While most people’s minds will immediately spring to theme parks and Disney when they think of the Sunshine State, a holiday to Florida in 2017 can be as jam-packed or low key as you want, with plenty to suit all needs. Seek out the gorgeous Florida sun and head to a city like Tampa or Miami, for a diverse melting pot of cultural influences, and an assemblage of sights and sounds. If getting down and dirty among the picturesque Florida Keys is more your scene, then an action-packed adventure awaits. With the Everglade Forests and swamps bursting at the seams with all kinds of flora and fauna, it’s a place like no other. Make sure to look out for one the most famous Florida natives, the American alligator!
Without a doubt, a trip to Florida wouldn’t be complete without taking in some of the theme parks and attractions, suitable for kids and bigger kids alike. Get enchanted by the magical kingdom of Disney, or relive the movies of your childhood with an incredible trip to Universal Studios.
Most popular hotels in Florida
The Avanti Resort
Ramada Plaza Resort & Suites International Drive
Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando
Rosen Inn International
Days Inn Convention Center Orlando
Doubletree By Hilton Orlando at Seaworld
International Drive, Florida
Marriott Miami Biscayne Bay
Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport
At a glance
- Currency: United States Dollar
- Language: English
- Time Zone: GMT +-5
- Average flight time: 9h 25m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Along with New York, Florida is one of the most visited states in America and is often considered a must-see for a big trip to the USA, especially for those with families. This is for very good reason, as it’s simply bursting at the seams with attractions to keep everyone entertained for hours on end. Sitting beneath clear blue skies for over 250 days a year, Florida is also a firm favourite with parents who are simply craving a bit of sunshine, while keeping the kids occupied with magic and adventure.
Without a doubt the theme park capital of the world, Florida is ideal to for all ages regardless of your relationship with Disney. Whether you want to recapture your youth or introduce your little ones to their favourite characters they know and love, Florida’s theme parks will hold the imaginations of all. With the brand new Star Wars Land currently in development at Disney, and the recently launched Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, the theme park craze shows no signs of slowing down.
Wine and Dine
As we all know, one of the first things we think about when we think of America is food, they simply get it right. With an endless number of culinary attractions, and a diverse range of African, Cuban and Caribbean influences seeping into the menus depending on where you are, you’ll have to travel around to sample everything the Sunshine State has to offer. In vibrant Orlando, you’ll never be short of a charming pub or cafe in which to chow down. Or if you’re after something a little more high-end, book in to one of the classy restaurants on Park Avenue in Winter Park. If you land yourself in the Florida Keys then seafood is a must, with Key West’s Duval Street the place to find the catch of the day. If you have any room left, be sure to sample the local key lime pie we mentioned earlier!
If the wide range of theme parks and attractions wasn’t enough for your thrill seeking clan, there’s an incredible range of family orientated activities to do along the sweeping Florida coast, a plethora of sea, sand and lots and lots of sunshine awaits! Often overshadowed by the more artificial side of the Sunshine State, Florida also offers a number of natural wonders that are just begging to be explored. How about some scallop hunting along The Big Bend? Or what about some surf lessons along the picturesque Cocoa Beach Pier? You could take your family on a cycle through Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park and get up close and personal to some gators. While the Ichetucknee Springs State Park offers the chance for some real life water rapid riding, with packages for all ages. It’s a truly unique way to catch a glimpse of stunning vistas and the overlooked scenery. See, there’s so much more to Florida than Micky Mouse and the gang!
Action and Adventure
Whether you get your kicks on rollercoaster’s or by seeking out more natural delights, the opportunities’ for an action-packed holiday in Florida are endless, with the vast and varied landscapes offering all kinds of adventures. For our money, the best way to truly experience the Sunshine State’s local wildlife and stunning vistas is by taking an eco safari across the untamed wilderness of central Florida. You could even soar above the trees and take a zip line across, if you’re craving that extra dose of adrenalin! The Florida backwoods and idyllic countryside has a number of exciting activities available, whether it’s a hiking trip with rewarding views, or a heart-stopping kayak down the choppy rivers, this state has it all in spades. Few states in America can boast of having a landscape and climate as diverse!
Life's a Beach
Though dominated by theme parks and attractions, there’s no better place than Florida to sizzle in the sun and top up your tan. With nearly 1200 miles of coastline and completely surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida plays hosts to a remarkable number of beaches that are perfect for relaxing on those off-days. Adventurers and adrenaline junkies will want to head down south to the Florida Keys, this hundred mile Archipelago offers stunning sights all along, as well as a whole range of aquatic activities including snorkelling, diving and deep-sea fishing among others. Don’t forget to explore the row of islands and take in their natural beauty before heading back for more theme park madness. Top off a day of relaxation with some local conch chowder and key lime pie for dessert, you’ll soon forget all about the queues that await you in Disney World.
When the sun goes down, the Florida natives aren’t shy about throwing on their glad rags and partying the night away. If you’re in the mood for some glitz and glamour, check out the range of impressive venues on offer. The Sunshine State moves to the beat of its own drum, with an array of lively nightlife to choose from depending on your mood. Drop in to The Core in Jacksonville, where you can partake in some Deep South delights. Here you can focus on getting down to some country music, or even riding a mechanical bull! If that’s not your thing, you could dance the night away to some Caribbean soul while sampling the delicious cocktails. The Orlando nightlife is not to be sniffed at too, with rows upon rows of high-class restaurants and classy clubs and bars along Church Street to choose from. There’s every chance you could be exhausted from all that queuing and walking, but fear not! The gorgeous Latin Quarter offers a range of low key night time activities like Salsa dancing, comedy shows and cinemas.
While often thought of as the ultimate destination to capture your child’s imagination, Florida can provide equal sources of wonderment for couples looking to get away from it all, with plenty of romantic hideaways on offer. Find romance and reconnect along the secluded shoreline of St George Island, where you can dip your toes in the dazzling deeps of the Gulf of Mexico and gaze into each other’s eyes. Florida may be home to a different kind of fairytale kingdom, but take the opportunity for a horse-drawn carriage ride along the historical streets of St Augustine. Take in the sights this ancient city has to offer with a leisurely stroll while checking out important American heritage sites like the Castillo de San Marcos fort. Of course, if you and your other half are still kids at heart, or simply never got a chance to visit Disney World growing up, there’s always that option too!
Although the Disney side of things is a unique cultural aspect of Florida in itself, the real culture vultures will want to head down to Miami, with a rich cultural heritage and ethnic diversity stemming from the massive Latino and Cuban populations that emigrated here in the past. Become enamoured with South Florida on memorable nights out in Little Havana and South Beach, or check out the unique art and fashion on display in the design district. Either way it won’t take long to discover that Miami is Florida’s beating heart. You may even want to brush up on your Spanish before you head over!