Florida is the land of beaches, endless sunshine and some pretty great theme parks, if we do say so ourselves. Here, you’re always blanketed in warmth, which comes in handy as you’re high-fiving Mickey Mouse or stretching out on the best shores in the United States.
Florida at a glance
Florida is the 27th state of the USA, famed for its eternally-sunny weather and heart-stoppingly beautiful beaches. Venture across its marshy terrain and you’ll meet a handful of landscapes as different as different comes – there’s the Everglades National Park down south, the beach haven resort of Clearwater to the west and the world-famous Walt Disney World Resort anchoring it all in the middle, plus every shade of green you can think of in between.
This southern territory hasn’t always been a member of the United States – it was first claimed by the Spanish in the early 16th century. Because of this, along with its proximity to the Caribbean, Florida has heady traces of both, especially where cuisine is concerned. As it switched ruling hands over the years, it eventually flew under a total of eight flags, so its now an international blend that somehow maintains its uniquely American feel.
5 fun facts about Florida
- Florida is a huge food producer, growing more than half of the USA’s supply of sugar cane and more citrus fruit, tomatoes, strawberries and watermelons than any other state in the country.
- Perhaps unsurprising given the state’s climate, sun cream was invented in Florida in the 1940s by a pharmacist that made the first concoction by cooking cocoa butter on the stove.
- Southern Florida is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist.
- With more than a thousand to its name, Florida has more golf courses than any other state in the USA.
- No matter where you are in Florida, you’re never more than 60 miles from a beach!
Things to do
Walt Disney World Resort
This family-fun paradise needs no introduction. With six unique parks to its name – including the mega famous Magic Kingdom and two waterparks, not to mention a bustling downtown shopping and dining area – the Walt Disney World Resort is one of the most-visited attractions in the world.
Also known as I-Drive, International Drive is a 24-kilometre road that connects much of Orlando’s main attractions, including the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios Florida. Along the way, you’ll find outlet shopping, the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, a smaller fun park with a go-kart track, and a world of dining.
Ranked by TripAdvisor users as the best beach in the United States, Clearwater Beach offers powdery white sands and warm blue water to match. There’s a popular promenade at the back, plus a wealth of watersports and Pier 60, where a daily fleet of street performers take the stage at sunset.
Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States, and the third biggest national park in the country. It’s where you can take an iconic airboat ride through the marshes, spotting alligators and crocodiles peeking up through the water along the way.
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida is where your favourite films come to life with real sets and rides modelled after popular flicks. It’s also the home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, complete with Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, plus the Hogwarts Express connecting the two.
Here are some of our top money-saving deals on holidays to Florida.
Rosen Inn International, International Drive
Located just along I-Drive, the Rosen Inn comes equipped with two pools and a buffet restaurant, plus a bar with American diner-style food and a 24-hour deli. You’ll be taken care of with Happy Hour, live entertainment and a games room, not to mention a free shuttle bus to most of the area’s theme parks throughout the day.
Clarion Inn, Lake Buena Vista
Settled right alongside a lake in Lake Buena Vista, the Clarion Inn is just on the fringe of the theme park scene. The hotel offers a free shuttle to nearby parks, along with two pools and a kid splash zone, plus three restaurants and an arcade.
Ramada Plaza Resort, International Drive
Part lake location, part I-Drive, the Ramada Plaza Resort offers the best of both worlds, plus a free shuttle to area parks. There’s a pool and continental breakfast on offer, but score a room in the hotel’s north tower and you’ll have a champagne breakfast on your plate every morning.
Inspired to visit Florida? Take a look at our latest deals and Florida travel guide for more information and to book your sunshine getaway.