Be together in Florida
It all starts with sunshine. And as the name suggests, the Sunshine State gives you just that, all year round. That’s why Florida will instantly lift your mood with its astonishing wildlife, jaw-dropping scenery and mouth-watering cuisine. And that’s on top of its famous theme parks and beautiful stretches of beach. Throw in year-round sunshine, and you’ve got the perfect family holiday destination. Create lifelong memories, together in Florida.
If you think Florida is just Miami and Orlando, think again. This great-value-for-money destination is no one-trick pony with plenty more to discover outside its big-name cities. Plus, it’s really easy to get where you want to go. So trade Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon for Buccaneer Bay in Weeki Wachee Springs. Swap South Beach for St. Pete/Clearwater. And get ready to take your holiday beyond the expected.
There are 825 miles of beach to stretch out on in Florida, and some of the best can be found on the Gulf Coast. Think powder-white unspoilt sands fronted by exotic Caribbean-like waters. Sounds like paradise, right? And don’t forget to bring your buckets and nets for the kids. Here, they’ll capture ‘treasure from the sea’ aka colourful shells, or build a killer sandcastle!
There are also sun-soaked islands, refreshing rivers and springs, plus shady forest trails to discover. And if you’ve come this far, you’d better pencil in a trip to the gorgeous Everglades National Park, the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles live side by side, a must for reptile lovers.
A short drive east of Orlando will take you to Atlantic beaches or the space launches of Cape Canaveral, and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. From there, it’s only a short hop north to the auto racing capital of Daytona Beach where visitors can drive on the sand.
Flavours the whole family will love
With fresh seafood from the Gulf and Atlantic, farm-to-table dining and craft breweries all around the state, there’s no better way to discover what makes Florida tick than through your tastebuds.
Tucking into a classic Key Lime Pie, making a meal of a Cuban sandwich and sipping your way around a craft beer trail (we’ll save that one for when the kids are in bed) are unmissable experiences, whether you consider yourself a foodie or not. Did you know there are 35 locally owned breweries in the St. Pete/Clearwater area alone? And who could resist a glass of Florida-grown OJ with breakfast? And don’t worry about feeding your little monkeys, they’ll be just as impressed by the array of options, especially the hearty servings of mac n cheese and succulent chicken tenders.
There’s so much to sample here, from budget-friendly barbecue joints in Jacksonville to laid-back authentic fish shacks and high-end restaurants in Daytona Beach. Plus, food and drink festivals are a mainstay of the Florida calendar all year round, celebrating everything from beer and bacon (St. Pete, January) or margaritas (Tampa, May) to global cuisine at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Orlando, November).
First-rate culinary offerings might not be the main thing you think of when you’re planning your visit to Florida, but it won’t take long to find there’s something special for every appetite, wherever and whenever you go.Be a Florida foodie
Create everlasting memories in the Sunshine State
Whether you fly into Orlando or Tampa, a wide belt of central Florida is yours to explore. The Kennedy Space Center is one of the state’s most exciting places for curious kids, and your chance to meet an astronaut is an easy day trip away from both Orlando and Daytona Beach.
Even closer to the theme parks, pack your swimming gear and head to scenic Rock Springs. Look out for deer at the water’s edge while you’re tubing in the sunshine. Or get up close and personal with your favourite spotted creatures with a safari tour at Giraffe Ranch, before feeding grapes to ring-tailed lemurs. Now that’s one for the memory book!
To the west, St. Pete/Clearwater is perfectly placed for exploring the Gulf Coast. How does paddling a kayak amongst dolphins and herons at Caladesi Island sound? Or search for seashells at Sand Key Park. That’s when you’re not getting creative at Great Explorations Children’s Museum.
But what about something a little more surprising? Like the musical bells soundtracking your stroll through the tropical Bok Tower Gardens (about an hour from Tampa) - or the fine art, sea views and beautiful grounds of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.
Wild adventures beyond the theme parks
Of course there are the gators and crocs you can see in the vast Everglades National Park. And you’ve probably heard about the gentle manatees at beautiful Crystal River. But Florida’s natural world is even more varied than you can possibly imagine, and you don’t have to venture deep into the wilderness to find it.
Outdoor activities abound, from birdwatching, kayaking and stargazing in the Kissimmee Prairies to paddleboarding Lake Ivanhoe under the night sky. And then there are the horse riding trails for budding cowboys/girls through Ocala National Forest, across real American dude ranches and alongside impressive waterways.
Family wildlife adventures are easy to find, too. Look out for bobcats and otters in Hillsborough River State Park, 40 minutes’ drive inland from St. Pete/Clearwater, with nature trails that take you past river rapids, through ancient woodlands and around swamps. Or, you could spot water snakes at Orlando’s Shingle Creek Regional Park and dolphins playing in the Palm Coast waterways between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine.
So, while you’ll be incredibly lucky to spot the elusive Florida panther, you’re never far from the Great Outdoors in the Sunshine State - whether you’re digging for treasure at the beach or exploring Orlando’s theme parks.
