Florida needs no introduction – it’s the state of year-round sunshine where theme parks were as good as invented. But there’s a lot more to family vacations in Florida than white-knuckle rides and Cinderella’s Castle.
December temperatures in southern Florida are between 63°F and 70°F.
Orlando has more theme parks than any other US city, and Disney World is Florida’s largest single employer.
The Florida Keys have a Caribbean climate. There are up to seven direct flights from Miami to the Bahamas daily; flight time is 55 minutes.
The Everglades National Park is the largest sub-tropical wilderness in the US and covers over 3,700 square miles in the south of Florida.
Florida’s Gulf Coast has 10 of the U.S.’s top 25 beaches, including Clearwater, Siesta Beach and Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs. There are many more beautiful beaches to discover.
Florida’s 1,300 mile coastline is the second-longest in the U.S. (after Alaska), and it’s the only state to have shores on both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic.
Family-friendly Florida is packed with vacation accommodations, from all-inclusive and theme-park resorts in Orlando to beautiful, beachy estates on the Gulf Coast and luxury hotels along the waterfront in Miami. Many larger resorts offer independent villas, apartments and family suites too.
Kids will get to live the dreams they’ve been having all childhood at Disney World. Pro tip: Cut down on wait times by booking ahead for rides and experiences, as the lines can seem endless.
If you don’t have an issue with the concept, Seaworld is one of the top Orlando attractions. The Dolphin Nursery is enchanting.
Orlando is packed with waterparks, but this one is exceptional. Expect to go more than once.
You can dip into the edges, explore by car or be guided by experts on boats and trains – it’s all spectacular, strange and unforgettable for youngsters.
About as close as you can get to everything marine, from penguins to dolphins via dozens of other sea creatures. The Seaquarium conservation center and the team are amazing with kids.
World-class collection of the artist’s work, awe-inspiring building and a great list of family activities and events with surreal themes – naturally.
Not in the same league as the Orlando offerings but very well done, lots of interesting things to see and do and very interactive.
A cageless environment with surprisingly big wildlife, considering. The zoo is very safe and well managed and regularly has the cutest babies in residence.
This award-winning art gallery and exhibition space has events year-round and the building alone is worth a visit.
You’ll get about as close to these prehistoric beasts as you want to, but the keepers aren’t so cautious, and alligator-wrestling is just one bold performance here.
Rent a car to travel around outside cities. Downtown Orlando and city-center Miami have excellent public transport. If you’re planning to stay in more than one area, domestic flights connect most of Florida’s cities. And you really can’t get about the Keys without driving.