Quick Guide to Florida
Florida is known as the Sunshine State, and with good reason. Located in the south-east of the USA, most of the state is a peninsula with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, so there are more beaches than you'll know what to do with. Temperatures are warm year-round, and downright sizzling in the summer months.
If you're looking for a cheap holiday to Florida then Orlando is your best bet, with plenty of direct flights to Orlando from the UK and no end of package deals including accommodation and entrance to the parks.
Orlando is a dream holiday destination for families, with plenty of theme parks featuring everything from death-defying roller coasters and swimming with sharks to shopping for magic wands and getting Mickey's autograph. The parks, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Magic Kingdom and SeaWorld, just keep getting bigger and better every year.
If theme parks aren't your thing, fear not, because from the big-city buzz of trendy Miami and the luxury of West Palm Beach to the wildlife in the Everglades, Florida has it all.
Fab holidays for:
Theme parks, Beaches, National parks
Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Miami International Airport
Did you know?
Florida State Law says if an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a normal vehicle.
Other Destinations in United States
Other Nearby Destinations
- Cocoa Beach
- Daytona Beach
- Florida Keys
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- International Drive
- Key Largo
- Key West
- Lake Buena Vista
- Miami Beach
- Champions Gate
- Orlando Homes
- Seaworld Area
- St. Petersburg
- Universal Orlando Resort
- Walt Disney World Resort
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Top 5 Places to See in Florida
Plan out your trip to Florida carefully - there's so much to visit, you don't want to miss out!
- The Florida Keys
- The Florida Keys are a line of islands beginning at the south-eastern tip of the Florida peninsula and stretching out to Key West. In parts just 90 miles from Cuba, the Keys offer a taste of the Caribbean with an American twist. The beaches are beautiful, Key West Cooler cocktails are delicious, and with an average daily temperature of 25°C, you can't go wrong.
- West Palm Beach & Fort Lauderdale
- On the Atlantic coast you'll find the glamorous West Palm Beach, known for its beautiful coastline, pristine golf courses and designer boutiques. You can take a ferry past the city's opulent mansions to Peanut Island which has plenty of biking and walking paths. Just down the coast is Fort Lauderdale, a hub for art and culture. Visiting the historic riverfront, shopping on Las Olas Boulevard and taking gondola rides on the canals are just some of the relaxing activities Fort Lauderdale has to offer.
- Further down the Atlantic coast is the buzzing metropolis of Miami, famous for its art deco hotels and vibrant nightlife. There's a real Cuban influence in the music and the cuisine in this city. As far as beaches go, South Beach is the famed beach in Miami, known for its brightly-coloured lifeguard stands. Just inland is the Everglades National Park, where you can take guided boat tours and admire the wildlife - just don't get too close!
- Cocoa Beach
- Not to be repetitive, but mid-way up the Atlantic coast is another area of Florida with world-class beaches. Well, in a state with well over 1,000 miles of coastline, it's only to be expected! Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando, making it a great day trip away from the theme parks. It's known for its surfing and for its proximity to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre. You'll find New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach nearby, with excellent surfing conditions and plenty of surf shops dotted around.
- Sanibel Island, St Petersburg, & Tampa Bay
- We're not forgetting the warm waters of the Gulf and the many attractions on the west side of Florida. Sanibel Island is a peaceful retreat with pretty shelling beaches and crystal-clear warm waters. Back on the mainland are St Petersburg, offering stunning white sands and refreshing breezes blowing in from Tampa Bay, and Tampa, where wildlife lovers will enjoy a day out to the Busch Gardens theme park.
When to go to Florida
Our tip is to try September, early March and late April for the best combination of good weather and good value for money. You're less likely to find a great deal on a Florida break during the school holidays as prices rise noticeably. It's also much hotter in July and August. Florida is in the tropics so do expect some rain whenever you go, but it'll mostly be short, heavy showers in the afternoon while the rest of the day should be nice and sunny.
Getting to Florida
The Sunshine State is such a popular holiday destination, particularly among us Brits, that you won't be hard-pushed to find cheap flights to Florida. You can fly from a number of UK airports including Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operate a large number of flights, but you can also find a range of cheap Florida flights from Monarch and Thomson Flights. Direct flights from London will normally take about nine hours.
Orlando is served by several airports. Orlando International Airport is the closest, followed by Orlando Sanford which is about half an hour's drive north of the city. You could even fly into the airports in Daytona Beach, Melbourne and Tampa, though they're a bit further away. You can also find cheap flights to Miami direct from the UK. Wherever in Florida you're planning to go, it's always a good idea to book as far in advance as possible to get a great deal on flights. However if you are lucky, you might be able to find a last minute deal.
Once you arrive, it's best to book yourself car hire in Florida, as public transport options are few and far between. Some of the resort hotels arrange transport to the theme parks, and in Miami there's the free MetroMover, but generally hiring a car in Florida is the way to go. It's such a huge state and even the Orlando parks are spread miles apart - pedestrians are a rare sight! Hiring a car in Florida will also allow you to see more of the out-of-the-way attractions.
Why Florida is Great for Families & Couples Alike
Florida is one of those rare destinations that appeals to all ages and groups of travellers. Not only do you have countless waterparks and amusement parks, you've got adult playgrounds - Miami and Florida Keys come to mind - that keep the icy cocktails coming and provide more than a few stunning beaches to relax on.
For one, there are countless family value holidays on offer and when you're paying for a group of people, it genuinely pays to get it for cheaper. The other thing is the entertainment. Parents won't be searching for ways to keep their kids busy during the day - they'll have Disney characters doing that for them, with rides there to tucker them out in time for bedtime (or even before). With the likes of Disney World, Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, your kids can run themselves silly as you sit and watch (and take pictures). On the days where you want to take a break from screaming children, there are plenty of family-friendly beaches, from Siesta to Clearwater Beach.
Not only is there Miami - with its many stunning beaches, plenty of high-class restaurants and swanky clubs - is a veritable playground for adults, especially with ones with really expensive shoes, but there are countless secluded, paradisical areas where it's just you and the blue skies overhead. Watch the sunset on St Pete beach in the many beachside restaurants, take in the sight of the ocean panoramas at the top of the lighthouse on Key Biscayne, snorkel your way through the pristine John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park or visit the aptly-named Lover's Key State Park to catch sight of manatees and dolphins. The list goes on (and on).