Where else does one have access to all the major theme parks and amazing natural beauty, all within a five hour drive? Florida is a kid’s paradise when it comes to having the best backyard imaginable. With a few friends, about $150, inexpensive hotels and great deals (which abound year-round), great weekends are just a drive away.
The Mecca of tourists. Here we find Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Wet’n’Wild, Sea World, and little-known complex called Walt Disney World – which in itself comprises four major parks, countless resorts, three water parks and a public transportation system better than Miami’s. This, of course, is not counting all the lesser tourist attractions like Ripley’s Believe It or Not or Church Street.
Average entrance for any of the major parks is $50, and is likely to be the greatest expense on a weekend getaway. Hotels can be found for as low as $40 or $50 a night, so, split among two or three friends, it should not run you into the ground. Factor in $20 for food each day (we’re talking supermarket, here, kids, not going out), and you’re set.
Not as many options as Orlando, but also not as crowded and just as nice. Parks are limited to Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, but since both are owned by Anheuser-Busch, most likely, there will be a cheapening deal if you buy tickets for both.
Natural beauty abounds on each and every one of these small islands. Here, one can snorkel, dive, and even make the trek to one of the more remote islands for camping. One must not, however, neglect Key West.
Key West is the place with the most bars (and churches) per capita in the country. A few hours south on U.S. 1 lies the infamous Duval Crawl (on Duval Street – how clever…) and some amazing beaches. Besides drinking costs, a weekend here will cost next to nothing – the youth hostel is a mere $22.50 a night for non-Hostelling International members.
Definitely for the more rugged types. One and a half million acres of preserved wild fauna and flora definitely have their value, however, the temperature and the mosquitoes will, undoubtedly, be obscene. If that doesn’t faze you, make sure to arrange for a boat or kayak, since that’s the best way to experience this amazing national park.