Florida vacations often revolve around either beaches or theme parks, but there’s more to the Sunshine State than just Miami and Disney World. The top 10 places to go in Florida cover a wide range of locations in the state, from Panama City in the panhandle to Marathon in Key West, Miami Beach on the east coast to Tampa Bay on the west coast, and of course, central Florida, home to Mickey Mouse and the world’s most popular resort.
Depending on what type of trip you’re looking for, you’ll find that some of the best vacations in Florida are on the state’s Atlantic Coast, while others are in the Everglades, and still others explore the quieter parts of the Panhandle, along the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re planning spending time in the water, a popular area that’s consider the best vacation spot in Florida for snorkeling is in the crystal-clear waters of the Dry Tortugas, near Key West, though the barrier islands near Sarasota are also renowned for their snorkeling and scuba diving.
Spring Break vacations are a popular reason to travel to Florida, and the South Beach area in Miami is easily one of the top 10 places to go in Florida both for nightlife and to see and be seen. Heading north from Miami, another favorite place for spring vacations in Florida is Daytona Beach, with its miles of beaches and its fun boardwalk. In addition, plenty of students also make their way to Fort Lauderdale, which is often touted as the best vacation spot in Florida for spring break.
Orlando is one of the best places to visit in the Sunshine State at any time of year, and Walt Disney World is easily its biggest draw, though Universal Studios and Sea World also pull in their own share of visitors. These spectacular theme parks are one of the things that make the area great for family vacations, as attractions such as Disney World take care to have plenty of things to do for both kids and adults. And after all, who doesn’t love a Disney vacation?
If you’re seeking theme parks on the west coast of Florida, Tampa is home to world-famous Busch Gardens and its sister site, Adventure Island Water Park. This city is also popular for its events as well, as during the fall and winter months, Tampa hosts the annual Gasparilla pirate invasion and parade, the Florida State Fair, the Guavaween festival in Ybor City, and the annual Strawberry Festival in nearby Plant City.
For science enthusiasts, the Kennedy Space Center is a popular destination, and though Cape Canaveral itself isn’t a huge tourist draw, it’s located within an easy driving distance of Orlando, Miami, and Daytona Beach, among other Florida destinations. The center offers tours, exhibits, IMAX films, and interactive exhibits at the impressive facility, which is open year-round.
It’s the beaches that draw many people to Florida, however, and there are plenty of amazing options. Caladesi Island, consistently named as one of the top 10 beaches in the U.S., and Fort DeSoto Park, which has been named as America’s top beach, are popular destinations and either of these could be considered the best vacation spot in Florida for surf, sun, and sandy beaches. Siesta Key, Sarasota, Pensacola, and the Keys are also home to terrific beaches.
It’s not just about the sand, however; Florida has a diverse environment that also includes marshes and swampland with an equally diverse wildlife population, including hundreds of bird species, manatees, and Florida panthers. Examples of the state’s unique flora and fauna are found in its many national and state parks that provide interesting outdoor vacations in Florida with tours, hiking, camping, bird watching, and airboat rides.
The Everglades are usually where people start, but it’s also worth looking into Ocala National Forest, Apalachicola National Forest, and Osceola National Forest in northern Florida, J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge near Sarasota, and the Dry Tortugas National Park near Key West. Any of these could easily rank among the top 10 places to go in Florida.
Florida Vacation Home Rentals
Florida Vacation Home Rentals
Florida vacation home rentals are a great option for just about any kind of getaway if you want to check out the Sunshine State from the comfort of your own home-away-from-home. Vacation homes come in all shapes and sizes in Florida, so whether you're looking for an Orlando vacation home, a Florida beach house, or a home off the beaten track, this popular holiday destination is not likely to disappoint.
Florida is such a popular vacation destination because of its great beaches, its dazzling cities, and the amazing number of theme parks, including Disney World. Florida vacation home rentals allow you more flexibility as to where you stay, and are great for people who want the comforts of home, or who want to be able to cook their own meals. There are plenty of home rentals along the East and Gulf coasts and many vacationers book a Florida beach house, taking advantage of the pristine beaches and turquoise waters that the state is famous for. Throughout the state, vacation homes range from privately owned homes, properties in planned communities of home rentals, and villas that are part of hotel resorts.
Luckily, there are hundreds of choices if you're looking for an Orlando vacation home with good access to these parks and attractions. There are a number of privately owned homes, as well as planned vacation home communities. One of the most upscale of these is the Calabay Parc Community, famed for its luxury homes and great location, nestled on the hills of Davenport and less than twenty minutes from Disney World. There is also a good selection of condo communities in Orlando, offering two-, three-, or four-bedroom homes with plenty of living space.
Miami also has a good selection of both luxury and cheap vacation homes. Many of these are within a short distance of the city's world-class shopping and the clubs along world-renowned Ocean Drive. Many of the homes in Florida's cities, notably in Miami and Jacksonville, are privately owned. Bookings can be made through an agency that will contact the owner, or through the owner directly. Vacationers will have more luck finding cheap Florida house rentals on the suburbs of these cities, using a good car rental service to drive into the inner city.
From the Keys to Jacksonville and points in between, there are many choices when you decide to rent a villa in Florida. Tiny islands and big cities alike are home to Florida villas suited for all kinds of budgets; both small bungalows and grand homes on the beach, as well as condo rentals and furnished apartments are available. Some cheap villa rentals are perfect for a romantic getaway for two, while other times, a cheap Florida villa can still handle a big family or group of friends.
Many Florida visitors make their way to Orlando to visit Disney World, Universal Studios, and the myriad of other attractions. If you want to get even closer to the Disney action, you could make reservations for one of the Florida villas surrounding Crescent Lake. Disney's Boardwalk Villas are reminiscent of an ocean-side boardwalk from the turn of the century, but with all of the modern amenities. Guests of these villas, ranging from studios to three bedrooms, can relax beside one of the two pools, thrill to the water slide, and even go fishing. Like other Orlando resorts part of the Disney family, the Boardwalk Villas can be included in Disney vacation packages.
It's sometimes easier to find a cheap Florida villa while looking a little farther out from the Magic Kingdom. Staying in Kissimmee or one of the other towns will save you money without adding much time on the road that lead to the things to do in Orlando. The surrounding cities offer their own mix of attractions and great shopping and plenty of alternatives for Orlando villas. Kissimmee offers a mix of thrilling air-boat tours, hot-air balloon rides, and the Old Town shopping district, in addition to many places to look for a cheap Florida villa.