Welcome to Florida
Millions of pleasure-seekers can't be wrong! Florida is North
America's favourite holiday destination and draws hordes of
tourists all year round. The reason for the state's popularity as a
vacation station is its sunny climate and situation. Consisting of
a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean from the
southeastern corner of the United States, Florida's uneven
coastline is indented with estuaries, bays, inlets, lagoons and
rivers, creating ideal enclaves for the location of holiday
resorts. Right in the south the peninsula ends in an arc of islands
resting on coral reefs, known as the Florida Keys, today joined and
accessed via a highway ending in Key West, the southernmost point
of the United States.
After World War II, tourism development took off at a great
pace, not to enhance its natural attractions, but in the form of
building man-made ones. The central part of the state, particularly
around Tampa and Orlando, has since become a theme park paradise
for thrill seekers. Enticing venues offer everything from water
slides to rollicking roller coasters, and themed animal habitats
attract thousands to the accompanying resort hotels on the huge
sites of Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens and other major
The state's biggest city, Miami, echoes the vibrancy of the rest
of this holiday Mecca, with its soft white sandy beaches vying for
attention with the city's numerous attractions and colourful
neighbourhoods. Its famous Art Deco district and Latin American
quarter are constantly thronged with visitors, many of them
passengers from the hundreds of cruise ships that come and go in
the bustling port. Within easy access from Miami are the
Everglades, a marshy grass plain resonating with wildlife and
filled with alligators.
Aptly named the 'Sunshine State', Florida can offer anything
anyone seeks in a holiday, whether it be fine wining and dining,
learning about space exploration, discovering endangered wildlife,
riding a roller coaster or bronzing on one of its famous
Information & Facts
Sunshine and blue skies are almost always a fact of life in
Florida, at any time of year. There are, however, two climatic
zones - subtropical in the south and warm temperate in the north.
Summer in the south (Orlando and below) is humid with afternoon
storms; the peak season is in the winter when temperatures are warm
and there is little humidity. Summer is the peak season north of
Orlando but temperatures are usually comfortably warm; the crowds
arrive in the summer when the weather gets hotter and more humid.
The hurricane season is between June and November.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
Most of Florida is GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November),
but a small portion of north west Florida is GMT -6 (GMT -5 from
March to November).