Orlando FL is a small city

Florida

Hello and welcome to Florida.

There are many interesting things to discover here in the Sunshine State. Of course you think of Miami and the Everglades or the famous Florida Keys.
Florida is also home to Disney World. In Orlando alone you have to spend more than a week to visit all the parks. Due to time constraints, it will certainly be necessary to choose one or two parks. Not an easy decision. But, as already mentioned, Florida offers a lot more than Walt Disney. A visit to the Kennedy Space Center is an absolute must for all those who like to deal with space and its conquest by mankind. Lots of highlights worth reporting on.

So join me on a short journey to the following stations:


Miami

We will start our little tour in Miami. A pulsating metropolis with cultural diversity. Above all, strong Cuban influences shape the city. There are even supposed to be neighborhoods where you can't get on with English and can only communicate in Spanish. If you arrive at Miami International Airport and have completed the immigration formalities, you can get into the city either by public transport, a taxi or a rental car. If you are planning a tour of Florida after a few days in Miami, it makes sense to pick up a rental car at the airport. From there it is around 16 km to Miami Beach, where there are numerous hotels along the beach. Once you arrive, you can first relax on the beautiful beach and soak up some sun. You can then explore the city well rested. Miami has really nice corners that are worth exploring.

There would be B. the Bayside - in the immediate vicinity of Downtown Miami - to mention. Here you will find a mall right on the water - with numerous opportunities for shopping - as well as restaurants and great cocktail bars.

Well worth spending a couple of hours here. Just enjoy a refreshing drink at a cocktail bar and watch the musical performances of various artists on the open-air stage. Then stroll through the shops and end the visit with a good meal. Fish, Asian or burger - the choice is yours. Perhaps you will visit the "Bubba Gump" and slip into Forrest Gump's shoes before dinner.

Or you can try a piece of fish right in a restaurant on the water. Of course, the hard rock cafe located here also offers a large selection. There you have the choice. Sit on the outside terrace or dine inside and marvel at the outfits and accessories of the greats in the music business.

Not far from Bayside is the Coconut Grove neighborhood. Here you can first browse through a few small shops in the Coco Walk - a small mall. After that, however, you should also walk around the quarter a little. It's worth going down the side streets too. There you will find one or the other opportunity to relax your legs with a cool drink in the shade. However, a walk down to the water should not be missed. You can relax wonderfully in the green areas of Peacock Park and Myers Bayside Park. There is a marina in the immediate vicinity. Even those who are not interested in yachts will be fascinated by the sight of the numerous boats and ships.

After a long day in Miami, it is definitely time to let your impressions sink a little. Do this over a good meal and a glass of wine.

Or let the experiences pass in review over a cocktail. You can find the opportunity to do so B. in the Art Deco district on the famous Ocean Drive. Restaurant after restaurant and bar after bar are lined up along the street. Of course, here on the trendy mile it's turbulent and sometimes a bit restless.

So if you like it a little more relaxed, we recommend Lincoln Road at the northern end of the district. In this pedestrian zone you can shop as you wish and enjoy your meal or a drink in a much quieter atmosphere. Miami has something for everyone.

I hope you are a little curious about Miami and are already thinking about when to visit this city. Perhaps the photos in the gallery below can help you make your decision. Have fun.

Bayside (1)

Bayside (2)

Bayside - waterfront

Bubba Gump Restaurant

Barnacle Park

Peacock Park

Coco Walk Surf Shop

Coconut Grove (1)

Coconut Grove (2)

Downtown

Hard Rock Cafe

Ocean Drive (1)

Ocean Drive (2)

Ocean Drive - the beach

Lincoln Road


Florida Keys

After exploring Miami for a few days, you can take a tour of the world-famous island chain of the Florida Keys in the extreme south of Florida. The best known is probably Key West. After all, it's the southernmost tip of the United States. But the other islands also offer many opportunities for relaxing days.

If you dig deeper into the Keys, you will find that they are far more diverse on a cultural level than most tropical destinations. Lovers of outdoor activities can explore the wild side of the "Keys" through guided "Eco-Tours", or discover them on hiking trails and in environmental centers. There are also numerous diving and snorkeling charter tours to North America's only living coral reef. Anglers can take advantage of a number of world-famous fishing grounds.

