Florida Trip Planner

Posted September 28, 2023 in Travel Guide - Last updated December 13, 2023

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Also known as the ‘Sunshine State,’ Florida is a travel destination that most people dream about. Known for having pleasant weather throughout the year, Florida has amazing beaches, exciting theme parks, endless shops, as well as a lively nightlife. In Florida, you’ll find popular tourist destinations such as Miami. If you want to go to a more tropical environment, then look no further than the Florida Keys, which is situated at the southern tip of Florida.

But what makes Florida unique, and why should you consider visiting this state? If you’re thinking about creating a Florida travel plan, then here are some unique facts about Florida that you should know. These facts can help you learn more about Florida, as well as help you define where in Florida you want to visit.

A Brief History of Florida

The earliest proof of people living in the area that is today Florida goes back about 12,000 years. However, it wasn’t until the Spanish explorers started arriving that written records of Florida started to appear. In 1513, the Adventurer Juan Porce de Leon arrived in Florida and made the first written mention of this great city.

It was the people who were from the Southern plantation areas of what is today parts of Georgia, Virginia, and the Carolinas, that found moving to Florida an attractive prospect. They immigrated to Florida in large numbers and built a home for themselves there. On the 3rd of March 1845, Florida became the twenty-seventh state of the United States.

During the time of the Civil War, Florida was spared a lot of the damage that many Southern states suffered. This is as no major battle was fought in the state of Florida. It was the coastal towns that the Union forces found themselves occupying. The interior of Florida largely remained in the control of the Confederates. As the nineteenth century drew to a close, Florida became a hub for commercial agriculture. Cattle raising became particularly important in this state.

Around 1926, when the economic bubble burst, Florida was just as affected as the other states. By the time the Second World War came to an end, Florida was experiencing a period of economic growth. All through the year, the weather remains pleasant in Florida. This mild weather also made Florida the choice destination for training centers for soldiers, sailors, as well as aviators.

Today, Florida is more than just a popular holiday destination. It’s a flourishing state with some of the best food, weather, cultural and historical centers.

Five Fun Facts About Florida

  • Geographically speaking, Florida is situated towards the southernmost point of America.
  • St. Augustine, situated in Florida, is the oldest city in the US. In 1565, it was settled by Spaniards and still hosts a 17th-century fortress.
  • There are more than 7700 lakes in Florida. This makes this state perfect for water adventure activities.
  • Florida has around 825 miles worth of beaches that create the longest coastline in the US. These beaches can be accessed by both locals and travelers.
  • Florida alone produces more than 70% of the oranges that are consumed by the country.

Top Destinations In Florida

So you’ve decided that you want to visit Florida. But what should you add to your Florida travel diaries? If you’re working on your Florida trip planner, then here are five destinations in the Sunshine State that you can’t miss out on. This Florida travel guide can help you determine where in Florida you should be traveling to.

Florida Keys

Stretching from Key Largo to the southernmost point of the US, the Florida Keys is a tropical paradise. Here, you can participate in activities like diving, boating, fishing, snorkeling, and more. See the coral reefs with your own eyes when you go snorkeling. You could also try other adventurous activities like parasailing and kayaking. When you’re in the Florida Keys, remember to book a seat at the legendary restaurant, The Fish House. They get their fish from local fishermen, so when you eat here, you’re contributing to the economy.

The Florida Keys can be explored in a day. But if you’re interested in trying out various adventurous activities, you may need to come back to the Florida Keys to try them all. It can take up to three days to try all the activities that are available to you.

St. Augustine

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the US. Some of the buildings constructed by the original settlers are still standing here. These include the Castillo de San Marcos and the Fountain of Youth. People visit St. Augustine to marvel at the historical architecture and learn about the history of the place. There’s an Alligator Farm in this city that you can go to if you want to see alligators for yourself. Visit St. Augustine around Christmas time to see the Nights of Lights event. This is when nearly three million lights light up the city.

St. Augustine really comes to life around Christmas, but you can visit this city at any other time of the year as well. It will take you no more than two days to visit and see all there is to see in St. Augustine.

