Gulf Coast Gems

Colorful Spanish influenced buildings overlooking the water in tropical Naples Florida .

Colorful Spanish influenced buildings overlooking the water in tropical Naples Florida.

Naples, Florida
Upscale Naples is located on the Gulf in southwest Florida. Well known for its high-end shopping, world-class culture and sophisticated dining, it’s also an affordable family destination that appeals to those looking to spend time in nature or at the beach. Numerous art galleries and chic clothing boutiques dot the area of Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South.

 

 

Panama City Beach, Florida, view of Front Beach Road at sunrise

Panama City Beach, Florida, view of Front Beach Road at sunrise

Panama City, Florida
This is pure undiscovered Florida. Check out 27 miles of signature white sand beaches and an abundance of natural environments to explore. Two state parks means plenty to discover and cruises, boating, fishing, diving and snorkeling, skim boarding, surfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing and parasailing leave outdoor aquatic adventurers wanting for nothing. There’s also Pier Park, a 900,000 square foot shopping center and entertainment hub located in the heart of the city.

Buildings in New Orleans’ French Quarter with ornate lush garden terraces.

Buildings in New Orleans’ French Quarter with ornate lush garden terraces.

New Orleans, Louisiana
This southern city is in a league of its own in terms of character. The historical influences from French colonists, the Spanish empire, Caribbean emigrants and slaves from Africa are apparent as you wander the quaint streets. Watch out for a jazz funeral parade that could pop up anywhere. Explore voodoo shops, art galleries, and of course, drinking establishments in the French Quarter, or grab a world-famous beignet at Café Du Monde.

Galveston, USA - January 10, 2016: Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park and beach on the Gulf of Mexico coast in Galveston, Texas.

Galveston, USA – January 10, 2016: Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park and beach on the Gulf of Mexico coast in Galveston, Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galveston, Texas
Beach season is almost year round in Galveston and they’ve got a great one in East Beach, featuring a boardwalk, live music and concessions. Relax at Moody Gardens, with 242 acres of botanical gardens, or take a trip back in time at the Lone Star Flight Museum, featuring vintage warplanes of a bygone era. If museums are your thing, there’s also the Ocean Star Oil Rig Museum, the only one of its kind.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. His favorite RTX destinations are on the beach: Orange Beach, Alabama, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. .

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