Florida Waterparks

From Typhoon Lagoon to Wet-N-Wild, explore the waterparks of Florida.

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A classic car and a Sonoran hotdog food truck called Chuyitos
Chevy 1955 Bel Air and Sonoran Hot Dogs

Chevy 1955 Bel Air and Sonoran Hot Dogs

Michael (Voltaggio) is obsessed with classic American cars. In fact, he owns this exact same model — a Chevy 1955 Bel Air. He wanted to drive it down to Arizona, but since we had to make sure he actually arrived in time for the shoot, we decided to rent one instead. Our first stop was a truck that sells the famous Sonoran hot dogs, which Michael insisted we eat several feet away from the car so as not to get it dirty.  That whole morning, I felt like we'd been transported 60 years back in time! 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

US-Mexico $2 Billion Border Fence

US-Mexico $2 Billion Border Fence

I've been reporting on border and immigration issues for years, but this was the first time I got to see the $2 billion border fence from above. Border Patrol says it's been effective in preventing the movement of illegal goods and people from Mexico into the US, but opponents call it a boondoggle. They say that all it does is drive immigrants to more dangerous (fenceless) terrain, which means more deaths along the border for those pursuing a better life for themselves and their families. 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

649-Mile Fence

649-Mile Fence

The brown line you see is part of the 649-mile fence. Since it's not a continuous fence, it covers less than a third of the 1,954-mile US-Mexican border.   960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

The Border From Above

The Border From Above

Flying over the US-Mexican border on a 4-seat Cessna. I look calm and collected, but this is where I learned that having a chef as the co-pilot is never a good idea. You can't be good at everything, Voltaggio! 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

View From the Other Side

View From the Other Side

This photo was taken in Nogales, AZ. On the other side of the 18-foot fence is Nogales, Sonora, in Mexico. I've been here on reporting trips before, but the sheer size of the fence never ceases to surprise me.     960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

'Breaking Bad'?

'Breaking Bad'?

It ain't Breaking Bad; it's Breaking Borders. Oh, and it airs every Sunday at 9|8c on Travel Channel. 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

Michael Voltaggio, Excited for Cuisine & Compliments

Michael Voltaggio, Excited for Cuisine & Compliments

Michael is excited to try authentic Mexican food in Nogales, Sonora. Or perhaps it's because a 70-year-old Mexican lady just said, "Qué gringo más guapo!" (“What a handsome gringo!”)   960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

Bottoms Up!

Bottoms Up!

Yes, they were all for me — 10 shots of pure gold. What happens in the field stays in the field. 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

Mountain Minutemen

Mountain Minutemen

In Arizona, we spent a few hours one night with members of the Mountain Minutemen, a group of armed men and women who camp out in the desert, hunting for illegal border crossers. This man asked us not to show his face or reveal his identity, but the leader of the group, Robert Crooks, was one of our dinner guests on the episode. 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

Photos

EPCOT

EPCOT

Travel around the world without leaving Orlando in EPCOT Center's World Showcase. You can also take a ride through the future as imagined decades ago in the famous golf-ball shaped dome, Spaceship Earth. 960 1280

Courtesy of Disney.  

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

The purported happiest place on Earth, Disney's Magic Kingdom is sure to entertain the kids - whether with one of their parades or classic rides like Space Mountain. 960 1280

Courtest of Disney  

Holy Land Experience

Holy Land Experience

Orlando's Holy Land Experience is surely a unique Florida attraction: visitors can have the Last Supper with Jesus and disciples (actors, of course). 960 1280

Courtesy of Holy Land Experience  

Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios Orlando, next door to its roller-coaster-laden cousin, Islands of Adventure, is a must for movie fans. Where else can you experience an attack from Jaws, save New York from aliens along with the Men in Black, or hang out with Beetlejuice? 960 1280

Courtesy of Universal Studios  

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom features more than 500 acres of grounds where animals can roam freely. Guests can roam in open safari vehicles, watching out for giraffes, hippos, lions, and more. 960 1280

