17-Night Fly Drive
Explore the Sunshine State and see Florida from a different perspective. Enjoy the beautiful parks, beaches, and forests. Play in Orlando and hike, bike, or canoe through the natural beauty of the real, unspoiled Florida.
Explore Florida’s best as you travel from the theme parks of Orlando to the southernmost point in the United States, Key West. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Everglades and marvel at the colourful side of Miami Beach. Discover nature at Wakulla Springs and Amelia Island and have fun on the sun-drenched beaches of the Gulf Coast.
Day 1: Welcome to Orlando
Arrive at Orlando International Airport and proceed to your hotel. Welcome to the Theme Park capital of the world! Enjoy an evening at Downtown Disney, with over 170 shopping, dining and entertainment facilities, everyone will find something fun to do. Or experience the excitement of an interactive dinner show. You will have three nights to enjoy the magic of Orlando.
Day 2-3: Experience Orlando
For the next three days you can choose your itinerary from the numerous attractions this city has to offer. Most travellers, especially those with children, know about its largest parks – Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom; Universal Orlando’s Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure; and several SeaWorld’s SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando and Discovery Cove. Make the most of your stay by pre-buying your tickets with us.
Day 4-5: Kennedy Space Centre and Miami
Leave the magic of Orlando this morning and head to Kennedy Space Centre. This is the site of the American Space Program and NASA’s headquarters. At the Visitor Centre, experience interactive simulators, live shows, and close encounters with massive rockets. Meet a real member of NASA’s Astronaut Corps in the Astronaut Encounter. Make sure to see one of the IMAX space films on gigantic five-story screens. After a few hours of space exploration, continue to sunny Miami Beach. You will have two nights to experience colourful Miami.
Miami is an international city, rich with a multi-ethnic culture which is reflected in the cuisine and architecture. The beaches are a great way to relax as you absorb the pastel buildings and turquoise waters. In the evening, take a short drive to South Beach’s Lincoln Road, this pedestrian friendly outdoors Mall is home to over 175 specialty shops, outdoor cafes, restaurants, and galleries. For a special treat visit Ghirardelli Chocolatiers where you will be greeted at the door with a sample of their delectable chocolate; aside from the overwhelming aroma of sweets in the air, the sheer size of the store is enough to impress even the premier chocolate connoisseur.
Suggested Excursions: Learn more about the Art Deco architecture, the unique Wynwood Graffiti district, step into another world in Little Havana or experience the culture, history & hidden culinary delights of South Beach by taking a walking, biking or even Segway tour.
Day 6-7: Florida Keys
Today, depart Miami Beach toward the tropical island paradise that is Key West. You will travel through the Florida Keys by way of the Overseas Highway, with its stunning vistas, via 42 bridges to the southernmost city of the continental United States, Key West for an overnight stay. There is always something happening in Key West. Specialty shops, outdoor cafes and restaurants line the streets. Take a ride on the Conch Tour Train for sightseeing and stories of the island. Visit the Ernest Hemmingway Home and Museum. Here you will discover where the author wrote and lived for more than ten years. Venture outdoors to meet one of the sixty cats, including some that have six toes! Tonight, walk along Duval Street to enjoy the festive atmosphere and sample a local favourite food, conch fritters. No visit to Key West is complete without taking part in the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. Performers, vendors, and artists line the water’s edge to bid the daylight farewell. You will have two nights to relax and experience tropical Key West.
Suggested Excursions: Toast the end of a perfect day in paradise as you watch the sun slowly disappear beyond the horizon aboard a Catamaran with champagne, beer and soft drinks included.
Day 8: The Everglades Park - Florida City
Depart Key West and drive to Florida’s natural side, the Everglades. Often called the “River of Grass” because of the slow-moving waters and the abundance of saw grass, the Everglades is Florida’s premier nature spot. Unique plants and incredible wildlife inhabit this area, including the famous Florida alligator. This subtropical paradise is Florida’s best kept secret; here you can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, walking, bird, and nature watching, and visiting historical places of interest. Sample the local fish in the restaurants; grouper, snook and stone-crab claws are some of the favourites. You will spend just one night in Florida City to experience the Everglades. Florida City is one of the two main entrances to the Park. From there you will have easy access to the Ernest Coe Visitor Centre in Homestead.
Day 9-10: Sarasota
Enjoy a bit of the Everglades this morning before departing up the West Coast to Sarasota. On your way there you will have easy access to such places as Shark Valley, Big Cypress, Seminole State Preserve, and Fakahatchee Strand. Visit Shark Valley and take an airboat ride to discover this splendour first-hand.
Sarasota is home to some of the most spectacular sunsets and sandy beaches on the Gulf Coast. While it maintains the charm of a sleepy beach town, it is also recognized as a cultural centre. This is a perfect time to relax, lounge by the swimming pool or take a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. You can opt for a short trip to Historic Spanish Point, a fascinating 30-acre historical, archaeological, and environmental museum. Overlooking beautiful Little Sarasota Bay, Historic Spanish Point was the first site in Sarasota County to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Stop at St. Armands Circle and shop in designer boutiques and lunch in one of the many eclectic restaurants. For a dose of nature, visit Selby Botanical Gardens which boasts more than 6,000 living orchids and other plant life. Mote Marine Aquarium offers a first-hand view of the indigenous sea life. You will have two nights to experience Sarasota.
