If you think that all Florida has to offer are Theme Parks in Orlando then here are a few suggestions to take you away from the area for a day or longer. Perhaps combine a few days at the Theme Parks with visits to these areas. Many UK visitors do a week in Orlando and then retreat to the coasts for rest and relaxation.
TIP: Do your research to see if flight prices are better doing an ‘open-jaw’ itinerary and take advantage of one-way car rentals having no surcharges in Florida.
Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral
It’s been years since the Space Shuttle program was shuttered, but this is still an active military base and there are always rockets launching to take satellites into orbit or to drop supplies at the International Space Station. In addition, the tour of the facility is fascinating as it covers the history of the American space program.
Key West is as far south as you can go in the United States. This is an old, eclectic town fancied by Ernest Hemingway in his prime. The gathering of locals and tourists alike to watch the sunset every night is magnificent. And let’s not forget, if you’re up for it the drive down over the ocean from Miami through all of the Keys is amazing.
The Everglades was designated a National Park in 1947 and covers over 2,500 sq miles of wetlands and Mangrove areas. There are nine entrances and many different activities to experience. The park is actually the south of the state and sits between the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Ocean coasts of Florida. One of the most popular attractions across rivers of grass is a guided tour on an Airboat. There is plenty of diverse wildlife to see including the alligators.
Unless you are serious campers then accommodation is not to be found inside the park but is easily accessible from Miami or Homestead.
Situated only 80 miles to the north from Orlando, Ocala is the ‘horse capital of the world’ (Kentucky might have a different view). Apparently there are more horses in this area than anywhere else in the States. The environment is lush and and verdant and a visit to the Silver Springs State Park shouldn’t be missed. The world famous glass bottomed boat tours meandering along the Silver River and through the surrounding sandhill forest are a highlight as well as one of Florida’s oldest attractions.
South Beach – Miami Beach
This area of Miami Beach with it’s art deco boutique hotels is not to be missed. Spend the day people watching and party into the night. Everything you need is here and the shopping is not to be missed at the outdoor Lincoln Road Mall that covers several blocks.
This could be a day visit and probably better value if you stay further away in Fort Lauderdale.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands
Located equal distance between Tampa and Miami you might find the most beautiful beaches in Florida at Sanibel and Captiva Island. The waters on the Gulf Coast here are clear and turquoise blue. Accommodation is higher than on the mainland but as a getaway it probably is worth the investment. There are trails to follow and nature reserves to discover but take life at your pace. Things to do on Sanibel and Captiva Islands