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Florida Vacation News - December 2005

December 6, 2005 08:02 - Light Up Florida!

Interested in seeing some really cool Christmas lights while you are here in Florida?  Here are three that are worth seeing.

Night of Lights in St. Augustine, Florida goes from December 1st through January 31st -- so if you miss Christmas, you can still catch them in January.  Pretty much all of the Old City is done up -- looks awesome!  best of all -- it's free!

Disney World obviously has some pretty neat Christmas lights, and a special Main Street parade.  (Don't forget the singing Christmas tree.)

Parkland in South Florida is a little hard to find, but has a drive-through light show.  You can see part of the lights from the Florida Turnpike, south of Deerfield Beach.

December 6, 2005 09:42 - Dr. Gray and Florida Hurricanes 2006

Dr. Gray, the eminent hurricane specialist who is known for his storm predictions, has released his preliminary 2006 hurricane season numbers.

Dr. Gray predicts:

  • 17 Named storms
  • 9 Hurricanes
  • 5 Major Hurricanes

Last year at this time, Dr. Gray and his team made their initial 2005 predictions. They were:

  • 11 Named Storms
  • 6 Hurricanes
  • 3 Major Hurricanes

Naturally, predictions 6 months off are hard to call.  Check back again in April and August for revised estimates.

Food for thought -- I came across some statistics for the parts of Florida that are most and least likely (historically speaking) to be impacted by a hurricane.  The clear winner for fewest hurricanes is Northeast Florida, followed by the Tampa area.

And the parts of Florida most likely to be visited by hurricanes?  South Florida and the Florida Keys.

Keep this in mind while planning you next Florida summer vacation.

December 13, 2005 07:56 - Florida Beach Rentals - Cheap!

Have you check out the prices for a house rental on the beach?

Want to know a cheaper alternative?

How about renting a cabin on the beach, at one of the Florida state parks?

Don't think rustic, think relaxing.  Many of the cabins have running water, electricity and (such a blessing!) air conditioning!  Plus pots and pans, furniture, etc.

What they don't have are TVs and telephones.  But who needs them when you are in the great outdoors -- and on the beach!

Also consider that most of the cabins sleep 6, so if you bring a few friends along and split the cost, it's pretty inexpensive.  How inexpensive?  Glad you asked!  The highest-priced beach cabin is at Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys, priced at $120 per night.  Snorkeling, diving, fishing, swimming -- you're just footsteps away from it all.  And Grayton Beach in the Florida Panhandle is only $110 a night.

Florida beaches at a great price -- ahhh!!!

December 13, 2005 10:49 - Thai One On!

If you are in Palm Beach County, Florida and you have a hankering for a great Thai dinner, how about checking out Jasmine Thai Restaurant?

Located at 3897 N. Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach, it's easy to get to.  The restaurant is cozy (seats somewhere about 40), and the service personal.

Oh, and the food is great!  I love their curry dishes, and the beef ginger is outstanding too.

Although it's not on the menu, you can try what my husband and I call "baskets" as an appetizer.  Think of a steamed dumpling, but instead of being steamed, it's fried and crisp and delicious.  Tell them Dave and Gail said to try it!

For directions and other information, call them at 561-689-5999.

December 13, 2005 12:37 - Orlando Weather and Your Christmas Vacation

Many of you will be heading out soon to Orlando for a Christmas vacation.

So, what's the Orlando weather like?

For this coming week, the Orlando weather looks to be rather mild -- days in the mid 60's to lower 70's.  Nights are in the 40's and 50's.  All in all, great temperatures for this time of year.

What about the sun?  Call it partly cloudy overall.  Some days will be sunnier than others.

Your best bet will be to dress in layers.  It'll be fairly chilly in the morning, but the afternoons will be mild and pleasant.

Keep watching the weather the closer you get to your departure date!  I've seen Orlando with shorts weather on Christmas Day, as well as have seen it in the teens on Christmas Day.

Have a great Florida vacation!

December 13, 2005 15:03 - SeaWorld Orlando Specials

SeaWorld in Orlando is having some December specials worth thinking about.

First, Florida residents -- SeaWorld is having some specials with two days for the price of one.  Check out their Florida residents page for more information.

Visitors -- SeaWorld hasn't forgotten you!  Their SeaWorld on Your Schedule package looks neat - take a look and see if you don't agree.

One more thing for Florida residents traveling to Orlando in the next few weeks, as well as visitors coming in from other states (or countries).  Please book your hotel reservation in advance.  It's tough to find a hotel at a reasonable price in the Orlando area around the holidays.  And if you expect to walk in off the street and get a room, you will very likely be disappointed.

December 14, 2005 15:34 - Here Fishy Fishy - Come to Dinner

Whenever we're in Crystal River, on Florida's Nature Coast, we like to stop in at Charlie's Fish House restaurant.  Located on US 19 (one of the two "main drags" through town) near the Best Western, Charlie's is a delight to the tastebuds.

