Holidays to Florida offer something completely unique. On one side of the coin you’ve got the state’s world-famous theme parks, on the other you’ve got some of the best beaches north of the Caribbean.
When Walt Disney’s grand plans for Magic Kingdom were brought to life in Orlando back in the Seventies, it set the precedent for things to come. Today, the Sunshine State is the world leader when it comes to theme parks. There are no less than 15, including 6 Disney Parks, and other household names like Universal Studios Florida®, SeaWorld® Orlando and Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.
Malls, greens and restaurants
White-knuckle rides and worlds of make-believe are only part of the picture, though. With city-sized malls, world-class golf courses and more restaurants per head than any other US state, Florida pulls out all the stops to impress the tens of millions of visitors it receives every year.
Pierce the tourist bubble, meanwhile, and you’ll discover national parks, dense forests and swamplands teeming with the region’s resident alligators. The Everglades are your best bet for outdoor adventure – hiking, kayaking and hot-air ballooning are just a few of the ways you can explore.
The beach scene
Then there are the beaches to consider. Shelving gently into the warm waters of the Gulf Coast, the swathes at St Pete’s, Fort Myers and Clearwater are among the best in the country.
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Orlando is the undisputed theme park capital of the world. More than 50,000 acres of turf in the region are covered by amusement parks, and the lion’s share is owned by famous names like Universal and Disney. There are more roller coasters out here than there are days in the month. On the whitest knuckle rides you get launched from 0 to 40 miles per hour in 2 seconds and become inverted 5 times at 50 miles-per-hour. There’s plenty for families, too – killer whale shows and tours of Cinderella Castle are just the start of the story.
From quirky Art Deco buildings to glamorous white-sand beaches, Miami is flamboyant from start to finish. Florida’s southeastern tip is an easy-on-the-eye jumble of beaches, skyscrapers and colourful, cultural districts. And it all backs on to the huge Everglades National Park – prime crocodile-spotting territory.
St Pete Beach
With an average of 360 sun-drenched days a year, St Pete Beach is often dubbed the Sun Capital of America. Its Gulf of Mexico setting means pristine beaches are in good supply, plus it’s bookended by a string of untouched barrier islands. As such, day-to-day life revolves around the great outdoors.
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