Florida: What to see in a week

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Sports, beaches, alligators, sun practically all year round. Florida, a populous country in the United States, has always been at the top of the forbidden dreams of all kinds of tourists, from the neophyte to the most inveterate traveler. A lifetime would not be enough to visit it all, but it is possible to imprint in your mind some of the views, the parks, the most indelible memories of bright Florida even in a short stay of a week. How to do? here are the tips for visiting Florida in a week and 10 things to see absolutely!


  1. Orlando and its parks
  2. Miami and its beaches
  3. Everglades National Park, Miami
  4. Kennedy Space Center in Titusville
  5. Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson, Key West
  6. Shopping at Sawgrass Mills and a trip to Fort Lauderdale
  7. Tampa and its museums
  8. Sanibel Island
  9. Tallahassee, the capital
  10. Sarasota, between nature and culture
  11. 7 day itinerary:
  12. How much? Price details
  13. Useful info and necessary documents
  14. When to go: climate and best time
  15. How to reach us
  16. Getting around
  17. User questions and comments

1 - Orlando and its parks

There are three main ones Orlando theme parks, designed for young and old: Walt Disney World (tickets from € 51,00 for an adult - buy online), the theme park Universal orlando dedicated to the cinema (day ticket starting from € 152,00 per person to visit the two macro-areas that make up the attraction - buy online) and SeaWorld Orlando (we recommend the combined ticket for 3 water parks starting from € 83,00 per person - buy online).

How to reach us

  • Walt Disney World: less than half an hour drive from downtown Orlando; the attraction can also be reached via the special Disney buses or by boat, if you ever booked a room in the resorts within the park - Get directions
  • Universal orlando: can be reached in just 20 minutes by car; opting for public transport instead it takes at least 1 hour and 40 minutes to arrive (bus 40 leaves from S. Division Avenue and Carter Street and stops at S. Kirkman Road and Windhover Drive, a 20-minute walk from the attraction) - Get indications
  • SeaWorld Orlando: it can be reached by car in about 25 - 30 minutes and in just over an hour by opting for the buses (the first, n ° 07, departing from S. Orange Avenue and E. Gore Street; continue, then, by the second means from Lynx Central Station, bus n ° 50) - Get directions

Entry times

  • Walt Disney World: they vary according to the period of the year and according to the park visited (the attraction consists, in fact, of 4 macro-areas); the attraction is generally open all year round at the following times: 09:00 - 18:00. The exceptions are: Magic Kingdom, which closes its doors at 24:00 or, in some cases, until 02:00; Epcot and Typhoon Lagoon, open until 19:00; Hollywood Studios, open until 22:00 or 24:00 on holidays.
  • Universal orlando: it is generally open at the following times: 09:00 - 22:00. Exceptions: Universal CityWalk, open until 02:00, and Universal's Volcano Bay, open until 21:00.
  • SeaWorld Orlando: 09: 00 - 21: 30

2 - Miami and its beaches

"Welcome to Miami" sang Will Smith in one of his hits a few years ago, praising the wonders that make Miami one of the most popular Florida destinations in the world. Its beaches are truly among the most beautiful in the USA and not only that and there is no lack of maniacal attention by tourists and natives to nightlife and shopping.
One of the city's must-sees is Ocean Drive, Miami's most popular street: Art Deco-inspired buildings and hotels alternate with the historic home of our late Gianni Versace. In his villa born from the "ashes" of an ancient Spanish conference, the tricolor designer died in 1997.

  • from Orlando by car (about 3 hours and 50 minutes), by public transport (several changes between public transport, estimated time of arrival about 6 hours) or even by plane (direct flight lasting one hour) - Get indications
  • Miami Double Decker Bus & Boat Tour Go Miami Card: All Inclusive Pass

3 - Everglades National Park, Miami

Climb aboard an airboat, a special boat to admire the Everglades National Park in all its splendor, suggestive UNESCO World Heritage Natural Reserve (and placed under the protection of the same body). Within its borders there are some of the natural wonders that best distinguish Florida: evergreen oaks, lemons and wild oranges, numerous species of birds and raptors and, above all, the infamous Florida alligator (guided airboat tours starting from € 25,00 - buy online)

  • from Miami the park is about 40 - 55 minutes by car, depending on traffic - Get directions
  • the park is open every day. From April to October, 09:00 - 17:00; from November to March, 08:00 - 17:00
  • Miami: Everglades Airboat Tour and Gator Park Everglades Show, Seaplane & Alligators 5-Hour Tour

4 - Kennedy Space Center in Titusville

Space travel lovers cannot fail to visit the famous one Kennedy Space Center. Admire the Atlantis shuttle live, let yourself be conquered by the realistic interactive demonstrations, learn new notions and anecdotes about space travel, perhaps having lunch with an astronaut (prices starting from € 46,00 for an adult - buy online).