Courtesy of Disney  

Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure

Universal's Islands of Adventure is the go-to place for those with a need for speed. Thrill seekers will especially enjoy Dr. Doom's Fearfall and the Incredible Hulk Coaster. 960 1280

Courtesy of Universal Studios  

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Of course, the newest and most popular attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Fans will be treated to plenty of performances, a dragon-themed roller coaster, and even (non-alcoholic) butterbeer. 960 1280

Universal Orlando Resort  

Silver Springs

Silver Springs

The glass bottom boats at Silver Springs allow you to get up close and personal with local wildlife, like alligators, turtles, and if you're lucky, a manatee or two. 960 1280

Courtesy of Silver Springs  

See all your favorite aquatic animals in one place ' SeaWorld Orlando. See interactive shows with killer whales and experience thrilling roller coasters and water rides. 960 1280

SeaWorld  

Located in Orlando and partnered with SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive getaway where visitors get up-close and personal with the park's animals. Take a day or 2 to swim with dolphins, experience an underwater tropical reef and visit Explorer's Aviary to see and hear tropical birds from all over the world. 960 1280

Discovery Cove  

Spend the day at one of the biggest water parks in Florida. Wet `n' Wild has over 30 acres of slides, flumes, surfing and more. Founded by Sea World creator George Millay in 1977, the park was honored by Aquatics International as being the first true water park in America. 960 1280

Wet 'n' Wild  

Also in Daytona, NASCAR fans can enjoy the Daytona International Speedway All Access Tour. Here, fans photograph the 2010 Daytona 500 winning car. 960 1280

Daytona International Speedway  

About a 2-hour drive from downtown Orlando, Tampa Bay is home to Bush Gardens. Featured here is SheiKra, a roller coaster with "floorless" cars giving the riders a unique view at 70 mph. 960 1280

Busch Gardens  

A boy plays in the fountain in the Rocket Garden at the John F. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, just outside of Cape Canaveral, FL. Visitors can stand under the massive rockets that first put NASA astronauts into space and much more. If you spend an entire day at the Kennedy Space Center and there happens to be a night launch, stick around ' it's a must-see. 960 1280

Reuters/Mark Wallheiser MW/DY  

Florida's Everglades are known to many as the place to see alligators and ride airboats. This National Park is home to thousands of species of birds, reptiles, mammals and, best of all, beautiful Florida sunsets. 960 1280

iStock  

The southern-most tip of the US main land, the Florida Keys are known for beautiful beaches, boating, fishing, Key Lime Pie and Margaritaville. The Keys were also the onetime home to Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemmingway. Pictured here is Mallory Square, the center of Key West's historic waterfront. 960 1280

iStock  

Caladesi Island State Park

Caladesi Island State Park

Enjoy 3 miles of undeveloped beach with your significant other on Caladesi Island State Park, which is easily accessible from St. Petersburg. Hotels and resorts closest to the island are minutes away, in Dunedin, FL. 960 1280

VisitFlorida.com  

Destin

Destin

What better way to start your life together than on the beautiful sugar-white beaches of Destin, FL, at Sandestin Beach Golf Resort, northwest Florida’s premier hotel. The hotel recently made National Geographic Traveler's "10 Best Fall Trips." 960 1280

Photo courtesy of Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort  

Little Torch Key

Little Torch Key

Welcome to tropical paradise on Little Torch Key. The Little Palm Island Resort and Spa is a wonderful oasis for a honeymoon. Picture this: Air-conditioned, thatched roof bungalow suites, with custom-made beds topped by plush mosquito netting. White paths of crushed seashells weave through 6 acres of tropical flowers, palm trees and sandy beaches. 960 1280

Little Palm Island Resort  

Santa Rosa Beach

Santa Rosa Beach

Just outside of Panama City, the WaterColor Inn and Resort on Santa Rosa Beach is considered one of the best honeymoon locations in Florida. 960 1280

