Florida holidays

Year-round sunshine, 825 miles of beaches and world-class attractions make Florida holidays top of the list for families and couples alike. In fact, the ‘Sunshine State’ is one of the most popular destinations on the planet, not just for holidays in the USA! Here’s the lowdown to help you decide which of our exciting holidays to Florida to book.

Things to do

Whether you’re travelling as a couple or a family, there are so many amazing things to do in Florida! But you probably already knew that, right?

At Florida’s heart, you’ll find Orlando; the theme park capital of the world, and home to some of the region’s best shopping centres. Orlando holidays are usually focused around the thrill rides, entertainment and brilliantly themed hotels of Walt Disney World Resort (home to the celebrated attractions of Epcot) and Universal Orlando Resort, centred around Universal Studios Florida. But if that’s not quite your thing, or you want to see it all, journey south to visit the stunning palm-lined boulevards, swanky celebrity hotspots and unforgettable nightlife in Miami, or the near-Caribbean island of Key West. It’s a great place to see dolphins in their natural habitat.

Holidays to Florida offer much more than coastlines and coasters, though, and that’s why they’re popular with couples of all ages, as well as families. Make sure you spend time at the Everglades National Park. A hike or boat trip in these wildlife-filled wetlands feels a world away from everything else, even though you’ll be right on the doorstep of some of the state’s most famous attractions. And, over at Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral, you could meet somebody who actually has been a world away, with the chance to say hi to a real astronaut. It doesn’t matter how old you are, that’s got to be a pretty special experience. If you’re extra lucky, you might get to watch a space launch!

Where to go

For the best beach breaks in Florida, check out our holidays to Fort Lauderdale, ‘The Venice of America.’ As well as glorious sandy stretches, the designer shopping in this east coast resort is legendary. Or, go west instead and take your pick from the countless white-sand options on an island hopping adventure around Fort Myers and Sanibel Island. Follow the coast north from there and you’ll reach the seaside city of Tampa Bay, home to family attractions such as an aquarium, and all the grown-up fun of a craft beer trail.

Want to see some manatees in the wild? You’re going to love Crystal River! Way more than just a river, it’s a hub for outdoor adventures - there’s everything from forest hikes and paddleboarding across lakes, to diving for scallops and exploring the Crystal River Archaeological State Park. Yes, there are beaches too, and they’re beautiful.

Or maybe you prefer something with more of a man-made buzz? Visit NASCAR favourite, the Daytona International Speedway. Join fellow petrolheads at one of the adrenaline-filled events on the speedway calendar, find out more on a behind-the-scenes tour, or sign up for the white-knuckle ride of your life with a Nascar Racing Experience. Our top tip: book before you go!

As for Orlando, there’s nothing quite like Kissimmee holidays for the full-blown experience! You must book a table for a famous Florida dinner and show while you’re there; they’re legendary. Or, stay at the edge of Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista. This central spot may be family friendly but you can also indulge in lazy pool days, spa sessions and some of the best golf in Florida, so it’s a dream location for adults, too. There’s even more going on in downtown Orlando, with plenty of entertainment, nightlife and shopping centred around the International Drive Resort area - plus it’s easy to get around thanks to the I-RIDE Trolley.

Best of all, the weather in Florida is perfect for doing it all!

More Travel Guides

Check out our other USA travel guides, including: California | Chicago | Crystal River | Daytona BeachFlorida Keys and Key West | Fort Lauderdale | Fort Myers and SanibelHawaii | KissimmeeLas Vegas | Los Angeles | Miami | New England | New York City | New York State | North East Corridor | Oregon State | OrlandoSan Francisco | St Pete & ClearwaterTampa BayTexas | The Deep South | Utah State | Washington State

Map of Florida

world_map
16-33°C

Florida’s called the Sunshine State for a good reason; temperatures range from the mid-teens to the low-30s all year round.

View live forecast

8-9 hours
If you're heading to Orlando, you'll land at either Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is 19km to the south-east, or Sanford Airport (SFB), which is 43km to the north-east.

Florida is best for...

Childhood magic: An array of theme parks awaits, including Disney’s Magic Kingdom®, where you can meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, ride the teacups, and get your picture taken outside Cinderella’s castle. It’s totally enchanting.

