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See Page 24


Life is Better at the Edge!

SANFORD

S

Our 10th floor rooftop venue, Jimmy’s on the Edge, allows you Ji to soak up the sites of Clearwater Beach Island and to enjoy your Be favorite beverage or savor one fa of our many culinary delights. 505 S. Gulfview Blvd. | Clearwater ter Beach, FL 33767 | 727-281- 3100 00 Email: reservation@edgehotelclearwaterbeach.com

SP88532 SP88532

urrounded by the crystal blue waters of Clearwater Beach, Edge Hotel blends the natural beauty of Florida’s Gulf Coast with premium comforts, and warm and personalized service. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the worldrenown sugar sands of Clearwater Beach, which are only a short stroll away. Or stay at ‘home’ sipping tropical cocktails at Edge Pool Bar followed by a memorable dinner at 505 at the Edge restaurant adjacent to our famous edge pool overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.


CONTENTS

8 HIP AND HAPPENING JACKSONVILLE, FLA. DISCOVER FLORIDA’S YOUNGEST CITY

Jacksonville, Florida, offers an exciting and enticing blend of art, nature and sports. Fondly known as JAX, this bustling city is the ideal place to experience a new side of Florida. Escape the ordinary and relax in nature’s playground, surrounded by a modern and diversified city with a burgeoning urban scene, world-class art galleries and museums, and sporting action galore. Connect with nature, dine at trendy restaurants and see a game—downtown Jacksonville is Northeast Florida’s hip urban hub and a must-see destination for Allegiant travelers. For more information on this dynamic and dazzling city, go to visitjacksonville.com.

FEATURES

19

13 Cover photo and lead table of contents photo by Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville

RISE AND SHINE

6

35

FAMILY FUN IN PUNTA GORDA

CALENDAR OF EVENTS A Sampling of Florida Events

11 SUNSEEKER’S TOP 5 Jacksonville’s Best Craft Cocktails 15 BITES OF HISTORY, TASTY TREATS Sanford Food Trucks 16 LEGOLAND FLORIDA RESORT Where Kids Take the Lead ®

20 PUNTA GORDA’S BEST CYCLING TRAILS Explore the Outdoors on Routes Fit for the Whole Family 23 BLOODY MARY’S WITH A ZING The Classic Cocktail Punta Gorda/ Englewood Beach Style 26 CRUISING THE WATERS Along the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

58 ROUTE MAP

TOP 5 PLACES TO EAT STEAK IN CLEARWATER

53 DESTIN, FLORIDA

29 SOUTHWEST FLORIDA ALE TRAIL Explore the Region’s Best Craft Breweries

45 GOLF FORE YOU Choice Links in St. Pete/ Clearwater

31 VIBRANT VENICE, FLA. A Perfect Slice of Paradise

47 CRAFTY LIBATIONS Where to enjoy a Delicious Cocktail in St. Pete

32 ROMANTIC DINING IN THE BRADENTON AREA Restaurants Sure to Set the Mood for Romance 37 PIZZA, PIZZA This Classic Comfort Food on Clearwater Beach 38 LET’S EAT LOBSTER! Savor This Delicious Crustacean Clearwater Beach-Style 40 SPA ESCAPE Make Time to be Pampered on Clearwater Beach

49 HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS Enjoy Christmas Celebrations in St. Pete/Clearwater 51 BUY ONBOARD 55 ALLEGIANT TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Natalie Gillespie, Customer Service and Ground Operations Agent 57 MAKE-A-WISH Chris's Inspiration 61 COMBO FEATURE

42 AQUARIUM HAT TRICK Three Clearwater Area Aquariums Entertain Swimmingly

62 FOOD & DRINKS


A NEW LOOK AT THE BEACH THE GRAND VIEW FROM ONE OF THE BEST BEACHES IN AMERICA Welcome to the new Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach! Offering 343 guestrooms, come experience one of America’s Best Beaches, as rated by Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards, with views of the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway. Indulge in the tranquil Pallavi Spa or enjoy waterfront dining at our signature restaurant, Ocean Hai, the only Asian-fusion cuisine on Clearwater Beach. Make your reservation today at WyndhamGrandClearwater.com or call us at 727-281-9536, referencing rate code HTBB20. Rates start at $199 per night.

LIFE IS GRAND WYNDHAM.COM | 888-997-7088


WELCOME ABOARD PUBLISHER

Allegiant Travel Company

CEO/CHAIRMAN

Welcome aboard and thank you for choosing Allegiant.

PUBLICATION MANAGER

The holidays are always an amazing time to travel. Whether visiting family or friends, taking the kids to their favorite theme park in Orlando or looking to relax under the sun, we’re proud to play a role in making these trips possible.

Maurice J. Gallagher Robyn Davies

EDITOR

Gabriele Walkow

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Connor ​McIIveen Justin Ralenkotter Heather Turk

WRITERS

Heather Turk, Nancy Foster, Gabriele Walkow, Chelle Koster Walton, Allison Yates, Auriyon Butler, Kerry McGee, Christopher Lewis, and Stacey Zable

PRODUCTION/DESIGN 702West.com

PHOTO CREDITS

Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville, visitstpeteclearwater. com, HarborWalk Village, I Love Cocoa Beach, Sarasota Ballet, Genius Productions, Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, Sandra Chambers, Candy Apple Café & Cocktails, Nathaniel Russell, Bradford Plummer, Benevolence Photography, Sanford Food Tours, Chip Litherland LOCK+LAND for LEGOLAND Florida Resort, PureFlorida.com, Aurora Creative Media, Bisque It Studio, Jennifer Huber, Sam Damico, Brandi Barron, Zeke’s Uptown Bar & Grill, Adventures in Paradise, fortmyersboattour.com, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, Southwest Florida Ale Trail, visitsarasota.com, Beach Bistro, Brooke Thompson/courtesy of Euphemia Haye Restaurant, Wayne Cathel/Belleair Images, Bascom’s Chop House, Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, Opal Collection, Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key, Elena Sioutis, Greek Pizza of Gondolier Pizza Clearwater, Salt Cracker Fish Camp, SHOR American Seafood Grill, Frenchy’s Restaurants, Attic Fire, Opal Sands, Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach, The Florida Aquarium, Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Nicols Pecori, Alan Boatright, Florida Botanical Gardens, Make-A-Wish, Linda Pauling, Frank Shankwitz, Best Western Fort Walton Beach

FOR ADVERTISING SALES INFORMATION: Shaun McIlveen shaun@smmediasales.com 702.898.9239 or 702.897.9287 Allegiant Travel Company 1201 N. Town Center Drive Las Vegas, NV 89144 702.505.8888

The Sunseeker guide is owned and published by Allegiant Travel Company. Statements, opinions and points of view expressed by the writers and advertisers are their own and do not necessarily represent those of Allegiant. Allegiant is not responsible for incorrect pricing or information.

This fall, we're excited to begin flights on more than 30 new routes, including new nonstop destinations from Punta Gorda, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando / Sanford. These new flights will offer even more travelers across the country access to Allegiant’s ultra-low fares and nonstop flights. Let Sunseeker be your guide to the latest in local deals and tips on the hottest spots to visit in our destinations. Read about the most romantic dining spots in the Bradenton area on page 32. Check out what to do with the family on the beaches of Punta Gorda and Englewood on page 19. See our list of the top five steakhouses in the Clearwater area on page 35. Finally, read what new and exciting attractions are at LEGOLAND® on page 16. As always, we hope you take advantage of the convenience and great deals we offer on our nonstop flights, hotels, car rentals and more to make your trip a great one. Thanks again for choosing Allegiant and have a great vacation.

Maurice J. Gallagher

CEO/Chairman Allegiant Travel Company


DESTINATION

FLORIDA

CLEARWATER BEACH UNCORKED

UPCOMING EVENTS DECEMBER

Don't miss this fabulous tour of Sanford homes on Dec. 2 during the 29th annual Holiday Tour of Homes from 1-9 p.m., with photo stops and points of interest throughout the city. sanfordhistorictrust.wildapricot.org/Holiday-Tour-of-Homes DESTIN HOLIDAY BOAT PARADE

Touted as the hippest beachfront gastronomic event on Florida’s West Coast, Clearwater Beach Uncorked, Dec. 2 and 3, is your ticket to unwind and wiggle your toes in the award-winning sand while savoring fine fare and wonderful wines. Celebrating six delicious years on Clearwater Beach, this is a not-to-be-missed event! clearwaterbeachuncorked.com/2017 Punta Gorda’s Christmas Light Canal Cruises have been a tradition for more than 30 years with King Fisher Fleet boat cruises running nightly from Dec. 2-31. Visitors can enjoy the warm display of Christmas spirit on a tour of the Punta Gorda canals, decked with spectacular holiday illuminations, displays and decorations along homes, boats, seawalls and docks. kingfisherfleet.com/cruises-christmas Don’t miss downtown Sanford's Holiday Parade of Lights on Dec. 9 from 6-8 p.m. This is the brightest and biggest parade in Central Florida! sanfordfl.gov

SKYDIVING SANTAS

Charlotte County Chamber’s 39th Annual Christmas Parade begins in Punta Gorda at noon on Dec. 9. This year’s theme is “Holiday Happiness.” View floats, marching bands, civic organizations and, of course, Santa Claus. charlottecountychamber.org/event/charlotte-county-chambers39th-annual-christmas-parade Line the docks of Destin Harbor on Dec. 10 for the annual Destin Holiday Boat Parade. Watch as the famous Destin fishing fleet, decked in twinkling holiday lights, parades through the harbor from 5-9 p.m., followed by fireworks. emeraldcoastfl.com Skydiving Santas will be dropping in at Cocoa Beach Pier on Dec. 16! Santas will be continuously skydiving over the pier providing fun holiday-themed family entertainment. This unique holiday celebration is free to the public. cocoabeachpier.com

SARASOTA BALLET "CIRCUS NUTCRACKER" 8

EVENTS

Run away to the circus this Dec. 16 and 17 during the Sarasota Ballet "Circus Nutcracker". Continuing Sarasota’s circus tradition and bringing the spirit of the holidays to all, "John Ringling’s

Photo of Clearwater Beach courtesy visitstpeteclearwater.com; Boat Parade courtesy of HarborWalk Village; Skydiving Santas by I Love Cocoa Beach; Ballet courtesy of the Sarasota Ballet

Enjoy a Holiday Stroll and Tree Lighting on Dec. 1 when the holiday lights of downtown Fort Myers and the River District come alive for an evening of holiday spirit. View tree and street lightings, live musical performances, great holiday sales and even a festive horse and carriage! fortmyers-sanibel.com


Circus Nutcracker" will enchant audiences of all ages. sarasotaballet.org/events/john-ringlings-circus-nutcracker

DaVinci & Michelangelo courtesy of Genius Productions – Producer; Seafood and Music Festival courtesy of the Sarasota Seafood and Music Festival; Art Fort Lauderdale and Pegasus statue courtesy of the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB

DaVinci & Michelangelo: The Titans Experience—in this "tour de force" performance, taking place at Bradenton’s Manatee Performance Arts Center, Mark Rodgers, Curator of the DaVinci Machines and Michelangelo Exhibitions for North America, will take the audience on a fantastic, aweinspiring journey through the Italian Renaissance as seen through the eyes of these two monumental geniuses. The four performances are: Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 29 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 30 at 2 and 8 p.m. discoverdavinci.com/ theperformance New Year’s Eve Downtown Countdown is Southwest Florida’s best New Year’s Eve Celebration, which kicks off at 8 p.m. in downtown Fort Myers. Enjoy live bands, vendors, great food and family fun throughout the evening with fireworks over the river and the Ball Drop at midnight. fortmyers-sanibel.com

DAVINCI & MICHELANGELO: THE TITANS EXPERIENCE

Inspiration lives at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The visitor complex is extending complimentary admission to all 5th graders, or students ages 10-11, until the end of the year to help encourage the next generation of space explorers to learn that their possibilities are limitless. kennedyspacecenter.com

