Ok so ive been working for a year and really need a break. a nice 2 week holiday and ive been torn between california and florida but i think im siding with florida. i know there is disney world and the florida keys look really nice. somewere to relax. anyone know what other good things there are to do and see in florida?
I live in California but I like Florida, too! I find Florida to be slower paced than California. You can see a lot there but still find time to relax in two weeks. California is so big that you might be running around a lot to see what you want to see in that time.
I love the white sand beaches and clear, warm water on the Gulf of Mexico. Clearwater is a nice area. It's fun to rent a kayak or canoe to explore around small islands or inland rivers. You would need to research where to do this. I did it around Sarasota. There is also a Manatee exhibit in Sarasota.
The Everglades are fantastic! This is one of those unique places in the world that you should try to see in your life, in my opinion. You can go out on an Airboat tour. They go really fast over the top of miles and miles of shallow water and grass. You will see unusual wildlife, including alligators and snakes - but no danger!
The Keys are a place I want to go but haven't been yet. I would research where to stay so that I would have a more authentic, less touristy experience. I think it might be difficult to do that, and expensive, but I'd go there anyway. And of course Miami is exciting and fun. It's a cross-over Latin American city inthe USA. Very unique. A party town!
If you want to see wildlife besides alligators, you can arrange to see turtles laying eggs on the beach. I know you can do this in the Palm Beach area on the Atlantic coast. There are many species of birds all over Florida. I like the people and the seafood there, too!
I'm not really an expert on Florida. Anyone else?
I took my son to Florida for an untouristy type of vacation and was pleasantly surprised! We went to Key Largo (which is only an hour or so south of Miami) and even enjoyed the 'watch for saltwater crocodiles' signs posted along Highway 1. If you go to John Pennekamp state park (right after you hit Key Largo), you can get a glass-bottom boat ride out to a coral reef for I believe around $5 per person. Its only an hour or two total, but great fun! Buy your tickets and board right at the visitors center in the park. They also offer snorkeling and diving, but we didn't do that. The boat ride was cool, you go through a mangrove forest on the way out to sea and we even saw a few bald eagles! - http://www.pennekamppark.com/glassbottom.html
We didn't do anything in the Everglades, but that looked really cool - I'll definitely do something there next time.
We took a day cruise out to the Bahamas on the Discovery Sun. It was cheap and fun, although you miss so much time in customs / immigration and on the taxi ride to Port Lucaya, I would recommend at least doing an overnight in the Bahamas if you choose that route. The Discovery Sun was not a luxurious nor big cruise ship, but that was part of the charm. Lots of Bahamians apparently use it as a ferry almost between Florida and the Bahamas. - http://www.discoverycruiseline.com/
We stayed in Hollywood (just north of Miami and south of Ft. Lauderdale) and found that to be a good point to explore southern Florida from, although any of those cities would make a good base camp. I'd love to have gone further into the Keys, but I think you'd need to stay at one of the hotels there (it would be quite a drive to do a day trip to Key West and Highway is one of the most dangerous in the US apparently). Hotels in the keys are pricey!
Just hanging out on the beach was loads of fun for us. We did go to the Miami Seaquarium. Something my son and I loved was a place called 'Monkey Jungle' just southeast of Miami. Its a little expensive, but we had a great time - very interesting - http://monkeyjungle.com/
I love the Florida Keys if you are wanting a wonderful vacation this would be the place to come. The water is warm and the viz is outstanding 95% of the time. Nothing is better than hitting a reef and seeing dolphins playing or diving a wreck and having a goliath grouper come right up to you or having an moray ell come out and greet you. I could go on and on like ALL the tropical fish we have here are amazing just amazing.
Florida Keys is where you can have the best time of your life!!!!!
thanks everyone. i forgot how much of a pain it is booking a holiday. last time i went away i booked a one way ticket and went off for a few months. so much easier not planning it.
florida seems really nice. heard lots of nice things about the place. im in two minds though.
im also looking at california. maybe half a week in san francisco and half a week in LA. a week in san diego. I dont know.
I'm not sure I'm qualified to be called an expert, but I lived in Florida for more than 20 years. I spent time in Pensacola (on the northwest gulf coast), lived in Orlando for a year, and had a house in Clearwater. And depending on what you are looking for, I'd say the most beautiful areas in Florida are in Perdido Key, and over the line into Alabama's Gulf Coast.
I live in the city now, but I vacation annually down to Gulf Shores, AL. I love the sugar-white sand beaches, the turquoise-colored waters of the Gulf. The small-town flavor. I love it that I can charter a boat and go on a dolphin cruise at sunset. And sunset? Wow. I just got back from 8 days on the beach in Gulf Shores -- that's my happy-making place! I can't wait to go back.
Sure, Orlando is packed with attractions (but only man-made beaches!), and Clearwater beach is gorgeous (and crowded). Miami I avoid -- too many people! Pensacola is nice, but it has a serious case of sprawl. When I vacation on a beach, I don't want to be driving a lot. I want to walk outside my beach rental, put on sunblock, go for a swim, maybe rent a boat, walk to a restaurant. That's, to me, what a beach experience is all about.
Again, I'm no expert, but I know what I like!