Summer Travel in Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida
John Coletti/Getty Images

It's summer. The kids are out of school and it's time for the family vacation. While Florida is one of the top vacation destinations in the nation, summer travel in the Sunshine State can present some challenges—not the least among them is the heat, crowds, and budget-busting costs. If you're planning to travel in Florida during the summer, I've gathered some resources here that address these challenges to help make your trip a little easier... and a whole lot more fun!

01 of 06

The Best Ways to Get to Florida

Florida Maps
Compliments of Dawn Henthorn

Now let's decide exactly how you will be getting to Florida. Since gasoline prices and airline tickets are all over the place, deciding whether it is cheaper to drive or fly is getting more difficult. If you're in driving distance to Florida, make sure to check out the best routes, maps, and travel tips (SunPass is worth it). Otherwise, for those who live far away from the Sunshine State, it's probably smartest to fly to Florida.

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02 of 06

Florida Weather in the Summer

Rainy Day at Magic Kingdom

The Walt Disney Company

Florida's climate is among the best in the country, but the summer heat can be a killer and afternoon thunderstorms bring the threat of dangerous lightning. Learn more about Florida's climate and weather, average temperatures, heat index, average rainfall, and even hurricanes.

Elderly persons and small children, or persons who are on certain medications, overweight, or have an alcohol habit are particularly vulnerable to heat stress; it pays to know the heat stress symptoms and learn how to beat the Florida heat.

If you happen to get caught with a rainy day during your vacation, there are still plenty of things you can do in Florida when it rains.

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03 of 06

The Best Deals in Florida

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort may be a value-priced hotel, but it still offers plenty of amenities.

Universal Orlando

Although the summer is typically high season, you can find good rates depending on the area of Florida you plan on visiting. Most Florida schools begin in early- or mid-August. If you can travel later in August or beginning of September, there are more deals available (and less crowds too).

Going to Disney World? Disney's value resorts have the best rates, especially in late August and early September. The longer you stay, the more your savings with Disney's "Magic Your Way" tickets. You can also buy multi-park tickets to save some dough. Universal Orlando now offers value- and moderate-priced resorts. While we're no fan of the Disney on a Dime title, the book does deliver information and advice that will surely save you money on your next trip to Walt Disney World.

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04 of 06

Florida's Top Destinations

Daytona Beach Boardwalk

Daytona Beach CVB

It is hard to choose between all of Florida's amazing destinations. Of course, Disney World would be at the top of the list, as would Florida's best beaches. Here are a few ideas to help you choose the perfect vacation spot:

  • Disney World has become Florida's top vacation destination. It's easy to see why—it has a great selection of on-property resorts for every budget, four great theme parks, plenty of shopping, and world-class dining opportunities.
  • SeaWorld Orlando is the world's premier marine adventure park with nearby resort hotels for stay and play fun.
  • Universal Orlando is not just an attraction, but a resort too!
  • Daytona Beach is perhaps Florida's most famous beach. You can drive right on the beach and is known for its great surf.
  • Amelia Island may be one of Florida's best-kept secrets. It's got it all—friendly southern hospitality and a wide variety of activities, all within a small area. The island doesn't feel crowded though, remaining one of the most beautiful and natural areas in Florida.
  • If you need to get away for a few hours or a day, these Florida's day trips are perfect destinations.
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05 of 06

Cool Tips for Hot Summer Days

Typhoon Lagoon

The Walt Disney Company

If the Florida heat gets too intense (especially on days where it hits 100), consider a cool, indoor activity so you don't roast under the sun.

Cutting-edge virtual reality technology and classic Disney imagination await guests when they step inside DisneyQuest, a five-story, indoor interactive theme park where you can spend hours in air-conditioned comfort.

Florida's museums and science centers offer interactive displays and a glimpse into art and history of the state...and most exhibits are inside. You can even run away for a day at the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota!

Through a combination of both traditional and interactive exhibit areas, the World Golf Hall of Fame educates and entertains while paying homage to the game's greatest players and contributors.

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06 of 06

Water Wonderlands

Wet 'n Wild Disco H20

Wet 'n Wild Orlando

No state can match Florida's variety of water. The state has lakes, inlets, lagoons, rivers, streams, springs, an ocean, and a gulf—all accessible 365 days a year! It is no wonder that water sports are so popular and a great way to cool off on hot summer days.

Encounter the wonders of Florida sea life while visiting the Tampa Bay area at The Florida Aquarium. And, don't forget that Florida's water parks are a great way to cool off and have lots of splish-splashing fun too! Perhaps renting a jet ski is your idea of fun. Learn the ins and outs of renting a personal watercraft in Florida.