The tips on this page are designed to help you get the most out of your Florida vacation. We've got advice for fun at the beach, how to have a thrilling theme park visit and general tips to help you have an unforgettable Florida vacation.
Try to plan what you want to see and do in advance, but don't overschedule.
Bring plenty of film because Florida is filled with photo ops. Most "disposable" cameras will produce great pictures if you're outdoors.
Use sunscreen, wear a hat and drink plenty of water when you're outdoors, even if you're not at the beach or pool.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, especially if you're visiting a theme park.
Take a break or do something indoors (visit a shopping mall or go to a movie) during the hottest part of the day.
Keep an eye out for coupon books and discounts for theme parks, attractions, restaurants, etc. Most hotels have racks filled with coupons in their lobbies and some also sell discounted tickets.
Ask about discounts for seniors, students, Florida residents, etc., at theme parks and attractions.
Take advantage of the free transportation that many hotels offer to nearby attractions.
Enjoy the Florida wildlife, but don't get too close to the animals.
Use beach-access walkways to protect the dunes and don't collect any live seashells, seabirds, turtles, etc.
Making the most of your Florida vacation
Here's some general information to help make your Florida visit more enjoyable and memorable:
Thrilling theme park tips
Follow these tips to get the most out of your Florida theme park visit:
Arrive early, at least one-half hour before opening. Some parks will allow you to enter even earlier. You will not be able to get on the rides early, but you might be first in line.
Most parks use characters and/or colors to label their parking lot sections. Remember where you park, even if you have to write your section's name down.
Ask the ticket taker for the location of the tip board and get a park map.
You'll want to have a plan to get to see as much as possible. Use the park's map and tip board to help you plan your day.
Don't follow the crowd. Many people will go to the right and move clockwise throughout
the park. Check into going left and moving counterclockwise.
Plan on mixing outdoor rides with indoor or cooler water rides in each section of the park. Mix in rides that give you lots of sitting time, between the rides where you'll be standing in line for long periods of time.
Check out the tip board for parade routes, character appearances, time and other helpful information on rides such as wait times, hours open, height, age and health restrictions.
Agree on a meeting place if you get separated.
If you love a parade, stake out your spot early since they usually draw crowds.
Picking a spot toward the beginning of the parade will provide you a jump on everyone else. You will have finished watching the parade and made it to the most popular rides while most of the crowd is still watching the parade.
Eat a good breakfast before you get to the park. Once there, try to eat earlier or later than most. Eat while the restaurants are empty and everyone else is on the rides or watching a parade.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Pay attention to ride height and health restrictions.
When buying souvenirs, remember you might have to carry them around all day. Check with the park to see if there are any other options available before you get too loaded down.
You might hold off your purchases until the end of the day. Many parks will close their rides, but still leave their shops open for a while. This will also allow the parking lot some time to thin out.
If you think you've had enough and it's time to leave, get your hand stamped. A little rest, a shower and you might feel like returning, especially since it cools off a little after sunset and the crowds thin out. Most of the parks have a grand finale show such as a big parade, light show, and fireworks or live action thriller. These are often spectacular and if you can't make the whole day, you might consider coming back so you don't miss one of the best parts of the park. You'll want to keep your ticket and parking pass since most parking passes are good for the whole day.
Fun in the sun
Follow these tips as you enjoy sun, fun, sand and surf in Florida:
Avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the sun's rays.
Apply sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15, paying special attention to the face, nose, ears and shoulders.
Wear a hat.
Wear sunglasses with UV (Ultraviolet) Protection.
Drink plenty of water and non-carbonated drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.
Wear foot protection while walking on the beach.
Always stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
Never swim alone.
If you get caught in a current, don't try to swim against it, swim gradually out of the current by swimming parallel to the shore until clear of the current.
Always keep an eye on your children.