JANUARY During Tarpon Springs Epiphany from Jan. 5-8, the city of Tarpon Springs celebrates with dances, picnics and theatrical plays. spongedocks.net/tarpon-springs-epiphany.htm

SARASOTA SEAFOOD AND MUSIC FESTIVAL

Dressing Downtown, Changing Fashion for Changing Times at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine features an exhibition of 36 costumes and accessories from the popular PBS mini-series "Downton Abbey" until Jan. 7. dressingdownton.com/tour With world-class cuisine, remarkable visual art and an extraordinary lineup of live entertainment, the Epcot® International Festival of the Arts returns for its second sensational year at Walt Disney World® Resort Jan. 12-Feb. 19. disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcotinternational-festival-of-the-arts Join the Game of Kings Jan. 7-April 8 during the Sarasota Polo season. sarasotapolo.com. Amelia Island Restaurant Week, one of the most anticipated events on the island, runs Jan. 19-28. Savory prix-fixe menus will be offered for both lunch and dinner. restaurantweek.ameliaisland.com

ART FORT LAUDERDALE

The Sarasota Seafood and Music Festival is a unique blending of food, music and visual entertainment Jan. 20-21. Savor delectable seafood creations, meat and vegetarian menu items and delicious drinks combined with outstanding musical performances. General admission is free. seafoodfestivals.com Art Fort Lauderdale, Jan. 25-28, is a four-day curated art fair transporting attendees on a journey along the famed Intracoastal Waterway via water taxi and private yacht. Stop at vacant multimillion-dollar waterfront properties that feature artists and galleries exhibiting various styles and methods of art reflecting the past, present and future. artftlauderdale.com The Pegasus World Cup Jan. 27 offers the largest purse thoroughbred horse race in the world ($16 million) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. pegasusworldcup.com PEGASUS WORLD CUP STATUE

EVENTS

9


DESTINATION

JACKSONVILLE

The glittering downtown Jacksonville skyline

HIP AND HAPPENING JACKSONVILLE, FLA. DISCOVER FLORIDA’S YOUNGEST CITY By Gabriele Walkow

F

ondly known as JAX, this city of art, nature and sport is the perfect destination for Allegiant travelers. Offering 1,100 miles of shoreline and 80,000 acres of parks and trails, world-class art and museums, and numerous top sporting venues and events, Jacksonville is the ideal place to experience a new side of Florida. Located where the St. Johns River meets the Atlantic Ocean—creating abundant waterways, parks and ecological preserves—escape the ordinary and relax in nature’s playground, surrounded by a modern and diversified city. Home to amazing architecture and unique historic districts, museums and music venues, breweries, bars and classy dining, picturesque street art and a vibrant nightlife scene, downtown Jacksonville is Northeast Florida’s hip urban hub, and a must-see destination for visitors.

Then, discover JAX’s burgeoning city scene. For a trendy downtown lunch, visit the new, casual restaurant Bellwether, where timeless American fare takes a modern turn with such unique menu items as their Dill Pickle Brined Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich. Or sample some fare from one of the colorful food trucks before wandering over to Daily’s Place. JAX’s new performance and event center is connected to the south end of EverBank Field football stadium. This outdoor amphitheater is home to some rockin’ concerts! Jacksonville has consistently been ranked as one of the Top 25 Big Cities for Arts in the nation. For history and art buffs, downtown world-class museums include the Ritz Theatre & Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and the Museum of Science & History. The Jacksonville Aviation History Museum has also recently opened at the Jacksonville International Airport.

The downtown Northbank and Southbank Riverwalks, with stunning views of the JAX skyline, are perfect for a stroll or a jog. For an exciting combination of waterfront dining, shopping and entertainment, explore The Jacksonville Landing, nestled along the beautiful St. Johns River.

Want to connect with nature and have a green adventure? With Jacksonville’s 400 city parks, seven state parks and two national parks, visitors can enjoy peaceful riverfront views, kayaking the marshes and wetlands, biking miles of nature

Enjoy an evening out with friends in trendy Jacksonville!

Kayaking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in JAX

10

COVER STORY


trails, paddleboarding in freshwater lagoons, surfing the best waves in the region, fishing yearround and viewing local wildlife. Boasting the largest shoreline of any city in Florida, prepare for relaxing beach time! Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Hanna Park, Huguenot Memorial Park, and Little Talbot and Big Talbot Islands are some of the area’s most spectacular and popular beaches for sunbathing, swimming, surfing and playing in the warm waters with cool watersports rentals. Most of the area beaches also offer great dining and shopping experiences. In Atlantic Beach, quench your thirst at Atlantic Beach Brewing Company. Visit Craft Pizza Co. for a delectable lunch or dinner in Neptune Beach. Be sure to stop by one of Jacksonville Beach’s oldest microbreweries, Green Room Brewing, and visit the new Surfer The Bar.

All photos by Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville

Jacksonville’s sports scene is a must for any sports enthusiast! From NFL and college football and minor league baseball to basketball, professional surfing, competitive fishing, golf and soccer, Jacksonville has it all. The Sports Complex in downtown JAX is home to EverBank Field, voted one of the Top Fan Experiences in the NFL, with two swimming pools, cabanas, live DJs, VIP Suites and exciting food options. The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, the two other premier sporting venues in the city, are also part of the Sports Complex.

Festival, Welcome to Rockville, Springing the Blues Festival, and newcomers Florida Oktoberfest and Music Festival and ArtRepublic capture the attention of thousands of visitors. In December, thousands of LED lights transform the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes and more on December 8-10 and December 15-January 6, 2018. Dozens of boats decorated with festive holiday lights parade down the St. Johns River on December 30 for the Jacksonville Light Boat Parade. End the year with an enormous celebration that includes live music, vendors and a fantastic riverfront fireworks show in downtown Jacksonville on December 31. For more information on this dynamic and dazzling city, go to visitjacksonville.com.

Jacksonville Beach has countless attractions and activities

Exciting news for JAX fans: the Jacksonville Icemen, a minor league ice hockey team in the East Coast Hockey League, began play on October 14, 2017, and will continue regular season play until April 7, 2018. The team will play its home games at Veterans Memorial Arena. Topgolf, a sprawling entertainment center with a high-tech driving range and swanky lounge, has also arrived in Jacksonville, on the Southside of the city. Home to a rich musical history, JAX is a city of fabulous festivals. The annual Jacksonville Jazz

Jacksonville is home to more than 100 food trucks COVER STORY

11


DESTINATION

JACKSONVILLE

SUNSEEKER TOP 5!

The Dusty Boot cocktail at Black Sheep Restaurant

SUNSEEKER'S TOP 5 JACKSONVILLE’S BEST CRAFT COCKTAILS

Photo of Dusty Boot cocktail, Spicy Watermelon Margarita and The Key Lime Martini by Sandra Chambers; Bourbon S'mores cocktail courtesy of Candy Apple Café & Cocktails

By Sandra Chambers

B

oasting Florida’s youngest population, Jacksonsville’s nightlife and happy hour scene is off the charts. Some of the best craft cocktails are stirred up here using locally grown ingredients, handmade syrups and unique flavor combinations. SUNSEEKER’S TOP 5 CRAFT COCKTAIL PICKS WILL HELP YOU QUENCH YOUR THIRST! BLACK SHEEP RESTAURANT. Try the Dusty Boot (Buffalo Trace bourbon, simple syrup, lemon and lime juices, Jerry Thomas bitters, with a smoked sea salt and cracked black pepper rim). With a daily happy hour as well as Sunday brunch, it’s a trendy spot for local professionals. Located in the Five Points District in Riverside. blacksheep5points.com

Blind Rabbit’s Old City Spicy Watermelon Margarita

MOXIE KITCHEN + COCKTAILS. Enjoy a Sure Thing cocktail (Tito’s Vodka, Crème Yvette, pear shrub, orange and peach bitters and lemon) as you relax on their outdoor patio. Sample unique appetizers such as Deviled Farm Eggs served four ways, Cheddar Biscuit Tots or Smoked Trout Spread. Located in the Markets at Town Center in Southside. moxiefl.com BLIND RABBIT. Add some heat to a chilly evening with an Old City Spicy Watermelon Margarita (Herradura Silver Tequila, Cointreau, watermelon purée, datil peppers and lime). With an all-day happy hour from Monday to Wednesday, 18 taps of craft beers, gourmet burgers and a Sunday brunch with bottomless Mimosas, it’s a win-win! Enjoy two locations—in Riverside and at Jacksonville Beach. theblindrabbitwhiskeybar.com

The Key Lime Martini at Casa Marina's Penthouse Lounge

CASA MARINA’S PENTHOUSE LOUNGE. Feel the ocean breeze from the 4th floor of this historic beachfront hotel (circa 1925). Try the Key Lime Martini (Stoli Vanilla Vodka, Licor 43 and fresh lime juice with a splash of cream). You almost feel as though you’re entering a 1920s speakeasy as you climb from the second floor of the hotel to the Penthouse Lounge. casamarinahotel.com CANDY APPLE CAFÉ & COCKTAILS. Downtown’s sweetest happy hour can be found here. Their craft candy cocktail of the week is always $8 during happy hour. If you’re a chocolate lover, go for the Bourbon S’mores cocktail (house-made chocolate infused with Four Roses Bourbon, Kahlua, Kerrygold Irish Cream, milk, demerara syrup and marshmallow fluff). candyapplecafeandcocktails.com

The Bourbon S'mores cocktail at Candy Apple Café & Cocktails NORTHEAST FLORIDA

13


Enjoy WINTER On The Water

Private Cabanas, Kayaks, Canoes, Paddle Boards, Craft Beer & Wine, Food Truck, Live Music and Lots of Events.

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

1014 Miami Springs Drive Longwood, FL 32779

wekivaisland.com

400 S. Sanford Avenue Sanford Florida 32771 | 407-732-6419 www.sanfordbrewing.com

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Award Winning Art Studios | Charming Restaurant | Pubs | Unique Shops Alive After 5 | Mayfair County Club | Paw Park | Farmers Market | Sanford Museum Riverwalk | The Central Florida Zoo | Performing Art Theaters Seminole Towne Center Mall | Seminole State College | Buehler Planetarium


DESTINATION

SANFORD

The Tennessee Truffle’s Bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit is a guest favorite

RISE AND SHINE POPULAR BREAKFAST/BRUNCH SPOTS IN SANFORD By Heather Turk

I

t’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that’s especially true when you’re on vacation–even if you’re a bit late to rise after an eventful night on the town. Luckily, Allegiant travelers heading to Sanford will find plenty of mouthwatering breakfast and brunch spots so they can fuel up for the fun-filled day ahead.

