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From beaches to theme parks, the sun shines for everyone in the "Sunny State".

Florida in short

In a nutshell:

Right in the south-east of the United States, far from the major metropolises of the east coast and even sunnier than the west coast, Florida seems to be a state created to satisfy the needs of holidaymakers... almost all year round!

Florida's nickname, the Sunshine State, came about quite naturally. A subtropical land of beaches, palm trees and hundreds of miles of golden coastline, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Apart from a few mood swings during the hurricane season (August-October), the sun shines relentlessly, and the mercury remains at its best even in winter: you can swim all year round in Florida!

Fort Lauderdale and Floride

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That's why so many of the peninsula's seaside towns have become so successful: Florida is a seaside destination dedicated to the beach and the sun. Tampa and its vast bay, St Petersburg and its museums, Daytona and its motor racing circuits or Fort Lauderdale and its cruises, each stop specialises in its own way... It's easy to forget that technically, the capital of the state is Tallahassee, and its largest city Jacksonville!

South Beach à Miami

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In fact, it is in Miami, Florida's flagship destination, that the character of Florida is most pronounced. A truly cosmopolitan city, marked by its Latino influences, trendy and festive, chic and gastronomic, bustling day and night, from Little Havana to South Beach. Simply unmissable!

Le parc à thème Universal Studios à Orlando

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Not far from there, in Orlando, the key words are fun and entertainment, but in a different register: theme parks! The imaginary and marvellous worlds of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are the most famous, like the first trees hiding a forest of theme parks attracting tens of millions of visitors to Florida every year.

The Keys archipelago

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But Florida is far from being a 100% urban state, where pleasures are confined to the city and the big eight. A striking example is the Keys archipelago, at the tip of which lies Key West. This string of magnificent islands is a veritable marine sanctuary, with coral reefs that are the perfect playground for scuba diving. Thousands of other islands and islets, some developed, some wild, dot the coasts of the Sunshine State.

Encounter in the Everglades, Florida

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Another of Florida's natural beauties is Everglades National Park. This vast wetland with its delicate balance covers south-east Florida, and is still a refuge for the area's astonishing aquatic fauna: alligators and manatees are its most emblematic inhabitants! John Pennekamp State Park and its mangroves, or the dream beaches of Gulf Islands National Park, in the far north, as is often the case in the USA, these large protected areas are a must for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

And even if Florida attracts the migration of countless retired Americans, or young revellers thirsting for Spring Break, sporting activities are omnipresent everywhere, from golf to surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, yachting or deep-sea fishing... Not forgetting the US sports pros: Nascar races, NBA or NFL matches, Florida spares no pleasure from theAmerican Way of Life... Welcome to the Sunshine State, the sunniest and most relaxed state in the United States!

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Walt Disney World Swan

The Walt Disney World Swan is located in the centre of the Walt Disney World Resort. The hotel features a beach, 5 outdoor pools and 17 restaurants and lounges.
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How to get there?

Thanks to its airport, Miami is the classic gateway to Florida, with direct flights from Paris. But Florida also has a number of airports linked to other major US cities by domestic routes: Miami of course, but also Orlando, Tampa, Key West, etc. It is therefore very common to have a connecting flight between France and Florida.

Where to stay?

The accommodation on offer in Florida, a particularly touristy state, is highly developed. But demand is high, so always book as early as possible!

You can choose between renting flats or houses, a wide range of hotels from simple roadside motels to large 5-star establishments on the beach, as well as boutique hotels, B&Bs, campsites of various sizes and, for those on a budget, hostels (youth hostels).

Practical information

When should you go to Florida?

Florida is renowned for its subtropical climate, where the sun shines and the weather is warm all year round. The best time to go is from March to August.

  • In summer, expect hot humid weather, especially in the south.
  • In autumn, the cyclone season presents a risk (August-October).
  • Winter is pleasant, cool in the north and mild in the south, and you can still go swimming.
  • Spring is warm and sunny, a pleasant season throughout Florida.

Formalities for entering the United States

The conditions for entering the United States are strict. Make sure you take all the necessary steps well in advance, and that you have the right papers:

  • A valid biometric or electronic passport is compulsory.
  • An ESTA electronic travel authorisation, which must be completed online before departure (approx. $15, valid for 2 years).