Day 11: St. Petersburg Beach
Continue your journey this morning to St. Petersburg Beach home of pristine white sand beaches, clear gulf waters, warm sunshine, and plenty of hospitality. At the quieter end of the sunny Barrier Islands that stretch 28 miles along the Pinellas Peninsula’s Gulf shore, the beach town of St. Petersburg attracts romantics and families to its powdery sands. Activities in this area revolve around the beaches and calm waters; swimming, paddle boating, kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, and jet skiing are but a few. For a more relaxing activity, go shelling; hunt for that perfect specimen to take back home. Many sunset dinner and sightseeing cruises also depart from these shores.
Suggested Excursions: Go beyond a typical aquarium experience and explore the world of marine life rescue. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to Winter the dolphin, star and inspiration of the popular Hollywood-produced Dolphin Tale movies that tell her story of determination after losing her tail to injury.
Day 12: Crystal River
This morning depart St. Petersburg Beach and drive along Florida’s Nature coast. With its beautiful views, rivers, and abundant wildlife it is a joy to drive here! As you continue on your journey, make a short stop a Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town, before continuing to Crystal River for the night. Enjoy a true adventure at the Crystal River. Take a canoe ride and get up-close and personal with nature. Swimming with manatees is also a favourite activity at Crystal River. See these protected mammals up close! You can also choose to take a boat trip and see the manatees from a short distance.
Day 13-14: Wakulla Springs
Enjoy your morning at Crystal River and depart after lunch for a drive toward Wakulla Springs. You might catch a glimpse of the famous local residents of this area, the Florida alligator, as you head north-west toward the Florida Panhandle. You will spend two nights at Wakulla Springs Lodge. This lodge, surrounded by beautiful nature and built by Edward Ball in 1937, shows you Florida of the ’30. With its marble and handmade iron this lodge is a beautiful place to stay. The lodge is on the National Register of Historic Places. Enjoy the rest of the day at the lodge and its natural surroundings.
While there, you can visit Wakulla Springs State Park. At 185 feet deep, Wakulla, is one of the world’s deepest and largest freshwater springs. The grounds are home to many nature trails and an abundance of wildlife. There are over 180 species of birds to watch and photograph. You can choose to take a glass bottom boat tour or take a swim, or maybe even do both! Another wonderful nature spot in this area is the Apalachicola National Forest; it encompasses more than half a million acres of bald-cypress swamp. View longleaf and slash pines that support the world’s healthiest population of woodpeckers, open savannas, and odd plants. Take a hike on the Florida Trail for an up-close look at this natural wonder.
Day 15-16: Fernandina Beach /Amelia Island
Continue on your journey this morning as you traverse the Florida peninsula to reach the natural beauty of the Fernandina Beach / Amelia Island area for a two-night stay. Along the way you will drive through Osceola National Forest. This area is composed of nearly two hundred thousand acres of the original Florida waiting to be explored. The Florida National Scenic Trail winds its way through 23 miles of the Forest. There are twenty boardwalks on this hiking trail which offer dry views of swamps and wetlands. Well visible signs are posted along the road, feel free to make brief stops when you encounter them. Further on, Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island offer lovely natural beaches where you can spend time searching for unique seashells and shark teeth. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and reconnecting with nature!
While there, you can visit Amelia Island State Park. See 200 acres of pristine nature, beautiful beaches, saltwater swamps, and forests along the coast. This park shows you the “real” Florida! Horseback riding on the beach and fishing are the main things that visitors come to do here. Have a relaxing afternoon picnic and enjoy the beautiful sights. During the evening take a walk or carriage ride through the forty historic blocks that line the downtown area of Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant seaport, and admire the elegant Victorian homes.
Day 17: St. Augustine
Leave Fernandina Beach behind this morning and drive south to St. Augustine for your last night of the tour. Historic St. Augustine is the oldest permanent European settlement in the continental United States. Here, the blend of Spanish, English and American cultures come alive. Among the many points of interest is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a fortress which served as the city’s outer defences. It is the oldest remaining European fortification in the continental United States. Explore the historic district with its cobblestone streets and interesting shops. There are many dining options in the Old City, including authentic pubs, gourmet bistros, waterfront terraces, and unique, casual cafes.
Day 18: Orlando
Depending on your flight schedule you may choose to enjoy some more of this historic and charming city this morning before departing to Orlando. Another option is to stop briefly in Daytona Beach on the way to the airport. Daytona Beach has been depicted in countless movies; it is the only beach where cars are allowed to drive on the sand. It is also known as the home of the Daytona Speedway, one of the most well-known and largest car race tracks in the US. Continue to Orlando International Airport for your flight home.
Total Price: £2798 Deposit: £399pp
Includes: Flights, Transfers, Accommodation
Departs: London Gatwick
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