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Kissimmee
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The Kissimmee Destination comprises some of the central portions of Florida in the United States. Named after the city of Kissimmee, the destination is home to swamps, bogs, two coasts, lakes, and various metropolitan areas. Some of the destination's most prominent features include the cities of Tampa and Orlando, which are the third and fourth-largest cities in the state, respectively. Orlando, in particular, has become a prominent tourist destination, acting as the home to various theme parks such as Walt Disney World® Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort. The town has such a high proportion of entertainment-related attractions—such as theme parks—that it is referred to as "Orlando: Theme Park Capital of the World."[1] The Kissimmee Destination's average annual temperatures do not change drastically from season to season, though the spring and fall are more temperate. This has caused tourists to visit during those time frames rather than the summer when the area is described as "hot, oppressive, wet, and mostly cloudy." The summer months are also when the region experiences the rainiest days.[12] 

What Kissimmee is known for

The Kissimmee Destination is located in central Florida, encompassing roughly one-fourth of the state's total landmass. The destination is named after one of the cities located in the area, namely Kissimmee, which is the largest city and subsequent county seat of Osceola County, Florida, in the United States of America. With an estimated population of nearly 80,000 people, the city employs thousands of people for companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Walmart, and Publix Supermarkets. Additionally, the Tupperware Brands headquarters is based in Kissimmee. The city also employs a sizeable proportion of its population in the School District of Osceola County, Florida, with approximately 8,300 employees working for the district. There are eleven high schools included in the district and another dozen private schools in the area. Johnson University Florida is also based in Kissimmee, along with smaller state colleges, including the University of Central Florida and Valencia College.[2]

Kissimmee has seen increased growth in the last decade, with an estimated population proportion increase of 19.3% between 2010 and 2017. This outpaced both Florida and the United States as a whole, which were correspondingly at proportion increases of 11.6% and 6.0%. Only an estimated 3.5% of people are unemployed in Kissimmee, and around 70% of people are White, 11% are Black, and 17.5% are classified as "other" races. Finally, one of the city's attractions includes The Statue on the Kissimmee Lakefront with the title "A Tribute to Courage." This figure depicts an American soldier and a Filipino soldier holding each other up, symbolizing the friendship between the United States and the Philippines as a result of WWII.[4]

Apart from the city of Kissimmee itself, the Kissimmee Destination is home to a handful of larger metropolitan areas that see millions of visitors each year. The two most prominent cities in the region are Orlando and Tampa, which are home to roughly 2.4 million and 3.1 million residents living in their metropolitan designations, respectively. Other cities that fall within the borders of the Kissimmee Destination include Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Palm Bay, and Daytona Beach. Tampa's population puts it as the third most-populated city in Florida, while Orlando sits fourth directly behind it.[10][3]

Orlando, Florida, is one of the most-visited cities in the world, making it arguably the most recognized feature in the Kissimmee Destination on an international scale. More specifically, Big Seven Travel lists the city as being the forty-fourth most-visited city in the world and one of only two in Florida (with the other being Miami).[11] Orlando's biggest draws for tourism are its various theme parks, with Walt Disney World® Resort and Universal Orlando Resort being two of the parks with the most significant number of visitors each year. SeaWorld® Orlando and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort are other theme parks that are specifically recommended by the city's officials. The number and size of the area's theme parks have caused the city to attain the nickname of "Orlando: Theme Park Capital of the World." Apart from theme parks, Orlando has attractions that are related to history, arts, culture, sports, shopping, and dining.[1]

To the west, Tampa is the most-populated city in the Kissimmee Destination and offers its visitors activities that are in the arts and entertainment industries, as well as a handful of outdoor attractions such as kayaking, ziplining, canoeing, and viewing manatees. Tampa has put systems into place to be more openly accepting and accommodating of the LGBTQ community, in addition to those who have limited mobility. For example, specialists are trained to be knowledgeable about the city's most accessible attractions for people with handicaps. With regards to the LGBTQ support in the city, Tampa has hosted a number of parades and other events. Additionally, the name Tampa Bay has been sometimes modified to be "Tampa Gay," which is an LGBTQ guide to the city.[6]

Geography

Situated in central Florida in the southeastern region of the United States, the Kissimmee Destination is home to a diverse range of geographic features and biomes. The destination stretches across the entire central landmass of Florida, including coasts that overlook the Gulf of Mexico on one side and beaches that face the North Atlantic Ocean on the other. The region follows a roughly rectangular shape, with Crystal River, Ormond Beach, Vero Beach, and Sarasota acting as its four corners. Part of the Ocala National Forest can be found in the Kissimmee Destination, as well as several notable cities, including Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, and Clearwater. The area is dotted with lakes and ponds, emphasizing the general topography of the land, which is primarily bogs and swamps outside of the municipal areas in the region. Tampa Bay is one of the destination's largest bodies of water apart from the ocean, though Lake Apopka, Lake Harris, Lake Eustis, Lake Griffin, and Lake Yale to the northeast are also of note. Finally, a handful of wildlife preserves exist in the destination's southern portion, with a few examples being the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area and St. Sebastian River State Park. 

