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
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!)
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.
can be a great place to pick up designer
would be happy to give
you some tips of places we have
particularly enjoyed visiting.
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
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
Studios Florida and Universal Islands of
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
ChampionsGate golf resort is only 2 miles from the
house. You can visit their website by clicking
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