Good times guaranteed on a last minute break to Florida
In just over nine hours from the UK you could be rubbing shoulders with Mickey Mouse and friends at one of the world’s most popular themed parks.
Whether you want to be right in the thick of the action or prefer to stay on the edge of the theme parks for some respite from the crowds, Florida has an array of resorts on offer for all budgets. Running for 23 kilometres along the western edge of Orlando, International Drive is a gateway destination to all of Florida’s biggest theme parks. This vibrant hub is lined with hotels, restaurants and shopping malls, plus themed bars for some unforgettable nights out.
Close enough to the theme parks but in a quiet location surrounded by scenic lakes and landscaped golf courses, Lake Buena Vista is a great spot for those seeking a little more serenity. You’ll find a wonderful collection of upmarket hotels, shops and restaurants here and will never be more than 20 minutes drive from the gates of your favourite park.
For those looking for the ultimate Disney experience, head straight for Walt Disney World Resort and immerse yourself in the epicentre of the magic. With themed hotel rooms, restaurants and thrilling activities available 24/7, you won’t be stuck for things to do on your last minute retreat.
The best time of year to book last minute Florida holidays
For some of the best last minute Florida deals, start looking for your ideal break around eight weeks in advance of your preferred travel date. The high season in Florida runs between January and April when the Sunshine State enjoys balmy temperatures and is packed with visitors looking for some winter sun. Although hot and humid, July and August see many arrivals due to the school break.
The months of May and September through to December are known as the sweet spot to visit Florida, when temperatures are milder, there are less crowds and therefore some amazing deals across the more top end resorts.
Other last minute holiday destinations
One of the hardest parts of booking a last minute holiday is deciding where to go. If you’d prefer a holiday destination closer to home, take a look at Spain for gorgeous beaches and delicious cuisine, or the neighbouring Balearic Islands for an idyllic retreat drenched in sunshine. Lots of great deals can be had along the white sand beaches of Mexico where Mayan ruins, natural wonders and vibrant nightlife await.
But if you’re set on a last minute break to Florida, take a look at our detailed travel guide before checking out some of our favourite Florida hotels below.
Perfectly placed, the Rosen Inn International is within walking distance to all the cocktail bars, restaurants, mini golf courses and karaoke joints along International Drive, and just a 50-minute transfer from the airport. With free scheduled shuttle buses to the major theme parks, when you're not exploring the world of Disney or being splashed by dolphins at Seaworld, relax by the two outdoor pools in the manicured gardens or catch a game on the big screen at the on-site sports bar.
Conveniently located on the edge of the Walt Disney World Resort, the Clarion Inn offers simple, clean and convenient accommodation close to all the major theme parks. At just an hour's drive from the airport, relax on the picturesque terrace by the outdoor pool before heading to the hotel bar and grill for happy hour. Or enjoy a scenic, 10-minute drive and explore the bars and venues in Disney Springs. Tuck into Mickey-Mouse shaped waffles at breakfast topped with bacon and eggs and enjoy free bus shuttles to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando.
This stylish 4* resort offers a series of spectacular five bedroom townhouses and five or six bedroom villas decked out with oversized fridges, flat screen TVs and private pools out back. Just a short drive from the main gates of the Walt Disney World theme parks, spend relaxing evenings in the resort's central club house, equipped with a cinema, games room and bar. Or make a splash at the communal outdoor pool complete with waterfalls, slides and separate kids' splash pool.
Split into six Caribbean themed villages set around Barefoot Bay in the Epcot Resort, this 4* hotel is overflowing with Disney character. Soak up the sun in a hammock or sunlounger by one of the seven swimming pools on offer, explore the nature trails across the 200 acres of landscaped gardens on foot or embark on a leisurely bike ride along the promenade. Guests enjoy complimentary transportation to and from all Disney theme parks – including Disney Springs, famed for its vibrant nightlife – and free transfers from Orlando International Airport.
Set a block away from the main drag of International Drive, enjoy the peace of these Self Catering suites after a day exploring the major theme parks. Free shuttle services run between the hotel and SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort, with Walt Disney World Resort a 25-minute drive away. The food court is home to a Pizza Hut and bakery, and a few minutes' walk from an array of restaurants along lively International Drive. The sun terrace and outdoor pool area is the perfect spot to relax and the three whirlpools are a welcome treat after a long day walking around the parks.