Crystal River

On the western coast of Florida, you’ll find the quiet yet picturesque Crystal River. This area is known for its bustling nightlife, as well as its great food offerings. What it’s truly known for is the beautiful landscape and fun water activities that you can enjoy right on Crystal River. Consider going on a kayak tour to explore Crystal River. If you visit Crystal River during winter, then you will be able to enjoy paddling in the water next to manatees. Winter is when these manatees migrate into the nearby springs. You’ll also be able to see turtles, a wide variety of birds, dolphins, and other kinds of wildlife here.

The live mermaid shows at the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park have become really popular with tourists. This park is situated about an hour away from Crystal River.

Miami

Miami is one of the most well-known locations in Florida. Here, you’ll find amazing food, party venues, hotels, and more. Visit South Beach, where you will find the Art Deco District. This place is known for being an artistic hotspot in the city. You should also visit the Wynwood Walls, where you’ll find plenty of murals that aim to embody the vibe of Miami. The best time to visit Miami is around August. This is when you’re likely to find deals across hotels and restaurants in the city. You can use promotions to stay at luxurious destinations that might otherwise be too expensive for you.

Miami is a bustling city that can take time to explore. Expect to need around three to four days to explore this city properly. When you’re making your Florida itineraries, add a few extra days in Miami.

Tampa Bay Area

If you’re wondering what else should go in your Florida itinerary, then consider visiting the Tampa Bay Area in Florida. Comprising Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, this is one of the better-known tourist destinations in Florida. You can visit the Busch Gardens, where you can ride a rollercoaster. You could also visit Clearwater to spend some time enjoying yourself at one of the best beaches in the state. The Dali Museum in the Tampa Bay Area is also a popular place to visit.

Visit the Tampa Bay Area between September and December to truly enjoy what this destination has to offer you. You’ll need around three days to explore all three cities in the Tampa Bay Area.

Theme Parks And National Parks In Florida

In Florida, you’ll find the Walt Disney World Resort, popular among children and adults alike. Florida is also known for being home to the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay amusement park, which has an African theme and is home to many animals as well. Florida residents and tourists alike flock to this amusement park. Universal’s Islands of Adventure is another theme park that you should visit. There’s also an action-adventure-themed park that you can go to called MIAMILAND. If you’re planning on visiting multiple theme parks in Florida, then you’ll need to add multiple days to your itinerary. Florida has around fourteen amusement parks.

There are several national parks in Florida as well, such as the Everglades National Park, the Biscayne National Park, and the Dry Tortugas National Park. You could also visit the Alafia River State Park and the Fort Clinch State Park as well. There are eleven national parks in Florida altogether. The Castillo de San Marcos is an unmissable national park in Florida.

The Best Time To Travel To Florida

The best time to visit Florida is between the months of December and May. This is when the mild weather of Florida attracts people from across the US who want to escape the frigid cold of their home states. Between the months of March and April, you’ll find a lot of snowbirds dotting the beaches of Florida. The driest month in Florida is December. So if you want to walk around different places and visit as many attractions as you can, then consider visiting around December.

The months of September and October are also great for visiting Florida. Also known as the ‘Sunshine State,’ let’s look at what Florida is like through the seasons. Spring season here starts from around March and goes on till May. The weather tends to be pleasant around this time. March and April are dryer than May. This isn’t the peak season for tourists, so local rates are cheaper. The spring break weeks are more expensive as students throng to Florida to enjoy their holidays.

The summer season starts in May and goes on until the early months of September. If what you want is fewer crowds, this isn’t the right time for you to visit. Around June, you can expect stormy weather as well. Because of summer vacations, the summer months are some of the most crowded. Rates will also be at their highest during summer as well.

The fall season, which is between the middle of September and November, is when the weather starts to get a little cooler. There will be fewer crowds, and local rates will be cheaper as well. Note, however, that the months between August and October are known as the hurricane season in Florida. Look for last-minute deals if you visit Florida during the fall. Some of the best local rates can be found once Labor Day passes.

The winter months, between December and February, are when the snowbirds visit Florida. This is also when you can enjoy some of the more exclusive experiences around Florida. Fewer tourists allow you to find flexible rates at everything from resorts to tours. If you’re visiting around the New Year, visit Panama Beach to enjoy the ‘New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop’.

What Do You Need To Do Before You Travel To The USA To Visit Florida

The first thing that you’ll need to do is ensure that you have a valid visa to enter the US. When working on your Florida trip planner, add everything you need to have done to ensure your visit to Florida goes smoothly. Florida has a temperate climate, so even if you visit in winter, you won’t have to worry about needing heavy winter clothes. Before you visit Florida, finish your Florida itineraries for travel and ensure you have enough funds to truly make the most of your trip.

