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Florida Adventure Travel Guide

Place

Florida

Location

Southeastern United States

Major Cities in Florida

Major cities in Florida include Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg. The Capital is Tallahassee.

Florida Climate and Geography

Florida is situated in the southeastern United States, bordering on Georgia to the north, and Alabama to the northeast, and with a coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the east, the Florida Straits in the southeast and south, and the Gulf of Mexico in the west. The state also includes an archipelago of 1700 islands in the Florida Strait called the Florida Keys.

The state is 170,305 sq km (65,755 square miles) and has a coastline 1,350 miles long. It is the longest coastline in the contiguous United States.

A good portion of Florida is a peninsula surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straights of Florida. Most of the state is at or near sea level. The peninsula is made of limestone and bedrock and has many underwater caves and sinkholes.

Florida’s landscape is mostly flat and is strewn with lakes and wetlands. The southern tip of the peninsula is home to Everglades National Park, a massive array of government-protected wetlands created by a slow-moving river. Florida is renowned for its beautiful bays, beaches, and estuaries along the coast. The state also has a set of tropical islands—the Florida Keys—that are surrounded by the warm waters of the Caribbean.

The warmest state in the United States, Florida has mild, pleasant winters with average daily temperatures of 21.5 °C. North and central Florida are classified as having a humid subtropical climate, while the southern part of the state, and the Florida Keys, have a tropical climate. Accordingly, during the winter months visitors can expect cooler weather in central and northern Florida and warmer weather down south. Snowfall is not common anywhere in the state. Summer months are hot and humid with average temperatures of around 33 °C. In the winter lows dip down to around 4 – 7°C. The rainy season lasts from mid June to September. During this time short thunderstorms occur on nearly a daily basis. Hurricanes are also common at this time of year.

Florida is home to a variety of plant and animal species, many of which are threatened. Dolphins, whales, panthers, otters, manatees, crocodiles, alligators, sea turtles, eagles, deer, pelicans, and armadillos are among some of the exotic species that inhabit the area. Marshlands, Mangrove forests, and Cypress trees are native flora.

Florida Description

Florida is known as “The Sunshine State” in the U.S and is a popular destination, especially during winter months, for Americans fleeing the cold Midwest. It is also a multi-cultural state. In the northern part of the state visitors can experience the charms of traditional southern living. The southern part of the state is more diverse with Latin American, Seminole Indian, and beach-bum vibes. Though the cities are large and sprawling, Florida is an excellent location for those seeking outdoor adventure. Popular tourist destinations include Miami, Orlando (home to Disney World), Daytona Beach (known for its pristine beach and motor-sports facilities), Everglades National Park, and the Florida Keys.

Surrounded by ocean, snorkeling, diving, whale/dolphin watching, surfing, and kiteboarding are all convenient and accessible adventures in Florida. Although tennis is popular, and many people go for lessons at a tennis academy, Florida is better known for it’s spectacular beaches, such as Panama City Beach, Miami Beach, and Daytona Beach—with many more options around the state. The Florida Keys are known around the world for their scenery with crystal clear water, and offer amazing diving and snorkeling opportunities.

The Florida Everglades is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is also the largest sub-tropical wilderness reserve on the North American continent. Interested in hiking in Florida? Tourists may hike through the reserve on marked trails where they can watch birds and, if lucky, witness an alligator slinking through the brackish waters.
Canoeing in alligator-infested waters is also a popular activity, but most sites require participants to sign a waiver.

To get the most out of your Florida adventure it recommended that you do some research ahead of time, as there are seemingly endless activities available to tourists.

Florida Outdoor Adventure Activities and Extreme Sports

• Surfing
• Stand-up paddle boarding
• Scuba diving (wreck, reef, cave)
• Snorkeling
• Surfing (all levels)
• Sailing
• Kitesurfing
• Windsurfing
• Parasailing
• Paragliding
• Hang gliding
• Sky diving
• Bungee jumping
• Hot air ballooning
• Whitewater rafting
• Kayaking (river, lake, sea)
• Canoeing
• Caving and spelunking
• Hiking/trekking (all levels)
• Ziplining
• Rock climbing (indoor, bouldering)
• Abseiling/rappelling (indoors)
• Mountain biking
• Horseback Riding

Budget Travel in Florida

  • A popular destination for students on vacation, Florida has some very reasonable hostels. The cheapest tend to start around $12-15 USD per night for a dorm bed. In Miami, the Santa Barbara is a good deal. For the best value, though you should definitely check out the slightly more expensive ($16 USD per bed per night) Jazz on South Beach.
    More information about hostels in Florida can be found here.
  • On the lower end, meals can be found for under $10. One of the more interesting ways to try Floridian cuisine is to sign up for an Everglades package tour, where tourists are offered offered fresh seafood and delicacies such as alligator nuggets.

Have Insurance?

I like to use World Nomads. It’s not too expensive and signing up is fast and straightforward. They also have pretty good coverage for sports equipment like surf and snowboards, but it varies depending on your country of origin, so be sure double check. You can get a free quote on their website.

Florida Photos

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Images (in order) courtesy of emilio labrador, eschipul, gregor_y, kayaklng labrat, chaunceydavis818, Kevin N. Murphy, ah zut, horizontal.integration, Air & Space Magazine, Kissimmee – The Heart of Florida, Wildlands CPR, and Kay Gaensler on Flickr.

Suggested Reading

Click on the images for more information

Florida Map


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