Orlando, slap bang in the centre of Florida, has been a popular tourist destination for many years, and its popularity keeps growing. In part it’s because of the sunny weather, but it’s also due to the sheer number of attractions either in or near the city. With so many cheap flights to Florida readily available, Orlando is a top spot for a family holiday.
Before you set off to the airport, though, it’s good to pack some games or other forms of entertainment to take on board with you. It takes approximately 8 hours to fly from UK to Florida, which can be a bit of a challenge for some members of the family. Younger ones, especially, will be feeling excited about visiting their favourite theme parks. A few games and perhaps a film or two on a tablet will keep them distracted until the plane touches down.
You can’t mention a family holiday in Orlando without talking about its theme parks. The first, Disney World, opened in 1971 and Orlando now has the largest number of theme parks anywhere in the world. Walt Disney World is the largest, incorporating Magic Kingdom, Epcot and the Animal Kingdom alongside many other themed areas.
SeaWorld offers marine creatures alongside an amusement park, while Universal Studios features rides and attractions based on the movies. For a more immersive experience, Wet ‘n Wild is a water park with slides and pools suitable for kids of all ages.
For kids and adults alike, the impressive shopping options in Orlando provide numerous choices to indulge in a little retail relaxation. The Florida Mall is one of the largest in the country, housing over 250 stores, while the Mall at Millenia features famous US brand names like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. In fact, there are so many shopping opportunities in Orlando that family holidays to Orlando, Florida might end with an extra suitcase on the way home!
Kennedy Space Centre
About an hour’s drive east of Orlando is the Kennedy Space Center. The launch site for all of Nasa’s space missions, it also has an extensive visitor centre with exhibits and attractions all about space travel that will inspire awe in even the biggest kids.
Also around one hour out of the city, families can access some of Florida’s best beaches. Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach and the famous Daytona Beach, which boasts over 23 miles of golden sands, as well as a traditional wooden boardwalk and a beach-front water park.
The Florida Everglades are one of the country’s most distinctive natural habitats. At more than one and a half million acres, it is a truly impressive wilderness of swamps, rivers and woodland. You can explore the glades on foot, bike, canoe or air boat. Alligators, opossums, skunks, bobcats and all manner of birds live in the Everglades and, if you are very lucky, you might even spot one of the hundred or so Florida panthers that call the area home. If you need more critter action, head to Gatorworld back in Orlando for reptile shows and displays.