Are you looking for inspiration for a family vacation? Whether you’re dreaming of hitting the open roads, enjoying the thrills and spills of the famous theme parks or chilling by the beach, Florida is a vacation destination that has it all. If you’re considering holidaying in the Sunshine State, here are some highlights to include in your itinerary and some travel tips to help you plan a sensational, stress-free trip.
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What to see in Florida
The theme parks
When it comes to family fun in Florida, it seems illogical to start anywhere but Orlando’s infamous theme parks. If you have children, there’s a stunning array of attractions and sights on offer, no matter whether they’re learning to walk or they’re hurtling towards their teenage years.
Disney World is perhaps the most iconic of Florida’s many parks, with more than 52,000 people streaming through the gates of Magic Kingdom every day. The park is vast, and you’ll need a few days if you want to explore every corner. Within Disney World, you’ll find a series of separate zones, including Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. There are also waterparks if you’re keen to cool down after a busy day of posing with your favorite characters and enjoying the rides in the sunshine. When you book a Disney vacation, look out for special offers, such as kids eat free with paying adults or free park tickets when you book a Disney hotel. If you’re on a budget, it may be worth considering staying outside of the park in a cheaper hotel. Many of the larger chains offer free shuttle services to the main parks.
Made famous by it’s all-singing, all-dancing killer whale and dolphin shows, SeaWorld is an incredibly popular choice. There are rides and rollercoasters, as well as informative displays, interactive exhibitions, and all the souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants you could possibly need. High-tech virtual reality displays guide you through the world in the eyes of a sea turtle or stingray, and you can test your mettle on Orlando’s highest and fastest roller coaster, Mako.
If you’re a fan of the movies, this is the place to be. Universal Studios will transport you into the world of Hollywood glamor, introduce you to iconic characters and indulge your love of sci-fi, fantasy, comedy or drama. There’s a huge range of rides on offer, including Harry Potter themed attractions, and you can catch all your favorites in the famous parade. As night falls, head to the lagoon for an evening spectacular celebrating the success of the movie industry over the last 100 years.
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If you’re keen to enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation in Florida, head to the Keys where you’ll find sun-drenched beaches, swinging palms, and a laid-back approach to life. The main resorts of Key West, Key Largo, and Islamorada have plenty to offer for families, and you can be active as or lazy as you wish. There’s always an opportunity to hit the beach, and you’ll find endless opportunities to try water sports, surfing, and fishing. If you fancy a day trip, the Everglades National Park is within easy reach. Here, you’ll find more than a million acres of wetland. Take a cruise through the mangroves keeping your eyes peeled for alligators, leatherback turtles, and Florida panthers.
Key West is perhaps the liveliest spot on the archipelago, and it’s a great place to spend a few days with the family. The beaches are clean, safe, and sheltered, there are amazing snorkeling and diving opportunities on the coral reefs, and there’s plenty going on after dark. If you’re planning a family meal, head to Duval Street where you’ll find an abundance of eateries and bars offering live music. While you’re in Key West, it’s worth exploring Ernest Hemingway’s house, Fort Zachary Taylor, and Key West Aquarium.
You’ll find all kinds of accommodation options on offer in the Florida Keys. If you plan to stay for longer than a week, it may make sense to hire a condo or a holiday home rather than booking a hotel.
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If you don’t fancy driving all over Florida, but you want to pack in as many stops as possible, why not take a bus from Orlando to Tampa? Far from the hustle and bustle of tourist mecca, Orlando, you’ll find the streets of downtown Tampa refreshingly sedate. Located on Tampa Bay on the Gulf Coast, Tampa enjoys an enviable position overlooking the rippling water. The city is famed for its business and commerce districts, but it also boasts an impressive collection of sights for tourists and visitors. The African-themed Busch Gardens is a big hit with families, and Ybor City provides a fascinating insight into the Spanish and Cuban influences on display in the city. The Riverwalk treats you to beautiful views of the urban landscape and the waterfront, and it’s easy to get around if you hop on the tram. If you happen to be in town during the football season, try and get tickets to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and DraftKings fantasy football teams in action.
Florida’s second largest city, Miami, is a thriving metropolis, which blends city chic with beach living. Along the waterfront promenades, you’ll find people embracing the sun at every opportunity with residents rollerblading around, working out at the beach and soaking up the rays. South Beach is famed for its trendy bars and exclusive clubs, but by day, it’s a beautiful spot to explore the art-deco influence and appreciate the eclectic buildings. Biscayne Bay lagoon offers wonderful views of the city and the ocean, and Jungle Island provides a fun-filled day out at a tropical-themed park with plenty of rides and animal encounters on offer. Miami Children’s Museum is another must for your list with over 56,000 square feet of exhibits for your kids to enjoy.
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If you’re looking for inspiration for a fun-packed family break, look no further than fabulous Florida! There are so many places to visit and so much to see. Hopefully, this guide will help you plan an unforgettable trip, and you’ll have precious memories to treasure forever.