By MELODY PITTMAN
Florida’s Central East region proves to be a big draw for families, art lovers, history buffs and beachgoers. Located on 175 beautiful miles of sandy beaches, its towns include family-favorite activities and vacation opportunities that won’t break the bank. Discover many beloved Florida classics as well as undiscovered areas unbeknown to most. Caution: You may fall in love with Florida.
A Day in...
Daytona Beach

Unwind along 23 miles of hard-packed beaches. Enjoy a casual shopping spree at the Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach. Schedule tee time at a tropically lush golf course. Sample local brews along the Daytona Beach Ale Trail. Tour Daytona International Speedway and meander through the local galleries, museums and historical sites. Dine al fresco along the Halifax River while watching for dolphins. Take in an electrifying performance at The Peabody Auditorium. Finish with a leisurely stroll and watch the stars come out over Ponce Inlet.

Martin County

Sit in splendor as the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean. Next take a trip on the Loxahatchee River, Florida’s first federally designated wild and scenic river at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Tour the last remaining House of Refuge; touch a stingray at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center; cross the street to the Elliott Museum to be amazed at the antique car collection. Visit Jensen Beach, both downtown and the beach. End the day in Stuart, known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World."

Okeechobee County

Rise early to hook up with your hired guide and find out why 730-square-mile Lake Okeechobee offers one of the world’s most amazing freshwater game fishing experiences. Other top tourist draws in this area center around hunting and shooting sports. Back in Okeechobee, enjoy good old-fashioned home cooking at a local restaurant or lunch at your favorite national chain. Grab your camera and hike or cycle along the prettiest part of Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. Later, drive to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve Park and spend a romantic night stargazing.

St. Lucie

Relax on miles of uncrowded beaches or ride the beach on horseback. Kayak on the famous Indian River Lagoon, floating through tunnels of mangrove trees. Pack your clubs and choose from over 20 golf courses, including the famous PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, offering 54 holes of championship golf. Immerse yourself in “Old Florida” culture in downtown Fort Pierce, one of the most historic and idyllic main streets in the USA, where Spanish period architecture is plentiful and local seafood is the main staple.

ANNUAL EVENTS
JANUARY
  • Art Deco Weekend, Miami Beach
  • Key Largo Sailfish Challenge
  • Las Olas Art Fair Part I, Fort Lauderdale South Florida Fair, West Palm Beach
  • Uncorked, the Key Largo and Islamorada Food & Wine Festival
FEBRUARY
  • ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival, Jupiter
  • Coconut Grove Arts Festival
  • Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival
  • Honda Classic, Palm Beach Gardens
  • Lake Worth Street Painting Festival
  • Miami International Boat Show
  • Miami International Jazz Fest
  • South Florida Garlic Fest, Lake Worth Beach
MARCH
  • Boca Bacchanal, Boca Raton
  • Calle Ocho Music Festival, Miami
  • Dania Beach Arts & Seafood Celebration Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival, Miami Gardens
  • Las Olas Art Fair Part II, Fort Lauderdale
  • Major League Baseball Spring Training, Jupiter Miami
  • International Film Festival
  • Original Marathon Seafood Festival
  • ULTRA Music Festival and the Winter Music Conference, Miami
MARCH–APRIL
  • Miami Beach Pride
  • Miami Open Tennis presented by Itaú
  • Palm Beach International Film Festival
APRIL
  • Delray Affair
  • Miami Beach Polo World Cup
  • OUTshine Film Festival
  • Rock the Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival, Fort Lauderdale
MAY
  • Sunfest, West Palm Beach
JULY
  • Hemingway Days, Key West
  • Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival
JULY–AUGUST
  • International Ballet Festival of Miami
  • Miami Spa Month
AUGUST
  • Dine Out Downtown Delray
AUGUST–SEPTEMBER
  • Greater Fort Lauderdale Restaurant Months
  • Miami Spice Month
SEPTEMBER
  • Brazilian Film Festival of Miami
OCTOBER
  • Fantasy Fest, Key West
  • Key West Goombay Festival
  • South Beach Seafood Festival
NOVEMBER
  • Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Key West Film Festival
  • Key West World Championship - Super Boat International Races
  • Miami Book Fair International
  • Miami International Auto Show
  • Miami Short Film Festival
  • NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend, Miami Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Fest
DECEMBER
  • Art Basel Miami Beach
  • Capital One Orange Bowl, Miami Gardens Design Miami
  • Holiday Boat Parades
  • King Mango Strut Parade, Coconut Grove