The US gets a raw deal when people talk about backpacking. I worked at 3 different American summer camps throughout my time at university, and after camp finishes you have a great opportunity to spend your hard-earned cash with another 2 months left on your visa (a great perk of camp)! It seems that not too many of the backpacking crowd venture too far into the US, Vegas and LA get their fair share but other than that you’ll practically have the country to yourself!
Florida has a reputation for being more of a holiday-maker’s destination as opposed to a regular backpacking haunt but no longer I say, as it’s easier than ever to get cheap flights to Florida . There’s plenty of things to see and do in the ‘Sunshine State’, you just gotta get yourself over there to see. Here are a few things to make sure you don’t miss on your trip here:
Things to see and do in Florida:
Miami: Miami is a great to place to chill during the day on one of it’s many awesome beaches (Miami beach being the one that grabs all the headlines) and when the sunsets, it turns into a great party city, especially around spring break!
Orlando: The theme park capital of the world, home to Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World! Reserve yourself a timeshare suite nearby a theme park for the true Orlando experience.. There are some timeshare resorts, such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, which are located right in the parks so you don’t even have to leave at night! Animal Kingdom is a great resort because some of the suites have private balconies that overlook a Savannah filled with African wildlife like Giraffes and exotic birds.
Not a lot else to say, rent a car, splash the cash on the theme park entry fees and have a cracking time for the next 3 or 4 days, this place is crazy. If Orlando magic, of the NBA, are in town try to check out a basketball game too, a true American experience.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex: Effectively a high-tech, interactive astronaut museum, complete with IMAX. If you time it write, you may see a rocket launch into space, a sight to behold I’m sure, but not one I was lucky enough to see I’m afraid.
St. Augustine: Famously, the oldest European settlement in all of the USA (founded by a Spaniard in 1565). This historical town is a real gem, full of Spanish architecture and a discernible European feel. Tourism has certainly hit this place though and you’ll find a huge array of things to do here.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge: The longest cable-stayed bridge in the world (almost 9km!), this bridge is seriously impressive!
Holocaust museum: In St Petersburg, the museum is one of the ‘best’ in the world. You’ll spend half the time with your jaw on the floor at man’s inhumanity to man, and the other half holding back the tears. This place is very impressive, but be warned, it pulls no punches.
Daytona International Speedway: Famously found on Daytona Beach, the NASCAR track is often providing a race of some sort so get yourself down there, it’s an awesome day out.
Everglades National Park: A UNESCO world heritage site, renting a car and driving across the US 41 is a great experience. There are loads of different trails to follow either by foot or by car and with entry being $5 per person ($10 per car) a few days here is very manageable, just watch out for the alligators – they’re everywhere :S
Scuba: I wasn’t going to include this (after my ill-fated attempt at scuba in Australia last year!) but I figured with so many scuba lovers in the world today it was my duty to! Florida offers great diving – coral reefs, sunken vessels, loads of sealife and it’s readily available along the whole coast.
Ok guys, Holidays in Florida offer something for everyone – including us backpackers! If backpacking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options for Florida holidays – regardless of how you take your trip, this place offers so much so have fun and happy travels!