Florida is a little bit bigger than England, so has many different parts to explore. At the bottom you’ve got the Florida Keys, to the west there’s the Gulf coast, on the east there’s the Atlantic and to the north there’s a border with Georgia and Alabama. If you want to take it all in then renting a car is the way to go. Make sure you take both parts of your UK driving licence, paper and plastic, and you’ll need a major credit card with plenty of credit on it to secure your reservation. You should also add the optional car hire insurance so you’re covered for every eventuality.
Starting at the southernmost tip – Key West is a small spit of land, roughly 90 miles away from Cuba, that’s barely above sea level. It’s all about the sunsets, the cocktails, live music and messing about on the water here. To make your way up to the mainland you drive up US1 for about 200km taking in 34 inhabited islands.
From here you can easily drive into the lively city of Miami. This place has plenty of attitude. The beach is wide, the hotels have tikki bars, music and dancing and the clubs are loud. There’s a latino feel to the food, music and atmosphere. Down by South Beach you can watch skaters do their tricks and street performers flaunt their talents. (Image by Dan Seifert)
A short drive from Miami, the Everglades is an area of marsh land where alligators line the roads and snakes can be spotted in trees. Here you can see what Florida would have looked like before the developers arrived. It’s hot and humid so maybe a place best visited just for a short while.
The beaches in Florida stretch up both sides. They are all free to visit so take a picnic and find yourself a good spot. On the Gulf coast the sand is whiter and the water is calmer. Popular areas include Clearwater and St Pete’s Beach where there a plenty of great hotels at the back of the beaches. On the Atlantic side you can spot surfers when the waves are good. Cocoa Beach is a cool spot where you’ll find a surfer’s vibe, cheap beer, fish tacos and a nice breeze. Daytona Beach is a bit further north and this has a really wide beach where cars can park and picnic right on the sand. (Image by Greg Phelps, CMP)
As you reach the north of Florida the landscape changes and reminds you more of Gone with the Wind. Spanish Moss hangs from the tall trees, buildings have porches complete with rocking chairs and restaurants serve fried chicken and mash potato. The air is a few degrees cooler too and a touch less humid.
Related post : Weekend Holiday in Florida
Feature image by FormerWMDriver