Things to Do in Florida

An air boat in the everglades in Florida

Pack the sun cream and sun hat and don’t forget your sunglasses; Florida isn’t called the Sunshine State for nothing. In fact, there’s an annual average of 230 sunny days here, so it’s the ideal spot for a beach holiday or an escape to the winter sun. But it’s not all sandcastles and surfing; Florida is also known for its Art Deco architecture and fun-filled theme parks, so there’s something for all the family. With that in mind, here are our top nine favourite things to do:

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Chill out on South Beach, Miami

Despite the name, South Beach is not all about the beach. Of course, the sands are a big draw, with their soft silica and rolling waves, but there are plenty of other things to do here as well. Check out the much-celebrated Art Deco architecture in Ocean Drive, or follow the roller bladers and skate down it, being sure to dodge the palm trees as you go. Set aside an afternoon to explore the museums, which include a number of excellent art galleries and the informative Jewish Museum. After all that sightseeing, make the most of the long evenings with sunset drinks overlooking the ocean.

How to do it: Browse our Miami holidays and opt for a hotel located on South Beach. 

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Sip Mojitos in Little Havana, Miami

Soak up the lively Cuban vibes of Little Havana, a wonderfully colourful neighbourhood with a rich Hispanic culture. Just a short walk from downtown Miami you’ll find the Calle Ocho neighbourhood, where you can practice your Spanish and join a food tour, tasting your way through the Latin Quarter’s tasty empanadas and Cuban sandwiches, learning about traditional Cuban cuisine and sipping on the odd Mojito as you go.

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Relax in Key West

The southernmost point of the US, Key West is known for its unique blend of African culture, relaxed island lifestyle and renowned literary links. Ernest Hemingway fans will delight in visiting the prolific author’s home, which is now a landmark museum. Cycle through the Old Town to discover its historic architecture, take in a sunset at Mallory Square or enjoy a stroll along the harbour in the Seaport district.

How to do it: One of the best ways to experience Key West is via a trolley tour of the Old Town. One of these tours is included in our Orlando to the Keys tailor-made holiday

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Gorge on Key lime pie

Mix together Key lime juice, egg yolk and condensed milk, pour it into a biscuit crumb crust and top it with meringue and lime zest, and what have you got? Why, Key lime pie of course. This tasty dessert, named after the limes that grow all over the Florida Keys, first appeared as a raw dish in Key West in the late 19th century. Try the modern cooked version at Joe’s Stone Crab on Miami Beach – after chowing down on some of their freshly-caught crab of course.

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Spot alligators in Everglades National Park

Reptile lovers rejoice! The World Heritage-listed Everglades National Park is a haven for crocodiles and alligators and the only place in the world where you’ll see them together in the wild. Tour the mangroves and swamps by hovercraft or walk the varied Anhinga Trail to spot birdlife among the mangroves and swamps, and, if you’re here between October and March, head for the freshwater springs to see the congregating manatees. Recently, Nile crocodiles have been spotted, but how they got here remains a mystery.

How to do it: An Everglades & Biscayne Bay boat tour is included in our Florida: Cities & Paradise tailor-made holiday

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Discover the magic in Walt Disney World

Drawing 52.5 million visitors annually, Walt Disney World Resort is the family-friendly jewel in Florida’s crown. Disney’s flagship entertainment complex, this place comprises multiple theme parks, themed hotels, golf courses, water parks and more. Don a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and get set to spin in a giant teacup, take a ride down Splash Mountain, go wild on an African safari and meet the mouse himself. Come at Christmas for ridiculously over the top decorations and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or Halloween for the child-friendly Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Magic!

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Scare yourself silly Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando

Made up of two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, as well as the Wet ‘n’ Wild Orlando water park, Universal Orlando Resort is stuffed full of excitement and entertainment. Taking its influences from your favourite TV shows and movies, the rides, film sets and themed restaurants should inspire and delight the whole family. Sip butterbeer and shop for wands in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, shoot aliens at the Men in Black Attack and brave the freefall on Der Stuka’s water slide, a six-story vertical drop.

How to do it: A Universal Studios 2-Park bonus ticket is included in our Orlando to the Keys tailor-made holiday

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Live the luxury life in Fort Lauderdale

Known as the Venice of America due to its 300-mile canal network, Fort Lauderdale’s cosmopolitan beaches and high-end spas have put this waterfront city on the map. Scuba enthusiasts can choose from 75 diving sites, while nature lovers will delight in the chance to see sea turtles in their natural habitat. Follow the Riverwalk to the arts and entertainment precinct at the Las Olas Riverfront, or board a cruise to see the mansions and yachts that line the famed Millionaire’s Row

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Shoot for the stars in Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral

The main launch site for NASA and departure point for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle missions, Kennedy Space Center is a must for kids and space geeks of all ages. On a tour of the museums, you’ll see the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, watch films about the universe in the IMAX theater and board a simulator for a scarily realistic experience of what it’s like to be in a launching space shuttle. You can even meet a real life astronaut.

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