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Florida Central West  image

imageRegional Cities & Towns:

Tampa :: Busch Gardens :: St Pete Beach:: Clearwater
St Petersburg :: Sarasota :: Tarpon Springs

Many visitors to Florida choose Orlando as their base and consider the trip to Tampa and the entertainment park at Busch Gardens to be a side trip. Experienced travellers know the central west region of Florida has all the highlights necessary to be considered an excellent vacation destination in its own right. It's just a 1 hour drive from Orlando to Tampa.

The region offers an array of beautiful beaches on the inviting Gulf Of Mexico, a wide choice of vacation lodgings, some great cuisine and numerous vacation attractions for all ages. This is an area that boasts some of the finest beach destinations in the whole of the USA.

Fort Desoto Park to the south of St. Pete Beach at the mouth of Tampa Bay, and Caladesi Island State Park to the north of Clearwater Beach are rated among USA's top beaches.

But the area is not just about beaches, sun and sand. There are several wonderful nature reserves, state parks and excellent art galleries.  Some of Florida's early history is to be found here, and made available to current generations via displays, tours and museums.

Tampa is generally thought of as the main city of the area with a population exceeding 300,000. The city is the commercial center of Florida's west coast, an expanding seaport and center of banking and high-tech manufacturing.

Tampa is one of the ports used by the many Florida cruise ships that operate holiday cruises to the Caribbean. 

St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tarpon Springs are all located on the peninsula which is flanked on the west by a line of barrier islands where St. Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, and other Gulf-side communities enjoy 28 miles white sand, surf and sunshine. 

This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region with over 1 million visitors a year arriving to enjoy the sun and sand... and golf of course.. this is Florida after all!  Many of the beach locations are protected from development by parks and nature preserves. St. Pete Beach has been attracting visitors for over 100 years.  

South from Tampa and St. Petersburg lies the town of Sarasota and another chain of barrier islands that stretches 42 miles along the coastline. 

Considered one of Florida's cultural centers, and one of the more affluent addresses in the area, Sarasota is the gateway to playgrounds of the rich and famous at St. Armands and Longboat Keys, and to the more affordable Lido and Siesta Keys to the south.

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