If sandy beaches, family fun, and an endless supply of sunshine sound like the perfect vacation for you, look no further than Florida! The Sunshine State has many faces, from the amusement parks of Orlando to the trendy beaches of Miami. You don’t need to escape to the Caribbean or beyond for some mid-winter rays; let VacationRentals.com show you how affordable a sunny getaway can be!

Whether you want to rent a beachfront villa or condo with a swimming pool, Florida vacations will put a big smile on the face of every member of your family. Any Florida travel guide will tell you that the first step is to choose an area of the state, and from there narrow down your options depending on what you’re interested in. Looking for peace and quiet? Head for Naples. Would you prefer the chance to go scuba diving? Choose the Florida Keys. With endless options for vacation homes, Florida truly is a renter's market!

What to Do in Florida

florida fishing

Northern Florida

Family Fun

Florida vacations will be filled with nature from Pensacola to Panama City. Spend your days building sand castles or splashing in the surf at one of the many beaches. Your family will love the opportunity to explore state parks and encounter wildlife. In Florida’s largest city, Jacksonville, treat your family to the live action of an NFL football game!

Adventurous Activities

Northern Florida is a great place to get your hands dirty. Any good Florida travel guide will tell you that this section of the state is great for fishing. If you’ve always wanted to teach your kids how to fish, why not give it a try on your next vacation to Florida? Some travelers might be looking to work on their golf swing as well. The variety of courses near Panama City will allow you to combine a beach and golf getaway.

A Little Romance


Allow steamy Florida to spark some romance on your next vacation. The Seville Quarter in Pensacola offers dining and entertainment in an old-world atmosphere. Leave the comfort of your own kitchen behind for a night or two and treat yourself to the fresh seafood and tropical cocktails available on Florida’s shore.

florida theme parks

Central Florida

Family Fun

There is a surplus of options for family fun on Central Florida vacations. Orlando, home of Disney World and other theme parks, has been luring families to the Sunshine State for decades. Beyond the traditional theme parks, there are also water parks, wildlife safaris, and restaurants designed especially for kids. For a day away from the theme parks, parades, and rides, relax by the pool at your vacation rental.

Adventurous Activities

Any good Florida travel guide will tell you that there’s much more to Central Florida than just Orlando. Beaches in Central Florida are just as famous as their southern neighbors: Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Bay. Plan a trip to see a race at the Daytona International Speedway, head out for 18 holes in Tampa, or set sail on the Sarasota Coast.

A Little Romance


Orlando has developed in recent decades to include more nightlife and a variety of dining options that will set the stage for intimacy. Peaceful Sarasota Bay and islands off the western coast offer great beaches for a sunset stroll while the food and wine of Tampa deliver big coastal flavors in a cozy atmosphere.

florida beach vacation

Southern Florida

Family Fun

Many people don’t think of family fun when they hear "South Florida vacations," but there is much more to this section of the state than the nightlife of Miami. The wide beaches of Fort Lauderdale are perfect for families. Warm waters will entice your family into swimming all year round. Bring your snorkel masks along, rent a kayak, or head for the Miami Zoo.

Adventurous Activities

Have you ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins? Make this dream a reality by planning a trip to the Florida Keys. The Keys are also the perfect place for scuba diving, kayaking, and windsurfing. With all the money you’ll save on vacation rentals versus hotels, treat your family to lessons for an adventurous activity they’ve always wanted to try. For even more thrills, head to the Florida everglades and hop aboard a boat tour to see alligators and crocodiles.

A Little Romance


South Florida specializes in romance. Whether you are strolling along trendy Lincoln Road in Miami’s South Beach or along the water’s edge on the peaceful beaches of Naples, South Florida has a passion that is palpable. With sexy hotel bars, sophisticated restaurants, and a cocktail at every corner, Miami is guaranteed to send sparks flying. Fort Lauderdale has great nightlife including live music, while Naples is ideal for watching the stars come out. Whatever your romantic style is, South Florida delivers.

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What to See in Florida

aquraium in florida

Northern Florida

Beyond beaches, seafood, and shopping, there is also plenty to see in Northern Florida. Your kids will be fascinated by the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola or the National Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville. There are also many interesting historical sites that are worth a look, including the Old Christ Church in Pensacola.

Central Florida

If you get a rainy day during your trip to Florida, don’t worry, there are several attractions that will keep your kids busy. The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is a favorite for both kids and adults. Unique fish, eels, octopi, and other marine life are all on display at this aquarium. For more wildlife, head for Lowry Park Zoo, also in Tampa. For an affordable alternative to Disney, check out Busch Gardens Amusement Park.

South Florida

South Florida may be known for nightlife and beaches, but there are many landmarks and wildlife worth a visit as well. The Florida Keys are home to a bird refuge where you can see pelicans and an incredible variety of birds. Swim with dolphins or grab your snorkel mask to see colorful fish. Literary fanatics will want to visit the home of Ernest Hemingway in Key West while architecture buffs will love the examples of Art Deco in Miami Beach.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Florida

florida shopping

Northern Florida

A Florida travel guide about food doesn’t always mention Northern Florida. However, they should, as restaurants in Northern Florida are serving some of the best fresh fish in the state. Pensacola has its annual seafood festival and is also home to some hip new restaurants. Try 600 South Wine and Martini Bar for a restaurant that has the critics talking. Southern hospitality is on display at restaurants in Panama City, often called "the seafood capital of the world." Try Boatyard, located on the Grand Lagoon, for its popular coconut-crusted grouper.