COLONIAL ROOM

Photo of breakfast biscuit by Nathaniel Russell; mimosa and breakfast sandwich by Bradford Plummer

The oldest restaurant in downtown Sanford, this local institution will celebrate its 40th anniversary on December 1. Known for its savory comfort food, guests can enjoy breakfast and brunch daily as well as a bountiful buffet every Sunday from 7 a.m. until noon. À la

carte highlights include the Sausage Gravy on Biscuit or Toast for breakfast and the Fried Green Tomato BLT for brunch. Customers also frequently rave about the restaurant’s omelettes. The Sunday buffet, meanwhile, features a variety of all-you-can-eat breakfast and brunch items, including home fries and fried fish. Be sure to grab a seat on the quaint patio so you can soak up some of the morning sun. facebook.com/colonialroomrst

THE DISTRICT EATERY TAP & BARREL

One of Sanford’s newest brunch spots, this rustic eatery offers a Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. showcasing delicious interpretations of classic American fare. In addition to the restaurant’s signature Donut Breakfast Sandwich—sausage patties, cheddar cheese and two eggs sandwiched between a large, square, honey-glazed donut—guests will find several other palate-pleasing breakfast items on the menu. Try the beef tenderloin frittata and the challah bread French toast topped with sweet cream cheese and cinnamon. Diners can also enjoy all-you-candrink mimosas, made from orange, cranberry or pineapple juice, with their entrée for only $12. districtsanford.com

THE TENNESSEE TRUFFLE

The District Eatery Tap & Barrel’s signature Donut Breakfast Sandwich with all-you-can-drink mimosas

This Southern café originally opened as a pop-up in May 2016 and has quickly become a local favorite. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, guests can eat inside the restaurant or outside on its patio, while enjoying such early-morning must tries as the Bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit made with bacon that’s been cured for 15 days before being smoked. The Biscuits & Gravy, made with fresh-ground pork, toasted ground fennel seeds and fresh sage, is another must. Whatever you decide on, be sure to order a side of the Anson Mills Grits to go along with your meal—they’re delicious! facebook.com/thetennesseetruffle CENTRAL FLORIDA

15


DESTINATION

SANFORD

Sanford Food Tours is top rated on TripAdvisor

BITES OF HISTORY, TASTY EATS SANFORD FOOD TOURS By Gabriele Walkow

S

Photo of Sanford Food Tours courtesy of Benevolence Photography; s'mores and tasty eats courtesy of Sanford Food Tours

anford, Fla. is a feast for the senses, especially the taste buds! For a savory, culinary experience with the inside scoop on what’s going on in historic downtown Sanford, take the Sanford Walking Food & History Tour. Top rated on TripAdvisor, this three-hour walking tour offers a variety of tastes from around the globe, complemented by bites of Sanford history and lore. Enjoy generous, sample-sized portions of food with roots in the Deep South and Europe. Although tours vary from time-to-time, most feature biscuits and gravy, BBQ beef brisket, apple strudel and gourmet marshmallows from restaurants and shops offering unique confections and treats. Participants will also see live demonstrations and taste the finished product.

“Our food and walking tour is very much a participatory event,” said Steve Tishman, founder of Sanford Food Tours. ”At Magnolia Street Market visitors see a live demonstration, often on how an apple strudel is made, and then sample some delectable fare. Another stop is at Wondermade, where we make s’mores from their handcrafted marshmallows. The tour ends there with guests learning about the history of this flagship store and enjoying the s’mores they created." “What makes our tours so special is that we incorporate the restaurant’s chefs to share how the foods are prepared, and the proprietors are there to give the background and history of their restaurant, and each owner explains why they choose Sanford for their business and home.” This dovetails perfectly with the running history dialogue the tour guides offer, covering everything from the mid-1700s to an overview of what is currently happening in downtown Sanford, including the city’s revitalization and a look to the future.

Make yummy s'mores at Wondermade

“Of course, we try to cater to our audience, as sometimes we have a varied group,” continued Tishman. “And we always provide them with what they are looking for in terms of more or less historical information. Consequently, no two tours are ever going to be the same.” Tours, which run rain or shine, are available every Saturday at 11 a.m. year-round and reservations are required. Sanford Food Tours is a division of Limo Cycle Tours, a 15-passenger, pedal-powered tour bus available for private rentals and public tours.

Make new friends and savor tasty eats

For more information on bites of history complemented by tasty eats, visit sanfordfoodtours.com. CENTRAL FLORIDA

17


DESTINATION

WINTER HAVEN

Pose with your favorite LEGO® characters

LEGOLAND® FLORIDA RESORT WHERE KIDS TAKE THE LEAD By Gabriele Walkow

J

ump into family fun at colorful and action-packed LEGOLAND®, a 150acre, interactive theme park built for kids ages 2 to 12. Located in Winter Haven, Fla., welcome to the land where LEGO® comes to life and kids take control! Conveniently located just 45 minutes from both Orlando and Tampa, this vacation destination features more than 50 rides, shows and attractions inspired by the LEGO® and DUPLO® brands, including experiences based on "The LEGO Movie™", LEGO NINJAGO, LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS™, LEGO City, LEGO Technic and LEGO Friends.

Be sure to take in the festive fun of Christmas Bricktacular during select dates in December. Celebrating the season with a giant Christmas tree made of thousands of LEGO® and DUPLO® bricks, holiday-themed scavenger hunts, LEGO® building activities, sparkling lights, beautiful decorations, the occasional snow flurry and a fireworks spectacular choreographed to classic holiday music, this is an unforgettable event for the whole family. Kids' New Year's Party is the perfect way to ring in the New Year before bedtime. Come see the giant LEGO® brick drop at a very kid-friendly hour, move and groove at an exclusive dance party and wind down the year with LEGO-inspired fireworks—all before midnight. 18

CENTRAL FLORIDA

New for Spring 2018, The Great LEGO® Race will take guests for a ride on the wildest LEGO® race ever imagined, when cuttingedge virtual reality technology combines with roller coaster thrills in an exhilarating new attraction. The whimsical 152-room LEGOLAND Hotel and the all-new LEGOLAND Beach Retreat await to welcome guests. Restaurants, shopping and the seasonal LEGOLAND Water Park round out the experience. Built for kids, find out more at legoland.com/florida.

LEGO NINJAGO The Ride is a groundbreaking interactive ride

All photos by Chip Litherland, LOCK + LAND for LEGOLAND Florida Resort

LEGO NINJAGO World, which opened in 2017, is a magical, martial arts kingdom filled with several hands-on outdoor activities where kids are invited to "Become the Ninja." They can sharpen their ninja skills before the ultimate showdown on LEGO NINJAGO The Ride. This dazzling new attraction blends 3D computer animation, 4D effects and groundbreaking technology never seen outside of a LEGOLAND theme park!

New for January 2018 is the 4D film "LEGO® NINJAGO® – Master of the 4th Dimension", combining dazzling 3D computer animation with 4D real-world effects. The film offers guests the chance to go on an amazing new adventure with their favorite ninjas: Kai, Jay, Cole, Zane, Lloyd, Nya and Master Wu. January 13, 14, 15, 20 and 21, LEGO NINJAGO Days will feature LEGO® NINJAGO® meet-and-greet opportunities with Master Wu, Kai and Nya and movie-themed activities.


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BEST PRICED  WATERFRONT  Condos & Villas In Southwest Florida  Starting In The Mid $300's


DESTINATION

PUNTA GORDA

Search for shark teeth at Stump Pass Beach State Park

FAMILY FUN IN PUNTA GORDA/ENGLEWOOD BEACH KID-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY By Heather Turk

Photo of Stump Pass Beach State Park courtesy of pureflorida.com; go-karts courtesy of Aurora Creative Media; painting pottery courtesy of Bisque It Studio

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raveling with children in tow is always an adventure, but family-friendly destinations like Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach make the experience unforgettable for all the right reasons. This area boasts several activities adults can enjoy with their younger traveling companions, so the whole family can make lasting memories together.

GO WILD AT KIDSTAR PARK

Kids and kids at heart are sure to have a blast at this amusement attraction in Port Charlotte, which offers everything from adult and kid-sized go-kart tracks to a black-light miniature golf course with talking animatronics. There are also multiple arcades on site, a four-story Star Mountain play unit where younger tykes can

climb through tubes, ball pits and zip down slides, and a two-story indoor laser tag arena where adults can play with more realistic weapons similar to a real-life game of "Call of Duty." When it’s time to wind down, families can relax in reclining leather seats and watch the indoor “Liquid Fireworks” water show, which features water shooting up to 30 feet in the air while waltzing along and lighting up to a musical beat. kidstarpark.com

HUNT FOR SHARK TEETH AT STUMP PASS BEACH STATE PARK

The perfect Florida souvenir, snaggletooth, shortfin mako, sand tiger, lemon and bull shark teeth commonly wash ashore at this Englewood park during low tide. Visitors can walk along the lines of seaweed and shells pushed up onto the shoreline by the previous tide and sift through the shells looking for the small, black triangles. While visiting the park, families can also walk down its hiking/nature trail to observe wildlife or go fishing or snorkeling together. floridastateparks.org/park/stump-pass

TAP INTO YOUR ARTISTIC SIDE AT BISQUE IT STUDIO Parents and kids can go for a ride on Kidstar Park’s go-karts

Paint pottery pieces at Bisque It Studio

Offering a safe place for guests of all ages to creatively express themselves, this full-service creative working studio in Port Charlotte lets guests paint their own unglazed pottery piece. Visitors can choose from more than 300 different pieces, including a variety of piggy banks and figurines, as well as an assortment of stencils, stamps and sponges to help inspire their design. Pieces are then left at the studio to be glazed and put into the kiln, and can be picked up two to three days later or shipped back to the artist. Various other experiences are available as well, including glass fusing, wood painting and canvas painting. Classes are available for aspiring artists who want a little more instruction. bisqueitstudio.com SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

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DESTINATION

PUNTA GORDA

Rest in the shade of banyan trees on Boca Grande’s Bike Path

PUNTA GORDA’S BEST CYCLING TRAILS EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS ON THESE ROUTES FIT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY By Allison Yates

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HARBORWALK TRAIL

Punta Gorda’s Harborwalk Trail has long been a local favorite for those enamored with the breezy outdoors and calming sea views. Pick up free bikes at Laishley Marina or Fishermen’s Village and hit the 2.4-mile asphalt and boardwalk trail. Perfect for families with little ones, this flat route is not only a front row seat to a stunning sunset, but also features picnic areas, restrooms and fishing piers. Grab a bite at Fishermen’s Village to finish off a wonderful excursion.

CAPE HAZE PIONEER TRAIL

This 7.8-mile asphalt trail, originating on Gasparilla Road off SR 776, will get your heart pumping and more. Here, immerse yourself in the industrial history of the region. Before Cape Haze Pioneer Trail offered families a chance to spot iguanas, turtles and bald eagles, it functioned as a railroad. Dating back to 1907, it was used primarily to transport phosphate ore to Gasparilla Island to ship on commercial vessels. Cyclists on this flat path can learn about the remnants of development 22

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

that accompanied the railroad, including the Placida Bunk House and now destroyed McCall Section House.

BOCA GRANDE BIKE PATH

If you’re not worn out from the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail, continue on Gasparilla Road in Placida to the Boca Grande Bike Path, a 6-mile asphalt route leading to Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. Following the same railroad line, this route crosses over the Boca Grande Causeway, so bring cash to pay the toll fee ($3 per bike). Steeped in history, this leg of the railroad passes through wildlife viewing areas and ends in Gasparilla State Park. Stick around the area to snap a picture of the charming lighthouse and visit the regional history museum.

Rent free bikes at Fishermen’s Village before cycling the Harborwalk Trail

Cyclists are immersed in history on the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail

Photo of Boca Grande Bike Path and Harborwalk Trail by pureflorida.com; Cape Haze Pioneer Trail by Jennifer Huber

et in the mangrove and salt marsh landscape of Southwest Florida, Punta Gorda is home to some of the region’s most diverse ecosystems. With 18 miles of cycling paths linking commercial, residential and tourist areas, Punta Gorda is also one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States. Combine the two and you have trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels weaving through historic sites, natural paradises and lively restaurant districts. Or, grab the whole family, venture out of the city and soak up the magic of this region. Rent bikes through the state’s Free Bicycle Loaner Program at sites around the city or Acme Bicycle Shop. acmebicycleshop.com


There’s a million shells on the beach, but this one found her Some things in life are just meant to be, but we never slow down long enough to let them find us. When you vacation at Palm Island Resort, you will always be moving at the speed of discovery. Here, every moment is cherished with the ones you love—and even those you just met.

