How to Plan a Florida Vacation

How to Plan a Florida Vacation
It's no surprise that many people consider Florida a top vacation destination. It has world-famous attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios, gorgeous beaches and many other draws. Planning a Florida vacation won't as much involve finding things to do as narrowing down the options.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Choose a few general areas you want to visit while in Florida. Florida is known for its theme parks, but it is also known for its beaches and natural beauty. Many of Florida's great beaches are in the South Florida/Miami area, and you may be interested in visiting the Florida Keys as well for some scuba diving.

However, there are also great beaches such as Cocoa, Daytona, and New Smyrna that are less than an hour drive from the Central Florida area. Central Florida is also where the major theme parks are located.

North Florida does not get as much attention from tourists, but there are some great historical sites there, such as old St. Augustine, which has on display architecture and relics from Florida's Spanish heritage. These are some of the oldest buildings still standing in America, pre-dating even the colonial buildings in New England.
Step 2
Book lodging. If you plan on staying in one location and taking day trips, Orlando is not a bad choice because of its central location within the state and its proximity to the theme parks. The area near the theme parks, known as International Drive (I-Drive), is the most expensive lodging, though most hotels there offer convenient shuttle transportation to the attractions.

Using a site such as Expedia or Orbitz can help you to find the best deals, and also look into vacation packages, which often combine lodging and admission prices, as well as transportation.
Step 3
Purchase tickets to attractions in advance when possible. It's almost always true that you will be able to find better deals by purchasing in advance than purchasing at the box office, and it will also help you avoid a long line once you arrive at the attraction.

You can purchase directly through the attraction Web sites, or use sites such as Orlando Fun Tickets, which often offer bundled ticket packages, a popular one being Sea World and Busch Gardens, both of which are owned by Busch.
Step 4
Rent a car if you are flying to Florida. The public transportation in Florida is not particularly efficient, and many of the attractions are quite spread out. Unless you are only visiting a single theme park and are staying at an on-property resort, having a car will be much easier than figuring out the bus and shuttle system.
Step 5
Pack sunscreen and ponchos. Florida is hot and humid, almost year round. And the sun is always powerful, even in the winter, because of the state's sub-tropic latitude, which is why you should put on sunscreen every day, especially if you are not regularly exposed to large amounts of sunlight.

During the summer, when most tourists visit, Florida experiences thunderstorms several times a week, and for some weeks, daily, despite the state's nickname as "The Sunshine State." Attractions take advantage of this misconception and sell ponchos for very high prices to unprepared tourists. Don't be caught in that trap.
Step 6
Schedule a couple of relaxation days. A big part of Florida's appeal is the laid-back atmosphere. If you cram the schedule full of activities, you won't get to fully experience the joy of just sitting on a warm beach reading a book or tanning, or having a leisurely lunch at a waterside restaurant. A Florida vacation is the kind of vacation where you can often discover pleasant surprises along the way.

Article Written By Ray Dallas

Ray Dallas graduated with majors in journalism and English. While in Florida, he wrote freelance articles for "The Alligator" and was the copy editor and a writer for "Orange & Blue." Since moving to California, Dallas has worked as a script reader and for a talent manager, as well as taking numerous industry odd jobs.

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