Off the beaten track in Florida

Off the beaten track in Florida

Escape the crowds and find your own theme park on a road-trip from Orlando, Florida!

There‘s no denying I love a good rollercoaster, but Florida is so much more than theme parks. Just an hour away from Orlando you can be sat on the powder white sands of the Gulf Coast, or head east to the barrier islands where you can watch boats pootle in and out of quiet harbours - you can also charter or hire them if you fancy a day out on the water.

Flying into Orlando is so easy from the UK, and if you're fancying heading out into "real" Florida, regional departures to Melbourne airport are perfect for an east-coast start point, or Tampa for the west coast. This photo was taken from a tiny harbour at Port Salerno, perfectly situated around half way between Orlando and Miami.

We started our journey in Melbourne, visited the Kennedy Space Center (a must-do attraction), then headed down US 1 (which actually stretches all the way from Key West to the Canadian border - what a road trip that would be!), stopping off at small coastal towns mainly frequented by locals, eating fresh food (and drinking inexpensive cold beers, of course!).

From Port Salerno we about-turned and crossed to the west coast, this is where you'll find glamourous resorts such as Naples and the beautiful city of Sarasota, but stay off the beaten track and go to Anna Maria Island - the beach stretches for miles and the brunch at the Anna Maria Beach Island Cafe is heavenly - think toes in the sand whilst you munch through your breakfast of choice with the sun on your face. From here, you can head further north, up to Clearwater (aka mini-Miami in my eyes - such a great resort!) or head inland via Tampa and Busch Gardens and back to the theme parks in Orlando.

We rounded off our road-trip at a citrus farm where we spent half a day being shown around the stunning estate where nearly all of the citrus is grown for local producers. 10 miles later, we were firmly ensconsed in all things Star Wars at Galaxy's Edge, totally relaxed and ready to hit the theme parks for the rest of our holiday! So, if you're looking for a fun-packed, nature-filled, sunset-every night holiday suitable for couples, friends, families alike, I cannot recommend Florida enough. Can you tell it's one of my favourite subjects?! Please do reach out with any questions, I'd be delighted to share my love of this state!  

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Allie Harris

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