Nicknamed the 'Sunshine State', Florida is famed for its subtropical climate, world-class theme parks, exotic beaches and wilderness known as the Everglades National Park.
The state is almost entirely surrounded by pristine sandy beaches, one of the most famous of which is Clearwater Beach on the Gulf of Mexico coast. Clearwater is also one of the best places in America for dolphin watching, and is known for its exclusive beach-front hotels and parasailing activities. Another unspoilt beach is the Siesta Key in the vibrant resort of Sarasota, a favourite with honeymooners and shell collectors, while the man-made South Beach in Miami, adjacent to some of Florida's best nightlife venues, is the perfect place for Florida holidays and celebrity spotting.
The Walt Disney World Resort is the most popular vacation resort on earth and is now more than 27,000 acres in size. To give you some perspective, this equates to more than 13,000 full-sized football pitches, or approximately the size of Greater Manchester. Walt Disney World now welcomes more than 52 million visitors each year and is probably best known for its iconic Cinderella Castle, which overlooks the Magic Kingdom Park. Florida is also home to many other remarkable attractions such as SeaWorld Orlando and the Orlando Universal Studios, which help reinforce Florida's reputation as the theme park capital of the world.
Thanks to its warm, clean seawater, the Florida coast is particularly popular with snorkellers and is known for its outstanding aquatic life. One of the best destinations for Florida holidays and snorkelling is undoubtedly the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Underneath the water near Cannon Beach, visitors can witness the remains of an old Spanish ship while admiring the beautiful coral reefs and ray-finned fish.
The South Florida Museum is the place to visit if you're fascinated by prehistoric fossils and marine life. The venue exhibits the impressive Montague Tallant prehistoric collection, the state's colonial past, a special aquarium featuring the world's oldest living manatee, and a state-of-the-art planetarium with an interactive astronomy programme.
The Florida Natural History Museum, meanwhile, has one of the largest natural history exhibitions in America, showcasing millions of artefacts and specimens, with an emphasis on Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America. All museums feature air conditioning, which makes them an excellent choice for people looking to escape the hot Florida sun for a few hours and explore the state's illustrious past.
Florida is also featured in our guide to Where's Hot in December.
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