances are it looks a lot like Hawaii. Its waters so blue, they seem other-worldly. Its beaches pristine, you feel as if you could be the first human who ever stepped foot onto the smooth glimmering sand. Its forests so lush, they shine like newly cut emerald. Its sunsets so brilliant, the sky seems ablaze with fire. Its volcanoes so imposing, you can only stand back and stare in awe at the wonders nature.
People who have traveled to Hawaii save a piece of it in their hearts. Honeymooners cherish the golden days of unbridled romance. Families treasure the days of welcoming bliss under a shining sun. Adventurers thrill at the thought of catching the perfect wave. With extraordinary natural beauty, fascinating culture, rich history and endless activities, Hawaii can be all things to all people – or something unforgettable just for you.
Hawaii’s Big Island
Aloha Hawaii Big IslandKona, Hawaii’s Big Island, has a variety of geography that makes for an unforgettable holiday. Thrill at the island’s volcanoes, where you’ll experience nature’s might first-hand with active craters and the unearthly glow of molten lava flows. Hike up the trails of Mauna Kea, where improbable snowcaps tower over a sultry tropical paradise.
The beaches of this magnificent island run the range from white to black – and are all bounded by beautiful emerald seas that offer a full variety of watersports. Visiting Kona requires bringing a sense of play and an active imagination – whether diving into the deep blue sea, dancing a festive hula or feasting on a traditional luau.
Tranquil and steeped in a sense of quiet majesty, the luxuriant island of Kauai is a portrait of lush vegetation, dazzling surf and inviting alabaster beaches. Small and secluded coves dot the shoreline, where the incandescent waters reflect the rays of yet another brilliant sunset.
Also known as the Garden Isle, Kauai is infused with an abundance of natural wonders that thrive in the tropical air. And with the absence of hustle and bustle, you can relax in perfect tranquility where the only footprints you see may be your own.
For breathtaking vistas, explore dramatic Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Cruise along the Na Pali coast, where greenness dominates as far as the eye can see. And relax by the peaceful waters of Hanalei Bay, where serenity is as common as the grains of velvety sand.
One of the smaller islands in the Hawaiian chain, Lanai is like a perfect pearl set amidst the sapphire blue seas of the Pacific Ocean. Fostered in an exclusive culture of quiet elegance and romantic seclusion, this magnificent island lets you feel as far away from civilization as you can get. Stroll along the silky-smooth sand on deserted beaches, float lazily through azure waters and behold sunsets that set the standard for all others. For those with the need to do more, you can play on championship golf courses, witness humpback whales and spinner dolphins frolic in the surf, and hike along trails that take you past ancient petroglyphs thousands of years old. Lanai is one of the most remote spots on earth. And therein lies its greatest charm.
Maui The Magic Isles HawaiiIt’s hard to describe Maui as anything short of the stuff that dreams are made of. This tropical treasure is one of the most sought after vacation destinations in the world – and rightly so. Its emerald green lushness beckons discerning travelers with a sensual island draw. In Maui, romantics fall in love, adventurers become energized and all visitors leave with a sense of having experienced perfection. The magnificent volcano, Mt. Haleakala, dominates the island from over 10,000 feet. Its lush slopes are home to some of the rarest wildlife and exotic birds on the planet. But it’s the island’s rewarding balance of seclusion and sophistication that steal your heart. The crystal clear waters have their allure as well, with surfers and watersport enthusiasts coming from all across the globe. Maui’s culture also delivers great delights, with museums, galleries, delectable dining and rich history. Be sure to visit Lahaina, a quaint 19th century whaling village that illuminates one of the most inspiring periods in the island’s history.
