Discover the best of Florida
There’s more to Florida Holidays than Mickey Mouse (although if you’ve got kids it would be cruel not to visit Disneyworld!). Today we are going to explore the other resorts of Florida and run down the top 5 things to do in Florida outside of the theme parks. So, no Disney, no Universal Studios, no Sea World and not even Busch Gardens, absolutely NO THEME PARKS.
So if you’ve been to Florida before, and think you know it, think again. Florida has a thriving foodie scene in Tampa, a cultural and artistic hub in Sarasota and let’s not forget one of the world’s most exciting and ever-changing cities; Miami. So, buckle up, hold on tight, and prepare not to have the ride of your life, but rather be blown away by the fabulosity that is Florida.
Tampa is surprisingly one of the US’s most interesting cities from a historical perspective. Known for its Cuban immigrants and cigar production in the previous century, Tampa has almost a western feel about it down in Ybor City. The city centre of Tampa is ultra-modern and clean with skyscrapers and coffee houses on every corner like most big US cities, but the old town, between downtown and Ybor City and connected by the historical tram, is where most tourists hang out.
Ybor City is one of two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. Vicente Martinez founded Ybor City in 1886. It was the first industrial town in the state of Florida. A good place to start your tour of Tampa is at the historical foundation in Ybor City and costs four bucks. Here you’ll find the full story of Ybor’s beginnings, the cigar trade, and step foot in a historic casita that the first Cuban immigrants to Florida lived in.
The Florida aquarium, the Henry B Plant museum and the Museum of Science and Industry (as well as Busch Gardens!) are here, as is the Scientology Chapter of Tampa Bay which welcomes tourist visits. Tampa is well worth a visit and you could easily spend a full week in the city to get the most from your experience.
Sarasota is known for its miles of unspoilt beaches, peaky property prices and chi chi boulevards and shopping districts, it’s perhaps Florida’s most up-market city. Known as the city that was the inspiration for the fictional Gulfhaven in Cougar Town, the green spaces, pristine golf courses and white-sandy beaches and relaxed lifestyle will all feel familiar to fans of the show.
The main attraction of Sarasota has to be Siesta Key beach which was ranked the #1 Beach in the U.S. in 2020 by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards™. It’s easy to feel why with this special sand between your toes. The quartz-crystal powdery sand and the soft waves make this an ideal place to base a family holiday. There are also lots of bars and restaurants around and regular facilities for beach goers making this an easy place to spend the day.
There’s more to Sarasota than just the beach though with the Jungle Gardens, the John and Mable Ringling museum of art and the Classic Car museum a particular favourite for the dads. If you’re looking for a beach holiday with some elegant city break touches (like the amazing Opera House for example) we highly recommend spending a week in Sarasota.
We’ve saved the best for last and it’s not even the state capital but one of the most famous cities in the USA; Miami. This sprawling, diverse and ever changing city truly has it all, some say NYC is the beating heart of the US but we think there’s a strong case to say that it’s actually Miami that best represents America.
Everyone is here, the young Latino population, the east coast retirees, the ex-pats of the world and every nation under the sun must be represented by the restaurant scene alone. It’s huge and it’s enchanting and there’s so much to do here, this is our favourite city in Florida. Walking through the individual districts of Miami are the best way to explore the city day by day. Spend a day in Little Havana enjoying the architecture, history and cuisine, another in Coral Gables for shopping, another on Collins for the beach and entertainment, the list of districts goes on and so does their attractions – Miami is immense.
Sports fans are spoilt for choice with the Miami Heat, Dolphins and Marlins, amazing gyms both inside and on the beach, top golf courses and the general great year round weather making this a top holiday choice for the outdoors/sporty type. Those visitors who are into art will love it here too with the famous Vizcaya museum and gardens, Perez art museum and The Bass providing hours of entertainment. Miami has something for everyone, young and old, from the beach bum who loves a cocktail and burger to the fitness fanatic who lives on green juice. Go; you’ll love it.
If you’re interested to spend a couple of weeks discovering the best of Florida then call the Teletextperts for the best itinerary and prices.