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Experience a wide slice of Florida culture and history, as well as world-class golf with this carefully crafted fly-drive itinerary that includes tempting offbeat destinations, wonderful natural attractions and magnificent shopping, not to mention some great restaurants. For Florida golf lovers, this is a chance to sample some of the best sport in the state at the Mission Inn Resort near Orlando and magnificent TPC Sawgrass Club in Ponte Vedra, which hosts one of the biggest international tournaments each year. Howey in-the-Hills is located just 35 minutes’ drive north-west of Orlando and is ideal as a base from which to explore charming towns like Mount Dora, Winter Park, Winter Garden and Tavares, while also enjoying local attractions such as Lakeridge Winery and the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (Fri-Sun). The golf here is some of the most distinctive in the state, thanks to the (rare) rolling hills. At Ponte Vedra, revel in the magnificence of championship-quality courses that attract golfers worldwide, as well as the World Golf Hall of Fame, while this is also the place to come for a nature adventure at Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, great shopping at St John’s Town Center and Sawgrass Village, and superb beaches. In addition, you will discover much of Florida’s 16th century Spanish heritage, notably in America’s oldest city, St Augustine, and enjoy the 19th century style of Henry Flagler, the railroad baron who opened the state up to tourism from 1880 to 1920. On top of the history, the shopping highlights here run the gamut from the individual boutiques and galleries of St George and Aviles Streets to the mall opportunities of St Augustine Premium Outlets and Cobblestone Village. There are also several notable eco-tourism experiences, and no-one will be able to resist the lure of swimming with dolphins in St Augustine at the Marineland oceanographic centre!
Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport
2 nights – Orlando
Mission Inn Resort & Club Orlando
Just 38 miles from Orlando but light years away in terms of rural tranquility, the Inn boasts two full championship courses plus a recreational par-58 executive course, as well as tennis, fishing and boating, and the fine dining of La Hacienda restaurant and casual-style La Margarita.
3 nights – Ponte Vedra Beach
Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa
Golfers will be in seventh heaven at this extensive and feature-packed resort located right next to the famed TPC Sawgrass Club, but also well situated for the beaches (with access to the exclusive Cabana Beach Club), shopping and nature attractions nearby.
2 nights – St Augustine
Casa Monica Resort & Spa
Prepare to be amazed by the combination of ideal location and historic allure at this former 1880s Henry Flagler flagship hotel, which is within walking distance of most of the main attractions while also offering a superbly stylish stay, notably with its dining and blissful Poseidon Spa.
This tour itinerary operates into and out of Orlando International Airport.
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