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Florida

 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FLORIDA

 

Known as the Sunshine State, Florida has something to offer everyone: sandy beaches, sports of all kinds, wildlife and bird-watching (as well as all the attractions & theme parks, of course!). The sub-tropical climate offers mild winters; and while summers can be hot and humid, spring and autumn provide the best weather of all, making it ideal for sports and sightseeing.

 

The state forms a peninsula at the south-east corner of the USA, and claims a coastline of more than 8,000 miles, with hundreds of sandy beaches, estuaries, lagoons and many off-shore islands (including the famous Florida Keys which extend from the Everglades National Park to a point just 90 miles from Cuba). On the Atlantic coast you will find Daytona Beach, and the Palm Beach/Miami area resorts; while on the west coast, you can choose between St Petersburg, Sarasota and a number of other resorts on the Gulf of Mexico. Fort Lauderdale, at the southern end of the Intracoastal Waterway, is nicknamed the "Yachting Capital of the World" and hosts an impressive display of waterborne craft alongside the elegant waterside homes.

 

Florida is well-known to most people for its citrus fruit - grown in amazing numbers and varieties with the benefit of more than 300 days of sunshine per year - but another crop, sugar cane, grown in the Everglades region, provides up to 50% of the raw sugar consumed in the whole USA.

 

The indigenous alligator is a favourite tourist attraction, but there is a wide variety of other wildlife to be seen: with such a diversity of water in the landscape, there are in particular many wetland bird species to be found. Four-legged creatures range from the cute (raccoons, marsh rabbits, bobcats) to the not-so-cute (armadillos, turtles, walking catfish). Endangered species include the manatee, tawny panther and Key deer. The Cape Canaveral National Park, in addition to the Kennedy Space Center, plays host to many animals and birds who benefit from the protection of the wide open spaces of this area.

 

Of course, you will also find cattle and horses in evidence, with rodeos regularly featuring in the "What's On" listings (and we’ve heard there's even a "ride-through" service at McDonalds in the cattle town of Davie near Fort Lauderdale). Horse-lovers will also enjoy a visit to the Ocala area (north of Orlando) where many thoroughbred racing stud ranches can be seen (and some are open to the public).

 

Disney World, Florida

 

Florida Aquarium, Tampa - courtesy of acobox.com

 

Universal Studios Florida - courtesy of acobox.com

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