Although many adventurers choose Oahu for the luminous beaches and shimmering waters, there’s a wide array of attractions on this island wonder. Brushed by sultry breezes and infused with the scent of exotic flowers, this lush hideaway will kindle the romantic passions within you. Hike to the crest of the world-famous Diamond Head to watch a blazing sunset over Waikiki Beach. There are endless rainforests and mountains to explore. Catch glimpses of cascading waterfalls, rare birds and the explosive colors of wild orchids. Surfers come from around the world to catch the swells at Waimea Bay, the gentle break at Sunset Beach and the spine-tingling Bonzai Pipeline. Other water diversions thrill as well, including jet skiing, sailing and kayaking. Honolulu is a bustling city, overflowing with incredible shopping, unequaled dining and energetic nightlife. And no trip to Oahu is complete without a visit to the stirring museum honoring those who died at Pearl Harbor.
For couples who want a Caribbean experience, Puerto Rico, America’s Caribbean territory, has the teal waters and relaxed culture of the Caribbean without the customs line. Extravagant resorts are scattered across the island, but Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve is a favorite among honeymooners. The remote jungle experience is just the beginning. Many rooms are beach or oceanfront and come with private plunge pools—and the rooms and resort are meant to be integrated into their environment. You can also look forward to appreciating nature in a whole new way. This secluded paradise comes with all the fixings: Great food, elaborate pools and an excessive amount of care for each guest. For those who want to splurge, ask for “Su Casa,” the property’s private, oceanfront estate. It even comes with a maid’s quarters.
Puerto Rico is the perfect blend of colonial Spanish culture, natural beauty and contemporary lifestyles.Visit historic Old San Juan and awe-inspiring rainforests. Explore sleepy villages and coffee plantations. Revel in the European sophistication of a modern metropolis. Take a swing at world-class golf, played amidst lush greenery. Explore endless stretches of pristine white beaches where you can snorkel, sail, fish and surf. Puerto Rico. Explore Beyond the Shore.
Located in the Eastern Caribbean, just 1,100 miles southeast of Miami, the U.S. Virgin Islands are surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Caribbean with an average temperature ranging from 77F in the winter to 83F in the summer. Each of our three major islands–St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John–possesses a unique character of its own.
St. Croix is the largest of the Virgin Islands and retains an unhurried island atmosphere. Explore the many beaches, old Danish towns or take an excursion to a national park. The average annual temperature range is 75°-84°F.
St. Croix is the largest of the United States Virgin Islands – 28 miles long and seven miles at its widest point. The island lies entirely in the Caribbean Sea, with all the beauty and warmth of a tropical destination. However, it is this island’s distinct history and cultural heritage that set it apart from other Caribbean islands. St. Croix is rich in diverse history that remains alive in the architecture, national parks, historic landmarks, botanical attractions, food, music and traditions that are an integral part of island life.
Following are just a few of the island’s highlights and attractions:
Christopher Columbus’ Discovery
Explorer Christopher Columbus found the U.S. Virgin Islands during his second voyage to America in 1493, first landing on the northern shore of St. Croix, which he named Santa Cruz (Holy Cross).
St. Croix Heritage Trail
The unique influences of Danish, French, Spanish, West Indian, African and other cultures on the architecture and history of the island are evident during this self-guided driving tour. Visitors can follow the Heritage Trail map and visit 200 historic and cultural sights on St. Croix.
Estate Whim Plantation Museum
This beautifully restored, 18th-century plantation greathouse is a museum of Danish island history that also includes a sugar mill and gift shop. The museum features an immaculate collection of sturdy mahogany furniture and hand-carved mahogany artwork in traditional style that reflects the talent of St. Croix master craftsmen of yesteryear, and has since been reproduced for international trade.
Home to many talented local artists, St. Croix’s small art galleries and studios showcase beautiful paintings, period-influenced furniture, jewelry and arts and crafts. The famed Crucian hook bracelet and jewelry are designed with larimar, a rare Caribbean gem.
Once a working sugar mill when sugar plantations supplied molasses for the rum trade, the Cruzan Rum Distillery today produces a variety of delicious rum from sugarcane and only the purest, natural ingredients. Visitors to the distillery will discover the time-honored process of rum production and enjoy free samples of Cruzan’s distinctive line of flavored rums.