VisitFlorida.com  

Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island

Minutes north of Caladesi Island is Honeymoon Island, known for its turquoise waters and white sand beach. 960 1280

Florida Department of Environmental Protection  

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

The beautiful islands and beaches of the Florida Keys can leave anyone speechless. 960 1280

VisitFlorida.com  

Palm Beach

Palm Beach

Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Four Seasons Resort on Palm Beach. 960 1280

Four Seasons Resort  

Siesta Key

Siesta Key

Many consider Siesta Key the Sunshine State's most romantic getaway, according to Southern Living magazine. 960 1280

ForthDude through Flickr Creative Commons  

South Beach

South Beach

While visiting The Tides, you can feel world's away from the busy nightlife of South Beach, or right in the middle of it. Your choice. 960 1280

King & Grove Hotels  

Naples

Naples

If kicking back and enjoying one another isn't enough, the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort in Naples, FL, is a beautiful complement. Enjoy the relaxing sands in the morning, greens the rest of the afternoon, and an intimate dinner for 2 in the evening. 960 1280

Noble House Hotels & Resorts  

Sanibel Island Beach

Sanibel Island Beach

Located on Florida's southwest Gulf Coast, the beautiful Sanibel Island Beach is a favorite destination among honeymooners for its honeymoon cottages and memorable sunsets, some of the most romantic along the Florida Gulf Coast. 960 1280

VisitFlorida.com  

Captiva Island

Captiva Island

Captiva Island, the sister island to Sanibel, offers a luxurious honeymoon escape. South Seas Island Resort's secluded honeymoon getaways and private villas are a must. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Key West

Key West

A beach lover’s heaven, Key West is one of the most enchanting of the 1,700 islands that make up the Florida Keys. It’s also the southernmost city in the continental US. 960 1280

Ed Schipul via Flickr Creative Commons SA 2.0, cropped and color corrected  

Key West

Key West

The beaches in Key West are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and fishing is allowed off the piers at most beaches. Enjoy these activities at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Florida’s southernmost state park -- and one of its most beautiful spots -- that’s home to wide stretches of sand and tranquil waters. We recommend renting a 2-person, glass-bottom kayak if you’re looking for a fun but romantic escape. 960 1280

Katja Kreder/ AWL Images/ Getty Images  

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach

One of America’s finest white-sand beaches, Clearwater Beach spans a narrow, 3-mile stretch of the Pinellas Peninsula on the Gulf Coast. Clearwater’s proximity to Tampa offers visitors ample activities to enjoy, including beach volleyball, parasailing, a dolphin-watching cruise and a fun fishing excursion. 960 1280

Image Source/ Getty Images  

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach

Piers are a Florida shore staple, and Clearwater Beach is no different. Walk to the end of the famed Pier 60 to take in one of the state’s many beautiful sunsets, whether it’s the one in the sky or the daily festival of the same name, which is held 365 days a year. 960 1280

Matthew Paulson via Flickr Creative Commons NC ND 2.0, cropped and color corrected  

Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island

Known as one of the best shelling locations thanks to the abundant seashells that wash ashore from the Gulf of Mexico, Sanibel Island attracts collectors from all over the world. 960 1280

Gregory Moine, flickr  

Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island

With a small population of locals, along with breathtaking, clear-blue waters and immaculate white-sand beaches, Sanibel Island offers a fun and relaxing vacation for families and couples alike. 960 1280

ziggymaj / E+ / Getty Images  

Captiva Island

Captiva Island

Just north of its aforementioned sister island, Sanibel, Captiva Island is a tropical paradise right here in the United States. It offers some of the best fishing and boating in Florida. 960 1280

