Florida’s Golden Coasts and Coral Sunsets

Resort: Florida's Golden Coasts and Coral Sunsets
Operator: Saga
Destination: South East Asia
Price From: £2899.00

America’s subtropical vacationland

Escape to America’s Sunshine State on this exciting tour exploring Florida’s glamorous beach resorts and the untamed Everglades. Follow in the footsteps of the intrepid explorers, entrepreneurs and artists who exemplified the American Dream, paving the way for the art deco sights of Miami, the quirkiness of Key West and the sophisticated sights of Sarasota.

Including…

12 nights in hotels and 1 in flight

13 meals: 12 breakfasts and 1 dinner

  • VIP door-to-door travel service
  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
  • Return flights and transfers
  • Saga tour manager
  • Welcome drink reception
  • Porterage at all hotels

Excursions and visits

  • St Augustine’s old town by trolley car
  • Castillo de San Marcos
  • Daytona Beach
  • West Palm Beach and Boca Raton
  • Miami City tour
  • Dolphin Research Centre
  • Key West sightseeing tour on the famous Conch Train
  • Hemingway House tour
  • Sunset at Mallory Square
  • Airboat tour of the Everglades
  • Naples Botanical Gardens guided tour
  • Visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates
  • Tour the Ringling Museum and D’zan Mansion

Itinerary

Day 1
UK-Orlando

After taking Saga’s included UK door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly to Orlando and transfer to the Delta Lake Buena Vista (3Q) for a two-night stay.

Day 2
St Augustine

Your tour kicks off with a full-day excursion exploring America’s distant past in historic St Augustine. Founded by the Spanish in the 15th century, the town predates the arrival of the Mayflower although repeated battles with the British mean little is left from its infancy. The carefully preserved old town still exudes Spanish charm in its narrow old streets which trolley cars trundle along. Step aboard one for a guided sightseeing tour and enjoy a visit to 18th-century Castillo de San Marcos, the town’s oldest surviving structure and America’s oldest fort. For a complete contrast, also visit amusement-packed Daytona Beach which is famous for its stock and formula car racing. B

Day 3
Orlando-Miami

Follow Florida’s East Coast south, pausing en route in West Palm Beach. Created as a service town for glitzy Palm Beach – part of 19th-century entrepreneur Henry Flagler’s new ‘American Riviera’ – it’s set on the opposite side of the Intracoastal Highway but has since blossomed into a major commercial hub attracting money makers and tech savvy businesses. Continue along the Gold Coast to the upmarket resort of Boca Raton, one of the most desirable places to live on the East Coast, before reaching Miami where you’ll spend two nights at the AC Marriott (4Q). B

Day 4
Miami

An exotic combination of sun-kissed beaches stretching out of sight and a relaxed Latin vibe make Miami a subtropical oasis where iconic sights shimmer in the balmy weather. This comparatively young metropolis was born when Flagler – the ‘Father of Miami’ and whose name appears on monuments and street signs across Florida – connected this small trading post with the rest of the world by rail in 1896. The fledgling city quickly took shape as plantations gave way to resorts and urban enclaves. On today’s half-day tour, see such highlights as Downtown Miami, Coconut Grove, Little Havana – the place to enjoy Cuban cuisine on the go – and, of course, the famous pastel-painted art deco buildings that line South Beach and Miami Beach and which give Miami so much of its character. Afterwards, you’ll be free to experience the lively cafe culture, art galleries and kitsch boutiques at your own pace. B

Day 5
Miami-Key West

Look forward to meeting the dolphins and sea lions at the Dolphin Research Centre in Grassy Key en route to Key West. A series of saltwater lagoons set along the coast provide a sanctuary for these sociable animals and you’ll have the chance to learn about the centre’s important research. You can also visit the Veterans Garden, an area of tranquillity originally created by Vietnam veterans and dedicated to all who have served or are actively serving during times of war. Continue across the tropical Florida Keys, a series of coral islands stitched together by the Seven Mile Bridge. Stay two nights at the DoubleTree Grand Key Resort (4Q). B

