Now that it seems as though travel restrictions are being lifted, many families are finally planning that Florida holiday to cross off some of the bucket list ideas they’ve been putting off since the summer of 2020 when the entire world was in lockdown mode. Sadly, the summer of 2021 wasn’t much better but this summer promises to be one for safe travel if Omicron keeps its cousins at home! With that said, you may be wondering why Central Florida? There are several good reasons for recommending the central part of the state as your travel destination.
In a state where tourism is the number one industry, it just makes sense to stay centrally located. From any point within the centre of the state it is possible to reach any destination north or south in just half a day, or less, by car. Depending on your length of stay, it is possible to do and see more if you stay in the hub of activity. However, there is also so much to do and see in Central Florida that you might not venture far to the north or south because your days, and nights, will be filled with so many things to do right there.
Amazing Places to Stay
Even though literally every trendy hotel is located in close proximity to the state’s many theme parks and major attractions, it is suggested that you book a self-catering villa. There are several reasons for this as well. While you’ve come to the Sunshine State to take the kids to the theme parks and spend time on the amazing beaches on either coast, there is only so much time you can comfortably spend among the crowds that have come for the very same reasons you have. Renting a private villa makes the most sense.
Florida villas will give you a place to chill between attractions without someone running noisily past your hotel room door while you are trying to rest up before hitting your next attraction. It is also less expensive when you can eat at least two meals at ‘home’ every day and only eat at trendy restaurants as part of your planned itinerary. In fact, Ocean Florida has great Florida villa deals to save you even more money you can spend on entertainment while you are there. Ocean Florida is a UK based independent Florida holiday company that provides an excellent array of services besides helping you book a holiday villa. If you want all the comforts of a home away from home and often a private swimming pool, book a villa through Ocean Florida.
Theme Parks and Major Attractions
There once was a time when Disney World was the major attraction in Central Florida but since then so many amazing attractions have grown up around it that you could stay months without getting to truly experience them all. You can rent a scooter at Walt Disney World to be able to get around the whole theme park. Just to give you an idea of how many theme parks and major attractions are right there in the centre of the state, check this out:
- Disney World (Magic Kingdom Theme Park)
- Epcot Center
- Universal Studios Florida Theme Park
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- SeaWorld Orlando
- Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay
- Universal’s Island of Adventure
- Kennedy Space Center
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
And those are just ‘some’ of the main attractions in the region. Many tourists find the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction to be a rather comical contradiction in terms. It is the only ‘mountain’ you will see in the state as nothing is really located above sea level. There are no mountains in Florida!
When You Want a Day Away From ‘Home’
From the central part of the state where your villa is located, it’s only a few hours’ drive to the northern or southernmost parts of the state. Travelling southbound you will find that Miami has several points of interest you may want to explore.
Just like tourists who visit California look for places to go where they might encounter a celeb out for a bit of dining or shopping, you will find that in South Beach. This is where you can spot South Beach regulars such as:
- Lindsay Lohan
- Paris Hilton
- U2 (Sonny Bono et al)
- Gloria Estefan
- Jimmy Buffet
Even Beyonce and Jay Z have been spotted in South Beach alongside a huge number of celebs who call Florida home. You may recall that Johnny Depp got his start as a performer in Broward County, which lies just to the north of Miami Dade, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to see Johnny reminiscing in the land of his celebrity roots.
South Florida’s Main Attractions
While you are down in that part of the state, you might want to check out a few of the attractions there. What would a trip to Florida be without visiting Key West where so many movies were shot it would be impossible to list them all? Don’t forget Key West was home to one of America’s all-time favourite authors, Ernest Hemingway. This is where you will find the Hemingway Home and Museum and one thing you will learn there is his love for cats. Don’t be surprised to see their great, great, great, great (times many generations) feline grandchildren roaming about!
Then there is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which was the home of James Deering in the early 19th century. You may recognise the name as one associated with the Deering Harvester line of agricultural machinery, some of which was marketed throughout Europe. This particular attraction has a history that is beyond interesting in how much of the home was built with Cuban limestone. If you take a guided tour of the grounds, you will hear just how young James saw this as place to promote local botanicals and thus Vizcaya Gardens was born. You could say that Deering was an early environmentalist, giving new understanding to the field.
Don’t forget about Fort Lauderdale, which gained a claim to fame as a place where students came from around the world to celebrate Spring Break. The tradition is still practiced today. If you are visiting Florida during the spring, this is one event you really shouldn’t miss out on, even if the days of frolicking on the beach have long since passed. You may remember watching the classic movie from the early 1960s, Where the Boys Are, starring Connie Francis and bathing beauty Yvette Mimieux. The movie is still shown on streaming media and is one that has rightfully earned a place in the history of cultural cinematography of the day. You can see the location where it was shot here some 60 years later.
It’s Time to Travel North!
With so much to see and do in South and Central Florida you shouldn’t forget that North Florida is also just a short drive from your villa in the centre part of the state. However, the attractions in the northern part of the state are not as glitzy as you will find to the south. The main attractions to the north include:
- Henderson Beach State Park – Destin
- The Ancient Sinkhole at Devil’s Millhopper – Gainesville
- Jacksonville Zoo – Jacksonville
- Florida Museum of Natural History, Butterfly Rainforest – Gainesville
There are a couple of things of special interest here. First you will see that two of the main attractions in North Florida are located in Gainesville. It is interesting to note that Gainesville is a college town so many of the restaurants and bars cater to a college age crowd. Amazingly, the two attractions of interest in Gainesville are outdoors. Of the two, the Butterfly Rainforest gets more visitors and is one of the family-friendliest attractions in the state.
If you want to spend a day in the sun without all the teeming crowds of the central and southern parts of the state, Henderson Beach State Park would make a great place to visit. However, there is another major attraction that mum might enjoy even more and that would be all the outlets in Destin. It’s a place to shop at bargain basement prices but for high-quality designer goods. Are you looking for a few trinkets like that designer bag you’ve had your eyes on? Silver Sands Premium Outlets in Destin has, at last count, 94 stores to shop so it might be all-out warfare deciding between time at the park and time at the shops!
It’s Time to Say Farewell
Now you can probably see why it makes perfect sense to book a villa in Central Florida if you are going to have a long and lovely holiday Stateside. You’ve been wanting to plan this for two+ years and now that you’ve decided that 2022 is here, so you’ll wait no longer. Even with covid still lurking somewhere in the background, you needn’t worry too awfully much because the suggested place mentioned above to find your Florida villa is also the place to learn what you need to know during the ‘post covid’ timeline. It may be time to bid farewell for this year, but we can wager that you will be back in the very near future to soak up a bit more of the world-famous rays only in the Sunshine State.