  • from Orlando it takes about 40 - 45 minutes by car to reach the attraction, and less than 2 and a half hours to get to the Space Center using two buses, the No. 18 from S Orange Avenue and E Gore Street to Lynx Central Station and No. 55, departing from the latter station to the Titusville stop - Get directions
  • Mon-Sun 09am - 00pm
  • From Miami: Kennedy Space Center and Outlet Shopping Kennedy Space Center Admission Ticket

5 - Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson, Key West

Within the wonderful archipelago of Florida Keys stands out the island of Dry Tortugas, which hosts the marvelous park of the same name on its soil. Climb aboard a ferry or seaplane and reach this dream area, dedicating yourself to snorkeling, enjoying a romantic picnic or visiting the historic Fort Jefferson fortress.

  • Dry Tortugas can only be reached by sea or by seaplane. With the latter it will take 40 minutes to reach the destination, while ship or ferry will take about 2 hours - Get directions
  • Fort Jefferson is open daily, from sunrise to sunset
  • 10 dollars (€ 8,54)
  • Key West: Full-Day Shuttle Bus Tour from Miami Key West: Snorkel at 1 Coral Reefs

6 - Shopping at Sawgrass Mills and a trip to Fort Lauderdale

You can't say you've shopped in Florida without visiting Sawgrass Mills, a shopping mecca. It is a gigantic outlet, in which it is easy to get lost (and spend!): a whole day will not be enough for you to explore it from head to toe! Just 25 minutes by car you reach the characteristic Fort Lauderdale and stroll along its streets, admiring the luxurious yachts on the waterfront.

  • from Miami, you can reach Fort Lauderdale by car in 40 minutes or by public transport (bus + trains) in about 1 hour and 40. The shopping center is half an hour by car from Fort Lauderdale, while by train always from the city it can be reached by 8 hour and minutes (depart Fort Lauderdale Amtrak to Fort Lauderdale Airport Tri Rail Station, then walk for a few minutes) - Get directions
  • Sawgrass Mills is open Mon-Sat 10am - 00pm; Sun 21:30 - 11:00
  • Fort Lauderdale Sport Fishing Charter Fort Lauderdale: 4-Hour Deep Sea Fishing Trip Drift Shopping at Sawgrass Mills Mall from Miami Beach

7 - Tampa and its museums

Located on the west coast of Florida, Tampa is famous for its attractions, its excellent quality of life and its nightlife. The town, whose riverside (Riverwalk) is one of the most targeted locations for a walk or to admire parks and monuments not far from it, is full of museums. Among them, we point out the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Henry B. Plant Museum.
The naturalistic attractions in Tampa are equally impressive: among them, the Big Cat Rescue stands out, a non-profit refuge for felines rescued from abuse and rehabilitated. If you want to visit Tampa and its countless attractions, we recommend that you get a City Pass.

  • from Orlando in about 2 hours by car or hours by bus (Amtrak Thruway Connecting Service from Orlando Station to Tampa Union Station) - Get directions

8 - Sanibel Island

The "virgin" side of the State of Florida could be summed up in an exhaustive way by the suggestive island of Sanibel, famous for its shells, its unspoiled nature, its dream views. One of the most important attractions of the area is obviously naturalistic: it is the JN "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, known for its mangroves. The advice is to reach Sanibel at low tide, take part in the countless guided tours to get to know it better and sleep in one of the many luxury hotels on the island, to feel like a king for a night.

  • from Orlando, Sanibel can be reached in about 3 hours and 50 minutes by car or by plane, in just an hour - Get directions
  • JN "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is open every day except Fridays. Hours: Dec-Jan-Feb 07:00 - 17:30; Tue 07:00 - 18:00; Apr and Sep 07:00 - 19:00; May and Aug 07:00 - 19:30; Jun-Jul 07:00 - 20:00; Oct-Nov 07:30 - 18:30
  • 5 dollars for vehicles (€ 4,27), one dollar for pedestrians and cyclists (€ 0,85)

9 - Tallahassee, the capital

Before leaving Florida it is a must to visit Tallahassee, the state capital. Mostly known for its universities, the city is rich in monuments and naturalistic attractions and is animated throughout the year by important festivals and artistic events, such as the Springtime Tallahassee and the Southern Shakespeare Festival.