Florida vacations to the largest city in the state, Jacksonville, should definitely include some shopping. Start at the Shops of Avondale, where high fashion and eclectic choices come together in a variety of boutiques. Just try and window shop in San Marco Square without being lured into one of the stores. In Tampa, there are charming boutiques as well, including a popular one called Pink Palm.

Central Florida

Florida vacations in Central Florida might not be as gourmet as in Miami and South Florida, but there are still plenty of culinary temptations. Orlando has been developing as a culinary destination, and the food and wine festival each year at the theme park Epcot draws foodies from across the country. Try the Lucky Pelican in Sarasota for a flavor explosion or Catch-23 in Tampa for Latin-Caribbean fusion cuisine.

Shoppers beware: the outlets of Central Florida can become addictive. Florida vacations to Orlando must include a stop at one of the many outlet centers. Expect all the big brands from Ralph Lauren to Banana Republic to Coach. Some shops are outlets while others are factory stores, but either way, the prices are much friendlier than you would find at home!

florida seafood

South Florida

If you are looking to combine a beach and family holiday with some serious shopping and sophisticated cuisine, definitely choose South Florida. Miami Beach is home to more award-winning restaurants than you could ever sample during one vacation. One classic restaurant that is always a favorite in a good Florida travel guide is Joe’s Stone Crab. This institution on Miami Beach is less crowded for lunch, but at dinner you might see a celebrity or two. Other popular choices include restaurants along Lincoln Road, the Rusty Pelican, and Monty’s for a casual-beach atmosphere.

The shopping in South Florida is just as good as the food. If you’re looking for labels, Miami will be your shopping heaven. Designer stores are lined up in South Beach on the southern blocks of Collins Avenue, only a block away from the beach. For more designer labels head to the Village at Merrick Park on mainland Miami or Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. There are many cafés and cocktail bars in these areas for a refreshment after shopping as well.

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When to Visit Florida

Florida vacations can be planned all year long. Part of the attraction of the Sunshine State is its steady rays every month of the year. However, any good Florida travel guide will warn you about hurricane season. Officially lasting from June 1 – November 30, hurricanes are most likely to occur when the water is warmest, which is in August and September.

Florida vacations are especially popular during the months of December through April. During this time, temperatures are very pleasant and there is barely any humidity. Certain weeks during this period will be crowded, including Christmas, New Years, President’s Week, and Easter Week. If you are traveling outside of these key holiday periods, you should be able to find an attractive deal for a vacation rental. Summer can also be a popular time to visit Florida, but avoid July and August if you don’t handle hot temperatures and humidity too well.

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What to Bring to Florida

Florida vacations can take many forms: family, adventure, or sophisticated. If you’re headed to the beach, bring all your beach basics including bathing suits, sunscreen, sunglasses, and beach toys for the kids. Bring the same items if you’re planning a trip to Orlando, but also bring comfortable walking shoes, and a backpack or large purse to strap on during roller coasters. Miami will require some fancier clothes, so pack your best high heels, jewelry, and sundresses for this fashion capital. Naples is more laid back, but still with a few opportunities for a classy evening on the town.

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Local Services in Florida

Expect all local services in Florida to be available almost round-the-clock. In places such as Orlando, Miami, or Jacksonville you will be able to get anything you need, whenever you need it. Grocery stores will have long hours if you forget something for a dinner you want to cook in your own kitchen. Farmer’s markets are also popular in Florida. Banks and ATMs are widely available in all tourist destinations and beachfront towns, and post offices operate under normal hours.

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What to Know About Florida

The Sunshine State isn’t as big as some people think it is. If there’s one thing to learn from this Florida travel guide, it is that you can easily explore different areas in Florida during one trip. Book a rental in Orlando for a few days, and then head to the beaches of Sarasota. Treat yourself to a few days in Miami, and then cross to the Gulf Coast for a few relaxed days in Naples. Major highways connect all of the destinations in Florida, making it easy to explore with a rental car.

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Getting to Florida

Florida vacations are simplified by the sheer volume of international airports available in the state. Whether you are booking far in advance or last minute, there are usually deals available to Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, and Miami airports. Other international airports include Tampa, Sarasota, and Panama City. Domestic airports include Pensacola and Naples.

Many visitors also take advantage of Florida’s domestic location and drive. An excellent highway system makes traveling throughout Florida simple. You can drive the entire length of Florida, from Jacksonville to Miami in approximately five hours. Whether you drive from home or hop in a rental car upon arrival, having your own car is a great way to explore the state.

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Why Florida Vacation Rentals?

Florida is one of the best places in the continental USA for vacation rentals. The blend is perfect: extra space, less money, and close to a variety of amenities. If you want to save money and cook in your kitchen, there are plenty of grocery stores and fish markets to help you create a gourmet masterpiece. If you are looking for a bit more action with nightlife and fine-dining, this is available throughout the state as well. A beach vacation cooped up in a hotel room just isn’t the same as spreading out in your own private space. Hop in the car, pack the boogey boards, and you’ll have a trip to remember with a luxurious Florida vacation rental!

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