Plan your trip today: (800) 824-5412 • PalmIsland.com Cape Haze, Florida | Ownership opportunities available

Memories at the Speed of Old Florida

PEACE RIVER

botanical & sculpture

GARDENS CREATING A SANCTUARY

ART & NATURE OF

Now Open! Tues - Sun 10am-5pm PeaceRiverGardens.org

Peace River Wildlife Center

in beautiful Punta Gorda, Florida

Open Every Day for Tours 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. No Admission Fee

Donations Appreciated Ponce de Leon Park 3400 W. Marion Ave. Punta Gorda, FL 33950 941-637-3830

www.PeaceRiverWildlifeCenter.org


DESTINATION

PUNTA GORDA

Prime Serious Steak’s Sunday Burger Brunch and Bloody Mary Bar

BLOODY MARYS WITH A ZING THE CLASSIC COCKTAIL PUNTA GORDA/ ENGLEWOOD BEACH STYLE By Gabriele Walkow

Photo of Bloody Mary Bar by Sam Damico; TT's Tiki Bar's Bloody Mary by Brandi Barron; Zeke's Zesty Bloody Mary courtesy of Zeke’s Uptown Bar and Grill

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rom traditional ingredients such as vodka, Bloody Mary mix and a combination of spices and flavorings to garnishes galore, like blue cheese-stuffed olives and a rim of Old Bay, the Bloody Mary offerings in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach add a kick to the classic cocktail. Once a mandatory brunch selection, this savory concoction is now enjoyed any time of day as a cure for hangovers, a refreshing poolside beverage or a toes-in-the sand sunset salute.

on Charlotte Harbor seven days a week and a sandy seating area offering a fire pit and beach volleyball. Made with Camarena Silver Tequila, lime juice, Worcestershire and Loaded Bloody Mary Mix, TT’s Bloody Maria comes garnished with olives and a slice of lime, rimmed in Old Bay Seasoning. The popular Bloody Mary bar, open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., offers four different mixes and an array of delicious garnishes. charlotteharborhotels.com/tts-tiki-bar

TT’S TIKI BAR

ZEKE’S UPTOWN BAR & GRILL

Sink your toes in the sand while sipping TT’s Bloody Maria at this tiki beach bar with great eats, stellar sunsets, the best music

This “come-as-you-are” neighborhood bar and grill on historic Dearborn Street in Olde Englewood Village is home to Zeke’s Zesty Bloody Mary. Tito vodka is infused with jalapeños to create a dynamic in-house product, which is mixed with Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix and topped with two queensize stuffed olives and lime. Served in a glass rimmed with Old Bay Seasoning, Zeke’s Zesty Bloody Mary can be ordered from 7 a.m. onwards. Complement your Bloody Mary with the “Best Crab Cake in the South.” zekesuptown.com

PRIME SERIOUS STEAK

A delectable creation from TT’s Tiki Bar

Zeke’s Zesty Bloody Mary

This classic steakhouse with a contemporary feel offers a phenomenal Sunday Burger Brunch and Bloody Mary Bar from noon until 4 p.m. Choose from such mouthwatering burgers as The Maine-iac with lobster claw meat, red pepper aioli and crunchy coleslaw or the more traditional PRIME Steak Burger, with lettuce, red onion and tomato on a toasted Kaiser roll. Complement your burger with a 14-ounce. bacon-rimmed Bloody Mary glass with a 2.5-ounces. Stoli pour and then load it up with Cajun spices, pickled okra, garlic-stuffed olives, 15 different saucesincluding steak, wasabi and horseradish-and so much more. primeserioussteak.com SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

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Introducing Florida’s Newest & Larg

Sunseeker Resort -

It is with great excitement that we present Florida’s most spectacular new waterfront hotel-condo resort - Sunseeker Resort Port Charlotte. Unlike any hotel-condo resort along the coast, Sunseeker Resort provides a destination experience more thought out, more captivating and more inclusive than any that has come before it. We’ve elevated the hotelcondo resort resident experience to levels far above what anyone has come to expect. As a resident at Sunseeker Resort you’ll quickly understand the amount of thought and consideration that has gone into making sure your time is spent doing the things you came here to enjoy. Drop in at any of the more

Images and depictions are artistic, conceptual renderings for illustration purposes only and do not depict ac


g est Waterfront Hotel-Condo Resort

- Port Charlotte, FL

than 10 original restaurants, bars and cafes without leaving the resort. Spend a day at the largest resort pool in North America or take your adventures onto the open water from our brand-new private marina. You won’t waste time running errands when you have a full-service grocery store and pharmacy located within the resort. Even at your doorsteps lies a brand-new medical care facility with a full-time Family Care physician and his dedicated staff. More than an opportunity to own waterfront property, Sunseeker Resort provides the opportunity to create your own Gulf Coast lifestyle.

c tual buildings or amenities, all of which are preliminary and subject to change or cancellation in their entirety.


DESTINATION

FORT MYERS

A dramatic Sanibel Island sunset cruise with Adventures in Paradise

CRUISING THE WATERS ALONG THE BEACHES OF FORT MYERS & SANIBEL By Gabriele Walkow

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ith beautiful waterways in every direction, visitors to the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel should include a sunset or dinner cruise on their itinerary. No vacation is complete without viewing a spectacular sunset from the water with dolphins jumping nearby. Get your cameras ready!

FORT MYERS PRINCESS

ADVENTURES IN PARADISE

Cruise with Adventures in Paradise, celebrating 31 years of fulfilling island dreams! The sunsets around Sanibel and Captiva Islands are breathtaking and one of the best ways to view them is on the Sunset Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise, which travels the tranquil waters of San Carlos Bay and Pine Island Sound. Enjoy a charming, natural dolphin show during an unforgettable sunset on the water while listening to tropical music. adventureinparadiseinc.com

FORT MYERS BOAT TOUR

For a special treat, set sail aboard this 100-foot private luxury yacht and enjoy delectable cuisine while taking in magnificent views of Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast. The delightful Sunday Brunch Cruise leaves at 11:15 a.m. and returns at 1:15 p.m., and the elegant two-hour Sunset Dinner Cruise departure is based on sunset time. Enjoy a lavish buffet complete with several entrées and a tempting selection of desserts.

Specializing in sunset and dolphin tours, lunch and dinner restaurant destination cruises, and island tours to Sanibel, Captiva, Cabbage Key, Ussepa Island, Lovers Key State Park, Cape Coral and Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers Boat Tour takes visitors exploring aboard a luxurious 40-foot Cruisers Yachts. Sit back and relax as you watch the sun slip below the horizon during the two-hour sunset cruise and see dolphins, manatees, stingrays and dozens of birds. An expansive sundeck in the front and a large lounge area in the rear make for memorable cruising. Bring your coolers and cameras! fortmyersboattour.com

Say hello to a dolphin on an Adventures in Paradise cruise

The sun sets on another spectacular day with Fort Myers Boat Tour

SANIBEL HARBOUR PRINCESS YACHT

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SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Photo of sunset cruise and dolphin courtesy of Adventures in Paradise; boat tour courtesy of fortmyersboattour.com

This modern, 75-foot, double-deck yacht offers year-round tours, including afternoon Dolphin/ Eco tours and early evening Sunset Party Cruises. View a spectacular Southwest Florida sunset while indulging in cocktail specials and dance music for all age groups. For a romantic champagne toast, visit the full-service bar. Accommodating up to 140 passengers in an airconditioned lower salon and an open-air upper deck, this two-hour cruise will be a vacation highlight! fortmyersprincess.net

Take in the view from several settings—the outdoor observation deck or two indoor, airconditioned salons. Reservations can be made at 239.466.2115.


NOVEMBER 25TH – JANUARY 8TH

STAY • EXPLORE • SHOP • DINE Southwest Florida’s Best Holiday Destination to Shop Small and Live Locally Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Nov 24-Dec 31 Goodwill 11th Annual Festival of Trees, Nov 28-Dec 3 Holiday Stroll & Tree Lighting, Dec 1 Burroughs Home & Gardens Holiday House Dec 8-23 New Years Eve Downtown Countdown, Dec 31

Great Buys. Great Finds. Great Places.

Save and Be Merry With Our Specials for Downtown Accommodations

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Bradenton Sarasota

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Punta Gorda Airport

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Punta Gorda Cape Coral Fort Myers

Sanibel

Naples Marco Island

www.flypgd.com


DESTINATION

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Southwest Florida boasts 14 craft breweries

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA ALE TRAIL EXPLORE THE REGION’S BEST CRAFT BREWERIES By Allison Yates

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outhwest Florida has long been known as the eco-adventure and white sand beach paradise of the U.S., but it wasn’t until 10 years ago it adopted a new identity: craft brewing hotspot. In a few years, this region went from no craft breweries to 14!

Photo of beer flight courtesy of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel; Zac Barson courtesy of Southwest Florida Ale Trail

“It’s a really close knit community willing to help one another, and it’s growing,” said Zac Barson, co-founder of Southwest Florida Ale Trail (SWFL Ale Trail). Pair doughnuts with beer at Millennial Brewing Company in Fort Myers or sip on a Peanut Butter Porter at Fort Myers Brewing Company. Families and beer lovers of all ages kick back at open-air venues featuring board games, trivia and food truck eats. From Naples to Fort Myers and through Cape Coral, Southwest Florida is embracing these new social spaces with open arms and a thirst for irresistible brews. Now, there’s a new way to sample the best craft beers and even win prizes. Since February 2017, Southwest Florida Ale Trail has sold “passports” ($10) to help visitors explore the brews of the region for a fraction of the cost. Take the passport and purchase a flight, growler fill or full beer and receive a customized stamp. After seven stamps, you’ll get your first prize. Keep circling back to breweries for even more rewards (prizes and buy one get one free pints), amounting to more than $80 worth of bonuses. Each of the 12 participating breweries has its own page in the passport with history, beverage descriptions and tour information, so each visit is also a self-guided tour.

SWFL Ale Trail owners Zac Barson and AJ Gurgal stand with Brian Hahn, owner of Momentum Brewhouse

Launched by locals Barson and AJ Gurgal, SWFL Ale Trail was a way for them to make their mark in the craft brewing industry; one they love. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun,” said Barson.

Passport Volume 2, which includes even more breweries, launches in February 2018. More perks include discounts at local restaurants. Visit swflaletrail.com for more information.

For Barson and Gurgal, Southwest Florida Ale Trail isn’t only about sampling brews and bites. For these entrepreneurs, it’s about supporting local businesses and encouraging locals, snowbirds and visitors to explore the region further. Because of the distance between breweries, before the passport, people in Naples might not have ventured to Fort Myers or vice-versa to taste beers. But now, people are traveling nearly an hour—and catching the craft beer bug, making them return time after time.

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

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An escape from the ordinary interstate hotel. Golfing and island hopping to kayaking and sailing, there’s plenty of fun minutes away from our perfect Charlotte Harbor location.

Hot Breakfast • Lakeside Pool • Fitness Center 37” HD Flat Screen TVs • Free Wifi throughout Hotel and more... Holiday Inn Express® Hotel & Suites Port Charlotte 24440 Sandhill Blvd Port Charlotte, FL 33983 • (941) 764-0056 • holidayinnexpress.com/portcharlotte


DESTINATION

VENICE

Venice is vibrant and lovely

VIBRANT VENICE, FLA. A PERFECT SLICE OF PARADISE By Gabriele Walkow

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amed 2017’s 28th “Best Beach Town to Live in” by personal finance outlet WalletHub.com, Venice is a perfect slice of paradise for Allegiant travelers visiting Southwest Florida. Charming and picturesque, Venice is just 30 minutes south of the city of Sarasota along Florida’s whitesanded Gulf Coast.

created Intracoastal Waterway. Offering 14 miles of pristine beaches from Casey Key to Manasota Key, there are plenty of opportunities for sun, sand, sea and sunbathing, as well as recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding and boating. Divers will want to check out the reef a quartermile offshore.

Lovely Main Street is home to more than 100 unique and independently owned stores and restaurants, and meanders through stately 1920s homes on shady Oak and Banyan-lined avenues. A bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community, Venice’s downtown is graced by Northern Italian architecture and beautifully landscaped boulevards that date to the original city plans of 1925 and are reminiscent of Italy’s Venice.

