Central Florida holidays

Central Florida holidays

Deals from £507 per person

Holidays to Central Florida are full of fun vibes! We’re talking legendary smile raisers like Disney World, Universal, Legoland, Busch Gardens and so many more. Home to Orlando, Lakeland and Winter Haven, Central Florida offers theme park thrills and spills, plus eye-catching natural backdrops and magnificent year-round T-shirt temperatures.

Things to do
Any list of the best things to do in Central Florida will be topped by the famous theme parks – after all, they’re the shining stars at the heart of the Sunshine State. But that’s not all! Think outdoor escapades in wild places, pitstops for tasty coffee or local craft beer, and succulent barbecue menus to tickle your tastebuds. Plus, cultural treats in world-class museums and exciting cities. Then there are the memory-box day trips to all the other must-do Florida hotspots that are in easy reach of this part of the state – from seaside escapes to astronaut encounters.

And as for the weather in Central Florida, it’s perfect for making the most of it all, whether you’re into adrenaline-rush rides or Insta-worthy scenery!

Big attractions
Of course, Central Florida’s most famous for Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, with four theme parks, two water parks and the shopping, dining and entertainment of Disney Springs. While Orlando’s the place to be for Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and City Walk, plus the nightlife and retail heaven of International Drive. If you’re in search of the world’s largest LEGOLAND, get yourself to Winter Haven – now also home to Peppa Pig Theme Park Florida.

More to explore
Go beyond the theme park gates with our insider tips to add extra zing to your USA getaway. First up, Lakeland. Check out the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture on campus at Florida Southern College. Discover pure joy at the Florida Children’s Museum. Follow the historic promenade in Lake Mirror Park. And go animal spotting at Safari Wilderness.

Want to make the most of Central Florida’s countless waterways? The Chain of Lakes at Winter Haven is the place to dip your toe, with several of the town’s 50 lakes connected by canals. No wonder it’s such a hit with waterskiers, paddleboarders and kayakers. The views from the waterfront restaurants aren’t half bad either!

And that’s not the only place to enjoy the great outdoors. From kayaking on Peace River and airboat rides across Lake Kissimmee, to spotting wild turkeys and bald eagles at the SUMICA nature reserve, there’s enough to fill your holiday to Central Florida with all kinds of adventures. Plus, don’t miss Silver Springs State Park in Ocala.

Freebies and further Florida

If you’re looking for free things to do in Central Florida, there are some fantastic ways to take the pressure off your budget and still have a trip packed with memorable experiences. In Lake Wales, listen to the bells of Bok Garden’s Singing Tower playing their pretty tune amongst the bird song, see the prehistoric canoe at the town’s History Museum, and find out if your rental car will defy gravity at Spook Hill. Or, get a taste of Old Florida with a stroll through Sanford’s Victorian downtown area and a visit to the city of Bartow, known for its historic houses and antique shops.

To top it all off, Central Florida’s a fantastic jumping-off point for other must-dos around the Sunshine State. You’re spoilt for choice with the Space Coast, Daytona, Blue Spring State Park and Tampa Bay's stunning beaches among the many places that are easy to get to.

More travel guides

Discover more with our guides to the best destinations in Florida and the rest of the United States! You might like: Crystal River | Florida Keys & Key West | Fort Myers & Sanibel | Las Vegas | Los Angeles | Miami | New York City | Sarasota | Universal Resort | Walt Disney World Resort

Map of Central Florida

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26 ℃

Average highs from 21°C in Jan, when it's driest, to 33°C in Jul / Aug, when it's much more likely to rain.

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Around 9 to 10 hours

Central Florida’s main airports are Orlando International (MCO), around 20 km from Orlando, and Sanford (SFB), 45 km from Orlando.

Central Florida is best for...

Family fun: From theme parks such as LEGOLAND® Florida Resort to hands-on safari adventures at Safari Wilderness and kayaking and boating lake fun, Central Florida has it all!
 
Nature lovers: 554 freshwater lakes and an array of parks, preserves and trails make Polk County the ideal home for more than 300 bird species. These include alligators, white-tailed deer, sand skinks, gopher tortoises, many of which can be found at the amazing Circle B Bar Reserve.
 
Water sports enthusiasts: Winter Haven’s the water ski capital of the world! And that’s not all, with an extensive chain of lakes offering great fishing, adventurous airboat eco tours and exciting water sports including kayaking, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, paddle boarding and wake-skating.

Fast facts for Central Florida

Language: The language spoken in Central Florida is English.

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

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

Fly to: Orlando International Airport or Orlando Sanford International Airport. 

Flight time from UK: The flight time to Orlando is approx. 9 hours.

Tourist information: Both Visit Florida and Visit Central Florida offer a wealth of info, so click through for a browse before you go!

Visa and health: You'll find all the visa, passport and health advice you need for Central Florida on the UK government's FCDO website.

 

Holiday destinations related to Central Florida:

Getting around Central Florida

By car: Hiring a car is the best way to get around when you’re staying in Polk County, whether you’re after the major theme parks a short drive away or the beaches and other attractions on Florida’s east and west coasts – you can get there in an hour!
 
By bus: Use the mPass mobile ticketing app for the easiest way to ride the Citrus Connection routes around Polk County. Single ride, single day and monthly passes are all available.
 
On foot or by bike: Covering more than 375 miles, the 120 hiking, cycling and running trails of Polk County provide excellent opportunities to get outside and stay there for a while – from flat multi-use routes to hilly ‘natural Florida’ scrub lands.

Events in Central Florida

Experiences at Bok Tower Gardens: This stunner in Lake Wales hosts some fantastic events throughout the year, including The CenterState Concert Under the Stars series in March and April, the Spring Bloom Festival, and Christmas carillon concerts every afternoon during the festive season.

Sun ‘N Fun Aerospace Expo: One of the world’s biggest annual aviation events takes place every April in beautiful Lakeland, with six exciting days of cutting-edge technology, exhibits and breathtaking aerial displays by some of the best air show performers in the world!

Detroit Tigers Spring Training: Experience the nostalgia of a Detroit Tigers Spring Training game! See major league teams in action at the best Spring Training venue in the country. Get up close, and have a fantastic day out at Tigertown in Lakeland.

Mayfaire by-the-Lake: Held every May on the shores of beautiful Lake Morton (downtown Lakeland), Mayfaire is one of the largest and oldest outdoor art festivals in Central Florida – the perfect way to make the most of the US Mother’s Day weekend!

Central Florida safety and security

Get prepared for your holiday to Central Florida with all the most up-to-date passport, visa and health information. You’ll find everything you need to know at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website – have a read before you book.

And remember to sort out your travel insurance, or you could be hit with some pricey bills if you need any medical attention while you’re away!

Central Florida weather

Hot and sunny for much of the year, Central Florida doesn’t see a lot of rainfall. You’re most likely to get short sharp showers in July and August (the hottest time to visit), while the driest months are January and December – making it the perfect escape from the winter weather at home! Autumn and spring are particularly great choices for days at Polk County’s lakes, with temperatures in the high 20s (°C).

If you’re planning to go between June and November, make sure you know what to do if there’s a hurricane – this is the most likely time for them to hit Florida. Rest assured that hotels and local businesses are well prepared!

Best hotels in Central Florida