Florida Travel

Florida travel notes

El Galeon, a replica of a 16th century wooden galleon, will be part of the celebration of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary.
El Galeon, a replica of a 16th century wooden galleon, will be part of the celebration of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary. Visit Florida

▪ The celebration of the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, oldest city in the United States, kicks off Sept. 3, with concerts and the arrival of El Galeón, the authentic replica of a wooden galleon like those that were in the Spanish fleet. Juan Ponce de León landed near St. Augustine in 1513 and claimed Florida for Spain, but the city wasn’t founded until Sept. 8, 1565, by Pedro Menéndez de Aviles, another Spanish explorer who was Florida’s first colonial governor. The main events continue through Sept. 8, when there will be a re-enactment of Menéndez’s landing and a commemorative Mass. Details: www.staugustine-450.com/Celebrate450.

▪ The 2015 Island Hopper Songwriter Fest will be Sept. 17-27, with venues spread through three southwest Florida cities: South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island the first weekend, downtown Fort Myers midweek, and Fort Myers Beach the final weekend. Kristian Bush of the country duo Sugarland will perform on opening day, with mostly free performances from more than 50 hit-makers who have written songs for top country artists including Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith over the next 10 days. Details: www.islandhopperfest.com.

▪ The public can join divers and marine researchers from the nonprofit Reef Environmental Education Foundation in celebrating the impact of marine conservation programs in the Florida Keys during REEF Fest, Sept. 24-27, in Key Largo. Activities will include seminars, diving opportunities, parties, a book signing and more. All REEF Fest events are open to the public, but pre-registration for the seminars and social activities is recommended. Details: 305-852-0030 or www.reef.org/REEFFest2015.

▪ Healing Totem, an exhibition by photographer JohnBob Carlos, will run at the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City Sept. 1 to Oct. 30. Carlos, who photographs Florida’s wildlife, landscapes, cultures and waterways, said he chose the title of the exhibition “because of the desire to move people to want to find healing for themselves, our water, the Everglades, and Florida’s nature. ... My hope with this gallery is that you find an image that will serve as a Totem to inspire healing in your life.” Details: 239-695-0008 or www.colliermuseums.com.

▪ Scandinavian Airlines said this week it will begin serving Miami International Airport in the fall of 2016. The airline, also known as SAS, will offer nonstop flights to Copenhagen three days a week and nonstop flights to Oslo four days a week.