Florida Travel GuideA Quick Guide to the very best of Florida
02 February 2018
If there was ever a holiday destination which guarantees a great time to be had by all, it’s surely Florida. America’s sunshine state packs in a huge amount of attractions, meaning it’s the ideal location for everything from hedonistic solo trips, vacations with friends, or fun-filled family breaks. With its vast and pristine white sand beaches, collections of idyllic islands, and world-famous hotels and resorts, it’s also among the best places in the world to show off your Sanwin swimwear.
You’ll surely gather some admiring and envious glances while swimming, sunbathing, or walking around in your stylish and eye-catching swim shorts - but with so many places to choose from, where’s best to start? We’ve put together a brief guide to the very best of Florida, so have a good read of our expert advice, pack your suitcase, and start planning the holiday of a lifetime!
Florida is home to some of the best beaches you’re ever likely to come across in your life. With the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico lapping its tranquil shores, this state boasts white sand beaches which range from the party-filled to the deserted, and teem with vibrant and exciting sea-life and plenty of opportunities for exploration. Here are our top three:
The legendary beach resort of Key West sits just off the Florida mainland. If you’re looking for a relaxed, idyllic paradise, it doesn’t get much better than this! Stunning sugary sands and turquoise waters are guaranteed, and there are few places better in the entire state for snorkeling and exploring the beauty of the ocean.
Fancy living out a Baywatch fantasy or two? Then South Beach is undoubtedly the place to go. It’s a playground of the rich and famous, and the sunsets at this stunning location are second-to-none. Architecturally, it’s fascinating - skyscrapers on the horizon give way to beautiful Art Deco designs, making it a uniquely romantic place to spend your holiday.
If you’re the kind of person who loves a bit of people-watching, and has no problem with strutting your stuff in front of plenty of admirers, then Siesta Key is the beach for you. A great location for water sports, dolphin spotting, sunbathing or hanging around in top restaurants and beach bars, it’s a chilled-out location with so very much to offer.
Excursions and Places to Visit
Florida may be best known for its theme parks and beaches, but there’s so much more of this state to explore once you’re there. Let’s take a look at some unmissable excursions in the sunshine state, which no Florida vacation would be complete without.
Once you move inland a little from the endless sandy beaches, you find yourself in a jungly, sub-tropical world of swamps and marshlands… and it’s utterly captivating. The Everglades National Park is a vast wetland nature reserve, and you could spend a lifetime exploring the undergrowth and getting up close and personal with the tropical birds, manatees and alligators that call it home.
The Kennedy Space Centre
If you’re the kind of guy who takes an interest in science, then a trip to the Kennedy Space Centre is completely unmissable. Home to several museums, and the location of hundreds of space shuttle and satellite launches, it’s a fascinating place to visit for all the family.
As the main strip in Orlando,International Drive is the best place to go to get a real taste of Florida street life. Teeming with bars, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs and museums, it’s a huge amount of fun when you’re out looking for some of the US’s most vibrant nightlife.
Anyone who claims that American cuisine revolves solely around plasticky cheeseburgers and fries clearly hasn’t been eating at the right places. Florida is a melting pot of cultures, and is home to an amazing array of ingredients. Here are our top 3 Florida-specific dishes that you simply have to try.
If you love tucking into luxurious seafood, then Florida has a hell of a lot to offer. While Maine Lobster might get most of the international attention in this regard, Florida Stone Crab is the superior underdog. Plucked fresh from the sea, these hefty crustaceans can be found served in dozens of quality Florida restaurants, and they’re a sweet, succulent delight that are impossible to forget once tried.
If you’ve taken our advice and headed to the Everglades, the chances are you’ll have come across plenty of alligators. They may look intimidating, but did you know they also taste great? Gator tail (marinated in Cajun spices and then grilled until tender) are a local speciality in many Florida restaurants… and man, they really do taste great.
Blackened Mahi Mahi
The Caribbean influence can be felt all over Florida’s cuisine, but this dish has become something a local legend in its own right. Served at more or less every seafood shack along the Atlantic coast, Blackened Mahi Mahi is a light, silky treat, that packs a real punch with the piquant spices it’s coated with. Nice!
OK - no holiday to Florida would feel right unless you made at least one visit to one of the state’s many legendary theme parks. No matter how old or cynical you are, there’s something about these places that brings out your inner child… and as soon as you step inside, it’s impossible to wipe the grin from your face. Here are our top three:
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to step onto a movie set and put yourself in the middle of the action, then Orlando’s Universal Studios is the best place to start. Specialising in immersive movie-based experiences, it has a wide range of thrilling rides and simulators which rank easily among the best in the world.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
The original and still the best, Disney's Magic Kindom, the first ever Disney resort is the kind of place that kids’ dreams are made of (and yes, we’re including the ‘big’ kids, too). Rides, parades, fireworks, rollercoasters… it really does have it all.
Universal Island of Adventure
If you’re a rollercoaster junky and are looking for real adrenaline-based thrills, then this part of the Universal complex is well worth seeking out. Furthermore, the Island of Adventure features the newly established Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has been praised the world over for its simulators, rides and design.
If you’re going to have an unforgettable holiday in Florida, it all begins with booking yourself into a truly luxurious hotel. The state has some real form in this regard, and recent years have seen some absolutely awesome establishments open up throughout Florida, boasting the very utmost the hospitality industry has to offer. Our top three luxury Florida hotels are:
The Breakers, Palm Beach
When Americans make luxury hotels, it seems that nothing is too over-the-top or extravagant. The Breakers is a replica Italian renaissance palace, sitting right on the edge of Palm Beach. Despite the ridiculous grandiosity of the building itself, this is a hotel with some genuine class, and an amazing host of amenities. Several oceanfront swimming pools, sports facilities, spa treatments and a wide range of rooms and restaurants are offered to guests, providing everything you could wish for under one gilded roof.
If you want your holiday to revolve mainly around the theme parks, but can’t quite stomach going to bed in a Mickey Mouse decorated room, then the Reunion Resort - just a 15 minute drive from Disneyland - is the one for you. Utterly elegant, beautifully designed, and featuring a golf course, beautiful villas and a five-acre waterpark. Perfection!
The Setai, Miami Beach
Quiet relaxing spaces are hard to come by on the ever-populated Miami Beach. However, guests at the immaculate The Setai hotel have access to a clean, clear and blissfullysecluded patch of private beach, entirely for their own enjoyment. This Asian-inspired hotel also offers rooftop pools and bars, and some of the best service found anywhere in the state.
That’s it - our quick guide to the very best Florida has to offer! With your Sanwin swimwear, you’ll have the confidence and striking look you’ll need to stand out from the crowd in the sunshine state, so get packing… the beach awaits!
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