The Secrets to Planning a Great Florida Vacation
Whether you’re looking to bask in the sun and sea or take part in the state’s thriving nightlife, Florida has a little something for everyone. World-famous party scenes. Miles of serene and lively beaches. Theme parks right out of your children’s imaginations. Golf courses around every corner. Land adventures and ocean excursions.
It’s a state filled to the brim with opportunities for adventure. With so much to do and see, planning out your moves in advance will be pivotal to getting the most out of your trip. Here are some things to think about as you plan an unforgettable Florida vacation.
Know What You Want From Your Trip
From solo trips to family vacations, theme park outings to day trips at one of the state’s famous beaches, it’s no wonder Florida has become such a popular destination for travelers from around the world.
The first step to planning your own fantastic getaway is determining what kind of experience you’re looking for.
It’s time to take stock of what you’re looking to get from your vacation. Start with a few important questions:
Who’s going with you?
How long do you plan on staying?
What are your ideal activities?
Where would you like to stay?
Will this be a luxury vacation?
Do you plan to travel around the state once you arrive?
Your answers will inform your vacation itinerary.
The Best Locations for Popular Activities
Florida is much more than a single destination, and each region has its own appeal. From tropical beaches to neon-lit city nightlife to theme parks, there are many ways to experience Florida. So we recommend that you figure out what kind of vacation you want—Rest and relaxation on the sand? Late nights clubbing?—to help you pick your destination.
For family fun in the sun and sea: Head to the Florida Keys, filled with aquatic adventures and stunning sightlines, not to mention family-friendly resorts that offer entertainment and relaxation.
For theme parks and attractions: There’s only one real answer here: It’s Orlando. Home to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando SeaWorld, and more, this central Florida city has attracted families for decades.
For nightlife and entertainment: Look no further than Miami and South Beach in particular, where the parties start in the daytime and continue deep into the night.
For golf: You could travel from the panhandle to the Florida Keys and seemingly spot a golf course every few miles. All to say, Florida is filled with great destinations for golfing enthusiasts. None, however, is better than Naples, a year-round paradise for those who love to tee it up.
For a blend of urban living and beach relaxation: The Tampa-St. Petersburg area boasts an emerging restaurant scene with convenient access to the pristine beaches of Clearwater. The mix will have you experiencing the good life in a short stay.
The Best Time to Visit
Although it’s warm (to hot) all year round, Florida has high and low seasons, which will directly affect travel costs—everything from flights to hotels to meals.
Reliable weather & higher costs
The main tourism seasons in Florida are winter and spring, from December through April. Far and away, you will spend the most on lodging and activities if you visit during this period. That said, the weather is most reliable during this time of year: less humidity, fewer storms, and lots of sunshine.
If you’re planning a family vacation to Disney or Universal Studios during the spring or winter breaks when kids are out of school, be aware that many families will be doing the same, so your stay will probably be much busier and costlier than during the off-season.
Humidity, insects, and storms, oh my!
Summer is the peak season for insects, rain, humidity, and the occasional tropical storm or hurricane. (In fact, hurricane season extends from June through November.) If you don't mind humidity, this is a great way to save money.
Though if you visit in August or September, be prepared for daily afternoon thunderstorms. Don't worry, though. They never last long, and they provide a nice reprieve from the humidity when they're over.
More concerned about saving money or getting the best deals on luxury lodging? If you love Miami, for example, and want to stay in a high-end resort more than you want to join the party, book a fall vacation (and keep your weather app handy).
Finding the middle ground
If you want to see Florida at its best without shelling out for peak rates, then we recommend you join the snowbirds following the holiday season. If you’d like to avoid crowds as much as possible, consider a late January or early February trip. You get the benefit of cooler weather without the Spring Break crowds.
Renting a Car is the Best Way to Get Around
Although ride-sharing has its benefits, the best way to get from airport to hotel and from destination to destination is a good old-fashioned car rental.
Florida cities are sprawling. Getting from one side of town to the other takes significant time, so save the trouble of mounting taxi or ride-share rates and just rent a car.
Besides, you’ll love the freedom. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Miami and head to its quieter neighbor, Fort Lauderdale. If you’re planning a trip to Tampa or St. Petersburg, enjoy a detour to the beach.
Most importantly, if you’re heading to the Florida Keys, consider flying into Miami. You’ll not only get better airfare by opting for Miami, but you’ll also experience one of the most spectacular road trips the country has to offer.
And if you’re planning to forgo airlines entirely and complete a long drive to Florida, maybe Amtrak’s Auto Train strikes your fancy. They’ll transport your car, van, motorcycle, SUV, or other recreational vehicles while you relax in coach or first-class.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Theme Park Visit
With so many theme parks and family-friendly attractions, it’s no wonder why Florida is regarded as one of the premier destinations for family vacations. Between Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld, and Tampa's Busch Gardens Africa, there are so many fun and engaging activities to choose from.
With theme parks, though, come significant crowds. As always, it’s best to plan ahead. Schedule your itinerary well in advance and go over it with the whole family to make sure you fit in the must-see attractions. Look for hotels or accommodations as close as possible to your desired park and capitalize on discounts. Purchase fast passes to reduce wait times.
Most theme parks also have accompanying mobile apps to help you organize your experience even further. Be sure to download and explore them prior to departing.
And even simple tips like wearing comfortable shoes, and bringing refillable water bottles ahead of time can go a long way to enhancing your experience.
Xpress Traveldesk is here to assist you.
With so many factors and facets to consider, it’s easy to overlook something or unknowingly miss out on amazing offers or opportunities, especially in a destination as colorful and lively as Florida.
Luckily, Xpress Traveldesk Advisors are on top of all of the new and exciting things the Sunshine State has to offer. The can’t-miss restaurants. The latest craft beers. Luxury rooms. Plus, the exclusive discounts and rates will have you feeling like a VIP.
We take all the stress out of planning a vacation. Instead of sweating every detail, you’ll relax from the second you request a travel advisor to the moment you return.
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