Thursday, May 10, 2007

Multimodal Transportation and Touring Historic Florida

From time to time on this blog, I have discussed heritage tourism and scenic byways, and the topic of one-tank trips has even come up. But with so much public attention turning to gas prices, climate change, and mass transit, I wondered if too much emphasis is being placed on automotive travel. My first step towards an answer is a quick survey of existing modes of transportation available for exploration of this state.

In the category of engine-powered transportation, I found driving tours, boat tours, trolley tours, bus tours, amphibious duck boat tours, seaplane, and even conch train tours.

In the category of self-propelled transporation, I found walking tours, canoe trails, hiking trails, and bike tours.

In the category of animal-propelled transporation, I found horse trails. Ostrich and alligator-drawn carriages seem to have fallen out of favor.

Florida's economy relies heavily on tourism, but Florida is also a large and growing state with complex transportation needs. The two issues intersect -- how will tourists get to Florida, and how will they move around once they are here? If it is also a goal to promote heritage tourism, how should tourists best travel to historic and cultural sites?

(Oddly, looking at this list, I see that although I have traveled Florida by car, foot, boat, canoe, bicycle, and horseback, I have never personally been on any of the tours or trails I linked to. My subconscious mind must be muttering about vacations again.)

Circa 1901-1905 photograph of Governor W. S. Jennings by the St. Augustine city gates in an alligator cart, courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Photographic Collection.

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