Florida or “The Sunshine State” as it is also known, is located to the south-east of the United States. Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the west, it is a state of diverse attractions and one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Its abundance of theme parks, beautiful beaches, nature reserves, lively cities and historic towns makes Florida number one on many visitor’s holiday wish lists.
Those interested in Florida state history can head for St. Augustine. A historic city with incredible architecture, it’s also the oldest continuously occupied European establishment in the USA. Visitors of all ages will enjoy vibrant Orlando and its theme parks, shopping malls and restaurants. Explore Walt Disney World with its cartoon characters, processions and world-class firework displays. Universal Studios is a haven for movie lovers with thrilling rides and favourite film set tours. Disney’s Animal Kingdom will enthral animal lovers, and Epcot is futuristic, educational and fun. The east coast of Florida is home to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre, the centre of human space flight. The visitor complex is open for those wishing to explore the mysteries of space technology and the Universe. On the west coast, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater are popular seaside retreats. The city of Tampa offers great shopping, museums and the famous African themed park of Busch Gardens. St. Petersburg and Clearwater have some of the best white sandy beaches in Florida. On the south-east coast is multicultural Miami, with glorious Art Deco architecture, palm-fringed South Beach, its unique Latino vibe and lively nightlife. Those in search of solitude and inspiration should drive to the Florida Keys over Seven Mile Bridge. Follow the Hemingway Trail and step back into old world Florida, an abundance of charm, cocktails and beautiful sunsets.
There are several International airports in Florida. Orlando International Airport and Sanford services Orlando, Kissimmee and the central and northeastern areas. Miami airport caters to the south and the Florida Keys. Tampa International, the west coast. Visitors can see the best of Florida by car, as cities can be quite a distance from each other. Orlando to Miami takes 3.5 hours driving. Alternatively, there is a comprehensive Greyhound bus system, and trains operate between the major cities.
Juan Ponce de León arrived on the peninsula in 1513, and named the state La Florida or “Land of Flowers”. Today, Florida is a multicultural state and home to a melting pot of ethnicities. The result is incredible cuisine, historic sites and neighbourhoods and a continuing rich heritage which has inspired artists, writers and poets for decades.