Florida Vacation Tips
You've saved for your Florida vacation, and you are excited! Now how about some Florida vacation tips to help smooth things along?
You're probably counting the days until you can travel to the Sunshine State. It's like the TV commercial where the family can't sleep because they are too excited and thrilled!
But before you leave home, there are things to watch out for (especially while you are in the planning stages of your vacation). And what about if you are almost ready to leave for your destination - what kind of Florida vacation tips do you need?
Here are some vacation tips to help you have a great time here in Florida!
Best Time of Year to Visit
This is the question a lot of people ask. And it's valid. But the answer is, "it depends", and here's why.
If you like the very best weather (dry, sunny, not humid, warm but not hot), the times of year to visit are generally from October to April. North Florida gets nippy in the winter, while South Florida stays hot up until Thanksgiving.
The trade-off is that the State tourist areas are more crowded during these times of year, and especially from New Year's through Easter.
The other item to consider is that the hotel prices also tend to jump during these nice-weather months.
All else being equal, the best times of year are the Fall and Spring for areas north of Lake Okeechobee. For South Florida and the Keys, Winter is the best weather.
For the best prices in general, look for May through September, with the exception of any holidays.
In your vacation planning, take into account not only major (and even minor) holidays, but local events as well. These events can substantially increase both hotel prices and crowds.
Examples of local events are the lobster mini-season in the Florida Keys, the Firecracker 400 NASCAR race in Daytona Beach and the seafood festival in Cedar Key. I have seen hotel prices literally double (and sometimes almost triple) for some events. Oh, and don't forget Spring Break, if you plan a beach trip.
Florida Travel Tip -- Where to Go?
The Sunshine State has lots of things you can do, from outdoor activities to visiting attractions to shopping and taking in the nightlife. The key to your Florida vacation is that you want to decide before you go, what kinds of activities you'd prefer.
For example you can:
That's just a few ideas of where to go while you're here in Florida.
Florida Weather -- Ever Changing!
First, know what the real weather in Florida is like. I have seen statistics posted that our average temperature is in the mid 80's in the summer, and the mid 70's in the winter. As a Florida native, I can tell you that the averages don’t reflect everyday reality.
In the summer, expect temperatures in the 90's with very high humidity (above 90% isn't unusual). In the winters, daytime temperatures in the 50's are not uncommon in most parts of the Sunshine State.
And please, when you are packing check the weather reports for your Florida vacation spot the night before you leave. Especially in the winter a cold front could come through and turn shorts weather into coat weather!
Where Do You Want to Visit
It takes some time to travel to the different areas of Florida. Most visitors don't realize how far the distances they will have to travel between different areas of the state.
For example, if you want to visit both the Florida Panhandle and also Key West, be aware that you will spend a lot of time on the road. If you have at least two weeks for your vacation, it may be feasible; if you only have one week, you will miss much of Florida's charm.
Your best bet: if you only have a week, stay in one region of Florida (north, central, south, etc.). That way you can have a wide variety of things to do, without stressing over driving a lot of miles.
Traveling With a Laptop
You plan to bring your laptop computer with you. That's great, but what if you need to connect to the internet? Be aware that not all hotels offer high-speed internet access. And the ones that do offer this service tend to have only wireless access.
If surfing the net or answering emails on your Florida vacation is important, call the hotel and verify the connection you can expect. And notice I said call -- there have been several times where I have relied on the online descriptions of the hotels, only to find out that their "high speed" connection was a phone data port in the room, at a blazing 33 k. Ouch!
Where to Stay
Speaking of hotels, you tend to get what you pay for. Many hotels offer prices of $29 or lower per night. You will get a bed and linens, but don’t expect anything more – including extra towels. It is usually worth spending a little more money for another hotel; you'd be surprised at what a nice room a little bit more a night can buy.
Now this isn't written in stone -- sometimes you can find a fantastic deal. One time I found a great room at a beachside Hilton for just $89 a night! But if you like a comfortable, quiet room, definitely plan to pay more than $39 a night.
You can get some ideas for hotel prices on the pages for Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, Key West and Destin. Even if you don't plan on visiting any of these cities in particular, you can get and idea of price ranges in general.
I hope this has given you some good tips and ideas for your Florida vacation and planning. May your great Florida vacation turn out to be all that you hoped for!
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