Quelbe & Quadrille
From the fusion of French and African cultural influences emerged the native folk music and dance of the U.S. Virgin Islands known as quelbe and quadrille. Quelbe (also called “scratch band music”) has a unique acoustic sound. Quadrille is a cultural dance still performed at traditional and cultural festivities on the island.
Visitors who are feeling lucky can head to the casino for gaming at the Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino.
Crucian Christmas Festival
Winter holidays are celebrated Crucian-style with a unique cultural experience of pageantry, music, food and dancing. St. Croix hosts this festival both in December and January of each year with much jubilation.
Buck Island National Monument
Located off the shores of St. Croix, Buck Island is one of only two underwater national monuments in the U.S., and the only one occurring naturally. Water enthusiasts can encounter tropical fish, coral reefs and exotic flora and fauna in a dramatic array of colors, during an unparalleled snorkeling experience through the monument’s 700 acres of protected national park.
Some of the best diving in the Caribbean can be found on St. Croix’s north side. Cane Bay Reef, Davis Bay and Salt River Bay are popular diving spots known for the 13,000-foot deep sub-sea canyon and steep diving walls. Divers off the coasts of St. Croix may also experience close encounters with rare species of sea turtles that nest seasonally on the island’s beaches.
The Buccaneer Resort features an 18-hole, par-70 golf course sprawling across much of the property’s 340 acres, and encompassing 5,810 yards of sloping fairways, deceptive bunkers and water hazards. St. Croix’s 18-hole, championship Carambola Golf Course designed by legendary architect Robert Trent Jones has served as the site of many LPGA tournaments.
During May, the annual St. Croix Half-Ironman International Triathlon attracts world-class athletes to compete in one of the qualifying races for the series of World Triathlon Corporation sporting events and the Ironman World Championship. Other sporting events like the St. Croix Coral Reef Swim also draw thousands of visitors each year.
Salt River, an ecological reserve protected by the National Park, is a natural wildlife refuge and a popular area for kayaking. Visitors can explore local plants and flowers at St. George Village Botanical Gardens. Guided hiking tours, bike excursions and water activities are organized experiences that are also sensitive to the environment.
The waters off St. Croix are renowned for world-class fishing.
St. Croix LEAP
The St. Croix Life and Environmental Arts Project (LEAP) recycles fallen mahogany trees into beautiful furniture and works of art.
St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport has a lengthy, 10,000-foot runway and recently opened an additional wing. The newest section of the east wing of the terminal houses a new baggage claim area and transportation facility, and serves as an air-conditioned lounge.
St. Croix’s Ann E. Abramson Pier
Located in Frederiksted, the Pier can now accommodate the cruise lines’ largest new megaships, including the 140,000-ton Eagle class cruise ships. The Pier’s recent $3.6 million enhancement allows two cruise ships to dock simultaneously.
St. John is just offshore from St. Thomas and tailor-made for nature lovers since much of the island is National Park. The average annual temperature 75°-84°F.
St. John, the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, retains a tranquil, unspoiled beauty uncommon in the Caribbean or anywhere else in the world. Settled in the early 1700’s by Danish immigrants attracted to the island’s potential as a sugar cane producing colony, St. John soon blossomed into a thriving economy. The island’s unspoiled forests and stunning beaches attracted the attention of wealthy families who sought privacy and tranquility on the island. In 1956, Laurence Rockefeller was so moved by the island that he bought and donated broad expanses of land to the National Park Service to keep St. John “a thing of joy forever.” St. John was recently voted “Best Island in the Caribbean/Atlantic” by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s prestigious annual Readers’ Choice Awards poll.
The following are some of the island’s highlights and attractions:
Virgin Islands National Park
Two-thirds of St. John’s 19 square miles is designated as protected national park land. Laurence Rockefeller deeded approximately 9,500 acres of rolling green hills and underwater preserve to the federal government more than 40 years ago. There are 22 self-guided hiking trails within the Virgin Islands National Park, where visitors can discover ancient petroglyphs and beautiful foliage along the way.
Sustainable tourism programs and environmentally safe practices keep the island pristine and clean. Visitors are encouraged to appreciate the previous resources of the natural environment while enjoying the island’s beauty. Numerous ecotourism activities and attractions ensure the preservation of natural resources and ecosystems.
