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Water Parks

Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Florida Is The Sunshine State

Florida is the Sunshine State and the holiday playground of America. Lots of sunshine makes Florida the ideal destination for sun especially during the rain dreary months of the British winter. With lots and lots of sunshine even if it rains the rain is warm!! It has 1,350 miles of coastline for tourists to bake themselves wherever they can, over 1,700 miles of soft white beaches, and of course a warm sea, 10,000 miles of rivers and streams and although equal in size to the UK, it has 1/5th of the population.

The countryside is mainly flat but has an abundance of pine forests, lakes everywhere and of course orange groves. The orange trees with their glossy leaves and wonderfully fragrant white flowers (it was adopted as Florida’s state flower in 1909) line the roads throughout the state. Most citrus fruits require around 300 days of sunshine and take 12 months to mature. The citrus picking season starts in October when grapefruit are harvested and finishes in July with oranges.

There are still many unspoilt areas for nature minded holidaymakers.

Nowhere in the state is more than 60 miles from the coast. With miles of beautiful beaches it is easy to escape the crowds. The Atlantic coast has beaches with waves to suit surfers of all abilities while the Gulf coast is safe even for toddlers.

One of the main things when it comes to holidaying in Florida is the ease with which journeys can be made. It is easy to reach by air from the UK being served by both scheduled and charter airlines. It’s easy to move around and with its massive car hire industry and reasonably priced petrol (gasoline) it is also cheap to enjoy other parts of this lovely state/

The cost of living is one of the major Florida attractions. Eating out is generally only about two-thirds the cost (or less) than in the UK. Portions of food are usually more than most people can eat and service is always with a smile! The “all you can eat” buffets that are available even in some cheaper restaurants have to be seen to be believed. Drive for a week on what it would cost to fill the average tank in the UK.

There are wonderful shopping malls with scores of shops to suit all tastes and wallets. The Malls are air-conditioned and all under one roof, with free parking (acres of it!) and a selection of restaurants.

Orlando is the tourist capital of the world, with an amazing selection of amusement parks. Nowhere can match the sheer enchantment of Disney World. It’s not called the Magic Kingdom for nothing! From the serene to the hurley-burley it’s all there: Disney World, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Universal Studios, Sea World, Cypress Gardens, concerts, zoos, parks, water parks, the list is endless. International Drive– Orlando’s main street is 5 miles long, with Sea World at one end and Wet & Wild at the other.

A visit to Church Street Station is a must! Why not make a day of it?

Southern Dunes Golf & Country Club is situated only 20 minutes from Disney. Easy to reach, 7 miles south on US Hwy 27 Sth. Just take Exit 23 on I 4 and you are assured of a good days golf. This well established PGA Championship course has been rated 4 * in US Golf Digest (1996-1997) and in “Top 100-USA” by Golf Week, 1997. The course is well established and has the benefit of a very modern clubhouse. In the clubhouse there is a bar and restaurant with reasonably priced meals. Cart hire is a must in the USA and carts are generally provided with the green fee. The development at Southern Dunes comprises luxury homes surrounded by a Golf course together with some unspoilt conservation areas. The villas vary in size from three to six bedrooms and all come with a screened pool; some have the additional benefit of a Jacuzzi. They are almost without exception detached and air-conditioned. The one I stayed at had ceiling fans in all the bedrooms for added comfort.

Novice or professional this course will challenge you and you are sure to unwind as you play the course. It is flanked by more than 170 bunkers of various sizes with an elevation of 100’. This is an award-winning course. Steve Smythers’ dramatic hillside layout will present you with a challenge unique in Central Florida, featuring large, fast, undulating greens and expansive fairways. The dunes are planted with shrubs, grasses and ornamental plants. You will enjoy your round of golf at this great course, which will remind you of the great traditional Links of Great Britain. Southern Dunes is now rated among the top 10 modern courses in the USA. Golf clubs can be hired at a reasonable rate and even if you are not an experienced golfer there is still plenty to do. A driving range helps you loosen up and a putting green like glass is a delight to practice on.

Florida is a magnet for all sports lovers particularly golfers. Florida’s golf courses are glorious which has turned Florida into one of the top golfing destination in the world. Florida is a golfers paradise with more than 1,000 high quality courses to suit all standards of play. You can tee off almost anytime anywhere. Its a rare town in Florida that doesn’t have a golf course either private or municipal. Within a 15-minute drive of Southern Dunes there are two other courses worth playing Greneleafe Golf and Tennis Resort with its three championship courses and the newer course north of I4 Highland Reserve. Greneleafe plays host to the US Seniors Open and US Ladies open qualifiers. Walt Disney World offers 99 holes of golf boasting five 18-hole and one 9-hole, par-36 course Green fees are generally very reasonable and cart hire is a must. The golfing fees vary so much from course to course that it is a good idea to call ahead, ask and at the same time reserve a tee time. It is worth noting that most courses charge about half price after 3pm. Green fees are usually much lower on a municipal course than a privately owned one. Fees either on a private are much higher during the winter months often around $100. The cut off period for cheaper green fees is usually mid April with fees going up again in mid October. The exact date varies from course to course.

More information (including current green fees) on golf in Florida can be obtained through:
Tee Times USA, PO Box 641, Flagler Beach, Fl 32136 1-904-439-0001
Fax: 1-904-439-0099
USPGA 100 Avenue of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens, Fl 33418
The Florida Sports Foundation 1319 Thomaswood Drive Tallahassee Fl 32312 001-850-8347
For general information about the state contact
Visit Florida Roebuck House Palace Street, London SW1E 5BA
0171-630-6602 or fax 0171-630-7703

Leave some space in your suitcase, as you’ll find golfing equipment at prices much lower than at home. That is if there is space after all the other shopping! .

Temperatures in Florida vary between warm and hot all the year round. The rain is warm so don’t let it put you off travelling in what looks like the wet season. Sometimes it can be a blessing and cool you off. If you decide to take your break be it a family holiday or a golfing trip (or maybe combined ) you will certainly appreciate the fact that homes and cars will be air-conditioned.

Although when we think of Florida the first thing that springs to mind is Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney World. Mickey courtesy of Walt Disney hit Florida in 1971 when the Magic Kingdom opened its doors to the world. It wasn’t however the first theme park as Florida love affair had already commenced with the opening of Cypress Gardens in the mid 1930’s. Walt Disney World has now expanded to boast a wealth of additional attractions including Epcot Centre, Hollywood Studios, water parks, historical museums and the newest addition (a must to visit) Animal Kingdom opened in 1998. The 30,000 acre site contains the 4 theme parks, three water parks not to mention the numerous resorts, lakeside beaches and a nightclub park (Pleasure Island). There’s enough here to keep you going to Florida on holidays for a lifetime.

Good reading before you go is “The Unofficial Guide to Disney World”

When to go is the general question asked…. Well as you can imagine the time you go will decide greatly the amount you will spend on accommodation and how much company you’ll have in the queues (Sorry the US call them lines) For the American traveller the high season is from mid-December to mid- April. This is the time of year when what the Floridians call the “snow birds” flock from the cold weather up north and descend on Florida… not many children though. American holiday times like Easter week, Memorial Day weekend (end of May) Labour day, Thanksgiving (Last Thursday in November), Christmas and New Year are busy throughout the state of Florida. Some of the best times to avoid crowds and have pleasant weather conditions I have found to be April and May and from September to mid-December. During this period the weather is very pleasant and rates are considerably less than at other times. If cost is a big consideration then this is the time to travel with the added benefit of pleasant temperature and no crowds.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 20 July 2004
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