Our trip takes us to Islamorada, about a 1.5-2 hour drive south of Miami. Islamorada is known as the "sport fishing capital". There is probably the largest fleet of sport fishing boats here. The community of Islamorada unites six islands, which include Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Metecumbe Key, Lower Macetumbe Key and the offshore islands of Lignumvitae Key and Indian Key. It lies between the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park on one side and the deep blue waters of the Strait of Florida - which connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic - on the other. Islamorada offers its visitors a wealth of options to organize the day.

As already mentioned, here is the opportunity for sport fishing for passionate anglers. You have the unique opportunity to cast your line in both shallow and deep waters in one day. Islamorada is also a suitable destination for families. There are numerous departments with corresponding offers. Bathe in the shallow, warm water. Or use the options available, e.g. B. for a canoe or kayak tour. Perhaps you will discover the famous manatees, dolphins or even one or the other crocodile. Explore the hinterland and look into the many small shops along the main street. Above all, don't forget to pay a visit to a local restaurant in the evening to enjoy the maritime cuisine of the "Keys".


Everglades

Now come with me to the Everglades. A visit to this national park should not be missing on any trip to the south of Florida. But what does the visitor expect when he drives into the Glades. Most tourists associate the Everglades with the alligators. They are also available here and you can be sure to see a few copies. But to reduce this large national park only to the well-known reptiles would certainly be wrong. During a tour through this unique landscape you can observe many different animals and plants. An unforgettable experience. In order for it to be one of these and for you to get something in return for your money, you must carefully select the provider for your tour. Because there are countless companies along the so-called "Tamiami Trail" that offer a wide variety of trips to the Everglades. So check out the reviews of the individual organizers on the Internet beforehand.

Even if our trip leads us from Miami via the Florida Keys to the Everglades National Park, there is definitely the possibility of planning a day or half-day trip there directly from Miami. The trip from Miami Beach to the selected provider "Buffalo Tigers Airboat Tours" would take about 1 hour. The way to the Everglades is not very complicated. In Miami, just follow SW 8th Street (known as "Calle Ocho" in Little Havana) west. Just a few miles after the intersection with 177 Ave. you will find various tour operators along the street.

The tour we selected is offered by the Miccosukee people. It runs through the Florida Everglades "River of Grass", the home of the Miccosukee. A standard airboat tour takes 45 minutes and travels approximately 3.5 miles into the Everglades. This also includes a stop on a tree-covered island with a traditional Indian camp. But don't worry now. There is no sales event there. Rather, you have the opportunity to marvel at the typical flora on a boardwalk. Well and maybe one or the other animal living there will run or crawl past. The tour is accompanied by experienced guides who are really familiar with their home environment and who explain a lot about the Everglades to visitors during the short stops en route. A tour that is really worth it.

Check out the video and take a short drive through the Everglades. Of course, the typical alligators also get their appearance.


Naples

With plenty of impressions in our luggage, our journey continues on the "Tamiami Trail" westwards until we finally reach Naples. Named after the Italian city of Naples, the city on the Gulf of Mexico lives mainly from tourism.

The climate is subtropical and therefore warm all year round. In the summer months it rains statistically on 40% of the days - but mostly only for a short time. In the late 19th century, Naples was a popular summer vacation spot, especially for people from Ohio and Kentucky. The fine sandy beach and the shallow, warm water are a dream for bathers and especially for families.

The city is still shaped today by the architectural style of that time. Around Fith Street you will find many beautiful buildings with numerous restaurants, bars and shops. There is also a lot going on here in the evening. It is worthwhile to immerse yourself in Naples' nightlife.


