Florida’s one of the best destinations for a winter holiday, with gorgeous weather, rolling beaches and plenty of attractions to keep the whole family occupied.
Tampa (2 hours from Orlando)
This bustling city offers up moderate winter temperatures, plenty of family attractions and streetcar-lined roads just waiting to be explored.
If you don’t want to spend your whole holiday off the beaten track, the theme parks of Busch Gardens and Lego Land are situated nearby, and if you’re passing through Orlando for a day you can often find tickets that will combine admission to Busch Gardens with Sea World and Universal Studios.
There are also loads of other smaller attractions for the kids to enjoy including the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo and the Museum of Science and Industry which has an IMAX cinema.
Fort Myers (3 hours from Orlando)
Just a little further south from Tampa is the pretty seaside town of Fort Myers. The most striking thing about visiting here is the intricate network of canals - you’d almost feel like you’re in Venice or Amsterdam if it wasn’t for the weather!
And for a spot of beach relaxation, Sanibel Island is approximately half an hour’s drive away and offers shallow waters, perfect if you’re traveling with small children. The beach is lined with hundreds of shells too - so make sure you bring a bucket to go shell collecting!
Sarasota (2.5 hours from Orlando)
If your kind of family holiday is letting the kids loose on the beach, then Sarasota is perfect. It’s renowned for its pristine gulf-coast beaches, plus it’s considered Florida’s cultural hub, so there’s always one artsy activity or another going on in town.
Spend your days on Siesta Key Beach, which is considered the cleanest and whitest beach in the world.
You can also learn all about Florida’s natural environment in Sarasota at the Historic Spanish Point, which charters over 5,000 years’ worth of natural history.
As you can see Florida is so much more than just Disney and the rest of the Orlando theme parks. They are fun but if you are in Florida try to shave some time off Disney to explore a bit more of this great state.