Florida Guide > Planning your Trip
What.......No Mickey Mouse!
It often irks me when I say to people that we are going to Florida for our holidays that, on almost every occasion, the response is “you’ll be doing Disney then”
The purpose of this article is to dispel some of those preconceived ideas that Florida is a giant theme park. Sure, the area around Buena Vista, just south of Orlando, is home to Mickey and friends, which will always provide magic and excitement to the visitor, but with a landmass almost the same size as the United Kingdom the Sunshine State has an awful lot more to offer.
To provide a meaningful overview of all of Florida’s delights in this relatively short piece would be virtually impossible, so let’s just feature on the one that everyone must have heard of…Miami.
Set on the Atlantic coast on the southern tip of the mainland, South Beach is the heart of Miami’s historic Art Deco district where the buildings looks like something out of a movie set and people-watching from the abundance of pavement cafes and bars is a popular pastime.
Many of the hotels along Ocean Drive back on to the Atlantic and have access to one of the best beaches in the world. The sand is dazzling white and the water shallow and surprisingly warm.
Many of the scenes in films such as ‘Miami Vice’ and ‘There’s Something About Mary’ where shot along Ocean Drive, and the movie theme continues at Johnny Rockets eatery where Al Pacino appeared in ‘Scarface’. South Beach also has its own association with real life violence, for it was on the steps of his mansion that the fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot dead in 1997.
Away from the beaches you can browse the designer shops on Collins Avenue and the pedestrianised Lincoln Road or, if the budget is a little tight, more affordable retail outlets can be found a block further away along Washington Avenue.
Miami also provides a wonderful base for exploring, with the Everglades National Park little more than a “stones throw” away. There are also the fashionable resorts of Boca Rotan and Fort Lauderdale to the north whilst the Florida Keys to the south can easily be reached on a day trip.
The pace of life here is easy going and makes a welcome change to the hustle and bustle of the Orlando theme parks. Mickey Mouse will always have a place in our hearts but I’m sure even he will forgive us for taking some time out to enjoy the alternative Florida.
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