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Attractions

 

Florida is known as the Sunshine State because of the fantastic climate where the temperatures are mild all year round and in the summer months regularly hitting the 90's. There are the hugely popular family attractions of Disney, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Sea World but there is much more to Florida. On the East coast the beaches are great for surfing and on the West Coast the sea is fantastically clear and blue with soft white sand and the most incredible sunsets over the sea.

We have travelled to Florida many times over the past 13 years and never run out of things to do. We have driven from St Augustine at the top of Florida, down to Key West at the bottom and right round to Homossasa Springs in the North West (although not all during the same holiday!)

Shopping

The shopping opportunities are amazing with prices much lower than at home, particularly on jeans, jewellery and shoes, so make sure you don't pack too much on the way out! We have also found some great bargains in bedding, make-up and designer handbags. The Florida Mall has 270 shops and the Mall at Millenia has 150 but there are at least 6 other shopping malls to choose from.

A brand new mall, Posner Park, one junction further down the I4 from the villa, opened in 2009. Current shops include J C Penney, Belk and Target.

Outlet shopping can be a great place to pick up designer mark-downs. We
would be happy to give you some tips of places we have particularly enjoyed visiting.

Disney

Disney has four theme parks - the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney-MGM and Disney's Animal Kingdom Park. If this is your first visit to Florida, the Park Hopper tickets offer best value. Visit the Disney site by clicking here to find out about the rides and attractions. When our children were smaller, we particularly enjoyed Magic Kingdom and Disney-MGM as the shows were amazing. There are lots of guides online to the theme parks so you don't necessarily have to buy guide books which in our experience seem to get outdated quickly.

 

 

Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure is great for the fearless as the roller coasters are incredibly scary. Don't worry if you don't like them though as there are plenty of other rides and attractions that are just as much fun. I particularly love the E.T ride as it is one of my favourite films and feels so magical. Brand new for 2008 is the Simpsons ride. As with Disney, the joint park tickets offer the best value for money - it is only $8 more to go to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on a one day pass. Make sure that you try and use your time at each park carefully as the day will fly by. Click here to go to the website to help plan your visit.

Sea World

This park is my absolute favourite! The whale and dolphin shows are amazing and feeding the sea lions is great fun - they all compete to make the most noise possible to attract your attention and get your fish. You can visit the Sea World website by clicking here.

Taking photos is tricky but worth the effort - you would be lost without your digital camera.

 

Wet 'n Wild

I have lost count of the number of times we have been here! After our first couple of visits we worked out what amazing value their Annual Pass represented. It cost less than 2 visits but could be used for a whole year. Depending on the date we bought the pass, when we came back the following year they were still valid! See what deals are available when you visit.They have loads of water rides that you can go on as a family. Disco h2o is our favourite especially going round and round the funnel shape before dropping out the bottom.

 

Legoland Florida

LEGOLAND® Florida is a 150-acre interactive theme park dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, LEGOLAND is geared towards family fun. Located in Winter Haven, Florida it is easily accessed from the villa via the I-4 (to junction 55. Take the US Highway 27 and turn right at State Road 540/Cypress Gardens Boulevard. The park is four miles ahead on the left. It is probably around 20 minutes from the villa.

 

Beaches

Florida's beaches are some of the best in the world. The picture to the left was taken last year in Siesta Key where the sea is as fine as caster sugar and almost as white. Both coasts are within easy driving distance of Orlando and make a great change from the theme parks.  We hired a wet bike in Clearwater which was great fun and because the Gulf is quite sheltered from the tide, did not feel too scary. On the East coast, you can visit the famous Daytona beach and speedway. There may even be a race while you are here. During a recent holiday we visited Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach and Clearwater. All can be reached in around 90 minutes. We would be happy to give you details of the routes we used.

Kennedy Space Center

A visit to Kennedy Space Center is not to be missed. Check the website at www.kennedyspacecenter.com to see if there is a launch planned for when you are visiting as special tickets can allow access to the launch viewing areas. We have never been lucky enough to see a launch up close but they can be seen and heard for miles around.

 

Golf

ChampionsGate golf resort is only 2 miles from the house. You can visit their website by clicking here. There are two 18 hole championship golf courses (one National and one International) both designed by Greg Norman. It is generally regarded as one of the top courses in America. We don't play golf but I have searched the internet for some reviews of the course and found the following quotes "Very nice course with exceptional practice facilities. Well maintained and it has several challenging holes." "Highly recommend both courses but the National was my favourite." (Both quotes from golflinks.com).

This list is not exhaustive, there are many more things we have not mentioned and even more that we have not yet done. if you would like some advice about finding your way around, please give us a call.