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What could be more mind-blowing than realising Flo Rida’s name is just Florida with a space in it? Actually travelling to Florida, of course. Nicknamed the Sunshine State for good reason - Florida sees an average of 230 sunny days per year – this part of America’s south coast is great for a theme park-filled family holiday or a sun-kissed couples’ escape. And that’s before we’ve even mentioned the beaches, which are long, sandy and – if you’re really lucky – star-studded. Strut your stuff on Miami Beach, where the palm trees are as tall as the cocktails, or make your way to Hollywood (not that one) where we think all signs point to the sands. In Orlando you’ll find Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios, to name just two world-famous attractions. Wherever you stay in Florida, be prepared for a whole new world of fun.BeachesFancy a beach day? Of course you do. In Miami, families love South Pointe Park Beach for its pretty pier and excellent facilities for little ones – there’s a playground, a paddling pool and plenty of ice cream parlours. There’s also the obvious but no less lovely choice of Miami Beach. This is where you can see how the other half live, and join them, too. Take a stroll down Ocean Drive and you’ll find yourself on the beach that’s inspired songs by stars including Swedish House Mafia, Tinie Tempah and LMFAO (we think that last one goes something like, ‘I’m in Miami, beach’ - but we aren’t sure). Hollywood, LA might be well-known for its walk of fame, but Florida’s Hollywood Beach is just as worthy of a visit. This stretch of shoreline is great for surfing and soaking up the Floridian sun – there are even Segway tours if you like your seaside activities on the slightly offbeat side.Food & DrinkCuisine in the south of Florida is referred to with tongue-in-cheek fondness as Floribbean food. As well as being really fun to say, this is due to the Caribbean roots of cooking styles here – you can even see Cuba and The Bahamas from Miami on a clear day. Look out for conch fritters or shrimp and grits to taste the Creole influences for yourself. Of course, food that’s popular all over America is much-loved here too. You’ll find plenty of pizzerias and barbeque joints wherever you go, and you’ll also notice lots of Spanish, Latin American and African flavours. If you’re after a tipple to top them all, go for a tropical cocktail like a hurricane (made from grenadine, fruit juice and generous amounts of rum) or a cuba libre (more rum, Coke and lime juice). For dessert, it can only be key lime pie. This is an all-American sweet treat made from egg yolks, condensed milk, pie crust and, you guessed it, limes. Fun fact: key lime pie is the official pie of the state of Florida.CultureFlorida is a hub for creativity and celebrity. The great weather makes it the perfect spot for producing art of all kinds, including TV and film. From Ace Ventura: Pet Detective to Scarface, there’s no shortage of silver screen productions with Miami Beach or Downtown Orlando as a backdrop. Ariana Grande, Jim Morrison, Eva Mendes and Jason Derulo are some of the Sunshine State’s high-profile residents, but it’s not just actors and popstars that are drawn to life by the sea; Ernest Hemingway wrote five of his famous novels in Key West. Culture tends to be a blend of American and Latino lifestyles (along with other influences, such as Caribbean), with many locals speaking Spanish as well as English. Gloria Estefan - a beloved superstar with Cuban roots – lives in Florida too. You’ve definitely heard her sing, even if you don’t recognise her name; her band Miami Sound Machine popularised the anthem of school discos and weddings everywhere – the Conga. NightlifeTo sum up the nightlife in Florida, we’d like to take a second (just sit right there) to quote the great Will Smith. He encourages visitors in Miami to ‘party in the city when the heat is on, all night on the beach ‘til the break of dawn’. We can’t think of a better way to put it; hot days relaxing in the sun turn into impromptu beach or pool parties in Miami. If you prefer there to be an actual roof for you to raise, there are plenty of chic clubs and cool bars to discover too – head to The Anderson near the Little Haiti district for classy cocktails. Happy Hour is from midnight ‘til 02:00, most nights.Elsewhere, evenings in Orlando might just surprise you. Although there’s plenty of all-ages entertainment and wholesome family fun to be had here, the theme park capital of the world comes alive up with inviting neon lights when the sun goes down. Check out the House of Blues if you’re into music – this impressive venue hosts gigs and events across all genres, from acoustic artists to trance beats. After something a bit different? Try Jelly Rolls, an adults-only piano bar offering sing-a-long shows and great cocktails. Leave your reservations at the door and get ready to belt out your favourite tunes.Important InformationFlight Time: 9hrsTime Difference: GMT -5hrsCurrency: American dollarOfficial Language: EnglishVaccinationsPlease check with your healthcare provider for all up to date vaccination advice before booking your holiday.VisaBritish passport holders will need to apply for an ESTA before travelling to Florida, which should allow you to stay in the United States of America for up to 90 days.
You’ll be feeling hot, hot, hot in Florida if you visit between April and October. Summers are long and warm, with an average temperature of 28°C in July and August and highs of up to 33°C. Due to the tropical climate, summer showers are common but over quickly. Winter is cool but by no means cold, especially by our British standards. Expect the thermometer to stay around 16°C on average in December; this is also the driest time of year to visit.
Things To Do on Florida Holidays
Experience the magic at The Wizarding World of Harry PotterStill waiting for your letter? It definitely got lost in the owl post, so it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando is the closest you’ll come to real magic. The detailed scenery lets you take a wrong turn down Knockturn Alley, browse the shops in Diagon Alley and explore Hogwarts castle. There’s even a Three Broomsticks-themed restaurant. Feeling thirsty? Accio, butterbeer! You’ll meet famous characters on every corner, and you can even take a ride on the Hogwarts Express (just keep an eye out – and an emergency bar of chocolate – in case of dementors). Children will love seeing their beloved books come to life, although it’s definitely an attraction that Potterheads of all ages will enjoy. Visit Walt Disney Resort Orlando for thrills and family funMeet your favourite Disney characters and ride some of the best rollercoasters in the world as you take in the spectacle of Walt Disney Resort Orlando. Find thrills on the Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest and more. Go on a swashbuckling adventure with the Pirates of the Caribbean. You can even visit the World of Avatar in the breath-taking Animal Kingdom, or travel to a galaxy far, far away to Star Wars Land (coming soon) – Princess Leia is a Disney princess now, as far as we’re concerned. Let’s be honest, no one does theme parks quite like the House of Mouse, and if you’re visiting Florida, then this is a must-see attraction.Take one small step to the NASA Kennedy Space CenterWhen deciding what to do in Florida, it’s not rocket science to put the NASA Kennedy Space Center at the top of your list. You’ll meet veteran astronauts and learn about space travel in a fun, interactive environment. (Oh, erm, we suppose it kind of is rocket science). Plan to spend a full day here to make sure you see everything – including the well-stocked gift shop full of souvenirs and gadgets - and if you’re lucky you might even see a real-life rocket launch.