For Art & Design Fanatics -- Explore the galleries and showrooms in Miami's hip Design District, loosely defined as the area bounded by Northeast 2nd Avenue, Northeast 5th Avenue East and West, and Northwest 36th Street to the south. Just south of the Design District is yet another burgeoning arts district, a sketchy strip of Miami bounded by Northeast 2nd Avenue to the east and Northeast 36th Street to the north, known as Wynwood. Explore at your own risk, preferably during the day.

For Foodies -- Hungry for knowledge or just hungry? Whatever the case, these comprehensive tours of some of Miami's most delicious neighborhoods and districts will make sure you fill up on all sorts of local and global delicacies. Sure, your souvenir may come in the form of a few extra pounds, but if you like to eat, this is the tour for you. tel. 786/942-8856. www.miamiculinarytours.com.

For a Taste of Pre-Castro Cuba -- Take a ride to Miami's Little Havana, aka Calle Ocho, or Southwest 8th Street. Stroll past Maximo Gomez Park, aka Domino Park, command central for Cuban retirees who sit here all day playing dominoes. Stop and check out the hand rollers at Moore & Bode Cigars, and find trinkets of Yoruba culture at Botanica Begra Francisca before getting perky with a Cuban coffee at Versailles. If you're laying off the caffeine, then head to El Palacio de los Jugos and order a fresh-squeezed mamey, papaya, or guava juice.

advertisement

For Bird-Watchers -- A 70-mile drive from the Jacksonville area is Gainesville's Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, home to more than 263 bird species, not to mention bison, gators, and snakes. tel. 866/778-5002. www.floridastateparks.org/paynesprairie.

For Kayakers -- If you can bear the mosquitoes, take a nighttime kayak tour at Merritt Island National Refuge and catch a glimpse of one-celled organisms called dinoflagellates whose lights will guide you on your way -- along with an expert guide too, of course.

For Enlightenment -- Visit the most powerful lighthouse on the East Coast in Fort Lauderdale's Hillsboro Beach, under which sits a statue of a barefoot mailman. The statue is of Ed Hamilton, who was killed while crossing Hillsboro Inlet. The Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society gives special tours of the grounds and lighthouse four times a year from nearby Pompano Beach. www.hillsborolighthouse.org.

advertisement

For Dog Lovers -- With appearances on CNN and MTV, it's amazing that Lotta the Surfing Dog even has time to show off for her fans. But if you're in Key West, head to the island's South Beach, where the rat terrier, who learned to surf because she didn't like being in the water, hangs ten on an almost daily basis.

For a Total Time Warp -- Head 30 minutes north of Fort Myers and you'll eventually end up in the land that development forgot -- Pine Island. There are no chain restaurants, no condos, just palm trees, mango orchards, fishing villages, and mom-and-pop restaurants. If the Bahamas hadn't already snagged the name, we'd call this Paradise Island.

For a Hell of a Good Time -- A trip to Northwest Florida isn't necessarily complete without a stop at Tate's Hell State Forest, where legend has it a farmer was lost for 7 days and lived to tell about it. Dubiously named or not, the state forest is heaven for those into outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing, with 35 miles of rivers, streams, and creeks ideal for canoeing, boating, and fishing. Endangered species including the bald eagle, Florida black bear, gopher tortoise, and red-cockaded woodpeckers also call this Hell their home.

advertisement

For Military Buffs -- Turns out, alligators weren't always the most powerful things in the Everglades. Opened for the first time in 2009 is the Nike Hercules Missile Site in the heart of the national park, which was built during the Kennedy years as a result of the threat of a Soviet-armed Cuba. The 90-minute walking tour takes you through the missile assembly building, the three barns where 12 missiles were stored, and an underground control room. Fascinating!

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.