For most of the more than 96 million holidaymakers every year, sun, sand, sea and Mickey Mouse are reason enough to visit. The "Sunshine State" truly deserves its reputation as a perfect family vacation destination - but the state offers much more culturally and scenically than the usual stereotypes suggest.
The Orlando/Central Florida region is the most visited vacation destination in the United States. In addition to the favorable climate, the optimal transport connections were also a contributing factor to this development. After early settlers turned the swamps of central Florida into fertile citrus orchards, a railroad was needed to transport the fruit and, later, people. Here, where the sun almost always shone, where the major highways crossed, the railway line passed and there was an airport, Walt Disney decided in the mid-1960s to realize his dream of Walt Disney World, the largest theme park landscape in the world. In 1971, the first of what are now four Disney parks opened its doors.
There are now eight of the world's largest theme parks in Central Florida - four Disney, two Universal and one SeaWorld. There are also over 100 smaller parks and attractions. Orlando is now recognized as the theme park capital of the world. One of the first amusement parks, however, was the Florida Wildlife Institute, which opened in 1949 and was renamed Gatorland in the mid-1950s. Now home to up to 2,000 alligators, the park is still family-owned and boasts Orlando's oldest "low-tech" attraction.
But the highlights of the Sunshine State are not limited to theme parks: The Florida Keys, the island chain that stretches south, is also one of the top destinations in the Sunshine State. Key West is the southernmost settlement in the USA (and only 90 miles away from Cuba).
Florida is known for its world-class attractions and amusement parks that are family-friendly. Exciting entertainment is not only guaranteed for the kids. If you value lifestyle, well-kept hotels and good food, you won't be disappointed in Florida either. The mega city of Miami offers exquisite nightlife, here the dance floor is hot and the drinks are guaranteed to be ice cold.