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St Augustine :: Jacksonville :: Amelia Island :: Fernandina Beach :: Ponte Vedra :: Daytona Beach

Settlement in North East Florida dates from 1513, when the Spaniard Juan Ponce de León sighted this coast and landed somewhere between present-day Jacksonville and Cape Canaveral. His arrival pre-dates the arrival of the founding fathers at Cape Cod by some considerable time.

In 1565, the Spanish established a colony at St. Augustine, a city that remains the country's oldest continuous settlement. The 17th-century fort Castillo de San Marcos is a popular tourist destination as is the reconstructed 18th-century Spanish Quarter.

Authentically costumed actors regularly perform colorful re-enactments of colonial life from the period. St. Augustine has done a remarkable job in preserving its history and is considered by many to be the jewel in the crown of this part of Florida. The streets of the restored Old City look much as they did in Spanish times.

Jacksonville is the administrative and commercial central of this region, being a thriving port city and naval base.  While not generally considered a tourist center in its own right,  the city offers a sunny, warm climate, perfect for enjoying its 20 miles of white sandy beaches and more than 50 golf courses.

Jacksonville Landing is a waterfront marketplace with unique shops and restaurants and the location for many of the city events and festivals. The city boasts an excellent zoo and and a number of good museums capturing the history of the city and its surrounds. Travelers to this region will find an excellent selection of holiday accommodation to suits all budgets.

Rich in history, the quiet Amelia Island offers visitors a choice of several luxury resorts as well as more moderately priced lodging in Fernandina Beach. With its towering sand dunes and salt marshes, Amelia Island closely resembles its northern neighbors than the other areas of subtropical Florida. 

Fernandina Beach is one of the popular tourist highlights on Amelia island, boasting a picturesque seaport and a rich history. The historic district that covers over 50 blocks is a wonderful collection of buildings that chronicle the history and fortunes of the town since its earliest days. 

Golf heaven can be found at Ponte Vedra Beach, where luxury golf and tennis resorts attract those able to afford them.  The Tournament Players Club (TPC) is home of The Players Championship, and is the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour headquarters.

Daytona Beach sits at the southern end of this region. This city of approximately 65,000 people is a year-round resort area, known for its motorsports. The Daytona International Speedway and the old beach course have hosted races for over a century. Daytona is a seasonal town with large numbers descending on the city for events such as Speedweeks in early February when over 200,000 NASCAR fans come to attend the season-opening Daytona 500.

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