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Florida help

New Zealand
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20 posts
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Florida help

Hi all

We are heading to Florida for the first time - how long should we spend there? We plan to fly into Orlando and get a rental car for most of the time. Here are some of the things we would like to do:

Shop (preferably at outlet malls or any big malls)

Key West


Disney World

Spend some relaxing time at the beach!

Kennedy Space Centre

And possibly the one day Discovery cruise to Grand Bahama

Any other places/things we shouldn't miss? Any advice/help would be much appreciated,

Thanks :)

London, UK
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1. Re: Florida help

I've been going to Florida for about 13 years now, pretty much once a year. Sometimes it's on business, but mostly it's been pleasure.

Here are a few of my recommendations:

Orlando area

- Of the parks Universal, Islands Of Adventure and Sea World get my vote - great for all the family, kids and adults in equal amounts

- Personally, I think the best Disney parks (for adults) are Epcot and MGM, Animal Kingdon and Magic Kingdom are more kid orientated (although the Dinosaur ride in Animal Kingdom is superb).

- 'Must Do' rides are Spiderman, Duelling Dragons, Jurassic Park, Cat In The Hat (Islands Of Adventure); Revenge Of The Mummy, Back To The Future, Men In Black, Jaws (Universal); Dinosaur, Tough To Be A Bug (Animal Kingdom); Tower Of Terror, Rock N Rollercoaster (MGM); Test Track, Mission Space (Epcot); Space Mountain, Splash Mountain(Magic Kingdom); Kwanzi, Montu, Rhino Rally (Busch Gardens), Kraken, Atlantis ( Seaworld)

- Just north of Orlando there is Blue Springs National Park - you actually get to see manatees in their natural habitat AND you can swim in the natural hot springs

- P Leu Gardens in Orlando is an amazing botantical garden - my girlfriend dragged me there one year but I ended up loving it.

-Winter Park is a lovely little toen north of Orlando - well worth a look, but make sure to do the boat tour and get a chance to look around Rowlins College - it's stunning

- Premium Otlets at the bottom of International Drive in one of the best places to go for deisnegr brands at great discounted prices; for non discount shopping in Orlando head for Mall At Millenia, Super Target at Mall Of Millenia, or the Florida Mall (although this can be over priced and a bit touristy). AVOID BELZ! It's trashy as hell!


- Head to the Silver Moons Drive In - one of the last and greatest drive-in movie theatres in the US


- Busch Gardens is a great day out

- Tampa Bay Aquarium - an absolute must see, but make sure you get there early enough to take the boat tour out into the bay

Other places to go to

- Pine Island - very relaxed, lovely little community make sure you stay at the Brigewater Inn as it's built on a pier so you have the water lapping under your room. Get up early to see flamingos fly over head, and dolphins and manatees swim by.

- Make time to go to the Audubon Corkscrew Wildlife Sanctuary near Naples - it's a walk amongs swampland and forestry (on a totally safe raised wooden walkway) that will let you see things like alligators in the wild plus loads of cool animals - truly breathtaking!

La Quinta hotels are usually a safe bet - clean, good breakfasts, friendly staff, decent price - I recommend the one near Orlando Convention Centre on Universal Blvd and the one near USF and Bush Gardens in Tampa especially.

Good restaurant chains to keep an eye on are Crackerbarrel, Sweet Tomatos, and Soup Plantation.

Tavares, Florida
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for Daytona Beach
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2. Re: Florida help

You did not mention how long you plan to stay in Florida. Flying into Orlando, I would do the Disney thing first, and there are a lot of malls in the Orlando area. Traffic is heavy in Orlando so be prepared. If you want to see the Space Center then go there from Orlando and on to Cocoa beach to get in the beach time you want.

From Cocoa you can take I 95 to Miami and stay there, take in some sights and beach in Miami or surrounding areas. Then drive to Key West stopping along the way to sight see. Leave early and enjoy the drive. It is well worth it and plan to spend at least two days in Key West if not more! Key West is awesome! Be sure to read all suggestions on this forum and do some searches for places to stay. Then you can drive back to Orlando to catch your flight home on the Florida Turnpike. This is not too much detail but may give you an idea where to start. Many other great ideas may be posted. Good luck planning your trip.