The Sunshine State of Florida is providing holidaymakers with one more reason to pay a visit in 2013, with various celebrations taking place around the 500th anniversary of the first Western explorer to set foot in the region.
The Spaniard Juan Ponce de Leon was the first Westerner to enjoy the region's fine coastlines when he landed at St Augustine back in 1513. He gave the region its name - then 'La Florida' - and throughout 2013, the Viva Florida 500 celebrations will take place around the state to commemorate the landing.Two projects already being planned are time capsules being created and buried in every country in the state, and also Expedition Florida. The time capsules will contain documents and artefacts determined by local residents, and each county will get to decide where the capsules are located. Expedition Florida 500 (XF500) is intended to highlight the region's many waterways and coastlines, and will see a team take to the water on kayaks, paddleboards and other watercraft on five different routes.
The XF500 trips are backed by Viva Florida 500, as well as companies such as Quicksilver and GoPro, and aim to generate awareness of the importance of conserving Florida's diverse and beautiful marine habitats. The 'Conservation Paddles' will take in waterways including the Kissimmee and Apalachicola Rivers, as well as coastal routes between Miami and Key Largo and also through the Everglades.
The trips will be documented by the teams and posted on the event's Facebook page, allowing people to keep up to date with the watery adventure.