Now I adore crab cakes, but they have to be good.  I am pleased to say that Charlie's passes the crab cake challenge!  My husband, on the other hand, prefers grouper or snapper dishes.  He also gives Charlie's a two thumbs up.  Oh, and the clam chowder and seafood gumbo soups are out of this world!

Charlie's claim to fame is fresh seafood, and fish caught locally.  Even though they do have other items on their menu, you really do want to come here for the seafood.

When you're in the Crystal River area, think about checking out Charlie's Fish House.  For directions and other information call them at 352-795-3949.

December 15, 2005 07:10 - Florida Vacation Weather for the Next Week

Hey, another weather update for all you fine folks planning a Florida vacation in the next week!

Here are a few Florida cites and their weather outlooks:

  • Panama City:  Pretty Chilly (for Florida) over the next week.  Definitely sweater and jacket weather.  Cloudy weather for the next few days, clearing up Sunday night the 18th.  Then clear to partly cloudy as the front comes through.  Plan on temperatures in the daytime to be in the 50's and 60's, nights in the 30's and 40's.
  • St. Augustine:  Rainy today, as well as Sunday the 18th, then clearing.  Plan for temps in the 60's during the day and 40's at night.
  • Tampa:  The front won't really arrive here until Monday and/or Tuesday the 18th and 19th, bringing rain and cloudy weather.  Otherwise partly cloudy with daytime temperatures in the low 70's and nights in the 50's.
  • Orlando:  The front will be coming through Orlando about the time it goes through Tampa, with similar cloudy and partly cloudy weather.  Days in the 60's, nights in the 40's.
  • West Palm Beach:  Warmer weather abounds!  Unfortunately, so do the clouds.  Mostly cloudy weather through the next week with daytime temps in the 70's and 80's, nights in the 60's.
  • Key West:  Pretty much the same as West Palm Beach.  Mostly cloudy through the next week, with daytime temperatures in the upper 70's, nighttime around 70.

So that's the general weather around the state, from the Florida Panhandle to the Florida Keys.  Hope you have a great Florida vacation!

December 15, 2005 14:40 - Free $15 Gift Card for a Theme Park Visit

SeaWorld and Busch Gardens have a special going on now.  If you buy two or more 1-day admissions to either park, you get a free $15 Lowe's gift card.

You have to order on-line and you must order by 12/31/05.  If you were already planning a trip to either or both parks, it's a freebie you want to consider.

Merry Christmas from Florida!

December 16, 2005 16:23 - Mermaids Among Us

The stars of Weeki Wachee Springs in Weeki Wachee, Florida are the mermaids.  Guess what -- on December 17 and 18, former mermaids gather for a special show! 

And on December 16 & 17 from 7 PM to 10 PM, there is a special "Winter Waterland" celebration.  Scheduled for the two nights is a special mermaid show, Santa Claus for the kids, River Boat Cruise and a special live nativity scene!

If you are wanting to visit Weeki Wachee while you are on your Florida vacation, you had best plan to show up by the 18th or wait until after the New Year. Most unusual for Florida attractions, it closes down to give its employees a well-deserved Christmas vacation.

December 19, 2005 10:38 - Christmas in Florida and Around the World at Disney

From December 19 through the 30th, Disney World's Epcot park will host a "Holidays Around the World" special.

You can hear how various countries have different customs for the Christmas holidays.  It's an informative and entertaining adventure!

Take it all in at the World Showcase Plaza.  You'll also get to see a nightly tree lighting ceremony starring Mickey himself!

December 23, 2005 14:15 - Merry Christmas from Florida!

It's almost Christmas Eve and despite my wishes, I don't believe we'll get snow for Christmas Day.  Hmm, I keep hoping every year and it never seems to happen.  Right now it's blue skies, sunshine and in the low 70's -- the kind of weather that we Floridians live here for!

I'll be taking a break the next few days, to rest, relax and enjoy family and friends.  And also to gear up for next year!

What's on my agenda for 2006?  I plan to add lots more to my website, including information about:

  • Cruises -- all kinds, from little sunset cruises to boarding the big ships out of Miami.
  • Parks -- I'll be adding quite a few more State and National parks to the website.  I hope to start getting more pictures of them too.
  • Beaches -- Hey, what's Florida without a visit to the beach?  Whether you want to swim, sunbathe, snorkel or just walk the beach, there is a beach for you!
  • Getaways -- no matter if you're a visitor or a Florida resident, little getaways are something to look forwards too!  Explore someplace new for a long weekend.

Do you have any more suggestions on what to add to the website for the next year?  Please feel free to contact me and make your wishes known!

So for now, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah or whatever holiday you are celebrating.  May peace and prosperity be with you in the coming year!



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