Potter fans: Experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando Resort™, and ride the Hogwarts™ Express between King's Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade™ Station in Universal's Islands of Adventure™. More enchantment than you can shake a broomstick at!

Shopping: Grab a bargain at Orlando Premium Outlets®, or pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney).

Fresh-air adventures: With the sun shining on everything from stunning beaches to the swamps, waterways and pinelands of the Florida Everglades, go and explore the great outdoors!

Fast facts for Florida

Language: The language in Florida is English.

Currency: The currency used is the US Dollar ($).

Local time: Florida is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Orlando International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport or Miami International Airport. Transfers to hotels in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale are between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours.

Flight time from the UK: The flight time to Florida is 9 hours.

Tourist information: Find out more from Visit Florida.

Holiday destinations related to Florida:

Getting around Florida

By hire car: Hiring a car will help you get the most out of your holiday - after all, this is the land of road trips! Don’t forget that Florida has more toll roads (often called turnpikes) than any other US state, costing anything from 25 cents to a few dollars.

By trolley bus: The I-RIDE Trolley is a convenient way to get around the 23km stretch known as International Drive, with its shops, restaurants and attractions - which include some of Florida’s top waterparks.

By resort bus: If you’re staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you’ll have access to free buses that will take you to all Disney parks. It couldn’t be simpler.

Events in Florida

The Miami International Boat Show: It’s one of the biggest annual events in the state, with 3,000 boats docking at the marinas every February. It’s your chance to mingle with Miami’s most glamorous citizens as you admire extravagant powerboats and luxurious yachts.

Daytona 500: This historic event takes place early in the year in Daytona Beach; it’s the most popular motor race in America, and guaranteed to thrill. Missed the race? Console yourself with a go on the I-Drive NASCAR Kart Racing track.

Halloween: In October, Walt Disney World Resort holds kid-friendly Halloween parties, complete with spooky parades and spectacular fireworks, while the less easily terrified might prefer Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

Santa visits Florida: Disney’s Magic Kingdom® feels even more enchanted at Christmas. There’s a snow-sprinkled Main Street USA, festive music to get you in the spirit, and a very special visitor; the kids are sure to remember Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa forever!

Florida safety and security

Before you book, visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website for recommendations and advice on passports, visas and health for holidays to Florida.

Do I need a passport?

The USA has very particular requirements when it comes to entry permits, so it’s worth checking before you fly to avoid being turned away at the airport. Before you book your holiday, take a look at the FCDO website for further information on Florida passport requirements.

Do I need a visa?

You might do, though most British passport holders can apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) through the Visa Waiver Programme. Replacing the standard USA Florida visa, an ESTA allows you to stay in the States for up to 90 days, but you’ll need a passport that has an official e-Passport symbol to be able to apply for it. To find out more about visas and the Waiver Programme, see USA entry requirements.

Should I get travel health insurance?

The United States doesn’t operate a state-funded health service. So, to protect yourself against the substantial cost of a medical incident (even a small one), travel health insurance is essential. It offers you protection against the costs of medical services, covering everything from medical bills and medicines to repatriation back to the UK if required. However, not all insurance policies cover everything you need, so it’s worth double-checking to see what protection you get before you travel.

Florida weather

Temperature: 16-28 (°C)

When’s the best time to go?

The Sunshine State really does remain sun-soaked all year round! Long, hot summers and mild winters make Florida holidays perfect for all seasons, with temperatures climbing to 33°C. Bear in mind that sudden rain and storms are common between June and September, so remember to pack a brolly or lightweight waterproof. To avoid the biggest crowds (especially in the theme parks), book your visit for spring or autumn.

What should I pack?

Sunscreen is one of the warm weather essentials - along with sunglasses and swimwear, especially if you’re off to the beach or water parks, such as Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando. And flip-flops can save you from getting your feet burnt, or filling your new shoes with sand. As for clothes, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. Outdoors, it can be very warm and quite humid, so it’s worth packing shorts, T-shirts, and light, airy clothing. However, practically every indoor space, from hotels and shopping malls to restaurants and theatres, is air-conditioned to the max, so bring an extra layer, just to keep the chill off.

Best hotels in Florida

Popular Florida holiday resorts

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