Florida: tips for your vacation in the sunshine state

Do you fancy the sunny side of life? Then start browsing our Florida vacation guide right away. After all, the southernmost state of the USA is not called the "Sunshine State" for nothing. Whereby the name does not only stand for 300 days of sunshine on white sandy beaches: Florida also means lifestyle, theme parks, water sports and hot parties with cool people.

In our article about the legendary Sunshine State we have compiled all the interesting facts about your vacation in Florida. Here you can find out about the most interesting sights, exciting round trips through Florida and where the hotspots for various sports are located. In addition, there are tips for beaches in Florida, amusement parks and car rental in the U.S. Florida is twice as big as the whole of Austria – without a vehicle you are quite limited there. Of course you can also decide in advance for a certain destination and spend your vacation there. Further down you will find some decision support.

Where is Florida located and what can you expect?

The southernmost state in the U.S. stretches across about 170.000 km² and is located in the southeast of America. It borders Georgia and Alabama in the north – otherwise it is framed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Because of this top location, you can easily swim in the Atlantic Ocean even in winter. The water there is even warmer than on the Caribbean side of Florida.

Beach in Fort Lauderdale

The state consists of a peninsula, the offshore islands Florida Keys and a piece of mainland – the Panhandle. The capital of Florida is located in the Panhandle: Tallahassee. The former Indian settlement has only just under 200.000 inhabitants. No wonder Miami is often mistaken for the capital of Florida. The cities of Jacksonville and Saint Augustine are also located in the north of Florida. The atmosphere here is distinctly Southern, while the Gold Coast and Florida Keys are better known for their Caribbean feel. Central Florida is especially interesting for families with children. You will hardly believe it: In the area around Orlando there are about 100 amusement parks.

In southwest Florida, the relaxed Sun Coast awaits you with cities such as Naples, Sarasota and Fort Myers. If you are looking for a place to chill out, you will find your niche here. But you probably want to go to Florida to explore the Gold Coast in the Southeast. The names of the cities here speak for themselves: hip Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale with its party mile in the Riverfront District or West Palm Beach with all its celebrities. On the east coast you will find the typical Florida as you know it from the media.

In the south of Florida lies a paradise for adventurers and nature lovers: the Florida Keys and the endless Everglades. On 0.6 million hectares, the Everglades are a gigantic refuge for panthers, crocodiles, sea otters and many other animal species. You don't like crocodiles? Then take a trip to the Caribbean beaches of the Florida Keys instead. The islands are connected by 42 bridges and you can easily reach them by car.

Best time to travel in Florida

The Sunshine State has different climate zones. Roughly, you can divide Florida into two climatic regions: The north around Tallahassee and Central Florida has a temperate climate. In the south – for example in Miami or on the Florida Keys – the climate is tropical and hot. The summers in Florida are endless long and really hot. In the months of June, July and August you can expect daytime temperatures of 30 to 35 ° C. Tropical thunderstorms can occur throughout the summer. These are heavy rain showers, which usually pass quickly. However, the humidity rises sharply as a result. On average it is 70 % in summer.

Map USA, vacation regions states

In winter, the weather in Florida is moderately warm and it rarely rains. The average daily temperature throughout the winter is around 17°C. In the Panhandle in the north there can be occasional snowfalls, everywhere else you only need to pack warm clothes for the evening. Important: The main season for hurricanes in Florida lasts from mid-August to the end of September. There is a certain risk of tropical cyclones in the months from June to November, but the risk is much lower. In addition, it takes a long time for a hurricane to form over the sea. Florida has a sophisticated early warning system and is well prepared for possible hurricanes.

Conclusion: The best time to travel to South Florida is from the end of November to the beginning of June. During this time there are only 3 to 6 rainy days per month. In November and December the average daily maximum temperature is 24°C and the sea water is still a pleasant 23°C warm. January and February offer water temperatures of around 22°C and air temperatures of 22°C. In March and April the temperatures climb again up to a maximum of 26°C – only the sea is still 22°C like at the beginning of the year. In May it's really summer: With 25°C water temperatures, 10 hours of sunshine, 5 rainy days and an average daily high temperature of 30°C you will experience the best sides of the tropical summer. Here is an overview of all climate zones of Florida:

  • Florida Keys, Miami and the rest of South Florida: November to end of May
  • Orlando, Central Florida: September, October, March, April
  • Jacksonville, Tallahassee, North Florida: March, April, May, October, November

Top 10 Highlights in Florida – Sights and Excursions

Actually, it is almost impossible to limit the most beautiful places in Florida to only 10. But we tried it anyway – here are our favorite places in Florida:

1) Miami Beach

Maybe you think Miami Beach is just a sandy beach near Miami. It is a real city with vacation homes, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs – and the hippest beach in the USA. We love the area around Ocean Drive and the Art Deco District with its lollypop houses. In the evening, half of Miami meets here: muscle-bound surfers, stylish models, students, movie stars and street artists. After midnight you can go to the discos on Washington Avenue and start the next day with a swim in the ocean.

Beach in Miami Beach

2) Everglades National Park

A stark contrast to Miami Beach: The lonely sedge areas of the endless Everglades are also called "river of grass" by the Indians. The mangrove forests are home to countless rare species of animals. You can discover most of the swamp dwellers on a guided tour by kayak. There are also excursions by propeller boat – but of course the animals feel disturbed by the noise of the engines. If you feel like it, you can book day trips from Miami to the national park.

