The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized Jacksonville Beach's Casa Marina hotel as one of America's prestigious historic hotels. The hotel dates back to the land boom and Roaring '20s, when such glamorous and notorious figures as Charlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow and Al Capone came to stay. The Spanish Mediterranean-style hotel has 25 newly decorated bedroom and parlor suites and a lineup of themed events this year. First on the calendar, For Women Only Pajama Parties, a networking event geared to the executive woman. One was in January; another is this month.
Key West Escapes
Tim Henshaw, owner of Historic Hideaways in Key West, can help locate a private, turn-of-the-century home in Key West's historic district to rent for a week or an entire season. His website, www.historichideaways.com, features photos of some old beauties like the Kemp House, a three-bedroom home in Old Town, or the pricier five-bedroom/four-bath estate Paradise Grand, which rents for $7,000 a week. Henshaw also has one- to two-bedroom homes for $1,800 a week. Going Local
Visit Florida is planning a promotion called "Downtowns & Small Towns" to help visitors and residents alike discover out-of-the-way getaways with local punch and cultural appeal. "Visitors always want to go where the locals go," says Kerri Post, vice president of product development. They're also interested in smaller venues with a sense of place, some culture and vibrancy, but those not necessarily in the traditional guidebooks, she says. The state's tourism arm will roll out the program next month. Who: Michele Vaught
Where: St. George Island or St. Joe's Peninsula State Park
Why: For the beaches
Who: Barry Pitegoff, VP, research
Where: St. Petersburg
Why: The art museums, the local restaurants
and the great unique bookstore, Haslam's
Who: Chris Thompson, EVP, strategic planning
Where: St. Augustine/Crescent Beach
Why: To cruise the Matanzas River, take a stroll through the quaint old town, meander through the shops and sample the cuisine at local restaurants
Who: Betsy Couch, public relations representative
Where: St. George Island in the winter
Why: You can walk for miles on beautiful unspoiled beaches then visit the quaint, artsy town of Apalachicola for fresh oysters.