The currency is the US dollar (USD, $), which can fluctuate quite widely (small denominations are preferable).

There are plenty of exchange offices, but rates are higher at airports than in town. There is no problem withdrawing cash from ATMs and24-hour banking machines, which allow you to withdraw cash anywhere with any international credit card. Payment by bank card is widespread.

Time difference Florida :

There is a 6-hour time difference between Florida and France. When it is 12pm in Paris, it is 6am in Miami.

Transport: how do you get around in Florida?

The most popular means of transport is obviously the car, as is the case everywhere in the USA. All the major car hire companies are present in Florida, and prices are reasonable. Minimum age: 21, with a national and international driving licence. Make sure you have adequate insurance.

Beware of speed limits (55 mph most of the time, up to 75 mph on some motorways), as the police are very strict about this.

If you're pressed for time, use the domestic air links, which are faster than the bus and relatively inexpensive.

Florida: what to eat

Breakfast is still one of the highlights of an American's day. On the menu: orange juice, pancakes (thick pancakes drizzled with maple syrup), eggs, scrambled or fried, accompanied by bacon and grated and grilled potatoes, fresh fruit and cereals on a cloud of cold milk. TheAmerican coffee, often all you can drink, is rarely worth the diversions...

For other meals, take advantage of Florida for aseafood cure with fresh and delicious lobsters and crabs at affordable prices. And don't forget a host of fish such asmullet, served smoked or grilled with a squeeze of lemon.

More unusual, try alligator meat, which is quite similar to chicken. Enjoy grilled meats such as the traditional T-Bone steak, accompanied by a host of sauces.

For those who prefer a lighter meal, many restaurants offer all-you-can-eat salad buffets, again with a variety ofdressings. Go from the garlic and Parmesan flavoured"Caesar" to the"Blue Cheese", not forgetting the very exotic"1,000 (thousand) Islands". For quick meals, hamburgers or sandwiches are often a must.

For dessert, try the Floridian speciality of Key Lime Pie. Enjoy the original flavours of cheese cakes and ice-creams.

*Culinary influences in Florida : *

Apart from the classic American restaurants, enjoy Cuban cuisine with grilled pork or chicken, accompanied by black beans or manioc. You can also enjoy the aroma of a good Cuban espresso. Discover the flavours of Haitian and Latin American cuisine in general. There are also French, Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese and Jewish restaurants.


No specific vaccinations are required, but very good insurance/assistance is strongly recommended (care and repatriation costs), in the event of illness or accident, given the very high cost of medical care in the United States.


As in all major American cities, Miami is at risk of muggings. Avoid deserted and dark areas.

Hitchhiking is not recommended, especially for girls travelling alone. Be aware that there are police brigades specifically responsible for looking after tourists.

Laws and customs

The no-smoking law is strictly enforced. It is forbidden to smoke in all public places, official or private, such as government offices, airports, offices, waiting rooms, etc. Any offender must pay a fine.

Naturism and toplessness are prohibited, with some exceptions. Proper clothing, shirt and shoes are required everywhere, except on the beach, of course. Bermuda shorts are not frowned upon. People easily call each other by their first name.


The current standard in the United States is 110 V 60 Hz. Sockets have 2 or 3 flat pins, which means they cannot be used for French appliances. An adaptor is essential.


The prices of products displayed in shops are always exclusive of tax. State tax must be added. An additional local tax may be applied to hotels in certain towns, for a total that may vary from 11% to 14%.

Tipping is very common in the United States. Prices quoted in the service sector (restaurants, taxis) always exclude a tip: it is customary to add a 15% tip to the price quoted. If you pay by credit card, you should add the tip yourself and make up the final bill before signing.


To call Florida from France: 00 + 1 + city code (Miami and Key West: 305; Orlando: 812; Palm Beach: 561; Daytona Beach, Tallahassee and Pansacola: 904), + number of the correspondent.

From Florida to France: 011 + 33 number of the correspondent, without the initial 0.

lightbulb_outline Editor's tip

Unless you want to stick to Miami and its beaches or Orlando and its theme parks, you might as well take the time to spend at least two weeks in Florida, exploring its beautiful natural areas and islands.

Useful links
Florida Tourism Office

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