Kissimmee itself has been described as "an animal lover's paradise." There are a handful of species that are indigenous to the area, in part due to the area's geographic diversity. American alligators have remained mostly the same over the last 8 million years, with males measuring an average of 10 to 15 feet in length. American flamingos' appearances have caused them to be "a symbol of the state" of Florida, and it was recently discovered that flamingos are native to the state rather than migrating from year to year. Snapping turtles, Florida panthers, and bald eagles are other examples of the unique fauna that can be found in the Kissimmee Destination.[7]

The annual temperatures in the Kissimmee Destination can vary from city to city. In Kissimmee itself, the summers are described as "long, hot, oppressive, wet, and mostly cloudy," whereas the winters are "short, cool, and partly cloudy." Temperatures range from 52 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit on average, though in more extreme conditions, they have been known to extend to a range of 38 to 94 degrees, with occurrences outside of the latter range being rare. When factoring in the weather and other meteorological conditions for the area, it has been determined that from early March to mid-May and from mid-October to early December are some of the most temperate times of the year. These times also help to avoid the months that experience the heaviest precipitation, which are June, July, August, and September. The Kissimmee Destination receives virtually no snowfall.[12]

History

Kissimmee City, which is the namesake of the Kissimmee Destination, is located a short distance to the south of Orlando, Florida. The origin of the name "Kissimmee" has been debated among historians, with some theories speculating that it is linked to an ancient village of the Jororo, one of Florida's more obscure native tribes. Most historians agree, however, that "Kissimmee" is a modern spelling of an older tribal name of some kind.[4]

Sections of Florida were owned by various countries over the course of history. Spain and Britain were some of the most active in their attempts to possess parts of the state before the region was ultimately adopted into the United States of America in 1845. Kissimmee itself was initially a small trading post that was situated on the northern banks of Lake Tohopekaliga. The name that it had during this time was "Allendale," which would not be changed to its current name until 1883. Over the course of the city's existence, it has seen extensive growth and development. Some of the most recent projects that were completed by the town of Kissimmee include improving Church Street, performing work on Toho Bend Trail and Toho Vista Trail, and widening Oak Street and Carroll Street. Future plans for the city involve constructing an airport tower, improving the town's hockey rink, and developing the Toho-Valencia Trail.[4]

As one of the area's largest cities, Tampa has also seen a sizable amount of growth in the past few centuries. The 1880s were particularly beneficial for the city due to the discovery of large quantities of phosphate in the Bone Valley region, the arrival of Plant's railroad, and the creation of both Ybor City and West Tampa. Soon some of the area's exports of fish and cigars could be more effectively transported to other sites, improving the economic development of Tampa. Another considerable period of growth for the city was during World War II, when various army forces operated around Tampa Bay and other surrounding areas. In modern times, one of the city's most significant developments was the founding of New Tampa.[10]

Orlando's early history mirrors many of the other regions in the area, though it diverges from 1965 and onward primarily due to the announcement by Walt Disney that plans were being made to open a theme park in the area. This decision was influenced by the fact that Orlando was more inland than cities such as Tampa or Miami, making it less likely to experience hurricanes. The Walt Disney World® Resort first opened in October of 1971, which in turn caused Orlando to experience population growth in ways it had never seen before. Walt Disney World® Resort was just the beginning; over time, more resorts and theme parks would be constructed in the Orlando area, causing it to have "more theme parks and entertainment attractions than anywhere else in the world." Another reason why the city has been able to grow and develop involves the completion of the Orlando International Airport, which was preceded by the Orlando Jetport in 1962.[3] 

#1
5.0 (154 Reviews)

The Kenwood Gables Boutique B&B

St. Petersburg, Florida

The Kenwood Gables Boutique B&B

The Kenwood Gables Boutique Bed and Breakfast is an adult-only retreat in Kenwood, a historic neighborhood in St. Petersburg, Florida. The restored home has five rooms available for reservation, all of which have private bathrooms and themed decorations curated from all around the world. The owners Reymond and Jayson, opened the property in 2019 after installing a pool and renovating the entire interior. Breakfast is served daily with homemade pastries, omelets, fresh fruit, and coffee. The home is located just five minutes from Downtown St. Petersburg and thirty minutes from the Tampa and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airports, along with many well-known beaches. The property is open year-round.

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#2
4.97 (469 Reviews)

Anchor Inn Bed and Breakfast is located in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The business has been operating as a bed and breakfast since the year 2001 and was recently purchased by the current owners, Tommy and Liz, in 2020. The property is located in what could be considered a "beach town" due to its proximity to New Smyrna Beach and the shops that are open there. There are a variety of restaurants in the area that Tommy recommends to his guests, as well as a few events that are held in the region. A couple of the more common events that are held in the area include a car show held on Canal Street and a monthly art show held on the same street. The Daytona 500 and Bike Week are also diversions that occur near the bed and breakfast that draw in many visitors.

