Think about a trip to Florida, and I bet you’re picturing Mickey Mouse and a week at Disney World. Am I right? The sunshine state is synonymous with Disney and its magnificent theme parks. But, that’s just one side of Florida, and today I’d like to show you a different side. There’s more to this destination than roller coasters and cartoon characters. There’s real beauty here, and a vibrant atmosphere. Trust me, this is the best way to experience Florida.
The stunning Florida Keys (image source)
Stay in a rental property
Florida is packed full of commercial hotels, motels, and apartments. International Drive in Orlando grows taller and bigger and louder every day. My advice is to avoid the hotels altogether. Real Floridians explore their state in a typical bungalow property. I suggest you do the same. Vacation rentals are the best way to experience a location as the locals would. You’ll get a better sense of Florida’s vibrant friendliness and free yourself from the ravenous crowds.
Hire and car and travel south to the Keys
Most tourists fly into Orlando, get their weekly dose of theme-park action, and fly out again. If you do this, you’ll miss out on all the things that makes Florida so beautiful. Hire a car, and hit the open road. Travel south through the state, and take the long road out across the Keys. They’re a series of small islands, linked by one long bridge. It’s a little bit of luxury hiding in the south of Florida. The water is stunning, and you’ll stop at the various picturesque islands.
Rollerskate along South Beach
While families tend to keep themselves to Orlando, everyone knows the real fun is in Miami! Miami is world-renowned for its nightlife. And I fully recommend getting lost in the city’s bar and club scene. But, more importantly, it’s time to put your rollerskates on and glide blissfully along the South Beach promenade. It’s a timeless tradition, encapsulated in hundreds of movies! This is one for the bucket list.
Play with the crocodiles in the Everglades
The Everglades is a hidden gem in the south-west of Florida. They’re a wide expanse of swampy marshland, populated by crocodiles and teaming with wildlife. The best way to experience this strange place is by hovercraft. An expert guide will take you on a journey through the swampy environment, pointing out all the best bits along the way.
Hit the all-you-can-eat buffets
America is known for its food. The enormous super-size portions, delicious pancakes, and – of course – the all-you-can-eat buffets. You have to try an original Florida buffet at least once in your life! You’ll walk away with a belly full of American goodness! You probably won’t ever want to look at a hamburger again, but it will all be worth it. Orlando has some of the best here, if you want to brave the crowds.
By all means, take a trip to Disney World too. Despite my sarcasm, it really is the happiest place in the world, and a lot of fun! Exploring Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and the other theme parks are well worth a visit too. I hope you enjoy your trip as much as I did!