You’ve been itching to take a road trip, and there’s no reason you can’t pack up the old RV and take an extended road trip to the sunshine state. Sure, there are national airports in 31 states, but why skip the experience of a great road trip? These Florida travel tips to help you get started.
Remember That You Won’t Be the Only One
First up on our list of Florida travel tips it to remember that this state is a popular vacation destination! The modern domestic tourism industry in the United States is huge, and it supports thousands of jobs. Unsurprisingly, Florida gets a generous share of domestic tourists every year; in fact, the Sunshine State welcomes a crowd of 100 million visitors each year, both domestic and foreign! Vacationers from around the world love to visit there, so be ready to join a crowd of tourists.
That said, don’t be discouraged by the numbers. Floridians are ready to receive all those guests, and many RV campgrounds, hotels, and motels are available. Some of those hotels, such as the ones near Disney World and Miami, can be fantastically luxurious, for those wanting to visit Florida in style.
And it RV-ing is your thing, there’s plenty of room for you, too! Overall, the U.S. is home to 16,000 campgrounds (counting both public and private ones), which means that RV campers like you can roam the nation for a weekend or even a few months at a time. That definitely includes Florida, which has ample room for RVs of all shapes and sizes.
Don’t Skimp on Seafood
Another Florida travel tip, be sure to try the food – especially the seafood! Lunch and dinner in Florida is always a treat for the tastebuds. In restaurants and cafes across the state, tourists can try out the unique flavors of Florida, which often have Caribbean, Spanish, and even African roots. Cuban sandwiches are popular here, as are some Florida stone crab, conch fritters, and even alligator meat. Wash it all down with a margarita or some craft beer to round out your meal. Oh, and for dessert, why not order some key lime pie, the pride of the state’s baking world?
When touring large cities such as Miami, you can visit local kiosks or use a smartphone search for local flavors and cuisines. This state is also home to some upscale Latin American restaurants, which boast authentic Latin cuisine packed with flavor.
You Don’t HAVE to Go to Disney
One of the standouts of Florida’s tourism industry is Disney World, popular among tourists across the globe. Going here can be an unforgettable adventure for the whole family, but don’t feel obliged to visit. Disney World is geared for families, and single adults or older adults visiting Florida might not see the same appeal in it. After all, Florida has a lot to more offer aside from Disney World, from Spanish forts to the Everglades (more on that later).
Still, should you decide to visit Disney World, here are a few Florida travel tips to consider. First of all, there are two main options for parking and lodging. Although more expensive, it may be convenient to book hotel rooms on the premises and avoid the hassle of dealing with traffic. Many of those hotels are themed, and very popular. Therefore, it’s a good idea to book some rooms well ahead of time.
For those looking to save money, consider booking one of the hotels further from Disney World, then drive there and find a parking spot. Hotels such as the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Hotel is a fine choice, and they even offer shuttle service to Disney World.
Be Prepared for Changing Weather
Another Florida travel tip: be prepared to experience Mother Nature during your stay in Florida. There’s a reason Florida is known as the “Sunshine State”. Wear sunscreen! But at the same time, don’t be fooled by the nickname. While Florida is indeed warm and sunny most of the time, it is capable of some weather extremes that may take some people by surprise. Be ready, and look up hurricane season and check for any storm warnings.
Hurricanes aside, Florida is also capable of chilly, damp winds from the large bodies of water surrounding it, so a raincoat or jacket is a must (especially in winter). This state also gets many thunderstorms, and afternoon rain is typical. Pack an umbrella for that, along with your swimsuit and Hawaiian shirts. Florida’s weather is diverse, so your wardrobe should be, too.
Drive Safely and Respect Other Vehicles
Florida’s roads should be taken seriously. Many other vacationers will be out on the roads, not to mention state residents and truck drivers. Traffic near Miami can be especially dense.
Also, watch out for semi-trucks. Florida’s transportation system involves a lot of reefer trucks, which are refrigerated trucks that carry cold items within their insulated walls. The largest reefer trucks may be up to 53 feet long 13 and a half feet tall and weigh as much as 44,000 pounds. Drive cautiously around them since they make extremely broad turns and have enormous blind spots. Also, remember that these trucks need a long time to come to a complete stop when they brake. Be respectful of these trucks and your driving experience should be just fine.
Be Prepared to Drive Long Distances
Our next Florida travel tip – be prepared to drive long distances. Florida is a large peninsula, and going from the panhandle region to Miami takes many hours. Some of Florida’s best attractions may be several hours apart from each other. Therefore, you’ll want to pick and choose where to visit unless you have a lot of time to dedicate to driving. Plan ahead and consult some maps well before arriving.
A Florida travel tip for those planning a vacation with a limited time frame, consider limiting your stay to one specific city and the surrounding neighborhoods. But if you’re lucky enough to have the time to spend at least a month in Florida, you can embark on a Florida road trip and see nearly everything the state has to offer.
Don’t Forget to Stop and Enjoy the View!
Now for the number one reason that people love to visit Florida: the view! Florida is absolutely teeming with natural environments and wildlife that you won’t see anywhere else. One famous example is the Everglades, a wetlands national reserve that spans in an incredible 1.5 million acres.
The Florida Everglades are home to many plants and animals, including species such as the Florida crocodile, manatee, and the Florida panther. Try riding a bicycle, boat, or kayak to explore the depths of the wild. Just be prepared to come face to face with some massive reptiles! For a panoramic view, try out the 65-foot-tall observation tower in Shark Valley or go hiking along the 99-mile Wilderness Waterway or the Anhinga Trail.
Florida is also home to some unique history. Spanish settlements here predate even English colonies such as Jamestown! History buffs will enjoy a visit to Castillo de San Marcos. Built in the 15th-Century Italian fortress style, the fortress saw battle in the days of Spanish colonization. In fact, this is the oldest masonry fortress in the United States, and it’s free for guests to explore.
A more recent historical monument is the Dry Tortugas National Park, located on an island 70 miles off the coast of Key West. Made up of seven small islands, the Dry Tortugas National Park is also home to Fort Jefferson. Built between 1846 and 1875 to defend the nation’s entry to the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Jefferson is the largest masonry fortress in the United States! Guests may visit this remarkable fortress by private boat, seaplane, or ferry.
Are You Ready to Get Started?
With so much to offer, Florida is the perfect place for an extended road trip. It’s no wonder that so many people spend their winters there. Take these Florida travel tips to heart, and you’ll have a vacation you won’t soon forget! So where will you begin your Florida adventure?