Think of Florida and you might think South Beach. You may think the Kennedy Space Center. And you’ll almost certainly think that loveable cartoon mouse and his pet dog Pluto. But the truth is, there is much more to the Sunshine State than a package holiday to Walt Disney World, with a whole host of interesting things to explore.
Over 75 million people visit the state each year, most of whom take in Florida package holidays as it’s slowly becoming more accessible through budget travel companies. Booking through the likes of florida4less.co.uk, Mickey Mouse and co. are welcoming over 17 million revellers each year, who spend weeks at a time treading the resorts, cuddling film characters, and enjoying the thrilling rollercoasters.
But whilst that’s not for everyone, it shouldn’t put you off a holiday to Florida. There are hundreds of other great attractions in the state that totals 66,000 square miles. Stepping away from the resorts that dominate the outskirts of Orlando, the opportunity to enjoy Florida holidays outside of the obvious destinations can be just as appealing.
Across the state there are a range of things to do that suit people of all ages, and with backpackers particularly enjoying some of Florida’s hidden gems, a flight to Miami could be just for you.
Cheap Florida holidays are becoming increasingly popular, and with more and more attractions opening for people on a budget, the sun, sea and sands are an ideal place to enjoy backpacking. Florida’s Forgotten Coast in particular couldn’t be further away from the built up beaches of Daytona or the over-crowded walkways of Universal Resort.
Stretching from Mexico Beach to Carrabelle, just outside of Tallahassee, the coast is a hub of wildlife, fabulous bays and towns and villages with traditional Floridian charm. A trip to Apalachicola along the route gives you a real look into how state residents live. Designated a National Trust for Historic Preservation Distinctive Destination in 2008, the town has a welcoming atmosphere and boasts traditional Victorian inns, restaurants and of course, peace and quiet.
However, the quieter side of Florida is complimented by its passion for adventure. With canoeing, snorkelling and diving offered across the state, you’re never far away from an action-packed afternoon.
The 120-mile Florida Keys island chain is home to the United States’ only living-coral barrier reef and is teeming with breath-taking marine life. With an abundance of tropical fish, it’s one of the world’s most renowned diving destinations in the world, and an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Finishing a trip around the Keys, downtown Key West is also a great place to do something different. Ernest Hemmingway resided in the area for more than ten years during the winter, and the world-renowned author’s home can be visited, exploring the man, his works, and his time in Florida.
Also a must for those wanting an alternative experience is the Tropic Cinema. Spend your evening in a 50’s style picture house watching a latest release or a Floridian classic in a warm, cosy atmosphere, ending a journey to Florida in one of the coolest hangouts in the state.