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Think Florida, and think coastlines lined with powdery sand beaches, palm trees and an electric heart dominated by the theme parks of Orlando. But that’s just the start of it. A Florida holiday is more than just sun, sea, sand and pulsating rides. From the high-energy city of Miami to the natural wonders of the Everglades and the mangroves, sandbars and coral reefs of the Keys, the Sunshine State is an absolute dream of a destination.
Thrills and spills are the name of the game in Orlando, where stomach-flipping rides and ‘splash-tastic' slides bring to life the most popular entertainment franchises in the world. Alongside big-hitters including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Legoland Florida, parents can also sneak in some science at the fascinating Kennedy Space Center, which is less than an hour’s drive away.
Theme parks not your thing? Beyond the movie sets and water slides of Orlando, this sultry southern state is a natural playground crisscrossed by huge swathes of untamed wilderness.
The steamy swamps and tangled mangroves of the Everglades National Park cover a whopping 1.5 million acres of Florida's mainland, while the Keys boast the only living coral barrier reef in the United States. Both coastlines are peppered with white-sand beaches, with the Gulf providing calmer seas than the lively Atlantic.
Don’t disregard Florida when it comes to culture, either. Miami is a powerhouse of art and architecture, with a current of Latino culture flowing in from Cuba. But this party hotspot is just the start. From St Augustine in the north, with its colonial history, to the artsy, non-conformist spirit of Key West in the south, Florida can charm with brains as well as beauty.
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