Going Coastal

Oktoberfest, The World’s Largest Beer Festival


Oktoberfest is known as the largest Volksfest (people's fair) in the World. Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, Oktoberfest runs for 16 days with the last day being the first Sunday in October. However, if day 16 falls before October 3 (German Unity Day), then the festival will continue until the third. Since its beginning, Oktoberfest has not been celebrated 24 times, mostly due to war.

Grito Fest 2017, Celebrating Hispanic Culture in Baytown, TX


The 12th Annual Grito Fest celebrates Hispanic heritage at Baytown’s Bicentennial Park (1001 Market Street) on Saturday, October 7. Grito Fest is a free family-friendly outdoor festival featuring live music from Mariachi Perla Tapatia, followed by H.O.L.A. Ballet Folklorico and Grupo Alcanzable leading to the headliner, Fito Olivares. In addition to the music, there will be mariachis, kid’s activities, contests, food and craft vendors and more.

Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
Creativity for All Ages


The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is designed to encourage creative thinking and Southwest Florida’s first museum devoted for children from birth to 14 years old and families to learn through play. Throughout the day special activities encourage guests to get involved, try something new and be energized.

Ship Island, Mississippi, Short Ride for a Relaxing Day


The Gulf Island National Seashore maintains East Ship Island and West Ship Island, collectively known as “Ship Island,” off the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  Ship Island, approximately seven miles long, is the property of the State of Mississippi. In 1969, Hurricane Camille’s tidal surge cut Ship Island into two distinct islands: East Ship Island and West Ship Island. West Ship Island is a tourist attraction with fishing, swimming, wildlife viewing and tours of Fort Massachusetts. Ship Island Excursions provides the 12-mile round-trip boat rides to West Island from Gulfport, Mississippi from March to October.

Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg’s Hidden Gem


The Sunken Gardens operated by the City of St. Petersburg since 1998 is four downtown acres of well-manicured botanical gardens. The Gardens began in 1903 when plumber and gardener George Turner, Sr. purchased the acreage, including a 10-foot below sea level lake, which he drained to form his private sunken garden. George planted papayas, citrus fruits and other exotic plants in the “sunken” gardens.  Soon, George opened a nursery and began selling fruits, vegetables, roses and other plants.  Visitors to the gardens also began to pay a nickel to stroll through the gardens (increased to 25 cents 15 years later in 1935). In 2002, the Sunken Gardens was added to the National Register of Historic places.


Marine Laboratory and Aquarium


Founded by Dr. Eugenie Clark in 1955 in Placida, Florida, the Marine Laboratory and Aquarium (Mote) was known as Cape Haze Marine Laboratory until its 1967 renaming in honor of major benefactors of the laboratory William R. Mote, his wife Lenore, and his sister, Betty Mote Rose. Mote's early research was focused on sharks. Since 1960, Mote has been based in Sarasota, Florida, and has been located on City Island since 1978.

Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Dauphin Island Park and Beach, Alabama


The Audubon Bird Sanctuary rests on over 135 acres of maritime forest, marshes, dunes, a lake, swamp and beach. Multiple walking trails, some handicapped accessible, allow the avid birder miles of habitat for spotting neo-tropical migrants.  Recently, the 3-mile trail system within the Sanctuary has been designated as a National Recreational Trail. It is located at the Eastern end of Dauphin Island, a 14-mile-long barrier island situated off the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Dauphin Island has been named one of the top four locations in North America for viewing spring migrations. The Bird Sanctuary has allowed Dauphin Island to be recognized by the National Audubon Society as being “Globally Important” for bird migrations.

Heritage Park, Cultural Center in Downtown Corpus Christi


The Heritage Park in Corpus Christi is home to the city’s Cultural Center consisting of 12 historical Corpus Christi homes, many with state historic designations and all of them restored. The oldest among them dates to 1851, the Britton-Evans Centennial House, considered the finest example of surviving masonry classical revival architecture on the Texas Gulf Coast. The park and its homes serve as a tribute to the ethnic diversity and culture of the area.

Texas Maritime Museum, The “Official” Maritime Museum of Texas


Texas Maritime Museum was “born” in the late 1970’s at the Rockport Seafair Festival when boating enthusiasts exhibited their personal collections of motors, fishing equipment and mounted fish. The Museum opened July 1, 1989 with the express purpose of offering a variety of experiences for all ages to recount Texas maritime history.

Henry B. Plant Museum
Step Back in Time at the Tampa Bay Hotel


The Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Victorian railroad six-acre resort with 511 rooms that defined the elegant frontier, now a National Historic Landmark. The grounds of the hotel spanned 150 acres. Unlike most museums dedicated to lifestyles of the past, it contains the actual furnishings enjoyed by the first guests to visit here. The Museum accurately reflects the opulence of turn-of-the-century America and the vision of American transportation pioneer, Henry B. Plant.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home, An Oasis of Flowers


Bellingrath Gardens and Home will celebrate their annual Fall Outdoor Cascading Chrysanthemums November 4 – 30 in Theodore, AL (Mobile suburb). “Mum’s the word” at Bellingrath with the nation’s largest outdoor display of the signature blooms of the season.

Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library

Honoring the American Military


The Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library (SWFMM) in Cape Coral, Florida exists to honor American soldiers, preserve military history and to educate our upcoming generation in the true meaning of military service and sacrifice.


Museum exhibits portray military service from the War for Independence to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with military souvenirs, hats, apparel, and unique items. There are over 4,000 military nonfiction books, manuals and yearbooks in the library. The kids will enjoy the model airplane collection.