  • it is about 4 hours from Orlando by car; alternatively, it is possible to reach it by plane in an hour and 20 minutes. By public transport, reaching the capital becomes an epic, made up of 3 buses for about 6 hours of travel - Get directions

10 - Sarasota, between nature and culture

South of Tampa Bay you can find the beautiful Sarasota, a town with crystal clear beaches and unforgettable attractions. The most famous is undoubtedly The Ringling, a real museum complex dedicated to the eccentric art collector John Ringling and his wife Mable. This is their home dedicated above all to circus art (Ringling was an institutional figure in the sector), which often hosts exhibitions and which turns out to be a real dive into another universe (admission starting from € 21,00 per person per adults).
There is no shortage of green attractions, such as botanical parks and the Mote Marine Laboratory, a marine research institute dedicated to the care and preservation of ocean creatures.

  • from Orlando in about 2 hours and 20 by car and almost 5 hours by public transport (3 buses provided). The Ringling is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Orlando, accessible by car; alternatively, it takes 4 and a half hours by public transport to reach it (two changes scheduled). As for the Mote Marine Laboratory it takes about 2 hours and 40 by car from Orlando or just under 6 hours by public transport (and 3 changes later)
  • The Ringling: Mon-Sun 10am - 00pm (the gardens are accessible at the following times: 17am - 00pm. Closed on Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving). The Mote is open every day from 09:30 - 17:30
  • The Ringling: Adults $ 25 (€ 21,35); over 65 years 23 dollars (€ 19,65); children 6 - 17 years 5 dollars (€ 4,27); under 5s enter for free. Mote Marine: Adults $ 22 (€ 18,80); children 3 - 12 years 16 dollars (€ 13,66). Under 2s enter for free

7 day itinerary:

  1. First day: arrival in Orlando and hotel accommodation. City tour
  2. Second day: visit to one of Orlando's theme parks
  3. Third day: move to Tampa, riverside walk
  4. Fourth day: visit to one or more museums in Tampa. Moving to Sarasota
  5. Fifth day: visit of the city of Sarasota. Moving to Miami
  6. Sixth day: Visit to the Miami Everglades National Park
  7. Seventh day: visit to the city of Miami, before leaving

How much? Price details

  • Price per person starting from: € 1.400,00 per person
  • The price includes: return flight, hotel accommodation, travel insurance, car rental
  • The fee does not include: entrances to museums and / or other attractions, restaurants, accessory purchases

Useful info and necessary documents

  • Florida International Airports: Miami, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Southwest Florida, Jacksonville, Orlando, Palm Beach, St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Tampa
  • Entry requirements: ESTA (electronic form for travel authorization, to be done before departure - here info to obtain it), passport, visa for minors (if they are included in the passport of a parent, otherwise an individual passport is required for each minor)
  • When to go: climate and best time

    • Weather: most of Florida enjoys a sub-tropical climate, with mild winters (but subject to temperature changes between day and night really terrible) and summers that are hot and often sultry in an unbearable way. Winter temperatures range between 15 ° C and 25 ° C; the spring between 17 ° C and 30 ° C. In summer, temperatures between 23 ° C and 32 ° C can be recorded; in autumn they go from 22 ° C minimum to 31 ° C maximum
    • Best time: Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Florida, thanks to the mild but sustainable temperatures. Even the winter period could be pleasant, even if chaotic to visit some attractions
    • Period to avoid: from May to September the mercury column could exceed 35 ° C and the climate could be too humid. Furthermore, the risk is to run into a hurricane, a frequent phenomenon in the summer months of the year
    • Recommended duration for a vacation: It takes at least 2 to 3 weeks to fully enjoy Florida

    How to reach us

    • From Milan or Rome: from the capital it is possible to reach Orlando by making an intermediate stopover in Dublin or by stopping and leaving for Florida from Kastrup Airport (Copenhagen). From Milan it is also possible to make a stopover in Dublin. Alternatively, you can make a stopover in Amsterdam (Schiphol Airport).
      Compare flights from Rome or Milan: Flights to Orlando - Flights to Miami
    • From the main European capitals: direct flights to Orlando depart from London (the best airline is Virgin Atlantic); there are also flights with a stopover in Dublin by Aer Lingus. From Paris, again with Aer Lingus, it is possible to reach the city in Florida with a Dublin stopover. Air Canada also guarantees connections between the French capital and Orlando, interspersed with a stopover in Montreal. Orlando can be reached from Berlin via a stopover in Amsterdam, well covered by the KLM airline.
      Compare flights to Florida: Flights to Orlando - Flights to Miami

    Getting around

    The best way to enjoy your stay in Florida, moving independently from city to city, is to rent a vehicle and experience the state of the sun on the road. If you opt for this solution, always carry your license and car rental contract with you for any checks by the police.

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