Itinerary 1: Thrills & spills in Kissimmee
When it comes to action-packed family getaways, seven nights in Kissimmee is the answer! From its world-class shopping scene to its tastebud tantalising eateries. And it’s not known as the Gateway to the Everglades® for no reason. Yep, we’re talking about alligator airboat adventures. Now that’s one for the memory book!
Away from its mangroves and marshes lie Florida’s biggest theme parks. Mickey and Minnie fans will go wild for Walt Disney World Resort® aka the Most Magical Place on Earth with its six lands of never-ending enchantment. Think firework displays, fairy tale castles and one-of-a-kind attractions. And that’s before we mention the movie magic over at Universal Orlando Studios™. Here you can swing above the streets with Spider-Man, ride the Hogwarts Express or take on the daring drops at Universal’s Volcano Bay™!
Want to stay in the heart of the action? The 4 star Margaritaville Resort Orlando places you next door to H2O Waterpark. Not to mention the free shuttle bus to SeaWorld Orlando and more! If you fancy exploring the Old Town, check out the Celebration Suites, ranked as one of TripAdvisor's best family hotels in Kissimmee. Plus its stand-out location near Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park and Ripley's Believe It or Not gives it extra brownie points!
Tempted? Call us on 020 3697 0235 to book!
Itinerary 2: From Tampa to Sarasota
Kickstart your getaway with three exciting nights in Tampa and a stay at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Not only will you benefit from a heated rooftop pool and swanky suite, but you’re in the midst of this waterfront city’s awe-inspiring art scene, diverse culinary creations, adrenaline-pumping watersports and jaw-dropping theme parks.
Speaking of theme parks… home to 12,000 animals, the world’s steepest and fastest hybrid rollercoaster (Iron Gwazi) alongside an impressive line-up of award-winning shows, Busch Gardens certainly gives Disney a run for its money. And for more wildlife encounters, don’t forget to check out Florida Aquarium, Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center and Lowry Park Zoo.
Follow that up with seven nights in Sarasota for the ultimate family vacay! Hop in a hire car and head for the Hyatt Regency Sarasota where a private 32-slip marina, lagoon-size pool and cocktail spot await your arrival. Once you’ve offloaded your luggage make a beeline for the powder-white stretches of Siesta Beach, ranked among the best in the US. Or hike the canopy trails of one of Florida’s largest and oldest state parks, Myakka River.
When you’re not building sandcastles, you can hand-feed a flock of free-roaming flamingos at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. TreeUmph! Adventure Course is another must for daredevils, while shopaholics will get their retail fix at the craft and vintage markets.
Sounds amazing, right? For more information call us on 020 3697 0235.
Itinerary 3: Discover Central Florida & the Gulf Coast
Looking to impress the kids? Then seven nights at LEGOLAND® Hotel is just the ticket! You’re just 130 kid steps from LEGOLAND® Theme Park, plus there are free creative workshops, themed suites and in-room scavenger hunts. When you’re done building blocks, you’ve got Central Florida to uncover with its Peppa Pig Theme Park, Bok Tower Gardens and Safari Wilderness. And that’s just the Winter Haven area!
Check out Lakeland for your shopping fix, not to mention the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture on the campus of Florida Southern College. But are you even in the Sunshine State if you haven’t seen an alligator or two? Circle B Bar Reserve is a top spotting site.
Then make your way over to the Bradenton Area for a further seven nights at Anna Maria Island. Here sugar-white sands slope into azure waters and food is a heavenly mix of citrusy flavours and spices with influences from the Caribbean. Open-air tiki bars back its beaches, while dolphins swim along the coastline. Sounds like paradise, right?
Picnics in the park, go-karting and watersports are all the hype here! And Compass Hotel Anna Maria Sound places you in the centre of it all with easy reach to Sarasota, St. Pete and Tampa. This boutique-concept paradise will be your home away from home bringing all the easy, breezy fun of Margaritaville resorts to a quaint Florida beach town steeped in history.
Like what you see? For more information call us on 020 3697 0235.
Think Florida is all about theme parks and adrenaline rushes? Don’t be fooled! Sarasota getaways combine award-winning beaches with awe-inspiring art galleries and culture-rich museums with championship-style fairways. That’s before we mention its chic shopping scene and stand-out cuisine. Sound like your cup of tea? Explore our great value Sarasota offers.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
With seven miles of powder-white sand beaches fronted by blue azure waters, it’s no surprise this is one of Florida’s most scenic spots. When you and your little ones aren’t shelling or turtle-watching, hop on a boat and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins! When you want to pick up the pace, make a beeline for Andersen RacePark. Feeling peckish? The Bradenton area is a seafood paradise. We’re talking juicy crab and oysters infused with spices and citrusy flavours. Do we need to say more?
From safari adventures to rollercoaster rides, paddleboarding to hiking trails - Central Florida has it all! In Winter Haven you’ve got every toddler’s dream come true, Peppa Pig Theme Park. And just next door is LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. How’s that for action-packed family fun? Meanwhile, Lakeland is home to Detroit Tigers Spring Training for baseball fans. Not forgetting Bonnet Springs Park with its 168-acre facility blending nature, art and interactive experiences.