St. John offers a variety of accommodation styles to suit all tastes and preferences. The island has two major luxury resorts – Caneel Bay Resort, and The Westin St. John. In addition, there are a plethora of villas, condominiums, and bed and breakfast inns from which to choose. St. John is also home to several ecotourism resorts and campgrounds for a closer-to-nature experience.
Two towns/two personalities – Cruz Bay and Coral Bay
In downtown Cruz Bay, visitors can enjoy the shops and restaurants at Mongoose Junction or Wharf side Village. Coral Bay is an especially scenic town, boasting the highest point of elevation in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This former sugar plantation maintains a wealth of history and cultural folklore. Travelers can revisit the remnants of plantation life and the occupation of slaves during the 18th century. Park rangers conduct demonstrations of cultural traditions, including basket weaving, music and dance, each week.
St. John Annual Fourth of July Celebration
This annual festival extends from early June through July 4th to celebrate the island’s rich cultural heritage. Pageants, music concerts, sporting races and food fairs are all part of this month-long festival, which culminates in an awe-inspiring fireworks spectacular.
St. John offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, including Trunk Bay and Hawkesnest Bay.
Snorkeling, snuba and scuba diving are ways to explore St. John’s underwater paradise. Visitors interact with extraordinary flora and fauna at Trunk Bay, where underwater placards placed on the snorkeling trail describe the surrounding ecology. Colorful fish and coral are abundant in the waters off this island. Snuba, an activity that combines the skills of snorkeling and introductory diving skills, is an option for visitors not quite ready for scuba diving, but interested in exploring the island up to 20 feet beneath the surface. Divers enjoy venturing into the deep waters off St. John, particularly near Carvelle Rock and other points near the Pillsbury Sound where the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean come together.
Getting Around the Island
To explore St. John’s unique terrain, visitors can rent a jeep or a 4 x 4 vehicle for getting around the island. St. John has many steep hills and “hook backs” that lead to the most breathtaking landscapes and overlooks in the Caribbean. Only a 20-minute ferry ride away is the island of St. Thomas – perfect for a day trip.
St. Thomas offers a wide variety of attractions, beaches and activities such as watersports, golf, tennis, sightseeing, restaurants and nightlife. The capital city, Charlotte Amalie, is a major port of call for duty-free shopping. The average annual temperature 75°- 84°F.
St. Thomas combines the natural beauty of the islands with an energetic, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the United States Virgin Islands, is the most visited port in the Caribbean and boasts one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. The city’s reputation as the shopping mecca of the Caribbean attracts visitors from around the world who are drawn to its elegant dining, exciting nightlife and international, duty-free shopping.
A mountainous island, St. Thomas offers stunning vistas in all directions, with views of the Caribbean from 1,500 feet above sea level. Breathtaking natural wonders like magnificent Magens Bay and Drake’s Seat are also world- renowned. For the sports-minded, St. Thomas is well known for its world-class yachting and sport fishing, and welcomes golf enthusiasts to the George and Tom Fazio-designed Mahogany Run Course.
The following are some of the island’s highlights and attractions:
St. Thomas has more than 40 pristine white sand beaches with turquoise waters.
St. Thomas provides some of the most scenic and picturesque views of the Caribbean. Visitors can enjoy beautiful overlooks, including Drake’s Seat and Valdemar Hill. Paradise Point Tramway lifts visitors 700 feet above sea level on a cable car, for one of the most spectacular views of Charlotte Amalie harbor. Situated at the top of the lift on Flag Hill is a complex that includes a café restaurant, a nature trail and several retail shops. Paradise Peak — a winding quarter-mile nature trail — gives visitors the opportunity to explore additional overlooks of the island.
Cruising the Caribbean
Attracting thousands of visitors each year, St. Thomas is the Caribbean’s number one cruise ship port, and truly a shopper’s paradise. Cruise ship passengers enjoy a special duty-free shopping status: No customs duties or sales tax are imposed on tourism-related items.
