A FREE GUIDE PROVIDES INFORMATION about Florida state parks including locations, facilities, fees, procedures and permits. It also lists festivals and other special events such as rural folklife festivals, a quilt show and sale, candlelight tours of a historic fort and a guided overnight hike. Request the 1996 July-December Florida State Parks Festivals and Events Guide by sending your name and address to the Florida Park Service, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., MS535, Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000, or calling (904) 488-9872. If you would like the guide transmitted by fax, call 1-800-529-5329 and have your fax number ready. Request document 500.
* A FREE COPY OF THE COLORADO Dude & Guest Ranch Association is available by sending your name and address to CDGRA, P.O. Box 300-P, Tabernash, CO 80478, or by calling (970) 724-3653, ext. P. The 40 guest ranches featured in the book offer supervised children's programs, river rafting, fishing, hiking and four-wheel drive trips as well as horseback riding. Prices include activities as well as three meals a day and accommodations.
* A SURVEY BY ROPER STARCH WORLDWIDE INC. reveals that the images of many of America's cities have improved over the past four years. San Francisco, Seattle and Denver are among the U.S. cities with the most positive images. Atlanta and Boston also have positive images. Detroit has the most negative image. Travelers still perceive the Big Apple negatively but less so than a few years ago.
Cities considered the most polluted by people who participated in the survey include New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh. The most dangerous cities, according to the survey, are New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Detroit and Chicago. On the other side of the coin are the most friendly cities: Atlanta, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco and New Orleans. New York City is considered the most exciting, followed by San Francisco, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.
* WASHINGTON, D.C., HOTELS offer summer discounts. Seventy hotels in and around our nation's capital reduce rates from June 17 through Labor Day for vacationing families. The discounts are available through Capitol Reservations by calling 1-800-847-4832. Participating hotels include Loews L'Enfant Plaza, Holiday Inns, Embassy Suites and the Hotel Washington next to the White House, and range from four-star luxury properties to family-style accommodations. Discounts range from 30 to 50 percent off rack rates.
* BRANDYWINE VALLEY, midway between New York City and Washington, D.C., offers a number of historic attractions. A free brochure highlighting those attractions is available by sending your name and address to Winterthur, Box DB, Winterthur, DW 19735.
The area's highlights include the Brandywine River Museum featuring works of the Wyeth family (N.C., Andrew and Jamie); Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library; Longwood Gardens on a former du Pont estate; the George Read II House, a 22-room Federal mansion in Old New Castle; Hagley Museum, the original du Pont mills, estate and gardens; and the Delaware Art Museum with a collection of 19th and 20th century American art.
* LEAD-FOOT DRIVERS BEWARE: Montana does have a speed limit. The state's tourist office says there is no posted speed limit for passenger vehicles during daylight hours. However, vehicles should be driven in a "reasonable and prudent manner" with regard to road conditions, traffic conditions, traffic patterns, vehicle conditions and other safety conditions. Drivers that don't comply with this "basic rule" could be subject to a fine between $75 and $500. The basic rule applies to daytime driving on Interstates and all other roads in Montana. The nighttime speed limit is 65 mph on the Interstates and 55 mph on all other roads. Exceptions to the rule include construction zones (35 mph or as posted) and special speed zones and speed limits in cities.
* SAN DIEGO HOTEL RESERVATIONS will expand to Phoenix and Scottsdale Sept. 15. To book a hotel after that time, call 1-800-SAVE CASH. The company says it offers rates to individuals that are competitive with corporate rates. The company's home page address is http://www.savecash.com.
* A COPY OF THE 1996 Lodging and Food Guide of the Maine Innkeepers Association is available by sending a check for $1 to Maine Innkeepers Association, 305 Commercial St., Portland, ME 04101. The guide lists hotels, motels, inns, resorts and B&Bs that are members of the association.