Also known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” fossilized shark's teeth can be found in abundance by sifting through the sand. The teeth can vary in size from an eighth of an inch to three inches and, on occasion, even bigger. A good place to look is on the south end of the island, at beautiful Caspersen's Beach. What a perfect momento from your visit to Venice, which hosts an annual Shark's Tooth Festival in April. Nearby, dog owners will love Sarasota County's only dog-friendly beach, Brohard Paw Park!

The city includes what locals call “Venice Island,” a portion of the mainland that is accessed via three bridges over the artificially

All photos courtesy of visitsarasota.com

Explore the great outdoors around Venice

Shelling is a favorite pastime on Venice Beach, where visitors can also play in the warm Gulf waters. Beach amenities include parking, food concession, shelter, two sand volleyball courts, a picnic area and boardwalks. Multi-use trails hug the Intracoastal Waterway in Venetian Waterway Park. Other green spaces include Centennial Park, with its interactive fountain, and the Monty Andrews Arboretum at West Blalock Park. Oscar Scherer State Park is home to Florida scrub jays. Golfers will find excellent courses in the greater Venice area. During the holiday season, Venice streets are dazzling and City Hall displays "light sculptures" from Thanksgiving through the New Year. The Venice Christmas Boat Parade is on December 2 and the Downtown Venice Christmas Walk takes place December 7.

Brohard Paw Park

Find more information on this seaside jewel, visit visitsarasota.com/venice. SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

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DESTINATION

BRADENTON

The romantic waterfront view from Beach Bistro

ROMANTIC DINING IN THE BRADENTON AREA RESTAURANTS SURE TO SET THE MOOD FOR ROMANCE By Heather Turk

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ith its quaint shops and sugar-sand beaches, the Bradenton area of Florida is the very definition of a romantic escape. This picturesque community is home to several romantic restaurants perfect for couples celebrating a special occasion or just looking to further set the mood for amore during their Allegiant getaway.

BEACH BISTRO

The site of countless wedding proposals, couples have been coming to this waterfront restaurant on Anna Maria Island for generations. One of the few places in Florida that offers an actual toes-in-the-sand dining experience, guests can soak up spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico and even catch a breathtaking sunset while dining on an extensive menu of locally sourced, sustainable seafood and farm-fresh proteins and produce. Open for lunch, dinner and a popular Sunday jazz brunch, menu highlights include the panseared Gulf Shrimp N’ Grits and the Islander Scallops (available for lunch and dinner only) braised in coconut milk with candied orange, piquillo pepper, basil and lime. There’s also a pavilion adjacent to the restaurant that hosts up to 200 weddings annually. sandbar.groupersandwich.com

EUPHEMIA HAYE

A Hall of Fame recipient in Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon Awards, this fine dining restaurant in Longboat Key is frequently ranked as one of the most romantic restaurants in the area, the state and even all of the U.S. Boasting exquisite garden views and a charming cottage ambience, the eclectic à la carte menu for dinner includes nightly specials and signature selections, such as the Roasted Duckling and Euphemia’s Prime Peppered Steak. Couples can also enjoy an abbreviated menu and live jazz music upstairs in the Haye Loft lounge and dessert room while sharing a specialty dessert for two, like the Bananas Foster, Cherries Jubilee or Crêpes Suzette. euphemiahaye.com 34

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Feast upon romantic garden views in Euphemia Haye’s downstairs dining room

Photo of Beach Bistro courtesy of Beach Bistro; Euphemia Haye by Brooke Thompson/courtesy of Euphemia Haye Restaurant

Hailed by Bon Appétit as one of Florida’s most romantic restaurants, this beachfront bistro on Anna Maria Island overlooks the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Known for its locally sourced farm fare and fresh, line-caught seafood, guests can enjoy a selection from the restaurant’s longstanding Wine Spectator Award wine list while feasting upon such classic dinner entrées as the American Ranchland’s Rack of Domestic Lamb or the Famous Bistro Bouillabaisse, made with poached-to-order Nova Scotia lobster tails, jumbo shrimp, premium market fish, shellfish and calamari. When it’s time for dessert, try the awardwinning Chocolate Truffle Terrine or the Florida Key Lime Pie. beachbistro.com

SANDBAR RESTAURANT


Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach Visitor Center • • • • • •

Attractions Lodging Shopping Restaurants Lifestyle Rentals

727-447-7600 www.BeachChamber.com 429 Poinsettia Avenue • Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 311 S. Gulfview Blvd. • Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 (Inside Surf Style)


DESTINATION

CLEARWATER/CLEARWATER BEACH

SUNSEEKER TOP 5!

Superb steak at Blinker’s Beachside Steakhouse & Lounge

SUNSEEKER’S TOP 5 PLACES TO EAT STEAK IN CLEARWATER/CLEARWATER BEACH

Photo of steak from Blinker’s Beachside Steakhouse & Lounge courtesy of Wayne Cathel/Belleair Images; Rib Eye courtesy of Bascom’s Chop House; New York Strip Steak courtesy of Heilman’s Beachcomber; Gulf’s Cowboy Ribeye courtesy of Opal Collection; Filet Mignon courtesy of Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key

By Nancy Foster

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ne of the best parts of vacationing is discovering new places to wine and dine, and visitors to Clearwater and Clearwater Beach, Fla., will find an abundance of offerings. For those who consider a big, juicy steak nothing short of fabulous, come hungry! HERE ARE SUNSEEKER’S TOP 5 RESTAURANTS FOR STEAK IN CLEARWATER/CLEARWATER BEACH. BASCOM’S CHOP HOUSE. Allegiant passengers should definitely route themselves to this multiple award-winning chop house, just a mile southeast of the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. Locals and visitors flock here for mouthwatering choices, including an 18-ounce T-Bone, 24-ounce Porterhouse or tender Filet Mignon, all cut from Certified Angus Midwestern Grain fed steer, aged for a minimum of 28 days. bascoms.com BLINKERS BEACHSIDE STEAKHOUSE & LOUNGE. Head to this Clearwater Beach favorite for USDA Prime and Choice Sterling Steaks in a variety of cuts. Go for the succulent Prime Ribeye, top it with one of six specialty sauces, including Cognac Peppercorn, and pair it with the Quilt Cabernet from Napa Valley for a truly memorable meal. blinkersbeachside.com

Delectable Rib Eye at Bascom’s Chop House

Sterling Silver New York Strip Steak at Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber

BOB HEILMAN’S BEACHCOMBER RESTAURANT. Since 1948, this dining icon has been part of the Clearwater Beach food scene, luring patrons with tasty meals, including the 12-ounce Sterling Silver New York Strip Steak, chargrilled to order. This family-friendly eatery will definitely make your favorites list! heilmansbeachcomber.com CARETTA ON THE GULF. For the ultimate gourmet dining experience, visit Clearwater’s only AAA Four-Diamond restaurant, located inside the Sandpearl Resort Clearwater Beach. Order from a stellar wine selection, then pair your choice with a 24-ounce Cowboy Ribeye or 16-ounce Kansas City Strip, guaranteed to satisfy the most hearty of appetites. sandpearl.com/dining

Caretta on the Gulf’s Cowboy Ribeye

WATERCOLOUR GRILLHOUSE. A fine meal and lovely views of Clearwater harbor await guests at this recently renovated restaurant inside Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key. While superb steak choices include Filet Mignon, New York Strip and Porterhouse, famished diners may opt for the Tomahawk, a 32-ounce feast extraordinaire. All steaks are served on sizzling plates and topped with their iconic secret sauce. marriott.com/ hotels/travel/tpams-clearwater-beach-marriott-suites-on-sand-key/ Find vacation packages to Clearwater/Clearwater Beach at allegiant.com and area information at beachchamber.com.

Watercolour Grillhouse’s fabulous Filet Mignon CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA

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WINGS BURGERS SALADS SEAFOOD 12 TAMPA BAY LOCATIONS originalhooters.com

Clearwater Beach 381 Mandalay Ave (727) 443-7263

The Original Clearwater 2800 Gulf To Bay Blvd (727) 797-4008

John’s Pass

192 JP Boardwalk W (727) 797-4668

ORDER ONLINE! originalhooters.com/to-go

& Tues All-You-Can-Eat Snow Crab!! Mon

Th e l a O r ig in ★ All-You-Can-Eat Fish & Chips – Wednesdays

★ Super Grouper Thursdays ★ Sizzling Steaks & Fresh Catch Specials – Fri, Sat & Sun

Adjoining Sports Bar with all the games!

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Palm Pavilion Inn

18 Bay Esplanade • Clearwater Beach, FL 800-433-7256 • www.PalmPavilionInn.com TripAdvisor - Certificate of Excellence


DESTINATION

CLEARWATER BEACH

The Pepperoni Pizza is a favorite at King’s Pizza & Grill

PIZZA, PIZZA THIS CLASSIC COMFORT FOOD IS NEAR AT HAND ON CLEARWATER BEACH By Nancy Foster

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hile many vacationers look forward to the fabulous seafood for which Clearwater Beach is famous, there are times when nothing satisfies more than a perfectly made pizza pie. Allegiant travelers can get their pie fix in numerous places, whether you eat in, take out or request delivery to your resort. Many even stay open to satisfy late-night diners.

KING’S PIZZA & GRILL

Generations of hungry beachgoers have had their fill of delicious pizzas, subs, calzones and home-cooked dinners at this casual eatery behind the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach. King’s claim to fame for the past 35 years lies in their special crust recipe, featuring a texture, freshness and taste that consistently deliver. Choose inside or outside dining, take out or delivery, and chow down on traditional and specialty pizza recipes, including Spinach, Mexican, Philly Steak or spicy Buffalo Chicken. mykingspizza.com

Photo of Pepperoni Pizza by Elena Sioutis; Greek Pizza of Gondolier Pizza Clearwater

EXTREME PIZZA

Located on the main shopping district along the beach, this popular eatery is known for friendly service, quirky-named pizzas and frozen drinks that quench your thirst while you wait. Order up a Poultry Geist, Hawaiian-themed Paia Pie or the crowd favorite Everest, with Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami, beef meatball, tomato sauce,

mozzarella and cheddar. Vegans can get their fill with the likes of the Screamin’ Tomato. Pizzas range in size from the 8-inch individual to the huge 18-inch. Gluten-free crusts are also offered. Inside seating or patio dining is available. extremepizza.com

GONDOLIER ITALIAN RESTAURANT & PIZZA

Gondolier’s standards of freshly made pizza dough with a variety of classic and specialty recipes combine with reasonable prices to keep visitors and locals coming back regularly. Casual seating at booths and tables amid an ambience of Little Italy make for a fun dining experience. If you love white pizza, you’ll find many delicious varieties, including the Margarita with cheese, tomato, fresh basil and ricotta. Vegans will savor The Trio Veggie with cheese, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. For a twist on the classic, try the BBQ Chicken pizza with barbecue sauce, chicken, onions, bacon and cheese. gondolierpizza.com

POST CORNER PIZZA AND RESTAURANT

For novelty pizza lovers, start your day with a breakfast pizza at this beach favorite. Made with three eggs, mozzarella and cheddar cheese and assorted specialty toppings, these pizzas are hearty and delicious. Traditional pizzas are served at lunch and dinner. postcornerfl.com

Gondolier’s Greek Pizza CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA

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DESTINATION

CLEARWATER BEACH

Salt Cracker Fish Camp's whole lobster in the Low Country Seafood Boil

LET’S EAT LOBSTER! SAVOR THIS DELICIOUS CRUSTACEAN CLEARWATER BEACH STYLE By Nancy Foster

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SHOR AMERICAN SEAFOOD GRILL

Inside the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, this trendy restaurant provides a quiet ambience, impeccable service and chef creations worthy of your highest accolades. A definite crowd favorite on the menu is the

luscious Lobster Mac N’ Cheese, made with Maine lobster, oven-dried tomatoes, organic baby spinach and white cheddar cheese sauce. Choose from an exceptional wine menu for perfect pairings. shorgrill.com

FRENCHY’S SALTWATER CAFE / FRENCHY’S SOUTH BEACH CAFE

You’ll find numerous Frenchy’s restaurants throughout the Clearwater Beach area and all rank high for fabulous food, affordable pricing and a relaxed, come-as-you-are atmosphere. Menus vary from location to location, so when lobster cravings hit, head to one of these two for a meal you’ll long remember. At Frenchy’s Saltwater Cafe, a short walk from popular Pier 60 Park, dine inside or outside, but go for the “must-have” half-pound baked Rock Lobster Tail, the ultimate in succulent deliciousness. Nearby sister restaurant Frenchy’s South Beach Cafe offers great beach views from their sidewalk patio. Kick back with a cold brew while creative chefs whip up a perfectly seasoned and delectable Lobster Roll. For an unexpected taste twist, order up the flavorful Lobster Tacos, served with green chili tomatillo salsa, yogurt sauce and pico de gallo. frenchysonline.com

SALT CRACKER FISH CAMP Lobster Mac N’ Cheese at SHOR American Seafood Grill

Rock Lobster Tail at Frenchy’s Saltwater Cafe 40

CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA

This nautical-themed restaurant at Clearwater Beach Marina pleases with praiseworthy food they've dubbed "Southern dockside cooking." Menu choices are vast, but since we’re talking about your favorite crustacean, definitely go for the whole lobster add-on to the Low Country Seafood Boil and dig into a heaping mound of shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, lump crab, grouper cheeks, Andouille sausage, corn and potatoes. Wash this fabulous feast down with a traditional or craft beer, or choose from a selection of fine wines. saltcrackerfishcamp.com Find vacation packages to Clearwater Beach at allegiant.com.