St. Thomas’ Mahogany Run, a George and Tom Fazio design, boasts 18 of the most beautiful and challenging holes in the Caribbean. Golfers extol the virtues of this 6,022-year, par 70-championship course for its sheer beauty and exhilarating play, especially on the 13th, 14th and 15th holes. This signature trio, aptly nicknamed the Devil’s Triangle, turns an already ambitious round of play into a veritable Cliffside drama in which golfers must overcome a formidable stretch of Caribbean Seat that sprawls between the tee and the green.
Wet and Dry Water Activities
Opportunities and facilities for snorkeling, scuba diving, snuba, parasailing, windsurfing and kayaking are all available within the beautiful turquoise waters surrounding St. Thomas. For those visitors who prefer to enjoy the water without getting wet, the U.S. Virgin Islands offers submarine cruises and glass bottom boat rides. Both day and night tours are available to explorers of all ages.
St. Thomas’ close proximity to the other U.S. Virgin Islands makes island-hopping fun and easy. Visitors staying on St. Thomas can quickly take a ferry over to St. John for a day trip, or a seaplane or ferry to St. Croix.
Historic Ft. Christian
Built in 1672, Fort Christian is a U.S. national landmark and the oldest standing structure in the Virgin Islands. Built to protect the town’s harbor from the raiding European armadas that sailed the Caribbean centuries ago, Fort Christian also once served as St. Thomas’ first Government House, a church and community government center. Today, the brick fortress is home to the Virgin Islands Museum, where early island memorabilia and antique maps trace the islands’ colorful history.
Coral World Marine Park & Observatory
Located on the northeast shore at Coki Point, Coral World is recognized as an internationally renowned tourist attraction. The 4.5-acre park consists of an underwater observatory tower, a tropical nature trail, a marine gardens aquarium, and an 80,000-gallon coral reef tank. The circular, glass-enclosed tank offers visitors a glimpse of the Caribbean Sea and its underwater inhabitants. The aquatic panoramic view provides an up-close look at beautiful species of coral, tropical fish, stingrays, barracuda, tarpon, moray eels, seahorses, crabs, nurse sharks, sea anemones, and more. Other special attractions include an open-air shark pool, a “touch” pond, and Sea Trekkin’.
Virgin Islands Carnival
Celebrated on St. Thomas each spring, the month-long celebration of Carnival provides revelers with extravagant displays of pageantry, spirited music festivals, mouthwatering food festivals and colorful parades.
St. Thomas Synagogue
Overlooking the pristine beaches and crystal-clear water of Charlotte Amalie Harbor, the Synagogue of B’racha V’shalom Uv’gimilut Hasadim (meaning “Blessing, Peace and Loving Deeds”) exists as one of the most impressive religious structures in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The dedicated Jewish community and congregation, traceable back to the late-17th century, completed the present synagogue in 1833. The synagogue’s membership continues to carefully maintain its interior, including the impressive Ionic columns and mahogany benches.
Local Arts and Crafts
Visitors can find a variety of locally made goods on St. Thomas, including paintings and silk-screened prints. Local artisans sell their products in the marketplace of downtown Charlotte Amalie, along Main Street, in Vendors’ Plaza, at Havensight Mall, and at other locations throughout the Island.
Fine Dining, Exciting Nightlife
St. Thomas offers a wide variety of culinary delights ranging from West Indian fare to international cuisine. Caribbean and West Indian delicacies such as conch, kallaloo, fungi, curried chicken, plantains, sour sop and johnnycakes are tantalizing additions to be sampled at many of the island’s first-class restaurants. Exciting nightlife includes performances of calypso, reggae, quelbe, jazz and pop music by talented local musicians.
Banana Daiquiris on Mountain Top
While touring St. Thomas’ higher elevations, visitors can treat themselves to a taste of contemporary island culture with a stop at Mountain Top for a refreshing banana daiquiri. Since the 1960’s, this site has offered the legendary cocktail made with local rum, cane sugar and bananas.
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