About the size of England and Wales combined, the best way to get around Florida is by car. The state can be broken up into 5 tourist areas: North, Central, South East, Gulf Coast and the Keys. With car hire available in all the key locations there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying all Florida has to offer.
In the north lie the popular destinations of Panama City and Jacksonville, as well as St Augustine- the USA’s oldest city. Whilst Jacksonville is the principal city in the Northern quarter, St Augustine and Panama City more than hold their own.
As America’s oldest city it is only natural that St Augustine would be home to Florida’s most iconic monument. The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in America and steeped in four centuries of history! In the town you can wander through European-style streets and enjoy an afternoon at one of the many museums.
Panama City on the other hand offers a very different range of activities. The dazzling white beaches and the sparkling blue sea draw sun worshippers and scuba divers alike. The Panama shoreline is renowned as a popular wreck diving site with dozens of natural and artificial reefs attracting spectacular marine life. The town is always abuzz with the lively atmosphere of holidaymakers enjoying the various entertainments on offer.
Central Florida’s Orlando is home to the ever-popular theme parks. It’s also handy for Daytona Beach! Whilst Orlando is central Florida’s main draw, Daytona shouldn’t be overlooked. It is privy to some of Florida’s most popular beaches and comes alive during Speed Weeks when car racing aficionados flock to the city to enjoy NASCAR races at the Daytona 500 track.
The Gulf Coast forms the majority of the state’s Western stretch. While visitors can take their pick of 210 miles of brilliant white-sand beaches, Cape Coral, Tampa, and Clearwater are always popular.
Cape Coral is a charming, vibrant city community with all the beauty you would expect of the South-Western Florida beaches. Definitely a destination for active holidaymakers, visitors can enjoy fishing and water sports, a round of golf or a game of tennis, or hike through one of the nature reserves.
Tampa on the other hand is an up and coming stylish city with glittering contemporary architecture, scenic green spaces, an abundance of museums and galleries as well as a wide range of delicious restaurants to choose from. There are enough sites and attractions here to keep you occupied for a week!
In the south east you will find favourites such as Palm Beach alongside the well-known Fort Lauderdale which has earned the nickname ‘The Venice of America’ due to its innovative waterway infrastructure.
If you are looking for a luxury holiday, Palm Beach is the destination for you. This glittering city is characterised by palatial Greco-Roman mansions that line the shore and streets that look clean enough to eat off! Designer shopping and leisurely wine soaked lunches are the order of the day here, alongside sunbathing on the aptly named gold coast.
Finally, party hotspot Miami. With its cheerful energy, colourful art deco architecture, and long stretches of unblemished white beaches complete with azure blue sea it’s easy to understand why Miami is so popular!
Besides lively Miami you can also find fantastic nature reserves and eco parks in the Keys. Just a 45 minute drive from Miami, the Everglades is a unique ecosystem and a subtropical wilderness. Take a tour across the wetlands and spot native creatures such as crocodiles, bottlenose dolphins, manatees, snowy egrets, and bald eagles. The park also offers endless opportunities for hiking, cycling, kayaking, fishing, and camping and is the perfect place to experience a side of Florida other than its beach culture.