Photo of Seafood Boil courtesy of Salt Cracker Fish Camp; Lobster Mac N' Cheese courtesy of SHOR American Seafood Grill; Rock Lobster Tail courtesy of Frenchy’s Restaurants

or those who consider a beautiful beach and stellar seafood to be key ingredients for a perfect sundrenched getaway, Florida’s Clearwater Beach can deliver on both counts. Sugar-soft sands and tropical Gulf waters beckon for daytime frolicking, while superb post-sunset seafood dinners entice with savory flavors. Restaurants serving up delicacies from the sea are plentiful, and although the area is best known for its grouper, lobster loyalists can expect memorable meals at these popular spots.


Customer

HIGH QUALITY BEST PRICES

Satisfaction

Since 1955, Ward’s Seafood Market has been providing locals and visitors with the freshest fish in town. Our specialty is fresh Florida seafood that is caught and delivered daily by local fisherman we have known for years. We also receive daily shipments of your favorite seafoods from around the world. Our experienced staff will custom cut any whole fish to your specifications. They will gladly prepare, explain how to store and provide cooking suggestions for any seafood selection. Ward’s Seafood Market Takeout Eatery has a set menu or will prepare your seafood selection while you wait.

FAMIL Y OW SERV NED ING AN

CLEA

D

RWAOTPERATED ER, F L V

60 YR FOR O

ER

S.

COOKED SEAFOOD Take-Out Eatery • You Pick It, We Cook It Heat & Serve • Specialty Salads Gourmet Hot Soups • Custom Catering

1001 BELLEAIR ROAD | CLEARWATER, FLORIDA 33756 (800) 556-3761 | (727) 581-2640 | FAX (727) 518-8731 Visit www.WardsSeafood.com m RETAIL STORE HOURS: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm • TAKEOUT EATERY HOURS: Tues-Sat 10am-7pm • NATIONWIDE SHIPPING


DESTINATION

CLEARWATER BEACH

Poolside massage at Hibiscus Spa

SPA ESCAPE MAKE TIME TO BE PAMPERED ON CLEARWATER BEACH By Nancy Foster

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hen the need for soft sands, tropical breezes and days filled with sunshine finds you planning a trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast, kick it up a notch and include a fabulous spa experience with your beach getaway. The beautiful spas mentioned here are all located inside popular beach resorts, but non-guests are welcome, so take your partner, grab a friend or go by yourself—you deserve it!

OPAL SPA

SANDAVA SPA

With seven treatment rooms, a state-of-theart StayFitTM Fitness Center and highly trained staff, you’ve chosen well for the best “new you” experience. Located on the seventh floor of the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort

Immerse yourself in luxury at Opal Spa 42

CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA

HIBISCUS SPA

Overlooking iconic Pier 60, the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa is a lovely choice for your beach and spa getaway. Their Hibiscus Spa, one of the newest spas on the beach, provides a calming, tranquil oasis in which to unwind and decompress with treatments designed to pamper and refresh. Lend yourself to the recommendations of spa pros and revitalize with a Hot Stone or Hot Lava Shell Massage, Body Detox Scrub & Mud Wrap or a blissful poolside massage. Treat yourself to the 3.5-hour Ultimate Bliss Package, with a Hibiscus Signature Massage, Hibiscus Signature Facial and beautifying mani/ pedi. Emerge feeling invigorated and positively radiant. hiltonclearwaterbeach.com Vacation packages to Clearwater are available at allegiant.com.

Enjoy a couples massage at Sandava Spa

Photo of Hibiscus Spa courtesy of Attic Fire; Opal Spa courtesy of Opal Sands; Sandava Spa courtesy of Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach

The feeling of luxury embraces your inner senses as soon as you enter Opal Spa. Located inside the coveted, beachfront Opal Sands Resort, you will experience the ultimate seaand-spa indulgence here. Expert staff will guide you in choosing the perfect body treatment, skin care, massage or salon service to take you to the next level of relaxation and rejuvenation, with treatments designed to unwind and detox. Stay an extra day and spoil yourself with the 6-hour Signature Ritual, which includes a combination of the spa's signature treatments. Luxuriate in the Body Renewal, a beautifying facial with a manicure and pedicure. This is the ultimate day package! opalsands.com/thespa

and Spa, you will be immersed in luxury with the Inspire Package, which includes five hours of beautifying with a soothing aromatherapy massage, ocean body contour, blueberry bliss facial and refreshing Citrus-C peppermint manicure and pedicure. For a romantic couples spa experience, order the Sandava Couples Escape Package and sink into a sun-warmed shell massage that caresses with a fragrant sweet-mango-and-coconut-oil. A soothing blueberry bliss facial complements the duo experience. hyatt.com


Discover all that’s new under our roof. It’s good not to be home.

Just in time for the new year, Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa relaunches with 287 newly redesigned guestrooms overlooking the white sands of the beach named one of America’s best by TripAdvisor. You’ll feel like a VIP, especially when you upgrade your experience to include up to 1,600 sq. ft. of private space, a fully equipped kitchen and walk-out balcony with a view of the gulf. Plus, connect to the sea, the shore and the power of personal wellness at our Sandava Spa, and for a limited time enjoy 20% off any one a la carte massage therapy treatment. For reservations, visit clearwaterbeach.regency.hyatt.com or call 727 373 1234. HYATT REGENCY CLEARWATER BEACH RESORT AND SPA 301 South Gulfview Boulevard Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA, 33767 Spa offer valid December 1, 2017, to February 28, 2018. Please be aware that we add an 18% service charge that includes a gratuity for the technician and service charge is based on original cost of the treatment. This is a promotional offer and may not be combined with any other offers or promotions. Subject to change and availability. The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency® and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. ©2017 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

PIERC5532_HR Clearwater Allegiant Sunseeker Ad.indd 1

10/27/2017 11:30:35 AM


DESTINATION

TAMPA BAY

Visitors can pet a ray at The Florida Aquarium’s Stingray Beach tank

AQUARIUM HAT TRICK THREE CLEARWATER AREA AQUARIUMS ENTERTAIN By Chelle Koster Walton

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rom a small, hometown aquarium to two world-famous facilities—one that is even home to a movie star—the three aquatic life attractions in the Tampa/Clearwater area instill kids with a love for the natural and thrill adults with some of the most gigantic and dangerous creatures of the sea world.

KONGER TARPON SPRINGS AQUARIUM

Central to downtown Tampa, this world-class aquarium excels at providing a thorough overview of aquatic life Florida-wide. From the alligators and river otters of freshwater wetlands to the sharks and moray eels of its coral reefs, The Florida Aquarium puts it all behind glass. Wet and dry play areas, touch tanks, marine life programs and dining facilities amplify its family-friendly factor. Young kids can even take part in a Swim with the Fishes scuba activity. A dolphin cruise, penguin interaction and shark swim are a few of the extras to make your visit to this stunning shell-shaped, glass-domed facility completely unforgettable. flaquarium.org

CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM (CMA)

Originally, this was a modest facility devoted to marine life rehabilitation and release. Then, a young dolphin, Winter, who lost her tail in a crab trap, was rescued and began prosthetic treatment at CMA. Winter's rehabilitation inspired the movie "Dolphin Tale," and lead to the sequel, "Dolphin Tale 2," about an orphaned dolphin named Hope. The movies meant a boom for the small aquarium, where Winter and Hope get the spotlight. However, a cast of supporting characters, including other dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, sharks and stingrays, entertain and educate through staff presentations. Visitors to the aquarium, located just north of the causeway to Clearwater Beach, can also interact with touch tank sea creatures and board a bay cruise boat ride included in admission. seewinter.com 44

CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA

Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium is home to a wide range of aquatic creatures

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium offers a full range of marine life interactions

Photo of Florida Aquarium’s Stingray Beach tank courtesy of The Florida Aquarium; turtle courtesy of Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium; Clearwater Marine Aquarium courtesy of Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Humble and well suited for small children, this family-run aquarium can be discovered among the attractions along the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs’ Greek district. Some of the aquarium’s celebrities include a Burmese python, sharks, alligators and moray eels. They star in feeding shows and other demonstrations throughout the day. The aquarium’s centerpiece is a 120,000-gallon shark tank, where divers carry out astonishing feeding demonstrations. There's also a touch tank and other aquariums that hold everything from tiny seahorses to Oscar, the 100-pound goliath grouper. tarponspringsaquarium.com

THE FLORIDA AQUARIUM


401 Second Street, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785 www.hiharbourside.com 800-726-0865

SUITES WITH FULL KITCHENS - MINIATURE GOLF & GAME ROOM MARINA WITH BOAT RENTALS AND FISHING CHARTERS - SWIMMING POOL DISCOUNTED SPLASH HARBOUR WATER PARK TICKETS - SHORT WALK TO THE BEACH JIMMY GUANA’S WATERFRONT DINING SERVING BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER

(2) 42 Foot Tall Waterslides - Lazy River - Zero-Entry Pool - Kid’s Splash Pad Area Poolside Tiki Bar - Cabana’s - Snack Shack - And So Much More! Splash Harbour Water Park packages available at www.hiharbourside.com/packages.html

VISIT WINTER THE DOLPHIN, STAR OF DOLPHIN TALE MOVIES BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS AT CLEARWATER BEACH

WORKING ANIMAL HOSPITAL INTERACTIVE BOAT TOURS BUY TICKETS AT SEEWINTER.COM

SOLD HERE

249 WINDWARD PASSAGE | CLEARWATER, FL 33767 | 727.441.1790


Clearwater Beach esort #1 Entertainment R • Luxury Gulfside Rooms & Suites • Water-side dining at Tiki Beach Grill • Ocean Flame Interactive Seafood • 2-Level Wave Nightclub with Hip Buffet & Sunday Brunch DJs and Ultimate VIP Bottle Service • SALT Tequila Bar & Tap Room • Exclusive SOAK Poolside Bar • White Sandy Beach and 800.237.8477 www.shephards.com • Famous Tiki Beach Bar with Live Watersports 619 So. Gulfview Blvd. • Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 Local and National Bands and DJs

THE ORIGINAL

PIRATE CRUISE GREAT FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

• Music • Games • • Dolphin Watching • • Friendly Pirates • 10:00 a.m. + 2:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. + 7:00 p.m. (call for seasonal schedule)

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DESTINATION

ST. PETE/CLEARWATER

Innisbrook’s Copperhead is home to the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship

GOLF FORE YOU CHOICE LINKS IN ST. PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER By Stacey Zable

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air year-round warm weather with 52 golf courses located in and around St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Fla., and you have a destination made for golfers of every level of play. Below are a few options to help you plan your next golf outing.

