National Tourism Foundation

Florida Tourism

Being a coastal area, regular rainfall is common in Florida. Torrential daytime rains are a comparatively common occurrence in the summer months.

English is the official language of Florida; but Spanish is widely spoken throughout the state. In some parts of South Florida, Spanish is the everyday preferred language. The people of the Florida Panhandle, North Florida, and The Everglades and Lake Okeechobee region will usually speak in a southern accent.

Get in
Florida has airports in all its major cities. The main tourist destinations like Orlando and Miami, plenty of flights will be available, especially through Atlanta. The three main interstate highways are I-95, I-75, and I-10 are available for drive in from the Northeast, Midwest, and West/Southwest respectively.

Get around
Florida's major interstate highways include I-95, which runs north to south along the east coast, I-10, from Jacksonville in the east across the panhandle to the west, and I-75, which enters the state from Georgia and runs south through Tampa and along the Gulf coast. U.S. Highway 1 is a historic and scenic highway, originating in Key West and continues up the east coast.

One of the best family attraction sites in Florida and in the world is Disney World.

The regions of Florida
Florida can be divided into several distinct geographical regions with differing attractive features. These are the Eastern Coast of Florida, the Western Coast, Central Florida, the Panhandle and the Southern Tip with the Keys.

The Eastern Coast of Florida has very nice beaches with good surf on the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the beaches, especially near Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona and Jacksonville, tend do be commercialized for tourism. They offer high-rise hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and entertainment venues. The beaches near Saint Augustine and Melborne are a bit less commercial and tend to attract more family vacationers.

The Western Coast of Florida is very different than the Atlantic Coast. The beaches on the Gulf of Mexico tend to be shallower, with less surf and with warmer waters. While in Clearwater, during the summer months, the coastline is infamous for its daily thunderstorm activity with intense lightning, and above all the beautiful sunsets.

Central Florida is the most popular destination for tourists around the globe. Home of Disney World, the largest amusement park on earth is Located just south of Orlando in central Florida. It is surrounded by many other amusements such as Universal Studios, Sea World and other attractions, and they make up the largest family amusement area on planet. Central Florida is also known for its agricultural lands to produce oranges, citrus fruits, sugar cane, vegetables and beef.

The southern tip of Florida mostly consists of tropical jungle and swamplands. Everglades National Park covers nearly the entire tip of the peninsula southward from Miami and Naples. It contains a vast ocean of wet grasslands scatter red by islands of tropical forest and stretches of open waters. It is infested with hordes of insects, wild birds, alligators, snakes and other wildlife.

A one hundred mile long archipelago of islands, the Florida Keys stretches southwestward from the tip of the peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico. A 90-mile long series of bridges and causeways connects these islands down to the town of Key West on its southern most tip.

The Florida Panhandle is the narrow strip of land that extends westward from the top of the peninsula. Its Gulf Coast beaches bound it on the north by the state of Alabama and on the south. This is the least commercialized and tourist oriented part of Florida. It has beautiful shallow white sand beaches with warm waters. This part of Florida draws many permanent or seasonal residents and offers more rental cottages than hotels. Panama City is the lone tourist oriented city on the panhandle famous for its "Spring Break" festivities every March.

A retirement home
Florida is a favorite retirement location for many senior citizens of the US. Some of them maintain summer homes in the northern states near their children and grandchildren, but annually migrate to Florida for the winter months. The Florida natives call them "the Snow Birds".

A Winter Vacation spot
Florida is the favorite winter vacation retreat for millions of Americans from the freezing northern states, Canadian provinces and other foreign places.

Florida attractions
The most popular attraction in Florida is the huge variety of family entertainment activities centered on Disney World near Orlando. This is the number one vacation destination for families in USA. The beautiful sandy beaches and the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are the second most popular attraction. Golf, tennis, sports fishing and other outdoors activities are also very popular especially during the winter month.

Daytona Beach on the north Atlantic Coast and Panama City on the coast along the panhandle are the most popular destinations for the "Spring Break" festivities every March.