Everglades National Park Boat

3) Amelia Island

Until recently, Amelia Island was an insider's tip for those seeking peace and quiet. The 20 km long island near the border to Georgia is hardly known and its nature is therefore still almost untouched. In Fernandina Beach you can see Victorian buildings, which are listed as historic monuments today. And at the southern or northern tip of the island you can hike through shady forests – a real rarity in Florida.

4) Clearwater Beach

Tampa is home to the University of South Florida. Clearwater Beach is so to speak the house beach of the university. During the day you can go fishing, boating and paragliding on the beach. At sunset you can stroll along the long pier between magicians, artists and bands – an absolute hotspot for exciting vacation photos. By the way, in 2013 Clearwater Beach was named the best beach town of the year by USA Today.

Clearwater Beach in Florida

5) Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

If you want to take some culture with you on your discovery tour through Florida, we recommend a visit to the Dali Museum in St. Louis. Petersburg. The city is only a stone's throw away from Clearwater Beach. The futuristic building alone is worth seeing. In the museum itself you will get a complete overview of the artistic development of Salvador Dali. Its idiosyncratic creations can inspire even culture muffle.

More info and travel tips for Clearwater: We take you to the most beautiful beaches and to the most popular sights and excursions.

6) Sanibel Island

Do you dare to get up before sunrise on vacation? Then on to Sanibel Island near Fort Myers! You can't imagine how many shells wash up there every day. You'll find the most beautiful ones at sunrise – there's quite a bit of competition among the beachgoers. But Sanibel Island is also unique for another reason: here billboards are forbidden and cars are not allowed to drive faster than 30 km/h. There are no street lights to keep the newly hatched sea turtle babies from getting lost. And on top of that, houses are only allowed to be built up to the height of the palm trees. Perfect for relaxing, or?

Sunset Sanibel Island

7) Fort Myers Beach

The endless sandy beach of Fort Myers on the Gulf of Mexico can be reached from Miami in about 2.5 hours. If you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Miami, Fort Myers is the place for you. Watch wild dolphins and manatees on a boat tour, enjoy a long beach hike and taste fresh seafood in the evening. If you're in the mood for culture, visit the Edison& Museum Ford Winter Estates and those who just want to relax can dream away with a cool cocktail under palm trees.

8) Naples

In Miami you are surrounded by glamour, but in Naples you will experience real luxury. The city on the Gulf of Mexico is pretty much the richest in Florida. If you've always wanted to pose in front of a Rolls or Lamborghini, take a trip to Naples. Here you can see with your own eyes what is meant by a luxurious American villa and what clothes the American upper class prefers when strolling along the promenade. You won't want to stop with the photo shooting.

The most beautiful national parks in the USA: We give you helpful tips on the Annual Pass and the most popular national parks

9) St. Augustine

Something else for culture fans: the oldest city in the USA. It is located on the northeast coast and is known for its Spanish colonial buildings. You can also visit the stone Castillo de San Marcos from the 17th century. You can visit the cave in the nineteenth century and enjoy the view over the bay of St. John. Augustine enjoy. If you prefer to bask in the sun, stay at one of the two city beaches. For nature lovers there is the nature reserve Anastasia State Park nearby, where many wild animals live.


10) Kennedy Space Center

Since 2011, the "Spaceport of the USA" is only sporadically used to launch a satellite rocket, but a trip to Cape Canaveral is still worthwhile. In the Rocket Garden you can see the famous Space Shuttle Atlantis and you can even talk to a real astronaut. IMAX movies, exhibits and a tour of the grounds will give you a good idea of the legendary Space Race.

Have you got the wanderlust but you are still missing the right offer?? With us you will find great Florida deals for every region.

Amusement parks in Florida

Children are always a good excuse to visit a theme park. But why shouldn't adults also have fun? With the huge selection of theme parks in Orlando, there's bound to be one or two that interest you. At Wonder Works, it's not just a whole house upside down. You experience there science very closely and with all senses. Harry Potter fans big and small are sure to enjoy a visit to Universal Orlando Resort.

The most famous attraction among the theme parks in Florida is of course Walt Disney World Orlando – almost a must-see for young children. Gatorland is again something for nature lovers: a kind of farm for the natural keeping and breeding of reptiles of all kinds. Much better known is the amusement park Sea World Orlando – an amusement park with attached dolphinarium. If you decide for a trip to Orlando, you will find among the countless offers guaranteed something suitable for you.

With a rental car through Florida

In the USA everything is set up for drivers. From take-aways to bank counters to the streets. In smaller towns there are often no sidewalks and not all streets are illuminated at night. If you want to explore Florida, there is almost no way around a rental car.

A road trip through Florida is simply exciting. You are independent and just stay where you like it. In addition, you will discover all kinds of things that cannot be found in any travel guide. Take a tour on the Overseas Highway across the Florida Keys from island to island to Key West. If you like one of the coral islands, just stay overnight. Enjoy the Caribbean feeling and the fantastic beaches of the Keys. Or take your rental car from Miami through the Everglades to the west coast of Florida. If you like the idea, you can find detailed information about the topic in our article "With the rental car through the USA".

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