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Florida is known as the Sunshine State; with good reason. Tourists the world over are drawn by its great beaches, theme parks, and, of course, wonderful weather. Long summers are followed by warm winters. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León gave the peninsula the name La Florida, meaning “flowery land.” With more than 990 miles of shoreline, it’s no surprise that Florida is a top destination for travelers in search of sand and surf. The western side of the peninsula, situated on the Gulf Coast, has warm seas and soft white sands. The Atlantic coast is made for the surfers with bigger, rougher waves and broader beaches. Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches can be found in the southern state: Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Sanibel Island, and Anna Maria Beach off Bradenton.
The central part of the state has all the do-not-miss attractions for your next Florida vacation. Orlando is amusement park heaven, packed with Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Cypress Gardens, Bok Tower Gardens, Daytona Speedway and Gatorland. For space and history buffs, the Kennedy Space Center is nearby. Once the kids have gone to bed, Orlando turns up the heat to party.
For a trip with unrivaled nightlife, Miami’s South Beach lays claim to being “the coolest place on the planet,” but the rest of Florida is no slouch when it comes to partying and is serviced by many international airports. A cheap flight to Fort Lauderdale reveals six seaside communities, stocked with plenty of bars and clubs. Nearly two-thirds of all Major League Baseball teams make Florida their home for spring training. Major league sports are a big part of Florida year-round, with NFL football, NBA basketball and two NHL hockey teams calling the state home.
The southern end of the state is subtropical and the northern is warm and temperate. October through April is mild and humidity is low in Orlando and points south. Summer in central and southern Florida is hot and muggy with rain storms. Winter in northern Florida has generally mild days with temperatures in the 50’s. It can snow and occasionally there is a hard frost, but the cold doesn’t last very long. For all of Florida, the hurricane season is June to November, and there’s a high probability that big storms will come through.
October through April is the peak tourist season for flights to southern Florida. Orlando’s theme parks are busy year-round, with the highest peaks coinciding with school vacations, including spring and summer breaks. Summer is the busy season in northern Florida. Florida remains a popular destination for spring-break vacations, and those weeks are busy as are long holiday weekends.
Winter is the off season in northern Florida. If you don’t mind the hot and humid weather, cheap flights to Florida’s southern region are easily found in the summer.
You’ll struggle to find the cheapest flights to Florida without some forward planning. The best way to ensure you find the cheapest flights to Florida is to be very flexible with your dates. If you aren’t governed by school holidays then you can easily compare the price of flight tickets for a range of different months. Booking your flights to Florida early is key to saving money too, aim for at least 2 or 3 months in advance, if not more if you can. Once you’ve settled on a general location for your flights to Florida you can start researching the cheapest months to visit and even the best side of the plane to sit on. For example it’s best to try and sit on the right side of the plane if you’re visiting Orlando as you’ll get landscape and coastal views.
Florida is home to dozens of airports with 21 commercial fields welcoming visitors from around the nation and the globe. How long your flight will take is dependent upon where you’re coming from and your destination. Flights from Chicago, IL, to Jacksonville, FL, take a little over two hours, and planes headed from Los Angeles to Miami are in the air for about five hours. If you’re traveling from Houston, TX, to Orlando, expect your trip to take 2.5 hours on average, and flights from New York City to Tampa are about 4 hours in length.
Multiple major airlines fly into Florida’s major airports, including Delta, American Airlines, United and Spirit. International service is provided by KLM, Emirates and many other airlines. Search Cheapflights to find dates and times that fit your travel schedule on the airline of your choice.
Check the weather before you start packing for your trip to Florida because temperatures can vary widely throughout the state. Northern cities, such as Tallahassee, can get bitter in the winter, meaning you’ll need a heavy coat and gloves. While the southern “tourist areas” are mild year round, the nights can get chilly in the late fall, winter and early spring, necessitating a light jacket or cardigan in your suitcase.
Florida is known for its beaches, outdoor activities and sun, so pack your sunscreen and hat next to your bathing suit. Expect Central Florida to experience short bursts of rain throughout the afternoon hours on an almost-daily basis in the late summer and fall, and keep an umbrella in your carry-on so that you are prepared.
