Most of the 100 million annual visitors to Florida head for the well-known destinations like Disney World, Kennedy Space Center and the Universal Studios. While these are essential attractions, especially for the first time visitor, there is more to Florida than just its top five destinations.
A trip to Florida should ideally be split between time spent at a base in Orlando and then Fort Lauderdale or Miami. You can then use day trips to explore both the well-known destinations and the hidden jewels in and around these cities. If you’re flying in to Florida, it’s best to rent a car for the duration of your visit.
Instead of expensive and impersonal hotels, consider the option of short-term vacation rentals, for that home away from home environment. WorldEscape offers a wide range of options from studio apartments in Fort Lauderdale, to four bedroom beachfront houses in Miami, and 75 cities around the world. All accommodations are located in friendly and safe neighborhoods and give you the opportunity to live with, and like, the locals.
Attractions around Orlando
Orlando is the home of both Disney and TNA wrestling. It is also your base to explore the Kennedy Center and Universal Studios, as well as some lesser known, but worth a visit, attractions.
A half an hour drive north on US 441 and west on 414, brings you to the languid town of Apopka. It’s one of those ordinary towns that have many attractions around it. The West Orange trail that originates here, is a 40-mile train ride through dense woods, historic towns and around lakes.
The Kelly Park and the Wekiwa River are ideal for canoeing and kayaking and offer unforgettable vistas as you paddle. Take a dip in the clear water and swim with the fishes, while surrounded by lush vegetation. Northwest of Apopka lies Mount Dora, a quaint lakeside community famous for its art galleries and shops selling antiques and curios.
Attractions around Miami
Miami is one of America’s original gateway cities for seafarers from Europe and South America. It’s a popular tourist destination with a strong Hispanic identity. Take a day to explore South Beach, Little Havana and the Art Deco District, to get a flavor of the city. A visit to the famous Cape Florida Lighthouse, located in the Bill Baggs Florida State Park, brings you close to nature.
Ninety minutes west on US 41 brings you to Everglades City, your gateway to the Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands. Get on the water early to see the wildlife such as alligators, turtles, snakes, dolphins, and over two hundred species of birds, including the Bald Eagle. Airboat rides typically run from 4-6 hours and take you deep into this unique ecosystem.
The Florida Keys
The overseas highway, also called US Highway 1, connects the mainland with over 40 islands in the Florida Keys. It stretches 127 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, running from Key Largo to the outermost and most famous island, Key West. Make pit stops along the way to enjoy snorkeling, conch fritters and great photo opportunities.
Some of the best-kept secrets of the Sunshine State are off the beaten track, but well worth a visit. These destinations offer seclusion, a ton of outdoor activity options and amazing vistas. Enjoy your trip.