Beach and sun, Family, North America

Florida is one of the most visited states in the USA, largely thanks to its theme parks in Orlando. January is the perfect time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and still enjoy great weather. Here’s our guide to the top three places to visit in Florida.

Orlando

It goes without saying but this is by far one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, especially with families due to its many theme parks. Most famous of all is Disney World, which has been wowing people since 1971. Located 20 miles from the centre of Orlando, Disney World is coupled with the Epcot Centre, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom to give you the complete Disney experience. It’s worth booking your tickets in advance to save you money and to help plan your days in the park.

  • For more information, visit wdtc.disneyinternational.com

Obviously Orlando isn’t just about Disney. There’s also the magnificent Universal Studios, which is now also home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where you are transported to Hogwarts and Harry’s magical world. Once the silver screen has grabbed your attention, take yourself off to be in awe of the natural world with a trip to Seaworld before looking into the weird and wonderful by visiting Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

Miami

Miami is a wonderful place where you can enjoy the very best of modern life and the wonder of the natural world. Located on the eastern coast of Florida, you are truly spoilt for beaches to relax and enjoy yourself on. Arguably the most famous is South Beach which really is the place to party, eat and drink but for something a little quieter, Coconut Grove is a nice alternative.

No trip to Miami is complete without venturing into the Everglades, a natural marvel.  Even at this time of year, mosquitos are out in force so ensure you cover up and if possible, aim to start your trip as early in the day as possible. There are many ways to explore this unique wetlands with guided tours and hiking trails available, as well as visits to Indian villages. However I would definitely recommend that you make sure you take a ride through the Everglades on an air boat for a fantastic experience.

Key West

Visiting Key West will take you to the southern most point of the USA. Watersports are extremely popular here and you can try your hand at snorkelling, parasailing, taking boat rides and cruises. There are even Dolphin rides, which take you out to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. January sees the annual Key West Race Week take place as boat crews from across the world compete in this regatta.

I would certainly recommend taking a boat trip out to the Dry Tortugas, 7 remote islands which lie off the coast. Here you’ll find a lush national park, coral reefs to explore, sandy beaches to relax on and Fort Jefferson, an impressive 19th Century Civil War fortress. You should also take a visit to Ernest Hemmingway’s House to see where he wrote many of his iconic books and to see the world around him which inspired such work.

Before you travel…

January is an ideal time to visit Florida as many of the tourist destinations aren’t too crowded. The state still basks in sunshine throughout the month with temperatures averaging 70 degrees fahrenheit. January is perfect as the humidity which usually greets you in Florida is at a minimum.

Choosing your accommodation is particularly important especially if you’re visiting Disney. Within the park and surrounding area, there are many official Disney residences from hotels to resorts. Timeshares are also available and being Disney resorts, they’re extremely popular so booking ahead is advised.