Florida can be visited at any time of the year. In winter, a lot of US citizens choose to go to Florida to enjoy warmth during the winter.

Do You Tip In Florida? Yes, when you’re in Florida, you’re expected to pay for any services provided to you. Usually, you’ll be expected to pay around 10-20% of the bill as your tip.

General Safety And Solo Traveling

Florida is an extremely safe destination to visit, both alone as well as with friends or family. If you’re planning on visiting this state alone, then know that you’ll be safe through your journey. The local authorities do their best to keep Florida safe for tourists, as a lot of revenue for this state comes from tourism. In Florida, you’ll find a well-connected transportation system. From buses to trains and taxis, getting around in Florida is easier than you think.

The crime rate in Florida is slightly higher than the national average. While it’s generally safe to travel to Florida, there are safety concerns that you should consider as well. There are neighborhoods in Florida that are safe for tourists and others that are unsafe even for the locals. When you’re visiting Florida, it can also affect your experience here. It’s generally a good idea to avoid Florida during hurricane season. There is danger from alligators and snakes in Florida as well. These reptiles can be found in waterways across the state. If they feel threatened, they can turn aggressive.

If you intend to go swimming while you’re in Florida, stay away from water bodies where swimming isn’t explicitly allowed. Sinkholes are also common in Florida, so if you’re driving, be careful.

When it comes to crime, like with most other large states, Florida isn’t immune to criminal activity either. The capital city of Florida, Tallahassee, has a significant property crime rate, one that’s much higher than the national average. In Orlando, violent crimes are reported more often. To avoid crime while you’re in Florida, visit areas deemed safe for tourists. Travel in groups if you can, and have an itinerary ready before you visit.

Getting Around In Florida

Florida is home to a wide variety of attractions, shopping centers, beaches, and more. To get around in the Sunshine State, you can make use of everything from rental cars to trolleys. There are several transportation options available to you that can help you get around in the state comfortably.

One of the most common ways to get around in Florida is using rental cars. Florida is home to a large number of turnpikes and interstates that make traveling around within the state simpler. These provide access not just between cities but to tourist attractions as well. Reliable rental car companies in Florida include Avis and Enterprise. There are several others that offer competitive prices as well, but make sure to read the reviews before choosing a service.

Airport rentals are also popular in Florida. You can get cheaper rates if you visit the state during off-seasons. A lot of companies also provide free shuttles that help you get to and from the airport. Rideshare apps are also increasing in popularity. An alternative option is taxis. Ensure that your taxi is licensed before you hop on.

Trolleys are another popular way to get around in Florida. While fares are mostly affordable, some are free as well. There are sightseeing tours on trolleys as well that are popular. You can get on the Old Town Trolley if you want to visit Key West. If you’re staying in the International Drive Resort Area in Orlando, then check out the I-RIDE trolley.

Another way to get around in Florida is by using the bus service. Companies like Megabus and Greyhound offer daily trips to popular destinations in Florida, such as Miami. Trains also run along interstate routes in this state. There are Disney Resorts that offer shuttle services for free, to the four theme parks in the state. Hotels and resorts also provide free shuttle rides to and from the airport. You can even rent out a boat for a day. This allows you to experience fishing as well as watersports.

If you intend to navigate the boat yourself, you’ll need to show that you have completed a basic boating course.

Budget For Traveling To Florida

If you’re a solo traveler, then the average cost of a sevenday vacation in the Sunshine State is around $1209. If you’re traveling with your partner, then expect to spend around $1764 for your one-week stay. Larger families will find themselves spending around $4000 on average in Florida. In Florida, you can find affordable hotels that charge you $60 a night. You can also find luxurious hotels that charge as much as $400 a night if not more.

Conclusion

Use this guide to create the perfect Florida trip planner for yourself. Travel-Wise can help you learn how to travel better. Know more about the place you’re visiting or learn all about traveling on a budget.

Travel-Wise helps you create plans easily with the help of tools like the AI itinerary generator. Simply enter your desired destination and the duration, and you will be presented with detailed plans for your trip. If you’re curious to find more information on your destination, check out the itineraries from our travel community as well as our Country Guides for relevant and useful tips. Don’t forget to share your travel stories with our robust travel community!

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