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First timers to Florida

Dublin, Ireland
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108 posts
55 reviews
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First timers to Florida

We are going on vacation to Florida in May for 2 weeks. We will be staying in Orlando for the first week and are looking for suggestions for the other week. We will be hiring a car and are flying home from Miami airport. Would like an area with shopping, nice beach, nice restaurants and bars but not too noisy at night! We are a couple 38 & 40 yrs of age and like a good time but also like to sleep at night.

We have looked at South Beach but it just seems a bit too brash and loud. What about Fort Lauderdale or Miami beach - any comments? We are also thinking of taking the airboat in the Everglades - any comments?

All suggestions would be appreicated!!!


orlando burb
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1,200 posts
52 reviews
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1. Re: First timers to Florida

treasure island, st pete beach, anna maria island, naples, sanibel on the west coast

vero, west palm, lauderdale, hutchison island, jupiter, on east coast

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2. Re: First timers to Florida

south beach is indeed very busy, brash, no parking, crowded, but very good people watching. i would suggest driving south from orlando down the west coast, jtborl had good suggestions for the area. just remember it is very crowded this time of year, make reservations when you can. never took an airboat though i see the airboat operators on 41 goin to miami, sorry. I would say to visit everglades national park though, and walk the tamiami trail. visit some state parks to get a better feel for natural florida- it would be sad to only see the cities! they look the same everywhere. remember to drink alot of water and use sunscreen- it's wicked hot here in may.

Liverpool, England
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for St. Pete Beach
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3. Re: First timers to Florida

There is more to Miami than South Beach you know, there are some lovely hotels and restaurants, the shopping is wonderful as you have all kinds of malls from the high end designer (Bal Harbour) to shopping malls/cinemas (Aventura) then further afield the huge outlet mall that is Sawgrass Mills at Fort Lauderdale. You don't have to stay on South Beach, there are so many hotels up and down Collins Avenue. We have just come back from the Fontainebleau Tower Suites and are going back in September.

We always fly to Orlando, end up in Miami then across Alligator Alley to somewhere on the Gulf Coast for the flight back from Orlando, as you are down there anyway I would stay a few nights.

You may also enjoy the Keys.

Other lovely places to visit include St Augustine when you are up Orlando end, or Naples further south. Fort Lauderdale is beautiful, you could stay there and visit Miami from there, it is quieter, again lots of good places to eat.

Wherever you end up I am sure you will return to Florida - we have been so many times now I have lost count!


Edinburgh, United...
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525 posts
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4. Re: First timers to Florida

We spend a few days in Miami each time we go. We stay up on Collins Avenue, at whatever hotel gives us the best price. Look at Virgin Atlantic website (the flights one not Virgin Holidays) you might find some good deals.

Travel down from Orlando via the Gulf Coast, Fort Myers is a good place to stop as is Naples. You can find some good hotel deals on the net or via www.roomsaver.com.

This year we are flying in and out of Miami, going right over to Naples for 3 nights then traveling up to Orlando spending a night in the Ellenton area for the mall there. 5 nights in Orlando and then back to Miami for rest & relaxation.

Have a great time, Floriday is holiday paradise!


Melbourne, Florida
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for Melbourne, Florida
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5. Re: First timers to Florida

Ft. Lauderdale has the Sawgrass Mills outlet mall which is very large, takes more than one day to explore the whole place. There are some other good malls in Ft. Lauderdale too. Nice restaurants and not too far from Miami Beach is you wanted to drive down, only about 30 minutes apart. Check the Ft. Lauderdale and the Miami Beach forums and you will find lots of info.

6. Re: First timers to Florida

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