DUNEDIN GOLF CLUB

The par-72 Dunedin Golf Club in Dunedin was designed by Donald Ross and first opened in 1927. Its impressive history includes being the former home of the PGA of America and host to 18 Senior Tour Championships from 1945 to 1962. Recently, the course has garnered such accolades as the #1 Golf Course in Pinellas County by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Visitors Bureau in 2015, and the winner of the Tampa Bay Newspapers Reader’s Choice Award for Best Golf Course in Pinellas County in 2016. dunedingolfclub.com

INNISBROOK RESORT COURSES

All photos courtesy of visitstpeteclearwater.com

You’ll find four courses designed by Lawrence Packard at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor. Copperhead is top rated and is home to the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship in March. This par-71 course also offers natural beauty with pine tree-lined fairways, rolling terrain, surrounding lakes and ponds, and wildlife

St. Petersburg’s municipal course Mangrove Bay

that includes fox squirrels, bald eagles, alligators and blue herons. The three other championship courses include the par-71 South Course with a total of 10 water hazards, the par-70 North Course known for its daunting par 3s and the par72 Island Course, which has hosted numerous U.S. Open qualifiers and NCAA Championships. innisbrookgolfresort.com/golf/overview

MANGROVE BAY GOLF COURSE

If you’re looking for good value, Mangrove Bay delivers with a par-72, championship municipal course in St. Petersburg. A recent renovation in September 2017 brought new greens to the course. golfstpete.com

VINOY GOLF CLUB

Another resort where you can stay and play is the Vinoy Golf Club at The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. A Ron Garldesigned par-71 course, this is an Audubon Certified Sanctuary that is a wildlife refuge and home to over 900 palms of more than a dozen varieties, plus pines and live oaks. It sits on Snell Island, 1.7 miles from The Vinoy Renaissance, which provides a complimentary shuttle to and from the resort. marriott.com/ hotels/travel/tpasr-the-vinoy-renaissance-stpetersburg-resort-and-golf-club

The Ron Garl-designed Vinoy Golf Club is an Audubon Certified Sanctuary CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA

47


DESTINATION DESTINATION

ST. NEW PETERSBURG ORLEANS

The Espresso Martini at The Mandarin Hide is a guest favorite

CRAFTY LIBATIONS WHERE TO ENJOY A DELICIOUS COCKTAIL IN ST. PETE By Heather Turk

T

here’s more to St. Pete’s drinking scene than its many craft breweries. The city also boasts several notable craft cocktail spots known for their handcrafted concoctions. Next time you’re thirsting for a tasty cocktail, try one of these local favorites.

Photo of espresso martini and The Harvest Moon courtesy of City of St. Petersburg; inside Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails by Tate Turner

COPPER SHAKER

Located just off the beaten path in downtown St. Pete on 1st Avenue North, the city’s newest craft cocktail lounge is an ideal spot for those looking to avoid the Friday-night Central Avenue crowds. The speakeasy-style venue is quickly making a name for itself thanks to its innovative drinks, which feature fun names like Coochi Cutter (Brooklyn gin, Aperol, Cocchi Americano and hopped grapefruit bitters) and Cousin Named

The Harvest Moon and The Unusual Suspects, two must-try signature cocktails at Copper Shaker

Inside Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails

Jeff (Suerte Blanco tequila, Montelobos mezcal, red bell pepper, raspberry, ginger, lime and agave). Other must-try concoctions include the Harvest Moon—a mix of Reyka vodka, lemon, ginger, honey, apple and club soda—and The Unusual Suspects: Hendrick’s gin mixed with cucumber, lime, celery salt and bitters, served with a watermelon ice cube. coppershaker.com

INTERMEZZO COFFEE & COCKTAILS

This airy venue in downtown St. Pete’s EDGE District may be known for its distinguished coffee program during the day, as it serves a rotating menu of coffees from the country’s best roasters, but every Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5 p.m. it transforms into one of the city’s most popular cocktail spots. Boasting the largest selection of amaro in the state of Florida—more than 30 types—it should come as no surprise that many of its cocktails focus on the bittersweet Italian liqueur. In fact, one of the venue’s best-selling drinks is the Bodini No. 1, a lighter variation of a Manhattan that uses amaro and rye whiskey. Another cocktail sure to please palates is the Mezcal Blanc, a mix of mezcal, tequila, Sauvignon Blanc and agave that’s both zesty and smoky. intermezzocoffeeco.com

THE MANDARIN HIDE

One of the first craft cocktail bars in St. Pete, this speakeasy-style lounge on Central Avenue is often credited with starting the city’s craft cocktail movement. Known for its cutting-edge recipes, fresh ingredients and personable staff, it serves both an extensive menu of craft cocktails as well as a selection of traditional Prohibition-era cocktails. Guest favorites include the refreshing yet slightly spicy Tito’s Blind Pig—Tito’s vodka mixed with jalapeño, lime, cucumber and soda—and the decadent Espresso Martini made with vanilla bean vodka, Kahlúa, crème de cacao and fresh espresso. mandarinhide.com CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA

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DESTINATION

ST. PETE/CLEARWATER

Escape into a wonderland of twinkling lights in the Florida Botanical Gardens

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS ENJOY CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS IN ST. PETE/CLEARWATER By Gabriele Walkow

Photo of Floridas Botanical Gardens courtesy of Florida Botanical Gardens; Holiday of the Arts by Alan Boatright; fireworks by Nichols Pecori

A

llegiant travelers can celebrate the holiday season in style in the St. Pete/ Clearwater area. Sugar-soft sands, brilliant sunshine, temperate breezes and warm waters complement a range of holiday happenings for visitors to experience. If you’re looking to lighten up the longest nights of the year, the whole family will have fun creating holiday memories in St. Pete and Clearwater.

in Largo to delight all ages. This familyfriendly event features nightly entertainment, including visits with Santa, and refreshments are available. The Synchronized Light Display, where visitors can watch the lights dance to holiday music, is new for 2017. This event runs from 5.30 to 9.30 p.m., and a $4 dollar donation per person age 13 and older is encouraged. flbgfoundation.org/events

HOLIDAY LIGHTS IN THE GARDENS THRU DEC. 31

ST. PETERSBURG HOLIDAY OF THE ARTS DEC. 16-17

Escape into a wonderland of twinkling lights and lively entertainment at this holiday tradition. Over 1 million LED lights shine throughout the Florida Botanical Gardens

This picturesque outdoor art show in St. Petersburg’s South Straub Park, across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts, is a colorful showcase of local, regional and national artists. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., enjoy the warm Florida sunshine as you peruse this boutique art event with about 110 artists. Whether you are an art collector or searching for a unique holiday gift, the St. Petersburg Holiday of the Arts provides the opportunity to talk with the artisans who create the pieces. Best of all, admission is free! paragonartevents.com/S-58-St.+Petersb urg+Holiday+of+the+Arts.html

LIGHT IT UP CLEARWATER! DEC. 31 St. Petersburg Holiday of the Arts “Sniffin' On The Dock Of The Bay” by Alan Boatright

Ring in the New Year with Light It Up Clearwater!

Dig your toes in the sand, watch a worldfamous sunset and then welcome the New Year with Clearwater Beach’s colorful fireworks spectacle, compliments of the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce and many generous sponsors including Frenchy’s Restaurants and Shephard’s Beach Resort. Award-winning Clearwater Beach provides the perfect setting to celebrate the New Year with this magnificent fireworks display that lights up the skies over the sparkling Gulf of Mexico waters at midnight. As one of U.S. News Travel's top five kidfriendly places to ring in the New Year, it's sure to be a memorable family celebration. lightitupclearwater.com CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA

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Apply today! Ask your flight attendant how to apply now. For more information about the rates, fees, other costs and benefits associated with the use of the card, refer to the disclosures accompanying the application. This credit card program is issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A. Mastercard and World Mastercard are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated, and are used by the issuer pursuant to license. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation ARY35DK5 06122017 AD-05-17-0076.A


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THANK YOU ALLEGIANT

I would like to commend Allegiant flight attendants Mel Lancaster and Mandy Green. Both were so attentive and playful with our 6-year-old and 3-year-old daughters during our flight - it truly brightened up me and my wife! Thank you very much!

– David K, California

I recently took a flight to Orlando/ Sanford on Allegiant and would like to recognize the outstanding service I received from Jordan. When I boarded the flight I was greeted with a big smile and a friendly welcome. Because I had a seat near the front of the plane, I was able to watch him the whole flight. He never stopped! “Wow” is how I can sum up Jordan’s actions.

- Laura G, Kentucky

No request. Just a thank you. You at Allegiant were wonderful getting all of us out from St. Pete/Clearwater because of Irma. I’m home now, have power and I’m so grateful to you. I wish I knew how to thank your president, Mr. Gallagher or how to thank all of Allegiant’s staff, flight attendants and desk people, who were wonderful.

– Lynn F, Florida


ALLEGIANT

VACATIONS

The Emerald Coast Just Steps Away

DESTIN, FLORIDA - THE PERFECT WINTER ESCAPE

E

scape the cold weather and soak up the sunshine in the beach community of Destin, Florida, where you can enjoy a host of family-friendly activities and great restaurants in Okaloosa County.

AJ’S SEAFOOD & OYSTER BAR

Known for offering the freshest seafood in all of Florida, AJ’s has a reputation as the perfect place to enjoy food, libations and nightlife. As you take in the beauty of Destin on their outdoor open-air deck overlooking Destin Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico, be sure to start off with their oyster smoker. Treat yourself as well with fresh Gulf-to-table main courses such as crab legs and shrimp baskets. End the night with live music that plays until 2:00 a.m. ajsdestin.com

Photos courtesy of Best Western Fort Walton Beach

BOSHAMPS SEAFOOD & OYSTER HOUSE

By Auriyon Butler

THE BEACHES OF OKALOOSA ISLAND

Okaloosa Island, the barrier between Ft. Walton Beach and Destin, is famous for its pristine beaches, water sports and numerous family attractions. Play beach volleyball on its sugary soft sand or be entertained by sea lions at the world’s oldest continuously operating live marine show. The 1,261 footlong fishing pier is the perfect place to land a big one or watch an unforgettable sunset. emeraldcoastfl.com/discover-the-coast/ okaloosa-island/ You can enjoy your stay in Okaloosa County by booking at Best Western Fort Walton Beach (bestwesternfwb.com) and Fairfield Inn & Suites Destin by Marriot (marriott.com/hotels/ travel/vpsdf-fairfield-inn-and-suites-destin).

Aside from their highly rated seafood and panoramic coastal views, Boshamps’ unique dishes featuring Caribbean and Southern flavors are a hit with locals and tourists alike. Start off with popular appetizers such as the True Alabama Feta Cheese Dip and Fried Maine Lobster Bites. For the main course, “The Original” Snapper Destin filled with jumbo crab, gulf shrimp, mashed red early potatoes, braised local greens topped off with lemon butter and béarnaise honey roasted nuts is always a top choice. boshamps.com

DESTIN HARBOR BOARD WALK

Shop till you drop at the boardwalk in Destin, with shops ranging from clothing to unique souvenirs. Make sure to check out Blue Topics, a one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessory shop, and Legacy Airbrush and Gifts, which specializes in airbrush t-shirts and other great gifts. This is one place you cannot miss on your trip! destinboardwalk.com

Lots to do For Everyone at the Beaches of Destin VACATIONS

55


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ALLEGIANT

SPOTLIGHT

Natalie (far right) taking advantage of her Allegiant benefits at a Tampa Bay Rays’ game

ALLEGIANT TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Q & A WITH NATALIE GILLESPIE, CUSTOMER SERVICE AND GROUND OPERATIONS AGENT By Kerry McGee

N

atalie joined Allegiant in 2015 and has met incredible people along the way. She’s a busy working mother of nine, but found a few minutes to chat with us about her passion for Allegiant, our travelers and her beautiful hometown of St. Petersburg. What gets you excited to go to work? My interactions with our travelers are just enough time to share my excitement with a first time flyer, congratulate honeymooners or provide encouragement when needed. I’m fortunate to love the people I work with too! From happy hours to holiday parties – it feels like a family here. Have you been able to take advantage of our amazing flight benefits? Yes, including great vacations, I was able to travel for a life-changing event. We adopted three children from China, and we later learned one of them, Axi, has cerebral palsy. She needed surgery in Delaware, and because of Allegiant, my husband and our children were able to visit us while we were away for five months. Wow! That’s incredible. Do you have any special memories with our travelers? I have many but this story is amazing. Last December there was a woman, close to 90 years old, sleeping in a wheelchair at baggage claim. We learned her name is Jo, but she couldn’t remember who she was here to see. I called my husband and asked if I could bring a grandmother home, and while he was confused and thought I was crazy, he said yes.

