Destinations

Florida cities vie for Ponce De Leon’s landing spot, 500 years later

Excerpt from Tampa Bay Times

Dec 29, 2012 9:47 am

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It pits the Florida city of St. Augustine vs Melbourne Beach, a few hours south, and a lot of tourism dollars are at stake.

— Rafat Ali

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Library of Congress

The Ponce De Leon, St. Augustine, Florida, Detroit Photographic Co., 1902. Library of Congress


Where did that most ambitious conquistador, Juan Ponce de Leon, wade ashore five centuries ago and name his prize “La Florida?” Inquiring minds all over our state would like to know, the sooner the better, for planning purposes.

With the big day approaching — the anniversary arrives on April 3, 2013 — what east-coast beach city gets to shoot off the fireworks? If King Juan Carlos I of Spain graces us with a visit, where will he and Gov. Rick Scott shake hands? This being Florida, where communities joust like 16th-century knights for tourist dollars, it’s important.

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