Day 6
Key West

It’s all aboard the Conch Train for a mini road trip exploring the southern most point of the continental United States, Key West. African tulip trees, traveller palms and spindly ficus trees hide an eclectic collection of wooden houses that ooze Caribbean cool, setting the backdrop for this quirky island that has lured eccentrics and artists since the early 1900s. Writer Ernest Hemingway was among the first to make a home here in 1931 and you can enjoy a visit to his Spanish colonial-style house. He wrote many of his works while living here, and as you wander the grounds you may encounter one of the resident cats famed for their extra toes! End your day watching the vivid sunset over the Gulf of Mexico at Mallory Square, something of a local tradition. B

Day 7
Key West-Naples

Return to the Florida mainland and travel west to Naples pausing en route to explore Everglades National Park. Here you can anticipate the thrill of flying across the waterways of America’s largest subtropical wilderness on an airboat ride, the way to explore the sweeping expanse of coastal mangroves and sawgrass marshes. The Everglades are home to a variety of subtropical species, as well as those from the temperate climes of North America. A small fraction of these include Cuban tree frogs, white-tailed deer, river otters, racoons, opossums, snowy egrets and, of course, alligators. Continue to Naples for two nights at the Hyatt House (3Q). B

Day 8
Naples

Follow nature trails through the beautiful grounds of Naples Botanical Gardens and admire colourful blooms alongside complementary art installations, such as giant origami, on a morning-guided tour. The first ‘seeds’ for the gardens were planted in 1993 when a small group of locals had the wild notion of creating a world-class botanical garden. A multimillion dollar gift from the Kapnick family and Kapnick Foundation in 2000 turned this dream into a reality, enabling the purchase of a 170-acre plot near Old Naples. 220,000 visitors a year now enjoy these lovely gardens which have been designed to showcase the natural environment between 26 degrees north and south. They encompass six cultivated gardens, walking trails and 90 acres of restored native habitat. In the afternoon you are free to enjoy the beach, art galleries and shopping of Naples. B

Day 9
Naples-Sarasota

Step back in time to 1920s America during a tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. The estate spans nine preserved historic buildings set within 20 acres of beautifully maintained botanical gardens which were designed by Edison. In the museum you can discover Edison’s amazing inventions, including the telegraph, telephone and x-ray machine which were instrumental in changing the course of history. The Model T that Ford custom-made for Edison is also on display. Continue to the Hyatt Regency (4Q) for a two-night stay in Sarasota where you can then go shopping or head to the beach. B

Day 10
Sarasota

Explore the extravagant Ringling, Florida’s State Art Museum which houses a diverse collection art and antiques from around the world. Funded by an empire born out of a successful career in the travelling circus, the museum is an expression of John and Mable Ringling’s love for art and culture. This 60-acre estate, which encompasses the Venetian-style Gothic mansion Cà d’Zan, was bequeathed to the people of Florida following John’s death. Explore the museum independently and view the art collection that includes works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Poussin, see the world’s largest miniature circus which is incredibly intricate and covers 3,800 square feet, and stroll around the beautiful botanical gardens. B

Day 11
Sarasota-Clearwater Beach

This morning, travel to Tampa where you can visit the famous Ybor City and perhaps visit the Cigar Museum, try some Cuban coffee in a sidewalk café, or indulge in a mojito or a glass of sangria in a local bar. Spend two nights at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort (4Q). B

Day 12
Clearwater Beach

Enjoy a day at leisure, perhaps relaxing on the white sands of Clearwater Beach. B, D

Day 13
Clearwater Beach-Orlando-UK

Enjoy a relaxing morning in Clearwater Beach before your afternoon transfer back to Orlando International airport for your overnight flight back to the UK. B

Day 14
UK

Arrive in the morning for your included UK door-to-door travel service home.

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