Get the Florida Feeling: The best things to see and do
The Sunshine State has something for everyone: young and old, adventure-seekers and culture vultures, party animals and relaxation gurus alike.
In the last few years, taking a trip across the pond to Florida has become increasingly popular. And with Norwegian flights direct to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, plus flights to Tampa starting in October 2018, it’s now even easier, faster and cheaper to make the journey.
The unbeatable combination of shopping, beaches, theme parks, nightlife, and landscapes is one that will create lasting memories for you and whomever you choose to share your travels with.
Pastels and parties in Miami
Whether you’re taking a trip to Miami or using the city as a base for your Florida holiday, you’ll find this place bursting with things to see and do – especially if you’re big fan of summer. Did you know that Miami is one of the sunniest cities in the US? Statistically, the sun shines an average of 248 days a year here.
Miami conjures images of sandy white beaches, pastel coloured houses, Art Deco architecture and swaying palm trees.
The area around South Beach, also called SoBe, is the essence of all this and more. The hottest restaurants and nightclubs, the swankiest designer hotels and the most glamorous boutiques with a clientele to match, are all located here.
But there are other parts of the city to explore. Miami is so much more than its happening night scene and celebrity-chef restaurants.
Sights not to miss in Miami
Miami is a melting pot of people and cultures. Knowing where to go to first can be a challenge. So, if you need a break from spending your days lying on the beach, take a look at our short list of must-sees in Miami.
Note: Some areas are considered less safe, especially after dark, but use common sense and ask the staff at the hotel and tourist guides for advice on the best way to get around.
Little Havana is situated between South West 12th and 16th Avenue and is a microcosm of Cuba.
Spanish is spoken, the food is Cuban, and the cigar smoke is heavy. There are many cosy, romantic restaurants, and the narrow side streets are extremely charming.
With a true see-and-be-seen atmosphere, this hip avenue in South Beach is famous for its Art Deco hotels. The popular News Cafe can be found on Ocean Drive, as well as several other trendy eateries and nightspots.
Art Deco Historic District
If you’re interested in Art Deco design and architecture, definitely visit SoBe. Rainbow-coloured houses and palm trees dominate the area which stretches from 5th Street North to Dade Boulevard and from Atlantic Ocean West to Biscayne Bay. With over 800 buildings constructed between 1923 and 1943, you’ll find some fantastic photo opportunities in this unique district.
The Florida Everglades National Park
Easily accessible from the city of Miami, this 1.5-million-acre national park is the only subtropical wetlands in Northern America and home to the infamous Everglades alligators and crocodiles. This is actually the only place where alligators and crocodiles live in the same ecosystem.
At GetYourGuide, you can buy guided tours to the Everglades and earn CashPoints on your tickets at the same time.
This is a great place to visit if you’re in Miami with children. The Seaquarium consists of all sorts of ocean creatures and marine animals, from manatees to sea turtles, penguins to seals. You can get pretty wet doing some of the activities here, so don’t forget to bring dry clothes, just in case.
Buy entrance tickets to Miami Seaquarium and earn 5% CashPoints.
See all activities in Miami and pre-order tickets.
Sights not to miss when in Orlando
Walt Disney World
This one is an absolute must if you’re coming to Florida with kids. Walt Disney World in Orlando is a huge area, and home to four Disney theme parks, two water parks, live shows, countless restaurants, shops and so much more. Shuttle buses, trains and Skyrails take you between the parks.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal is the closest you can get to a Disney World competitor. Consisting of three theme parks, including the amazing Universal Studios Florida and the newer Islands of Adventure, there’s something for all the family here – even a Harry Potter park!
In this park, you can see the famous and fearsome Florida alligator up close. The park is also host to a large collection of other reptiles.
See all activities in Orlando and pre-order tickets.
It will be hot, very hot
Like the rest of Florida, the climate in the Orlando area is subtropical. Hot and humid weather is the norm for most of the year.
Summer lasts from May until October. It’s very hot, and many find the baking Florida sun too intense.
Be careful if physically active or waiting in long queues in the sun. You may often experience thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in the afternoons and evenings during this time of year.
The winter, lasting from November until April, is milder, cooler and drier.
Rent a car and explore more of Florida
Florida is a large state, and the distances between the cities and sights can be very far. If you’re planning to see more than just Miami or Orlando, a rental car is the perfect solution.
Renting a car is very affordable in the US and finding your way is surprisingly easy. Highways with 5 or 6 lanes may seem daunting at first, but you’ll soon discover that the rules are similar to those at home. The only real difference is that everything is bigger, like most things in the US.
When driving, be aware of the “Move Over” law, which came into effect in 2002. This makes it mandatory for drivers to change lanes or slow down to a minimum speed of 20km below the posted speed limit if there is a stopped law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility service, tow truck or wrecker emergency vehicle on the road or along the roadside.
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This is where you should drive to
Say “Key West” and most of us will picture images of pristine beaches, coloured wooden houses and Ernest Hemingway – and rightly so. Add glorious sunsets like you’ve never seen before and sumptuous American-Caribbean fusion food, and you’ll begin to experience the “Florida Feeling”, which is just about as relaxed as you could possibly be.
There are so many good reasons to take a trip out to the Florida Keys, which ends in Key West. The islands stretching outwards are tied together by 43 bridges, making it an unforgettable road trip.
Ernest Hemingway’s house is a special place to visit. And be sure to catch the sunset at the tip of Key West. You can almost see Cuba, which is only 166km across the water.
On the West Coast of Florida, the Tampa area has many wonderful places to discover like Clearwater Beach and Sanibel Island.
Many of Florida’s residents travel here for their own holidays because there are too many tourists on the East Coast, especially around Orlando and Lake Buena Vista. As a result, you get a completely different, and possibly more genuine, atmosphere and culture than the beaches and cities of the East Coast.
Visit the amusement park, Busch Gardens, where you can find some of the largest and tallest roller coasters in the world. And, of course, enjoy the beaches which are much less crowded than on the other side of the state – but remember to watch out for sharks 😉