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#3
4.95 (626 Reviews)

Beyond The Wall Bed and Breakfast features six cottages, the main house with a lobby, and a pool area for guests. The property is open year-round and serves a full homemade style breakfast served in the lobby. About 25 restaurants, 30 shops, and 7 breweries can be found within 400 yards of the B&B. A few of the recommended nearby restaurants include Hog Island Fish Camp Seafood Restaurant and Q Southern BBQ. The atmosphere of the property's location is generally laidback, which is one of the reasons the current owners moved to Dunedin, Florida, in the first place. The owners, Mark and Michelle Rocco, opened Beyond The Wall in 2017 and have been maintaining the B&B since then. They both hope for their guests to enjoy the atmosphere and environment of their establishment.

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#4
4.8 (103 Reviews)

The Alling House B&B is a hybrid lodging property, offering traditional bed and breakfast experiences in addition to five cottages in the back courtyard. Between the main house and the cottages, there are eight total areas that guests are allowed to choose between, dependent on the experience they are seeking. For those with more people than a few, all of the cottages can be rented out to a single group looking to have a get-together. Alling House is located in Orange City, Florida, roughly an hour north of Orlando. The main home was built in 1908, and the property is named after one of the house's residents, Edward B. Alling, who lived there for over 40 years.

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#5
4.65 (200 Reviews)

Casa Coquina Del Mar Bed and Breakfast, owned by Dennis and Ginny Fitzpatrick, is located in Titusville, Florida near the Indian River. In each of the eight total suites, there is a bedroom, private bath, and a sitting room. The backyard of the property includes a garden filled with native plants and cultivated plants, in addition to a small fish pond with goldfishes. A full breakfast is available to guests between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., with several options ranging from fruit salad to pastry dishes. Dennis and Ginny provide guests with a snack plate upon arrival or set up wines in the guests' suite if there's an occasion planned. The busiest season for Casa Coquina is typically from mid-January to mid-May. A fair amount of visitors come to see the Kennedy Space Center. When the space center launched their very first astronaut, several TV networks came to film from the Casa Coquina B&B's deck.

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#6
4.8 (84 Reviews)

Davis House Inn is a three-story establishment that has is located in Sebastian, Florida. The Inn looks over the Indian River with a dock and private beach. On the other side of the Indian River is the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, and beyond that is the North Atlantic Ocean. Greenery and flower gardens cover the outside of the inn's grounds. Something that is unique about the property is that the Davis House Inn has its own personal dock and a private beach that already has chairs and umbrellas for guests to use. Visitors can also rent equipment like kayaks and bicycles if they are unable to bring their own or don't have them.

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#7
4.8 (19 Reviews)

Cabin on the Lake

Lake Helen, Florida

Cabin on the Lake

The Cabin on the Lake is located in Lake Helen, Florida, across the street from Lake Helen, as the name suggests. There are a total of three rooms available for reservation, all of which have their own unique name and theme. Guests are free to roam the two acres on which the building is situated. The inn also owns a portion of the shore of the lake that guests can access anytime. The inn provides canoes and bikes for an additional fee that can be ridden around the property or to the lake. The owners  “want people to feel like they are home,” and are happy to assist those who require it. They also can provide recommendations for things to do in nearby cities. Many guests typically visit the property in the spring because of events that take place in the surrounding area.

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#8
0 (0 Reviews)

The Sea Breeze Manor Inn, located in Gulfport, Florida, has seven units, each with at least one private bathroom. On the property, there are rooms, a restaurant, a courtyard that is decorated with flowers and other plants, and porches. The current owners of the property, Frank and Rali Kaller, have been associated with the business since 2014. The Kallers have several other properties, and most of them are family-owned. The Sea Breeze Manor Inn has two pet-friendly units, and one of those units is also handicap accessible. Other features of the property are the individual decorations in each of the rooms, a large tub with a view of the bay in the Jamacia Deluxe Suite, and exterior features such as the courtyard and surrounding trees. Guests who have stayed at the property have commented on the staff members, the food at the restaurant, the location of the inn, and multiple nearby attractions.

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#9

Riverbend Retreat-Fla Bed and Breakfast is located between the Alafia Scrub Nature Preserve and the Alafia River in Riverview, Florida. As it is near the Tampa Bay area, this bed and breakfast is also within driving distance to other attractions such as local outdoor golf courses, iFly, TopGolf, and several beaches. This area is a common passing-through point for visitors to more prominent attractions like Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort. The site also provides several opportunities for water activities such as boating and fishing. For guests hoping to stay indoors, Riverbend Retreat-Fla Bed and Breakfast has a screened-in pool and spa, as well as several common areas.

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State

Florida