Florida's 500th Birthday: Celebrate By Vacationing With Us on the Gulf Coast!

April 2013 marks the 500th birthday of Florida, so why not celebrate with us by vacationing here on the Gulf Coast? It was on April 2, 1513 that Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de
Leon became the first European to exploHappy Birthday Floridare the land he called La Florida, though the Native Americans had lived here for centuries. Five centuries later, it's not surprising that many people still come to explore the beauty and diversity of Florida with its historic sites, maritime heritage, gardens, parks, trails, beaches, amusements, attractions and more.

Locally on the Gulf Coast, you can learn more about this area's history and development over time by visiting some of the museums and historic sites. The Indian Rocks Historic Museum is currently nearing the end of its renovations. The museum is reopening on Saturday, June 29 to coincide with the anniversary of the city's founding. The museum brings the history of Indian Rocks Beach to life with new displays and exhibits. You can read about the Indian Rocks Historic Museum's progress and upcoming events here.

Heritage Village is located in the heart of Florida's Pinellas County and offers a 21-acre living history museum with more than 28 historic structures, exhibits, native plant trail, interactive festivals and special events, shopping and more. This year HeritageViva Florida 500 Village marks the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's arrival by housing special exhibits beginning on May 1 and continuing through the end of the year. A feature exhibit entitled "For God and Gold" features reproduction weapons, nautical items, clothing, camp, gear, religious items, and everyday objects from life during the ocean crossing to the colonization of Spanish Florida.

The Sunshine State is hosting half-of-a-millennium celebrations, festivals and special events all year long. Visit the Viva Florida 500 website for comprehensive information on all that's going on statewide. For the Gulf Coast, you can find a list of Viva Florida 500 events in Pinellas County that are scheduled locally.

In addition to Florida's rich and diverse history, there are many other reasons why vacationers choose to return here year after year. The silvery sand beaches, the warm and soothing Gulf of Mexico waters, the swaying palm trees, the brilliant blue skies, and the overall relaxing coastal ambiance are all part of a Florida Gulf Coast vacation. Not to mention the opportunities and proximity to great attractions, amusements, shopping, dining, recreaGulf Coast Viewtion and so much more. Have we convinced you to plan your Gulf Coast beach vacation this year? We hope so!

The first step in planning your Gulf beach vacation is perusing the Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores vacation Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores vacation rentalsrentals and choosing the ideal accommodations for your stay here. From there, you're well on your way to a beach vacation. We look forward to celebrating with you this year. Happy birthday, Florida!

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