Miami, the Beaches, Orlando, and Everglades National Park
When you think Florida you imagine sunny days and sunny times. As a Mecca for families headed to Disney World, college students looking for a 24 hour party in Miami Beach, or retirees flocking to warm-weather winters, Miami attracts a diverse crowd. The Florida image is one of glamorous beach life, national parks, fragile ecosystems, and amusement parks. All of it applies to Florida. From the biggest, brightest and brassiest theme parks in the world in Orlando, to the frolicking beaches of Miami, and the Everglades south, Florida is this and more.
Located on the Atlantic coast of the Sunshine State, Miami/Miami Beach is an area growing in many ways. Recently renovated areas in Miami Beach have become a real hot spot for supermodels and celebrities to see and be seen while in Miami. The elegant, old art deco buildings from Miami Beach’s heyday have been restored and revamped to their previous glory. The Art Deco District of Miami Beach has brought new life to the area and exposed visitors to its charms. The lively Art Deco District houses several trendy restaurants, lounges, and nightclubs along the beautiful beach front that is synonymous with Miami Beach. Families can stay and play on beaches just made for fun in the sun. Families will want to spend some time walking, biking, or skating by the ocean, as well as, spending some time in the surf.
Miami and its beaches are so geared to good times that it’s easy to spend many carefree hours enjoying the sun and water. But don’t just sit on the sand sunbathing, take a walk past the new hotels and restaurants, stop for an ice cream cone at one of the sidewalk cafes, and watch the eclectic mix of people walk by. After you have your fill of beach activities, check out Little Havana or take a boat tour. There are plenty of sights to visit in Miami.
If you and yours start your vacation in Miami (it is often cheaper to fly in and out of Miami), you can travel south a short distance to visit the Everglades National Park. This is a large park dedicated to preserving the unique southern Florida natural habitat. If your kids are older, plan to spend the best part of a day seeing the National Park. Stop at the Visitors Center, arm yourself with a guide map, and enjoy exploring. The kids are sure to be amazed at the myriad wildlife (including alligators) roaming the swamplands.
If you travel north 230 miles from Miami on Florida’s Turnpike, you will reach Orlando. Orlando is the home of Walt Disney World and several other parks. If you don’t like theme parks, Orlando is not the destination for you. Theme parks, and lots of them, are the main reasons for visiting Orlando on vacation. Walt Disney World is the main attraction for most and a complete world in itself. The Disney World resort is almost the size of San Francisco and has more entertainment than you can see in a day visit. Some families will want to consider spending several days at Walt Disney World or at the surrounding parks. Of course, Disney caters wonderfully to children and children-at-heart, as do most of Orlando’s attractions, hotels, and restaurants. There is no difficulty having your family’s basic needs met while in Orlando.
A week-long vacation including the Everglades, Miami/Miami Beach, and Orlando will require some advance planning. This is particularly true if you want to fly in and out of only one airport, drive between Miami and Orlando, or spend several days at Disney World. To accomplish this, obtain a good guide book and consult with experts to create an itinerary that is realistic and pleasurable. If you have very small children you may not want to do a long drive all in one day or spend a full day at a theme park. Let others help you coordinate accommodations and attractions. Some hotels and airlines offer fly/drive packages to help you simplify. Ask around to find the best deals.
A Florida vacation can combine the best of all possible vacations: sunny beaches, a National Park, and Disney World. All you need to do to enjoy a Florida vacation with the kids is relax and enjoy the day. It truly is Fun in the Sun!
Temperatures in central Florida are more variable than on the coast, which is tempered by the Gulf Stream. As a result, the summers in Orlando can be very hot and thunderstorms are common; the winters inland can be frosty. The best time to visit: late spring (April/May) or autumn (October to December) when you will find the crowds lighter, accommodations cheaper, and lines shorter. (Also, try to avoid the major holidays). No matter when your travel, take precautions against the sun whether on the beach or standing in line for a ride.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit Florida: http://www.visitflorida.com
Visit Orlando: http://www.visitorlando.com
Greater Miami and the Beaches: http://www.miamiandbeaches.com
National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/ever