Winter is coming, and I don’t know about you, but I get tired of snow and layering clothes pretty quickly. That’s why I’m writing about the ultimate winter vacation destination. Florida!
You know sunshine, beaches, and amusement parks. While friends and family here in the Big Apple are ‘enjoying’ temperatures in the 30’s you can be working on a tan with temperatures in the 70’s. No need to worry about the crazy locals either, for most of them that’s too cold for swimming. There’s never a better year to visit than this one, after all pretty soon global warmings going to sink the whole place.
The biggest problem with traveling to Florida is deciding what you actually want to do, there are so many tourist attractions in Florida that a lot people let a fear of missing out ruin the whole experience. They try to go to as many Orlando Amusement Parks as they can, or they jump from beach to beach without ever really slowing down enough to smell the dune flowers.
So I’m going to give you a bit of a rundown on what to consider when faced with the big decisions of a visit to The Sunshine State.
Atlantic, or Gulf Beaches?
Yes there is a difference, while the Gulf Coast has beautiful white sand and picturesque sunsets, the Atlantic hosts the more lively beaches with better waves for surfing, and with a lot more events. On the other hand the number of shark attacks on the Atlantic coast is astronomically higher than those on the Gulf Coast, New Smyrna Beach is the shark attack capital of the world! So I guess the question really boils down to what you like to do on the beach.
If you prefer relaxing in the sun, maybe sipping on a few margaritas or Corona’s, then go for places like Sanibel Island, or Clearwater Beach. If you prefer the film Jaws, NASCAR, walking a few miles to find a place to put your beach towels, or surfing then places like Daytona Beach, Miami Beach, and Cocoa Beach are where you want to be.
Disney or other Parks?
Sadly the truth is for quite a few of you this isn’t a question. If you have any children you will probably find yourself at Disney World whether you ever wanted to go or not. However for anyone who’s on the fence there are a few things you should know before you choose to visit the happiest place on earth. The first of these things is that if you want the complete Disney experience you need to spend a day at each park, if you’re really in to Disney then trying to cram two or more parks into one day is just going to lead to you having to decide what you’re willing to skip out on. If you aren’t really that in to the fact that it is Disney, only go to the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, and only with a fast pass.
In reality the Disney parks rely pretty heavily on their brand, and they really suffer from having to spread out the interesting rides out among all four of the parks. Leading to parks like Epcot being by far the least interesting of the four. Furthermore being some of the most famous amusement parks in the planet they’re guaranteed to be packed no matter when you go, and that means a lot of the rides won’t be worth the 30-45 minute lines you will have to stand in to get to them. That isn’t to say that there aren’t fun things to do at Disney, but for every Tower of Terror and Splash Mountain there are four or five Stitch’s Great Escapes and It’s a Small Worlds.
Even then if you really want to ride Rollercoasters places like Busch Gardens or The Islands of Adventure will have not only more to choose from, but they will all be in the same park so you don’t kill your feet trying to get to them all. As for our waterpark fans nothing beats Wet n’ Wild or SeaWorld.
There is a reason why Florida’s number one industry is tourism. Even if you’re some kind of savage who doesn’t like beaches or amusement parks, Florida offers some of the most unique attractions on the planet. With the Everglades being the most obvious of these wonders, just an hour south of Miami’s concrete jungle lies a kind of wilderness so unique it is considered one of the biological wonders of the world. The Everglades are the third largest national park in the contiguous United States, and nine different ecosystems. If you plan on visiting Key West, you’ll get the surreal experience of driving across the Overseas Highway, with bridges reaching up to seven miles in length you might even appreciate some traffic letting you slow down to take in the view. Not to mention the Kennedy Space Center, where humanity took its first steps into the stars, not to mention is one of the only places on the planet where you can still watch a rocket take off. Then there’s St. Augustine, the oldest city in America, which was believed to be the site of the Fountain of Youth, and home to the magnificent Castillo De San Marco.
By Connor Sherman