Jeff Self via Flickr Creative Commons NC ND 2.0, cropped and color corrected  

Captiva Island

Captiva Island

The blue waters and white-sand beaches of Captiva Island stretch into the horizon. So we recommend watching a spectacular sunset at the end of Captiva Drive. But before the sun sets, go boating down the waterways of the island to see local wildlife, including dolphins, crocodiles, blue herons and many different species of colorful birds. 960 1280

Pete Markham, flickr  

Palm Beach

Palm Beach

The easternmost town in all of Florida, Palm Beach is lined with its namesake majestic trees and loaded with beautiful beachfront properties, high-end hotels and sprawling resorts. 960 1280

Simon Morris via Flickr Creative Commons NC 2.0, cropped and color corrected  

Palm Beach

Palm Beach

This 16-mile-long, half-mile-wide island is the epitome of wealth and extravagance. In times past, it served as the winter home to the Vanderbilts, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers and other millionaires. True to form, the town still features some of Florida’s finest hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as beautiful beaches. Perched next to the Gulf Stream, this beach town also enjoys the extra benefit of warm blue water and gentle breezes. 960 1280

Panoramic Images/ Getty Images  

Siesta Key

Siesta Key

Situated between Roberts Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, just a short distance from downtown Sarasota, Siesta Key is as laid-back and enjoyable as any beach you’ll find in Florida. 960 1280

Thomas Orger via Flickr Creative Commons NC ND 2.0, cropped and color corrected  

Siesta Key

Siesta Key

Spend the perfect family vacation in Siesta Key, a barrier island off Florida’s central western coast that boasts beachside picnic areas and playgrounds. Go shell collecting, kayaking or hop on a catamaran for more active pursuits. For adults who want a more low-key experience, spend a candlelit dinner at a restaurant or rent a cozy cottage for a romantic getaway. 960 1280

Mike Miller, flickr  

Naples

Naples

Located in southern Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples offers phenomenal fishing experiences along the pier, top-notch outdoor restaurants and fun — but difficult — golf courses. 960 1280

Marcus Andersson via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0  

Naples

Naples

Watch the rolling waves and gaze at the mansions that line some of Naples’ most popular beaches along 12th Avenue South. For a family looking to camp out on the beach for the day, we recommend heading a few miles north of Old Naples to Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. Food stands and on-site rentals for umbrellas, kayaks and snorkeling gear are available nearby. 960 1280

Getty Images  

South Beach

South Beach

Take a dip in the crystal-blue waters of Miami’s South Beach, an international playground that offers non-stop nightlife, high-end shopping, luxurious boutique hotels and unique Art Deco architecture. This man-made beach is perfect for early morning runs and topless sunbathing. 960 1280

photosvit/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

South Beach

South Beach

Take in a beautiful sunrise accompanied by blue skies and colorful clouds as you walk along one of the world’s most renowned beaches. 960 1280

ventdusud / iStock / Getty Images Plus  

Delray Beach

Delray Beach

Each year, nearly 1 million people visit family-friendly Delray Beach to enjoy the 2-mile-long beach that’s ideal for fun beach activities, including sandcastle-building. Take a break from the beach and hit nearby Atlantic Avenue, lined with boutiques, seafood restaurants and the luxurious Seagate Hotel and Spa. 960 1280

ddmitr/ Moment Open/ Getty Images  

Delray Beach

Delray Beach

From sailing and surfing to snorkeling and paddleboarding, water-sport lovers are in for a treat when visiting Delray. 960 1280

Visit Florida / Pete Cross via Flickr Creative Commons NC ND 2.0, cropped and color corrected  

Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach

One of the most northern spots on our list, Atlantic Beach offers sand as soft and white as sugar and beautiful azure waters reminiscent of a cloudless sky. 960 1280

Frank Vest via Flickr Creative Commons NC ND 2.0, cropped and color corrected  

Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach

Only a short drive from Jacksonville, Atlantic Beach exudes small-town charm, especially at the Beach Town Center, where the pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets are lined with restaurants, galleries and boutiques. 960 1280

Fallbrook/ iStock  

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