Orlando

Our little round trip continues from Naples to Orlando. The city is located in central Florida, about halfway between Miami and Jacksonville and about 130 km northeast of Tampa. The weather in Orlando is characterized by the subtropical climate. So it is warm all year round and can rain a little more often, especially in the summer months. Temperatures reach around 30 degrees from May to October. In the summer months up to 45 degrees are possible. Orlando is also known as the "capital of tourism" in the USA. The development into a tourist center began in the 1960s. Anonymous investors gradually bought cheap marshland independently of one another. Walt Disney wanted to build a new theme park on this 15,000 hectare area, as the successful model Disneyland in Anaheim had reached its limits. The Disney World Resort should have enough space for expansion. The construction work was completed in 1971. Other companies recognized the potential and settled in Orlando. In the following years the city developed into a huge entertainment center. In addition to Disney World, there are now around 50 other amusement parks in and around Orlando. These parks include: Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, Wet'n Wild, and Orlando Watersports Complex.

As mentioned at the beginning of our little trip, you have to make a selection in Orlando. The large number of different theme parks does not make the decision easy. At this point I would like to recommend two parks to you in more detail:

  • the Epcot Center and
  • Magic Kingdom.

The Epcot Center offers visitors who are interested in natural science a lot of interesting information. In various rides, the guest learns z. B something about the formation of the earth and its development until today. Or you can go on a space flight to Mars and take on the role of commander, pilot or engineer on board a spaceship. The different areas are certainly not just for adults. Children can also find playful access to very interesting topics here.
If you want to immerse yourself in the world of foreign countries, you should visit the themed areas around the lake. Here you will find everything that is typical for different regions and countries (e.g. France, Japan, Germany etc.) - or that is considered typical by the Americans. So you could - if you want to - acquire more or less beautiful garden gnomes and cuckoo clocks in Germany. However, the ensemble of nations is definitely worth seeing.

In contrast to the Epcot Center, Magic Kingdom is more geared towards young visitors - from the Disney Parade on Main Street to the individual rides. From my point of view, a ride in the haunted mansion is particularly recommended. This is really a highlight and in no way can be compared with the ghost trains known in this country. In addition to the rides, the park offers a lot of themed areas. You can visit a western town or go on a safari through the rainforest. Both parks are simply a great experience for young and old.

Both in Epcot and in Magic Kingdom you have to expect considerable waiting times at the rides. You can shorten this by buying a Fast Lane ticket. However, even the conventional tickets are not exactly cheap. Therefore, you have to consider whether a slightly shorter waiting time is worth the surcharge.

If you want to visit Epcot, Magic Kingdom or any other park, allow enough time. One park a day is safe enough as these amusement centers are quite spacious. One more note at the end. If you drive to the parks, allow another $ 15 a day for parking.


Kennedy Space Center

To our last destination on the short trip through Florida we need about 1.5 hours by car. From Orlando we drive east to the Kennedy Space Center.

Who does not remember the impressive launches of the space shuttle. But also the horror that seized us during the catastrophes of the manned space flight. Yes, and who has not let the filmed drama about Apollo 13 affect them on TV or in the cinema. Visitors to the Kennedy Space Center can understand all of these historical events and the major milestones in the exploration of space. I am sure that you, too, cannot escape the fascination of the infinite expanse of the cosmos.

A tip for your visit right at the beginning. You shouldn't be late at the Kennedy Space Center - preferably by 10 a.m. As soon as you enter the center, I advise you to go straight to the departure point for the tour buses. Long queues can quickly form here. Well, who would want to spend most of their time waiting? You can also visit the exhibitions in the entrance area in peace after the tour.

The buses start every 30 minutes for a round tour through the huge NASA site. The journey takes at least one and a half hours. But that also depends a little on your curiosity when you stop at the Apollo Center. If you would like to take a lot of time here for all the exhibits, your round trip will just take longer. But no fear. Also from the Apollo Center there are always buses going back to the entrance area. Of course, on the way you will learn a lot about Cape Canaveral, the individual launch ramps and the difficulties and moments of happiness of the people who work there.

The visit to the Apollo Center is impressive. In particular, the dimensions of an Apollo rocket dismantled into its individual stages amaze the visitor. But the many other exhibits are also very interesting. There would be B. the original landing capsule from Apollo 14. On it you can clearly see the enormous heat effects when re-entering the earth's atmosphere. Overall, the excursion to the Kennedy Space Center offers a lot of interesting and impressive information. Maybe soon for you too.

With that we are at the end of our journey through part of Florida. I hope you have had an interesting trip. Yes, and of course I would be delighted to see you here one day. Until then, goodbye and goodbye.