You don’t have to be a travel expert to plan a trip to Florida, but there are some insider tips to know before embarking on a vacation to the Sunshine State. For starters, Florida isn’t all beaches and theme parks, though there’s nothing wrong with hitting both of those spots during your getaway. As a lifelong resident, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. Read on for 12 mistakes to avoid on your next Florida vacation.
1. Only Spending Time at the Beach
There’s no doubt that Florida’s beaches are world-class. However, failing to venture beyond the coast and deeper into Florida’s vast array of offerings is one of the biggest mistakes visitors can make.
Inland Florida will impress even the most outdoorsy and adventurous of nature lovers — there’s abundant wildlife in the Everglades, state parks, even an underwater national park — and the state is peppered from coast to coast with museums, festivals, and other unique experiences.
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales boasts 250 acres of lush gardens plus a bell tower, the historic streets of St. Augustine transport visitors back in time, Lion Country Safari in the Palm Beaches is akin to embarking on a self-driven African safari, and quaint towns like Mount Dora beckon with hometown charm. You can even watch a NASA rocket launch at the Kennedy Space Center.
The beach is a highlight of any Florida vacation, but don’t miss out on all the offshore adventures that await, too.
2. Or, Conversely, Not Spending Any Time at the Beach
If you plan a trip to Florida with no beach day on the itinerary, you’re doing it wrong. There’s a lot to love about the state beyond its sandy stretches, but that doesn’t mean you should leave the beach out of your vacation altogether. The beach is one of Florida’s main attractions and skipping it will leave your trip will incomplete. Plus, with over 600 miles of beaches in Florida, you’re guaranteed to find one that’s perfect for you.
3. Assuming It’s Always Warm and Sunny
Yes, Florida is the Sunshine State, but the weather isn’t always perfect. Winters can get chilly, especially in northern Florida, and in the summer months, expect a thunderstorm every afternoon like clockwork. It’s a fact of life during Florida summers, and it doesn’t have to dampen your plans — these squalls form, storm, and pass, usually departing as quickly and unexpectedly as they arrive. Just don’t forget to factor them in, and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.
4. Forgetting Sunscreen
It’s not always sunny in Florida, but due to the state’s location near the equator, the sun’s rays are powerful, even on overcast and cloudy days. Getting a sunburn is a quick, painful, and entirely avoidable way