An Insider Guide to Florida
Florida is the Sunshine State, famous for its beautiful beaches, world-famous theme parks and bustling cities, but don't forget it's also home to some of the best shopping and nightlife in the world.
The Main Attractions
The first permanent European settlement in the United States was established at St. Augustine in Florida in 1565. The state has come a long way since then. The South Beach of Miami alone is world famous, immortalised in more blockbuster films than you can count on two hands and home to that famous Art Deco architecture that runs alongside the sand and turquoise waters. It almost never rains in Miami, and at the heart of the city are its people. There’s a Latin swagger, but in truth, Miami is an international melting pot and that’s shaped the art and culture. To the west, you can drive to the Everglades, a 1.5-million-acre wetlands preserve great for hiking, kayaking or wildlife spotting, and further south, you can take the astounding drive to Key West, the southernmost city in the United States. It’s accessible via the Overseas Highway, a 113-mile highway taking the US 1 through Florida Keys, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic on the other. Fans of literature will lap up the Ernest Hemingway history on Key West, while anyone will appreciate the climate. Key West is only 90 miles from Cuba. That’s one, but far from the only side to Florida. Drive three hours north and you’ll come to Orlando, the theme park capital of the world, home to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld and more. Perhaps the theme park infrastructure was inspired by the nearby innovation at Kennedy Space Centre and Cape Canaveral, an hour’s drive away and the launchpad for so many iconic US space missions - including that of Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 back in 1969. On the west coast of Florida is Tampa, mixing metropolitan and beach life, while the east-coast Jacksonville and the landlocked state capital of Tallahassee are further north. Florida is a state where the sun is always shining, the beaches are always bustling, and you’re very rarely far away from both a good ocean view and a good bar from which to watch it.