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Florida but not too much Disney

(17 Posts)
mckenzie Thu 24-Dec-15 14:31:25

We are planning a trip in March and will have 9 nights in Florida. We have been lucky enough to have had two previous trips to Disney so although we might like to spend a day or two there, I'm thinking we should venture further afield.
Please can anyone suggest places to visit, stay etc.
We have flights on hold but haven't confirmed yet as we are now wondering if we should fly into Orlando but home from a different airport maybe.
TIA

Costacoffeeplease Thu 24-Dec-15 14:35:36

I love Fort Lauderdale, and along that coast, and used to fly in and out of Miami

CurlsLDN Thu 24-Dec-15 14:36:13

You could fly down to key West for part of it, it's a v short (and inexpensive) domestic flight. Key West is wonderful, a mix of oldy style American and carribean - key lime pie, cajun shrimp, deep fried conch, pina coladas. At sunset there's a big party on the pier every night, with lots of street theatre acts, including a wonderful French man who adopts and cares for stray cats, and teaches them amazing . It's definitely a sight you won't see elsewhere!
We went to key West for our honeymoon and flew up to Orlando for the last few nights for Disney etc

CurlsLDN Thu 24-Dec-15 14:36:51

*teaches them amazing tricks!

Cassimin Thu 24-Dec-15 14:39:29

I am looking to do Florida with our little one in a couple of years. Older ones didn't like it much so was thinking of doing a couple of days in the parks then a weeks cruise.

CurlsLDN Thu 24-Dec-15 14:41:01

Oh and if you like lobster, it's v cheap and plentiful there. We had lobster benedict with key lime hollandaise for breakfast most days!

mckenzie Thu 24-Dec-15 21:00:44

Thanks for the replies. Curls, would we fly home from Key West or would we have to come back to Orlando do you know?

SenecaFalls Thu 24-Dec-15 21:18:26

I think from Key West, you would have to fly from Miami or Orlando.

I have lived in Florida for many years, and I love Key West, but another lovely part of the state is the Northeast, which includes the barrier island of Amelia. You can also venture north to the barrier islands of Georgia, too. It's all easily doable from Orlando.

And I applaud your desire to see more than just Disney. We have a lot to see and do in Florida and most of it was here long before Disney.

The west coast is also very nice: Captiva and Sanibel in particular.

4yoniD Thu 24-Dec-15 21:23:34

Manatees at Crystal River? Air boat ride? there are lots of those. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park (kind of zoo/rescue place plus manatee underwater viewing). Weeki Wachee springs (with mermaids smile.

mckenzie Fri 25-Dec-15 09:14:23

Thanks very much for the extra replies. We are going to look further when it quietens down tomorrow.
Merry Christmas one and all.

Groovee Fri 25-Dec-15 09:20:47

St Augustine and Sarasota are fab to visit.

VulcanWoman Fri 25-Dec-15 09:23:26

I agree with Key West, even though it's a long drive I'd go by car, 7 mile bridge. The Everglades too.

budgiegirl Sat 26-Dec-15 17:38:52

A couple of years ago we flew into Orlando and out of Miami, which worked well. We did a few days at the theme parks, then spent a few days at Fort Myers, exploring the west coast - Fort Myers beach, Naples, Sanibel etc. we had an evening flight out of Miami, so we drove across the Everglades on the last day, stopping for an airboat ride, then spent the afternoon at South Beach Miami before heading for the airport . It was a fab holiday

mckenzie Sat 26-Dec-15 18:24:25

Budge girl, that sounds ideal, you don't still have all your itinerary do you! I could just copy it verbatim, save me all the effort grin

budgiegirl Sat 26-Dec-15 20:48:33

I know we did four nights in Orlando doing universal and IOA as we had done Disney a couple of times before, and my kids were starting to get into 'bigger' rides. We then did 2 nights near Busch Gardens,stating in Brandon, then drove down to Fort Myers.

We were trying to do it relatively cheaply, and as we have a family of 5, we stayed in an Embassy Suites just off the interstate at Estero. It was a good base to explore the area. We liked Naples the best, the beach and town were lovely.

We stopped at a gator park on the Tamiami Trail on the last day - can't remember the name, but it was about 8 miles out of Miami.

I'm pretty sure we flew with BA, the only problem bring that the flight to Orlando was out of Gatwick, and the return from Miami was into Heathrow. Luckily my kind BIL gave us lifts to and from the airports, so parking wasn't an issue.

Hope that helps! Have a fab holiday. We're going again at Easter, but this time we're doing a cruise from Miami and then going up the east coast via Fort Lauderdale to Orlando . Can't wait !

mumsnit Sat 26-Dec-15 20:57:36

Yy to Sarasota and the west coast. St Armands Circle in Sarasota is worth a visit and there's a brilliant aquarium there which has rescued dolphins and focus on conservation (v different to Seaworld!)

I like the quieter beaches along that west coast stretch of the Florida coast too. Englewood and Boca Grande are lovely!

Have a fab time smile

mckenzie Tue 05-Jan-16 19:03:14

Guys, can I run this by you please?
How about if we went to Orlando for a few days then headed to cape canaveral and Daytona beach (by car) and then to the other side, Naples, drive over the Everglades and home from Miami.

How long will it take to drive from Orlando to Cape/Daytona? Should we stay there or do it in one day and head back to Orlando?

How long to drive from Orlando to Tampa?
Tampa to Naples?
Naples to Miami?

And are there any golf courses in any of these areas that we simply must play?

TIA. I really appreciate your help and advice.

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