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Florida Holidays

Home to superb beaches, fantastic attractions and, of course, Mickey Mouse, it's not just the weather that convinces people to choose Florida holidays.

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Sunshine State

It's no surprise that the place referred to as the Sunshine State would be a terrific holiday destination. Florida's landscape is filled with orange groves, vast wetlands and superb beaches, central Orlando paints a different picture with a skyline that is dominated with rollercoasters.

Orlando and its many hotels, resort areas and theme parks are ideal for family getaways with fun and excitement a guarantee.

On the west coast of the state Clearwater and St Petersburg share 35 miles of beaches between them while Fort Myers is a city built to make the most of a long idyllic river.

Where to stay in Florida

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The park capital of the world

If you're looking for exciting days meeting colourful characters, riding exhilarating rollercoasters and watching dazzling shows, holidays to central Florida spoil you for choice. There are a number of smaller resorts making up the Orlando area and some are closer to certain parks than others but you can reach any attraction you want within half an hour.

International Drive is bordered by Universal Orlando Resort at one end with SeaWorld found at the other. Lake Buena Vista and Disney World branded hotels provide perfect placement to enjoy Mickey's magical kingdom. Kissimmee is a calmer city based outside of Orlando but you can reach all of the theme parks easily from this location.

Florida terrain

There is more to Florida than its world famous theme parks though. There are rivers, beaches and forests to explore across the centre and coastal areas of the Sunshine State. Championsgate is a golfing resort that allows you to play through beautiful courses built around Florida's vibrant greenery.

By Kissimmee, Fort Knox, and on the Gulf of Mexico at Clearwater and St Petersburg you have an array of opportunity to take to the water. Kayaking atop rivers are an ideal way to see the environment while boat trips can help you see everything from alligators to dolphins.

Family nightlife

Night time in Florida presents excellent family entertainment with an array of shows, musical performances and, especially in Disney World, firework displays.

Outside of the theme parks, which end the days with a bang, there are terrific bars and restaurants to try. Downtown Disney opens up its doors at night and live musicians play upbeat music to liven up proceedings. Universal CityWalk is another popular nightspot where an array of drinks are consumed in the company of talented entertainers.

By the coastal resorts there are spectacular beachside and waterside bars that allow you to sit out and enjoy the warm Florida nights with a drink in hand.

Exit through the gift shop

You're never short of shopping opportunities on holidays to Florida with fantastic selections offered throughout malls and markets. International Drive seemingly offers anything you desire with a large indoor market found as well as several malls filled with hundreds of shops.

It is impossible to leave a theme park without passing several gift shops. From Orlando you can take home a cuddly Shrek, your own Hogwarts wand or a new superhero outfit. Disney's shops are filled with Mickey marked items, fairy tale souvenirs and Toy Story characters.

Florida cuisine

Each Florida resort presents hundreds of different dining options with tastes that come from all over the globe. While there are plenty of family chain restaurants found, there are even more venues that are one of a kind.

A popular theme throughout Florida is the Floribbean restaurants. This is locally made food that has had a distinct influence from the Caribbean countries. This comes in the form of seafood, spicy chicken dishes and citrus dowsed meals. Florida is famous for serving typically Southern meals with crab cakes, coleslaw and black-eyed peas some of the favourites.

Getting there

Direct flights from the UK to Florida take around 9-10 hours with potential layovers adding to the time.

Holidays to central Florida will see you land at either Orlando International Airport or Orlando Sanford International Airport. Transfers to central resorts will take less than an hour but drives out to the coast may take up to two hours.

Hiring a car is the simplest method of transportation in Florida but there are comprehensive bus and shuttle services in operation across the state, especially in Orlando.

Best time of year to visit

There is a reason Florida is called the Sunshine State. The average high temperatures seen throughout the days here never drop below 21C, even during the winter. The summers reach an average high of 33C but this also coincides with the wet season.

Both Disney World and Universal are open 365 days a year so there is never a bad time to visit the theme parks of Orlando. The parks go all out during special events in the calendar. During Halloween Disney hosts Mickey's-Not-So-Scary Halloween Party while Universal will use its movie style special effects to terrify its unsuspecting visitors.