Driving to Florida for Spring Break?
Use Florida 511 to Ease the Ride
This March and April, Florida will be one of the most popular spots in the nation for college students seeking a break from the books, and a week of sun and fun on Florida’s white sandy beaches. While nearly all beaches are visited, the most popular destinations for spring break are Pensacola, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West.
This year, more than 200 million “Spring Breakers” will travel to Florida to enjoy the best weather in the nation. If you (or a loved one) are one of these Spring Breakers, you may want to consider using a new app to make your drive safer and faster. The Florida Department of Transportation has developed the Florida 511 Traveler Information System. The state has placed 3,200 cameras on interstates and major highways in Florida to provide real-time views of traffic conditions.
The suggested way to use Florida 511 is to go online before the trip and plan out your trip on the website at FL511.com. Florida 511 provides up to three routes to choose from, and lets you see the travel conditions in advance before getting on the road. Then, when traveling, a passenger in the car can check the app as needed. Or, if traveling alone, stop at a rest area or other safe place and check the app while parked. The mobile app is available for free at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Florida 511 also has a Twitter feed, toll-free phone number when in Florida, and other helpful features.
With 20 million spring breakers swelling the roads in March and April, Florida 511 can ease college student’s trips, both coming and going!
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Slide into Spring Training with Florida 511
Florida rules in the spring when it comes to baseball! Each February and March, 15 Major League Baseball teams practice in the state for the upcoming season. The “Grapefruit League,” as it is known, has been in existence for more than 125 years. It gives the teams an opportunity to head down to sunny, warm Florida to practice in more comfortable climate conditions than, often, in their home city.
Sprig Training takes place in 12 cities throughout the state. More than 1.5 millions fans flock to 12 stadiums to watch their favorite teams practice in the pre-season.
Baseball aficionados heading out to a game this spring may want to use the Florida 511 Traveler Information System to help them reach the game safely. Florida 511 allows the user to log onto the website before leaving for the game, choose one of three routes, and view the current driving conditions. Users know before hitting the road if there are delays or other travel issues. Once on the road, passengers can check the app if needed. The app is also helpful for the return trip, which sometimes can be at night.
The Major League Baseball teams that practice in Florida and their winter training cities follow: Atlanta Braves (Walt Disney World/Kissimmee); Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota); Boston Red Sox (Fort Myers); Detroit Tigers (Lakeland); Houston Astros (West Palm Beach); Miami Marlins (Jupiter); Minnesota Twins (Fort Myers); New York Mets (Port St. Lucie); New York Yankees (Tampa); Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater); Pittsburgh Pirates (Bradenton); St. Louis Cardinals (Jupiter); Tampa Bay Rays (Port Charlotte); Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin); and Washington Nationals (West Palm Beach).
Spring training is in progress through March 27. Know before you go, to get the most out of the game!
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Cruise to Bike Week in Daytona with Florida 511
Florida is known for a lot of things, but many people may be surprised to learn it has a large motorcycling population. The year-round great highways, weather and scenery make the state ideal for biking.
One highly-anticipated even is the annual Bike Week at Daytona Beach, which actually is 10 days of non-stop fun for motorcycling enthusiasts. Bike Week is March 9 to 18 this year. Approximately 500,000 people are expected for events, races, shows, entertainment, exhibits, food, friendship and camaraderie.
Those attending Bike Week may want to consider using the Florida 511 Traveler Information System to cruise safely to the event and about the area throughout the week. Riders can check travel conditions in advance on the website, then stop safely en route and check the mobile app as needed, while stopped off the road.
Safety is such an important issue for motorcyclists. Florida 511, with its real-time traffic, is sure to make the ride a more pleasant one.
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Florida Events in March
March is one of Florida’s busiest months with events galore. If you plan to visit one of these, or many other fine events throughout the state, consider using Florida 511 to connect, know and go!
Florida Strawberry Festival (Plant City)
March 1 to 11
The Florida Strawberry Festival is an 11-day community event celebrating the strawberry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County. Each year, over 500,000 visitors enjoy the festival’s headline entertainment, youth livestock shows, rides, exhibits of commerce and, of course, its strawberry shortcake.
Gulf Coast Renaissance Faire and Pirate Festival (Pensacola)
March 3 and 4
The earliest foundations of the Gulf Coast lie within the Renaissance Era. It started in the summer of 1559 when Tristan de Luna sought to establish a colony in the area now known as Pensacola. Established in 2001, the first Gulf Coast Renaissance Faire celebrates this heritage. Come in costume and watch jousting, exotic birds, dancers and more!
28th Annual Asian Culture Festival (Homestead)
March 3 and 4
A fun-filled family event, the Asian Culture Festival offers a virtual day trip to Asia. Festival-goers will enjoy a variety of Asian arts, crafts, entertainment, plants and exotic cuisine. The Festival promotes the importance of cultural diversity in building a vibrant, prosperous and healthy community.
Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition (Southwest Miami-Dade County)
March 15 to April 8
The annual Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition is located in the heart of southwest Miami-Dade County and is one of the nation’s largest county fairs with 100 rides, 200 food booths, 45 games, lots of entertainment and 51,000 student and adult exhibits and competitions.
Clewiston Sugar Festival (Clewiston)
March 16 and 17
Dating back to the 1930s, the Clewiston Sugar Festival has evolved to become a popular local event for Glades area residents and others from around the state. It features entertainment, food booths, a rodeo, a bass fishing tournament, Seminole Heritage Day, and many other activities for the whole family!
The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival (Winter Park)
March 16, 17 and 18
The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most prestigious outdoor art festivals. An independent panel selects 225 artists to exhibit their work. More than 350,000 visitors are expected to attend. The Festival consistently ranks as one of the top juried fine-art festivals in the country. It is in its 59th year.
Palm Beach International Boat Show (West Palm Beach)
March 22 to 25
The Palm Beach International Boat Show is one of the top five boat shows in the country, featuring more than $1.2 billion worth of boats, yachts and accessories from the world’s leading marine manufacturers. Boats range in size from 8 to more than 150 feet. The show also features exotic cars, live music and fun for all!