Florida holidays offer plenty of sights and activities to keep visitors of all ages happy and entertained. The Hispanic and Latin-fuelled culture of Miami is certainly worth indulging in, along with a visit to its beaches and art-deco architecture.
There’s also the ability to enjoy the incredible natural beauty of the area with trips into the Everglades, one of the most famous natural parks in the world. Animal enthusiasts can swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove, and golfers can take on one of the area’s many high-quality courses.
It’s hard to believe that as recently as the 1940s one of the most significant things about Orlando was its importance as a centre for growing oranges. Today Orlando is an energetic and enchanting destination and claims the title of Theme Park Capital of the World.
More than 75 million people visted Orlando in 2018 and for many it’s the obvious place to start their Florida Holiday, for thrills, premium shopping and unique dining experiences; but, if you venture beyond the theme park gates you will discover even more places to make unforgettable memories.
Walt Disney World Resort® is home to four theme parks and two water parks, with Universal Orlando Resort™ packing in a further two theme parks and one water park, not to mention SeaWorld® Orlando and their water park, Aquatica.
Fun-filled magic, mind-boggling illusion and pure escapism dominate the proceedings, with a myriad of thrill rides, cleverly choreographed shows and endless entertainment on offer for adults and children of all ages.
Walt Disney World is a must on Florida holidays, and has four fun-packed theme parks in total, featuring everything from white-knuckle rides to family-friendly shows. Kids won’t be able to contain their excitement in the Magic Kingdom®, where they can get up close to their favourite Disney characters. Meanwhile, older children will have an absolute blast riding the Space Mountain rollercoaster.
Calling all movie buffs: how about a trip to Universal Orlando Resort™? It’s made up of two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure), complete with all kinds of attractions and shows based on the studio’s famous movies.
Water slides, wave pools and thrilling rides; you’ll find all this and more at Disney’s Blizzard Beach in Lake Buena Vista. This is not your average water park; in fact, it’s designed to look like a ski resort, with its ski jump-style toboggan runs, melting ice caps and even a skit lift to take you up high. Daredevils won’t be able to resist the 12-storey drop at Summit Plummet and the thrilling raft ride at Teamboat Springs. It’s all ready and waiting for you to enjoy.
Over at Universal Orlando Resort™, you can live the carefree island life at Universal’s Volcano Bay™. Slap on the sun cream and head for this all-new water theme park, which is absolutely drenched in adventure. There are no queues here; the fun starts right away when you head for the swirling waterslides, lazy rivers or the zippy aqua coasts that takes you through the Krakatau volcano. It’s just a few steps away from Universal Orlando Resort.
It’s practically impossible to talk about Florida’s history without mentioning the Kennedy Space Center, which you’ll find over at Cape Canaveral. This was the home of the 1968 space race mission, and hundreds of rocket ships have launched from here over the decades including the first successful moon landing.
Your mission starts at the visitor complex, which is a hub of history and a hive of activity. Watch footage from previous missions and hop on board the simulators feel a blast-off for yourself. With plenty of interactive zones for the kids, it’s a fun day out for the whole family.
For access to all areas of the gateway to space, why not take a trip aboard the Kennedy Space Center bus? This 45-minutes tour gives you behind-the-scenes access to NASA’s spaceflight facilities. If you’re lucky enough to visit Florida around the time of a launch, head for the nearby Sidney Fischer Park a prime view of take-off.
Looking for designer pieces at rock-bottom prices? Orlando Premium Outlets® on International Drive will be right up your street. Forget clambering through endless sales racks; here you’ll wander through a peaceful Mediterranean-style village filled with upmarket designer shops. Shopping has never been so relaxing.
Sawgrass Mills near Miami is another place to pick up a bargain or two (or three); in fact, it’s one of the finest places in Florida to find your perfect cut-price pieces. This is the biggest designer outlet in the US, and you’ll have no problem finding beautiful, high-end items across 350 stores.
Just a few minutes’ drive from Universal Orlando Resort™ lies the Mall at Millennia; it’s a super sophisticated shopping centre with a mix of affordable high street names, stylish department stores and high-end designer boutiques. Disney fans should head over to Downtown Disney, where you’ll find everything from unique pieces of Disney art to fantastical Christmas decorations.
On the west coast, the laid-back beach vibes of the Gulf of Mexico kick in with the Tampa Bay area. Sarasota, Clearwater Beach and St Pete Beach all lie within its periphery, and along with the nearby Longboat Key, Siesta Key and Anna Maria Island they account for some of the best beaches in the world.
Think sugar white, soft as powder and stretching as far as the eye can see. Further down the coast lie Fort Myers and Cape Coral, with Sanibel Island and Pine Island sitting like precious gems in the Gulf Coast crown. The relaxed waterfront lifestyle makes these destinations perfect for a tranquil break from reality.
In Naples, an upscale beach resort, you will find designer shopping, fine dining restaurants and some of the best golf courses in the state, along with secluded island luxury on nearby Marco Island.
Maybe surprisingly, the Gulf Coast has a thriving arts and culture scene. The Dali Museum in St Petersburg and The Ringling Museum in Sarasota are two of the highlights.
Palm Beach is a glamorous beach destination where designer boutiques line the perfectly manicured streets, and world-class hotels line the powder-soft shoreline; an oasis of relaxation and pampered luxury.
Further down this beautiful east coast lies Fort Lauderdale. Set amongst a series of almost Venice-like intracoastal waterways and channels, this city is home to stylish bars, outdoor dining and energetic water sports.
Around a 30-minute drive south lies Miami, sitting at the southeastern tip of Florida, backed by the Florida Everglades. The large Latin-American and Cuban populations have had a significant influence on the city; now a mesmerising melting pot of cultures and flavours.
The city’s dynamic and eclectic neighbourhoods, including Wynwood, Little Havana and the Design District, are worthy of more than a cursory glance, but the principal attraction is Miami Beach, in all its art-deco glory.
The Florida Keys offer up stunning sunsets and plentiful Robinson Crusoe moments. 43 of the 1,700 islands are connected by Highway 1; one of the most beautiful drives in the USA, and Key West sits at the continental USA’s southernmost point.
People of all ages will love an outdoor adventure on the waters at The Everglades National Park. Admire the impressive landscapes and keep an eye out for some fascinating wildlife, such as crocodiles and manatees in their natural habitats.
Travelling in Florida isn’t complete without a trip to the Everglades. Located in the southern region of Florida, The Everglades is a haven for explorers and lovers of the outdoors and nature.This is one place where you won’t want to be forgetting your hiking gear as there’s plenty of trails and tracks to be discovered, whether that be on foot or a bike. The park is also hugely popular with boating and canoeing enthusiasts.
The Everglades, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, has some wildlife living within the park, providing an important habitat for a number of animals including the American alligator, manatee and the endangered Florida panthers. How cool would it be to tell people you’ve seen these rare animals, and maybe even caught them on camera!
Miami needs no introduction; it’s a city that offers glitz and glamour amongst beautiful sunny weather and picturesque scenery, perfect for those #Miami Insta shots!
If you want to catch some rays then head to the famous Miami Beach, it comes highly recommended. The white sandy beach is a must with its year-round sun and stunning shallow turquoise waters. Lounging around on the beach is thirsty work, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to enjoying a beverage when the sun sets. Ocean Drive has proven to be very popular for many years, not only for its delightful choice of bars and restaurants but its Art Deco buildings and bright lights of its hotels.