Florida in October
October is the tail end of hurricane season in Florida, but it's also one of the best times to take advantage of warm weather, (slightly) cheaper prices and fewer crowds. And don't worry - even though a hurricane would most definitely scupper your holiday plans, your actual chances of experiencing one are small.
In a nutshell
- Will suit: all ages and those on a budget
- Flying time: about 10 hours
- Time difference: GMT-5, so expect jet lag for the first couple of days
- Average temperature: 23°C
- Tourist information: VisitOrlando.com and VisitStPeteClearwater.com
How to get there
- All the big tour operators offer holidays in Florida and all the big airlines, including British Airways, fly from both London and Manchester.
Where to stay
- A twin-centre holiday offers the chance to enjoy some theme park craziness, with the opportunity to explore a different side of the State. The St Petersburg/Clearwater region, an hour and a half drive from Orlando, boasts gorgeous beaches, an average of 361 days of sunshine and plenty of cultural activities to complement your theme park stay.
- British Airways offers a stay at the Renaissance in Orlando coupled with a stay in the Sheraton in Clearwater, including all flights and car hire.
What to do
Recommended for little ones are Walt Disney World and Animal Kingdom, with the larger ride-based attractions getting the thumbs-up for teens.
Take advantage of holiday packages
There are some fantastic packages available combining hotels with entry to various attractions, eg the Discovery Cove Ultimate Package (from £160pp), which gives you a one-day reservation at Discovery Cove, dolphin swim, meals, snacks and drinks, plus 14-day unlimited entry to other parks including Busch Gardens and Aquatica.
Over in Clearwater/St Petersburg
Spend a day relaxing on the beach, then board the trolley car and head to Pier 60 to enjoy the lovely sunset, or visit the Pirate Cruise. If you're hungry, tuck into some of Florida's famous seafood at Crabby Bill's, and if art's your bag, visit the Dali Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dali outside of Spain.
- Flights can work out cheaper if you fly into Tampa and spend a few days in Clearwater first.
- In Orlando, check which 'group' your hotel belongs to for more benefits, such as early entry passes, discounts on food and merchandise, and transport to the parks.
- Remember to go armed with snacks. Food and drink within the theme parks can soon add up and you will be there all day.
What Mumsnetters say about holidays in Florida
- If you stay on International Drive, rather than get the shuttles provided by the hotels, which are at set times, you can use the Lynx bus for £4 each and children ride free. It makes travelling to and from parks more flexible. The only other thing is on all buses in Florida, pushchairs must be folded and babies carried. They think it's a health and safety risk to have an open pushchair on a bus. noisytoys
- Last time we saved a fortune by buying little Disney gifts here and taking them with us, so we didn't need to spend much in the gift shops and the children still got lots of little treats through the holiday. PaintingTheFlowersRed
- What we are going again for the third time is the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. I think it may be similar to Buffalo Bill but not sure as not been to Paris, but it's a Wild West Disney dinner show. It's a bit cheesy, but my kids have never laughed so much, ever, and we laughed so much because they were. Just a brilliant family night. It's become our last-night-at-Disney tradition. Ohsiena
- Don't commit yourself to doing something all day every day, especially if your children are quite young. It's really easy to set out for one of the parks at 9am and still find yourselves there at 10pm watching the parades. Try to mix in a busy all-out day with a quieter day, then an evening excursion. springlamb