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Best of Both: Exploring Florida

Best of Both: Exploring Florida

When booking a holiday, it’s often the case that you have a few clear ideas for what you’d like to do, and then you have to choose between them. Well, that’s certainly not the case if you opt for a Multi-centre Holiday. You can choose several destinations and stitch them all together into one trip.

Fancy enjoying vineyard tours for a few days and then hitting the beach? Maybe you want to spend time on hair-raising roller coasters followed by a more relaxing bit of retail therapy to round out your week? All of these things are possible – just ask for a tailor-made itinerary to be put together just for you, by completing a quote and call back request.

If you want to take your kids on a multi-centre trip for 14 nights in Florida, for example, it could go something like this...

 

Stop 1: Orlando – International Drive

Visit an upside-down building, ride some of the world’s best roller coasters, and then finish it all off with a Pirate’s Dinner Adventure!

 

Day 1

Fly from London Gatwick or Manchester on a daily basis, or twice weekly from Glasgow. Once at the airport, you can head to the v-room and relax before your Virgin Atlantic flight to Orlando.

When you deplane, head to your hotel, the Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, on International Drive. This place really goes out of its way to keep you and the kids amused, with lively karaoke nights in the Zebra’s Sports Bar & Grille, where food’s served until midnight (it helps with jet lag). And to top it all off, the Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando has three swimming pools!

 

Day 2

Hold tight! It’s time to hit Walt Disney World Resort. How many different parks can you handle? Magic Kingdom® is the classic, with six different lands of musical parades; thrill rides, and shows in the company of the Walt Disney World Resort cast of characters. There are gentle rides such as Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin®, as well as more hands-in-the-air experiences like Splash Mountain® and Space Mountain®.

 

Day 3

Still within the Walt Disney World Resort, the world famous Epcot centre is well worth a visit after all those rides. It’s a more relaxed experience and one that is as much about learning as it is about fun. The overarching theme is one of celebrating the human spirit and this translates into two realms to explore. Future World showcases mind-blowing technological innovations, while World Showcase consists of a staggering display of global culture and cuisine.

 

Day 4

Can you ever have too much Disney? Why not head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios® and bring the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age back to life. The whole park is based around exploring your favourite TV shows and films – and this is done through interactive experiences such as The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow and rides like Star Tours The Adventure Continues, as well as more traditional attractions such as the American Film Institute Showcase, which displays hundreds of classic movie props, costumes and relics from decades of popular cinema.

 

Day 5

Time to cool off with an aquatic experience. Head over to Wet ‘n’ Wild® Orlando - it’s a water park, but one with a dazzling array of different saturating rides and experiences. The best bit? There are loads of group rides. So you can enjoy watery in-line tobogganing, a splashy trip down a ruptured pipeline, or (bizarrely) a nautical adventure into a ’70s disco, with friends or family.

 

Day 6

After all those parks, a spot of shopping might be in order. Orlando offers a massive variety of options. The Mall at Millenia has a large selection of upscale boutiques including great brands such as Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch and 7 For All Mankind. While nearby Neiman Marcus takes it a notch higher, with luxe offerings from Saint Laurent, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin. One of our favourite shopping experiences is to be found at the Orlando Premium Outlets. You’ll find Prada, Hugo Boss, Burberry and Marni (among many others) at significant discounts. Definitely worth a look.

 

Day 7

Okay, retail therapy out the way, it’s time to ramp the excitement back up with a trip to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. And of course, as you booked your tickets when you booked your Virgin holiday, you can start your day at the park an hour earlier than regular park opening times. It boasts a dizzying selection of the world’s most cutting-edge rides, shows and interactive attractions. There’s the chance to face off against a T-Rex in Jurassic Park®, meet The Avengers on Marvel Super Hero Island®, and hit 40mph in two seconds flat on The Incredible Hulk Coaster®.

 

Day 8

You might want to head to Cocoa Beach for a morning of fun in the sun. Located on Florida’s beautiful Space Coast, it’s the ideal place to go deep-sea fishing, take a fascinating eco-tour, or just grab a corndog and a beer and go for a paddle.

Then it’s time to drive the hour and a half to your next stop on your tour of fun: Clearwater.

 

Stop 2: St Pete/Clearwater

Now you’ve driven from Orlando down to the North Gulf Coast, you can continue the fun. Check in at your hotel – the Marriott Suites on Sandkey, Clearwater – a bayfront paradise where watersports are a big part of everyday life. Kite surfing, windsurfing, snorkelling, paddling and cruising on various watercraft are favourites to enjoy on the waterways.

 

Day 9

When the sun comes up, the fun begins at Clearwater, a perfect destination for every beach lover. On your first day here, you’ll probably fancy a day of relaxation. So why not head to The Beach Walk. The sand is fine and light and it’s put to good use by the locals who create wonderful sand sculptures. There are shops and restaurants to visit and the sunsets are marvellous.

 

Day 10

Time to step it up a gear and get involved in some water activities. A trip on the Sea Screamer will provide an exciting time and big laughs for all the family. At 72 foot long, it’s the world’s largest speedboat and as you cruise the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the playful dolphins who can’t help but ride the waves beside the you.

 

Day 11

Fancy something different? You could drop by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to learn about bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles and you’ll even get the chance to meet Winter, the rescued tailless Dolphin and star of Hollywood hit Dolphin Tale. Or you could go to downtown St Pete, where you can visit the Dali Museum with its unparalleled collection of Salvador Dali’s art work.

 

Day 12

For more activities, visit Fort De Soto where you can ride, skate or jog the 7-mile paved trail, or kayak through the lush mangroves. However, if you want more of a relaxing day, then a visit to Sand Key Park is in order. Coarser sand than at Beach Walk means there’s plenty of shells for the kids to collect. It’s a quieter beach too, so rent a deckchair and unpack that picnic... it’s time for a snooze.

 

Day 13

On your final day, you might want to do something special. Calypso Queen Cruises will take you on a wonderful sightseeing trip of the beautiful Clearwater Harbour, lunch or dinner included. Enjoy a spot of mango-glazed chicken and listen as the captain explains all the points of interest in this fascinating region.

 

Day 14: Orlando – London, Manchester, or Glasgow

Boo hoo! It’s time to fly home with a bag full of grins and amazing memories. Your kids will probably high-five you for the whole flight back.

 

Check out all of our Florida holidays »

Tagged in:

  • Multi-centre
  • Florida
  • City and shopping breaks
  • Orlando
  • Beach
  • Through the eyes of a local
  • Family fun
  • Disney
  • Gulf Coast
09 Jun 2016 | Jamie Hibbard