She spent the weekend with us, and after some research, we flew her back to Ohio with my 18-year-old son to ensure she made it safely. I’ve stayed in touch with her and she recently moved back to her home state of Florida. We are in the process of adding an extra bedroom in our house so our adopted Grandma Jo can live with us! What a wonderful story! You probably have a lot of great places for Grandma Jo to visit. I have too many to list! I grew up in St. Pete and my family has lived in Pinellas County since the Civil War. There are many great places to dine, including Fourth Street Shrimp serving the best seafood, and Candy Kitchen on Madeira Beach for homemade ice cream. Stroll through Sawgrass Lake Park, tucked in a residential neighborhood, it’s full of boardwalks, southern pines and tall oak trees. I love John’s Pass Village - full of eclectic shops and live music. St. Petersburg has so much offer, I could sing its praises for days!

Natalie of St. Petersburg SPOTLIGHT

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MAKE-A-WISH ®

Chris Greicius, age 7

Officer Frank Shankwitz and Chris Greicius

CHRIS’S INSPIRATION HOW ONE BOY’S WISH LED TO THE FORMATION OF MAKE-A-WISH®

Photo of Chris Greicius courtesy of Make-A-Wish; Photo of Tommy Austin and Chris Greicius by Make-A-Wish and Linda Pauling; Photo of Officer Frank and Chris by Courtesy of Make-A-Wish and Frank Shankwitz

By Christopher Lewis

I

t began in 1980 as a conversation between two cops kneeling in the weeds during a nighttime stakeout in the Arizona desert. U.S. Customs Agent Tommy Austin leaned over to Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Ron Cox to see if he could help him with a problem. A friend of Austin’s wife had a young son, Chris, who was on the verge of losing his battle with leukemia. All the seven-yearold wanted was to be a police officer and “catch bad guys.” Austin explained how he was running into a lot bureaucratic red tape and wondered if there was anything DPS could do for the boy. On the morning of April 29, Chris flew by helicopter from Scottsdale Memorial Hospital to DPS headquarters for one memorable visit. The family received a tour, and Chris was presented with a “Smokey the Bear” hat and an officer’s badge. It’s also when Chris became Arizona’s first and only honorary DPS officer. Chris Greicius passed away on May 3, 1980, but in the months following his passing, many of those involved during Chris’s visit would form the Make-A-Wish foundation and Officer Frank Shankwitz would serve as its first president. To date, more than 285,000 children have had their wishes granted. And until no child ever has to deal with a life-threatening

medical condition, Make-A-Wish will continue helping make wishes come true. Because nearly 75% of wishes require travel, Allegiant is proud of its role in supporting Make-A-Wish by donating over 900 Wish Flights since 2012. Additionally, Allegiant donates $1 per sale of each “Wingz Pack” aboard its flights directly to Make-A-Wish. “Our partnership with Make-A-Wish over the past five years has been incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. Our crews love interacting with wish families and work hard to make every wish flight an unforgettable experience,” says Hilarie Grey, Allegiant’s Director of Corporate Communications. To find out how you can help make wishes come true, visit wish.org.

Tommy Austin and Chris Greicius

MAKE-A-WISH®

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Bellingham Kalispell

Pasco

Great Falls

Missoula

Eugene

Bozeman

Medford

Bis

Billings

Boise Idaho Falls Casper Stockton

Reno

Ogden

San Francisco/Oakland

Gr

Provo

Monterey Fresno

Las Vegas

Santa Maria

Los Angeles Palm Springs San Diego

Grand Junction Montrose

Denver

Colorado Sp

Albuquerque

Phoenix / Mesa

El Paso

Routes as of November 3, 2017. Some rou

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Moline, Peoria, Rockford, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Milwaukee


Bangor

Minot

Grand Forks

Plattsburgh Ogdensburg / Ottawa

Fargo

Portsmouth Syracuse Boston/ Rochester Providence St. Cloud Newburgh Niagara Falls Elmira Appleton Grand Wilkes-Barre/ Rapids Flint Scranton Milwaukee Sioux Falls Allentown Cleveland Trenton Rockford Harrisburg Toledo Youngstown Cedar Rapids Pittsburgh South Bend Moline Hagerstown Des Moines Fort Wayne Clarksburg Peoria Omaha Indianapolis Columbus Bloomington Dayton Richmond Springfield Cincinnati Roanoke Norfolk Huntington Kansas City Louisville Belleville Raleigh/Durham Lexington Evansville Tri-Cities Wichita Owensboro Greensboro Knoxville Springfield Concord Asheville Chattanooga Tulsa Northwest Arkansas Oklahoma City Greenville/ Memphis Spartanburg Little Rock

ismarck

New York City

Rapid City

Washington, D.C. / Baltimore

rand Island

prings

Myrtle Beach

Savannah / Hilton Head Shreveport

Destin / Ft. Walton Beach Gulfport / Biloxi

Austin

Jacksonville Orlando/Sanford

New Orleans

San Antonio

Laredo

Tampa / St. Pete Fort Myers / Punta Gorda

Fort Lauderdale

McAllen

utes may be seasonal; subject to change.

San Juan Puerto Rico


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FOR MORE DELICIOUS SNACKS AND BEVERAGES, TAKE A LOOK AT OUR FULL MENU ON PAGES 62-63


$

5

DELI SNACK PACK Wheat Thins, White Cheddar Cheese Dip, Madi K’s Whole Natural Almonds, Slim Jim Meat Stick, Biscoff Cookie 2-pack (Includes all items shown)

$

5

WINGZ KIDS SNACK PACK Allegiant Wings, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Oreo 2-pack, Welch’s Fruit Snacks (Includes all items shown)

$1 from every Wingz pack purchase will benefit Make-A-Wish®. For more info, visit wish.org.

$

$

10

3

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FEATURED COMBO

• Choice of Mixed Drink • Choice of Selected Snacks • See page 61 for more details

INDIVIDUAL SNACKS • M&M's Peanut, 3.1 oz. • Pringles, 2.38 oz.

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$

$

4

4

HUMMUS SNACK PACK

Dipin Classic Hummus accompanied by Baked in Brooklyn Pita Chips (Includes all items shown)

INDIVIDUAL SNACKS

• Traditional Chex Mix, 3.75 oz. • King's Fresh & Delicious Nut Medley, 4 oz.


$

3

$

WINE

SPECIALTY

Pinot Grigio Merlot

illy™ Iced Coffee

$

6

7

Sales of Trinity Oaks wine help plant trees. Over 80 million trees planted since 1989.

BEER

Bud Light Michelob ULTRA

$

7

MIXED DRINKS (includes one mixer)

Bacardi Rum Tanqueray Gin Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Tito’s Handmade Vodka

$

2 BEVERAGES

Coke Diet Coke Sprite Dasani Bottled Water Minute Maid Apple Juice Minute Maid Cranapple Juice

Minute Maid Orange Juice Mr. & Mrs. T Bloody Mary Mix Seagram’s Ginger Ale Seagram’s Sparkling Seltzer Water Seagram’s Tonic Water

Allegiant gladly accepts most major credit and debit cards. Allegiant does not accept cash, check or money orders in-flight or at any airport location. We are pleased to serve alcoholic beverages to customers over the age of 21 and encourage responsible consumption. Only alcohol provided by flight attendants may be consumed onboard. Brand selection and products may vary based upon availability.

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AIRCRAFT

AIRBUS A319/320

MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD-80

Number of Aircraft: 48 Cruising Speed: 511 mph Range: 3,682 miles Maximum Take-Off Weight: 162,000 pounds Maximum Passengers: 186 Total Length: 123 feet Wingspan: 111 feet Pilots: 2 Flight Attendants: 4

Number of Aircraft: 39 Cruising Speed: 540 mph Range: 3,200 miles Maximum Take-Off Weight: 160,000 pounds Maximum Passengers: 166 Total Length: 147 feet Wingspan: 107 feet Pilots: 2 Flight Attendants: 4

TRAVELER INFORMATION SAFETY FIRST Customer safety is Allegiant ®’s first concern. Please be advised that interference with the duties of crew members, including flight attendants, is a violation of federal laws. Our crews are thoroughly trained in all safety procedures. To ensure your own safety, we hope you take a moment to review the safety information card located in the seat pocket in front of you. Be aware of the following: • Location of the nearest emergency exit • Location of your emergency oxygen mask, if needed • Correct procedure for exiting the cabin in an emergency SEAT BELTS Seat belts must be fastened ANY TIME the seat belt sign is on, during taxi, takeoff and landing. Once the seat belt sign is turned off, you may walk around the cabin. Due to unexpected turbulence, it is strongly recommended that you keep your seat belt fastened any time while in your seat. Allegiant’s exit seating policy does not allow the use of seat belt extensions in the exit seats due to tripping hazards. CHILD RESTRAINT SEATS Federal Aviation Administration requires that all child restraint seats used on planes meet federal safety standards. Acceptable seats bear proper labeling “THIS RESTRAINT IS CERTIFIED FOR USE IN

MOTOR VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT” from the manufacturer. Unlabeled seats or seats manufactured before Jan. 1, 1981, are not acceptable. Child restraint seats are to be placed into a window seat and secured with an aircraft seat belt. PHOTOS & VIDEOS ONBOARD The use of small cameras or mobile devices for photography and video is permitted onboard provided you keep the purpose of your photography and video to capturing personal events. Photographing or recording other customers or airline personnel without their express consent is prohibited. Airline personnel reserve the right to prohibit photos and videos onboard the aircraft if it becomes a disturbance to them or other passengers. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES Allegiant is forbidden to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone who appears to be intoxicated or who has not yet reached the age of 21. It is a violation of federal regulations to drink alcoholic beverages during a flight unless they have been served by Allegiant personnel. SMOKING Smoking, the use of other tobacco products, e-cigarettes and other similar smoking devices are not permitted on any Allegiant flight. Federal law imposes fines of $1,000 for smoking and up to $2,000 for any attempt to disable an aircraft smoke detector.

PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICES ALWAYS PERMITTED*

Pacemaker

Hearing Aid

Camera (digital/film/video)

Tablet

Handheld Game

E-reader

Wireless Mouse, Keyboard or Other Accessory

Smartphone

CD Player

(in Airplane Mode)

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Media Player

*Restrictions may apply when operating outside of U.S. Airspace. NOTE: Portable electronic device use on the ground, during takeoff and during landing should be limited to small, lightweight devices less than 2 lbs. These devices should be able to be easily secured in a seat back and not impede emergency access to the aisle.

PERMITTED AT GATE & IN FLIGHT

Laptop/Tablet

DVD Player

NEVER PERMITTED

Personal Remote ConAir Purifiers trol Toys

TV

Two-Way Radios or Transmitters

Using cellular network services (voice or data) to make or receive calls during the flight is not permitted by U.S. and International regulatory authorities. If you have other questions about the use of other portable electronic devices not shown here, ask your flight attendant.

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