Natalie's handy "F to A" guide to Florida

Worldwide Tourist Offices

Fly-Drive Holidays in the Sunshine State

A Fly-drive Florida holiday is a great way to explore the Sunshine state. From the adrenaline-filled Orlando, to the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys or to Pensacola in the North, the wide open roads can make exploring this stunning coastline a lifelong memory.

The state can be divided into four distinct areas; Central with its theme parks, South Florida which is home to Miami, the subtropical Everglades and cluster of 1,700 islands known as the Florida Keys, the most famous of which is Key West. Ask most to name the biggest city in Florida and you’ll likely to be told Miami or Orlando, when in fact Jacksonville in the North East of the state has a population bigger then both combined!

More then 1.5 million Brits visit Florida each year and thousands opt to hire a car and make the most of their time discovering the lesser known attractions and beautiful beaches away from the heaving Disney and Universal theme parks. If you are on a budget a great low-cost accommodation option is to hire a Florida villa and use your American-home as a central base to explore from. Motels are easy to find and are ideal for overnight stays as you explore further away from your private villa.

My F to A guide of Florida is a handy keepsake and provides seven suggestions of things to do and places to visit on during your Florida holiday:

Fort Lauderdale in the South East is home to the State’s largest shopping complex, Sawgrass Mills. It is also home to some of Florida’s richest residents and you can take a water taxi and tour Millionaire’s Row

– Lion Country Safari in South Florida boasts a four-mile drive-through safari experience and the chance to see over 800 animals. The best time to visit is during the 10:30am lion feeding and with an adjoining camp site this can be a real ‘outback’ experience

– Ocala National Forest, North-west of Orlando is great for hiking enthusiasts, an ideal spot for camping and during the summer offers canoe trips along palm-fringed streams. Restaurants specialise in char grilled food served in a laid-back atmosphere.

Rollercoaster fans should head to Islands of Adventure at Universal in Orlando to experience The Incredible Hulk ride. You’ll accelerate from 0 – 40mph in 2 seconds and experience zero g-force in a weightless roll

International Drive in Orlando can boast to have six of the worlds best-loved theme parks, 485 shops and 150 restaurants. Many villas are located a short drive from here and the free shuttle busses are a convenient way to get around

Daytona Beach is a must-see for motorsport fans. Found in Central East Florida, you can see racing at Daytona Speedway or have a go behind the wheel yourself at the Richard Petty Driving Experience centre.

– Art Deco style buildings are a memorable sight in Miami. The ‘Art Deco History District’ run tours of the area and the chance to see hotspots of former illegal activity such as Al Capone’s office.

With Sat Nav included with your hire car you need not worry about getting lost too! Driving in Florida is something to be enjoyed but there are a few rules and regulations to be aware of:

Do not be surprised if you see fellow drivers turning right at a red light. This is perfectly legal as long as there is no oncoming traffic or a sign to tell you otherwise
Like in the UK, seatbelts must be worn
If you have children under 5 they must have a child seat
Florida has some of the toughest laws regarding drink driving. Do not drink and drive! Also if you are carrying alcohol this must be stored in the boot, unopened
A new law was passed that requires drivers to ‘move over’ to the next lane or slow to at least 20 miles below the speed limit when passing emergency vehicles that are stopped on a highway

I have found that prices for a fortnight break in 2010 from £1018pp that  include flights and car hire. These prices are based on a 3-bedroom home sleeping up to eight and with a private pool. If a Florida Fly-drive is for you, check out

Alternatively, for flight only you can book cheap Fort Lauderdale flights on OneTravel and enjoy a vacation full of romance, relaxation and adventure. Cheap Flights to Fort Lauderdale on OneTravel! Book now and go!

Happy travels,