There are several bus routes you can take to get from the airport to the city, all of which take different journeys so it’s worth figuring out which one you need to get to wherever it is in Orlando you need to be. There is also a shuttle service that can take you from Orlando to Miami as well as other big cities. If you have a lot of luggage and would rather not use public transport then you can opt to get a taxi from outside of the airport. These are more costly than the bus counterparts but if you can split the fare with a friend they can be more worthwhile, especially if you’re in a rush.
Fort Myers airport:
One of the easiest ways to get from the airport to the city is via the LeeTran service. It operates from 6:40am until 9:25pm during the week, with slightly shorter times throughout the weekends. The timetable does change depending on the season though so it’s worth double checking before you book your flights to Florida, especially if you land very early or late. Once you’ve booked your flights to Florida it’s worth choosing a hotel which provides free shuttle transfers to and from the airport as this can make your journey a lot easier. Lastly you can hire a car or take a taxi from outside of the airport however this will cost a lot more than the bus option available.
A car is the best way to get around Florida. Although some cities have public transportation, you need to check that it goes where you want to go and at convenient times. Driving is generally the best way to go from town to town and across the state. Depending on the distance, flying from one city to another may be a better option.
Florida is great for bicycling. Although biking in the cities isn’t recommended, there are bike paths along the coasts and long-distance trails in central Florida. Plus, Florida is flat: its highest point is 345 feet above sea level.
Florida is a rather larger state and is very popular with singles, couples and families looking to escape the colder climates of the north for a little of its famous sunshine. Amusement parks, beaches, resorts and even major leagues spring training facilities line the state’s coasts and of course, the state is home to Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World and also The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Cheapflights offers packages where you can combine air travel with accommodations and more. Traveling during off-peak seasons in the fall and early spring can help you save on the fun.
Along with the major attractions in Central Florida, visitors also enjoy Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, FL, which combines a zoo with thrill rides and fun attractions for children, and Legoland Florida, located at the site of the former Cypress Gardens. This one-of-a-kind park features famous buildings and tourist sites from around the world built with millions of the plastic bricks. Cruise along International Drive in Orlando, affectionately called “I Drive” by the locals, and enjoy delicious dining opportunities between checking out the wares of the multitude of souvenir stands.
Spice up your Florida visit with a trip to Miami Beach and all of the sun-soaked entertainment it has to offer. Visit beautiful Vizcaya Museum and Gardens for a trip back to Miami’s original boom before strolling through pathways of gorgeous flora native to the area. Miami is also home to many of the major cruise companies and makes an amazing starting point for your week-long, or even afternoon, ocean adventure. Couples can work on their salsa steps in one of Miami’s sizzling nightclubs, where the beat goes on far into the night.
Head further south to Florida’s southernmost point in the Florida Keys. Find your inner author at the Earnest Hemingway Home and Museum, or spend the afternoon at Harry S. Truman’s “Little White House,” a Naval home that has been used by many presidents but loved best by the 33rd President of the United States who used resided there for 6 months of his presidency.
Whether you’re planning a multi-legged trip and Florida is just the first stop, or you call Tampa, Orlando or Miami home and you’re planning a vacation elsewhere, multiple airline carriers offer flights from Florida to destinations around the country and the world. Airlines that fly into the cities typically offer flights out, and these carriers include, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Sun Country, JetBlue, Southwest and Lufthansa to name a few. Cheapflights is the ideal way to find the flight you’re looking for from Florida at the fare you desire.
No matter what Florida city you’re traveling from, you’ll want to arrive at the airport with enough time to make it through security and arrive at your gate before boarding. It’s always a good idea to check your flight’s status before you leave home, or the hotel, to ensure everything is on time.
Most major airports in Florida feature rental car returns on site at the terminal or a short free shuttle ride away, but you’ll want to plan ahead for possible backups at the return. When hiring a taxi, make sure the company is legitimate. This can be easily handled by checking with your departure airport’s ground transportation office.
(prices quoted are from London)