Groups of tourists walk past the current dwelling places of some of the area’s notable residents, such as Addison Cairns Mizner, Paul Ilyinsky, and Henry Morrison Flagler. Unlike the case with traditional celebrity-sighting tours, however, all of these men died decades ago. Their spooky hauntings frame the path of Ghosts of Palm Beach’s walking tours, during which knowledgeable guides share local folklore and paranormal encounters. Stops can include everything from Palm Beach Town Hall to high-fashion shops such as Gucci, Chanel, and Saks Fifth Avenue, where the ghosts still try to buy handbags for a dollar and two bits.
At Fort Lauderdale Stand Up Paddle, owner Tatiana Lovechenko and her team of seasoned instructors guide patrons through informative lessons and scenic tours. Atop the glistening tides of the Florida coast, private coaching sessions equip students with the basic skills important to staying above the water but below the reach of birds' hairbrushes. Teachers also sling essential tips regarding ocean awareness and paddle-boarding etiquette, preparing pupils for apropos small talk with gregarious krakens.
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The entire sky along Florida's Space Coast is like one giant movie screen, regularly showing the story of rockets—some manned, some unmanned, others guided entirely by dreams. They launch gracefully towards the heavens, where they break through Earth's atmosphere and float out beyond it. It's a mesmerizing display, one that serves as the focal point for Space Coast River Tours's Rocket Tour. The Blue Dolphin, the company's 44-foot USCG-certified pontoon river boat, serves as the tour's mode of transportation. Its retractable roof pulls back to reveal unobstructed views of the sky above for all of its 49 passengers.
Captains Mark and Michele Anderson, who are both certified by the U.S. Coast Guard, have plenty to explore even when rockets aren't taking flight. Specialty tours are available at an additional cost. During the holidays, they show passengers the lights and decorations along residential canals in Sykes Creek, handing out some egg nog or hot cocoa to complete the experience. The Banana River Lagoon Tour, meanwhile, remains a daily feature. For two hours, the boat tours the Banana River and floats into the habitats of the area's many birds, dolphins, manatees, and gators.
Carnival Cruise Lines entertains seafarers on a decorated vessel brimming with lively stage shows, upscale dining, buffets, and sweeping aquatic views. Kick back in the comforts of a spacious interior stateroom with a convertible king bed, full bathroom with shower, and closets roomy enough for stashing buffet leftovers. Vacationers can stretch their legs while dining on a rotating roster of food served three times daily before laughing the evening away at a comedy show.
A sea turtle proudly displays its intricately patterned shell. A stingray safely brushes its sleek skin against a child’s hand, grazing the top of a 10,000-gallon tank. A bird splashes into mangrove swamps to snatch fish. Sensory experiences like these occur on a regular basis at the 57-acre Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island, sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. As the headquarters for the nonprofit Florida Oceanographic Society, the center strives to both educate the public and inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems.
Among the center’s many activities, visitors can high-five crustaceans at the Sea Star Touch Tank Pavilion and watch a live feeding at the 750,000-gallon Game Fish Lagoon. Educational programs throughout the day explore the lives of sea turtles and explain how to identify local fish that refuse to wear nametags. Just past a colorful butterfly garden and aquariums at the Frances Langford Visitors Center, guests can find nature trails that wend through mangrove swamps and hardwood hammocks. Here, they can see the natural state of a bio-diverse estuary, along with endangered plants and animals that the Florida Oceanographic Society is striving to save through research as well as educational and restoration initiatives.