Florida is a peninsula in the southeastern part of the United States. It is nicknamed the Sunshine State as it is warm almost year-round. Winter is actually a popular tourist season as summers tend to get too hot for many travelers. Spring is also popular, especially among the teens and college students who visit Florida beaches to celebrate their spring break vacation. Also keep an eye on the weather forecast, as Florida is sometimes prone to hurricanes and thunderstorms. But don't forget to pack beachwear!
A top destination for hostel backpackers and families as well is Orlando and the surrounding attractions. Walt Disney World is definitely the most popular attraction in Florida, located just south of Orlando in Lake Buena Vista. Some hostels can help you arrange transportation between Orlando and the amusement parks, or at least point you to the correct bus stop. Walt Disney World is split up into four parks plus two water parks and a shopping center. There's something for everyone's interest, from zoo animals to international offerings. Other attractions in and around Orlando include Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Legoland, and Busch Gardens.
With so much coastline, Florida offers exquisite beaches and beach communities. Some of the best known and popular beaches line the eastern (Atlantic) coast of the state. These include West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and the surfing and partying destination of Cocoa Beach. Hostels and other budget accommodation are offered in most of these cities. St. Augustine is a popular destination for history buffs, as it's one of the oldest settlements in the U.S., with the Spanish first establishing a colony there in the mid 1500s.
On the west side of the state is the Gulf Coast, offering beaches with the whitest sand and bluest water, and a more relaxed atmosphere. Clearwater, located near Tampa, is famous for its Clearwater Aquarium featuring Winter, the world's first amputee dolphin with a prosthetic tail. Other Gulf Coast beach towns include St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Naples.
Miami and Miami Beach is a completely different experience than you'll find in the rest of Florida. Miami has a decidedly Latin flavor, due to its large Cuban immigrant community. Miami Beach itself is a mix of cultures, but has a strong vibe of wealth, beauty, and opulent style. Whether you're there for the food, shopping, the beaches, the exclusive clubs, or just people watching, you won't be disappointed. This is the place to go to find a party hostel in Florida if that's what you're looking for.
At the Southern tip of Florida, you will find Everglades National Park. This is a great place for nature enthusiasts to visit and explore the unique flora and fauna, especially alligators. If you're in the mood for an island excursion, you may want to visit one or two of the Florida Keys, such as Key West or Key Largo. The bridges that connect each of the islands all the way from the tip of Florida down to Key West make for quite a unique driving experience.
The cost for hostel accommodations and other activities in Florida will greatly depend on the time of year and location. Tourist destinations tend to provide hostels for a high price. Whatever your price range is, your time spent in Florida is certain to be worthwhile!
Hi, I'm Jessica Lippe,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Florida hostels. Welcome.
Everyone thinks of Orlando as the city with a lot of amusement parks, but actually the amusement parks are all located south of the city (mostly around Kissimmee). The city itself has a great downtown with a lot going on and it's worth checking out.
This was a fantastic place, loved the waterfall. Tour was really good, even swimming in the mangroves. I got to see a lot of wildlife -- apparently unusual for this time of year. I recommend the Everglades as a place to stay but you will need a car or hook up with friendly people.
Tampa is the only true city in Florida -- real people, no attitude, and great nightlife. Go!
Gainesville is mostly a college town, so if you're there you're probably there to do something related to the university, such as going to a game.
Miami Beach has great nightclubs that are open late. I didn't get much sleep but had fun!