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 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
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
USPGA 100 Avenue of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens, Fl 33418
The Florida Sports Foundation 1319 Thomaswood Drive Tallahassee Fl 32312
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
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.
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