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Florida without theme parks plus possible cruise

(10 Posts)
Holidayaddict Mon 02-Apr-18 16:27:18

It's a horrible wet bank holiday so thought I'd do some future holiday planning even though we haven't even had this year's holiday yet! grin

So for Summer 2019 we think we'd like to return to Florida. Last went 4 years ago and did mostly parks so not fussed about doing them again. One of the things we liked best about that holiday was the lovely villa with private pool. Sadly we didn't use it as much as we would've liked due to feeling the need to get out and utilise our park tickets! This time we'd like to spend more time chilling by the pool with a few days out seeing natural stuff, wildlife (esp Alligators!) and anything else Florida has to offer.

Realised that, as we don't need to be close to the parks, we might be better off by the coast (villas don't look to be anymore expensive than Orlando area). A quick Google bought up Cape Coral which appealed as many properties have docks with canoes/fishing which DS & DH would love! It's less than 2 hours to Everglades which is somewhere I've always wanted to go and ticks the wildlife box. DD would like to swim with dolphins but I can't see much on the gulf coast regarding that but willing to drive up to 2 hours for a day trip.

So, can anyone recommend a good coastal place to base ourselves within reach of everglades, dolphins and other non-themepark attractions? For the 2nd week we're considering a cruise. There seem to be many going to the Bahamas or Caribbean from Miami/Fort Lauderdale, hence another reason to stay towards that end of Florida.

Would be grateful to hear your experiences and recommendations of one or both of the above type of holiday! Kids would be 13 & 15 by then.

Tia smile

OP’s posts: |
Curlybrunette Mon 02-Apr-18 16:53:30

Sorry I have no advice but am place marking as this is exactly what I want to do for Xmas this year!

I got a price from an online travel agent and it was something like 3 nights (orlando though) then 7 night Bahama cruise, then another 4 nights in Orlando and it was coming up about £5500 for the four of us (DSs will be 11 & 12 by then). For Xmas time I didn't think it was too bad?

Just need to get DH to let me book it now!!!

Holidayaddict Mon 02-Apr-18 17:25:52

That does sound a good price!

OP’s posts: |
RusholmeRuffian Mon 02-Apr-18 19:25:49

What about staying in the Keys? Close enough for day trip to The Everglades, you can swim with Dolphins on Grassy Key and you can also get a cruise ship from Key West.

Holidayaddict Mon 02-Apr-18 21:02:55

Key West looks lovely but accommodation looks pricey shock

OP’s posts: |
Pootle40 Mon 02-Apr-18 21:26:06

Hi we are doing Florida + cruise in October. We are a family of 4 and we are flying Gatwick to Orlando with BA, SUV Car in Florida and we are staying in a 3 bedroom villa with pool. Week 2 we drive to Miami and are on an NCL eastern Caribbean cruise in a balcony room. The cost of all that is £6200 which I thought was reasonable. Includes food and drink (incl alcohol) on cruise. We love theme parks and cruises so we cannot wait. I booked it with Virgin holidays.

PoptartPoptart Tue 03-Apr-18 06:17:22

@Curlybrunette - please can you give me details of which travel agent/websites you got those prices from?
I looked at a similar holiday last year and couldn’t find anything for less than about £3k PER PERSON!

budgiegirl Tue 03-Apr-18 10:11:06

Key West is lovely but expensive.

We stayed in Marathon Key at Christmas, which was great, although still recovering from Hurricane Irma. It was an hours drive from Key West, so easy for a day trip, and very close to the Dolphin Research Centre, where you can swim with dolphins.

We’ve done a couple of Caribbean cruises from Miami with NCL, absolutely amazing! So much for teens to do, and we all had a blast. The highlight was zip lining in Honduras, it was fantastic

Curlybrunette Tue 03-Apr-18 19:22:21

@Pootle that sounds like a lovely trip, just what I fancy. We did Orlando a couple of years ago so don't really want to rush back.

@budgiegirl that sounds amazing, just what we want to do.

@holidayaddict the quotes I got were from Travel Planners and Ocean Florida but my sister is an independent travel consultant so I will eventually book through her when DH lets me I tend to find she beats other prices but I like to get an idea of the price first. Not sure I'm allowed (sorry MN if not) but the shameless plug for my sister is @thesassyexplorer on facebook

Scabetty Tue 03-Apr-18 19:26:43

We stayed in the Everglades in a cottage next to a lodge. We did kayaking and the hovercraft to see alligators. Also a tour on an open top tractor thing through the forested area. Never saw any manatees but lots of alligators and racoons. Also Marco Island has a nice beached area. Just stopped for the afternoon and did paddle boarding.

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