The Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg
This is the famous Dali Museum (thedali.org), which houses one of the largest Salvador Dali collections in the world, showcasing more than 2,000 pieces, from paintings and sketches to sculptures and objets d’art.
Look out for the artist’s surreal masterpiece, The Hallucinogenic Toreador, which symbolises his wife’s dislike for bullfighting.
Afterwards, walk to the nearby Wine Madonna bar for free tastings and tapas in a cosy lounge setting.
● Tickets £17.80 per adult/£7 per child.
Hire a soft-top convertible and set off on Highway 1 from mainland Florida through the Keys, past turquoise waters dotted by tiny islands – the Atlantic to your left, the Gulf of Mexico to your right – bound for Key West’s most interesting cultural spot.
En route experience classic Americana, with kitschy gift shops and burger stands.
Get all the way to Key West, at the southernmost tip of the Keys, and you will eventually reach the famous Hemingway Home & Museum (hemingwayhome.com), where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote for more than a decade.
Highlights include the author’s writing studio, which is preserved exactly as he left it.
On display are the leather writing chair, books, table and the typewriter where the author worked on some of his greatest novels, including Death In The Afternoon and To Have And Have Not.
● Tickets £10 per adult/£4.50 per child. Alamo (0800 028 2390/alamo.co.uk) offers car hire from £25 per day.
Dali’s Hallucinogenic Toreador
TREAD THE BOARDS
Don your glad rags for an evening at the Arcade Theatre in Fort Myers (floridarep.org), on the east coast of Florida.
Originally opened in 1915 as a vaudeville house for magic acts and films, the Arcade has been beautifully restored into a 393-seat theatre, which lays on innovative dramas, comedies and musicals.
Start your evening with a saunter through Fort Myers. Browse its brick-lined main street, home to charming restaurants, shops and art galleries.
Visiting on the first Friday of the month? Then skip dinner and cocktails for an exclusive look around a dozen galleries on a free self-guided walking tour thought the Downtown Fort Myers River District (fortmyersartwalk.com) between 6pm and 10pm.
You can ‘meet the artists’ at most of the art galleries and enjoy live demonstrations too.
● Tickets £18 per adult.
Once a private 200-acre farm owned by Japanese immigrant and pineapple farmer Sukjei ‘George’ Morikami is now one of Florida’s most prized gardens (morikami.org), after Morikami donated his farm land to Palm Beach County in 1973.
A showcase for Japanese culture, wander along its pine-lined nature trails past bamboo forests and koi-filled ponds, and visit different Japanese gardens.
Don’t miss the world-famous bonsai garden and museum with more than 5,000 antiques, objects and works of fine art.
● Tickets £11 per adult/£6.70 per child.
Inside Hemingway’s home
Experience a bygone era with a visit to historic St Augustine in northeastern Florida.
Founded in 1565, it is the oldest continually inhabited European-established city in the United States.
Admire the Spanish colonial-era buildings that line pedestrianised St George Street, pausing for a breakfast burrito at the popular Bunnery Bakery & Cafe.
Later, sign up for a guided tour of Flagler College (legacy.fl agler.edu), a couple of streets away, which was built by Henry Flagler in 1887 and was once the very exclusive Ponce de León Hotel.
Marvel at its magnificent dining hall’s elaborate domed ceiling and million-dollar Tiffany stained-glass windows – where presidents and royalty have feasted.
● Tickets £7 per adult/75p per child.
Chill on Fort Myers Beach
Virgin Holidays (0344 557 3870/virginholidays.co.uk) offers seven nights at Red Lion Hotel Orlando Kissimmee for £535, (two sharing), room only.
Price includes return flights from Manchester to Orlando and car hire.
Departs January 25. Orlando tourism: visitorlando.com
Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 16:50:00 +0000