Certainly Florida's theme parks are a major draw for families, yet delve a little deeper and you will find the epitome of East Coast refinement.
The Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State is perfect for families and couples, with peaceful backwaters offering beautiful sandy beaches, calm seas and an array of activities perfect for spending time together. Have the best of both worlds and combine a few days at Orlando's theme parks with a relaxing stay in a luxurious gulf coast resort such as La Playa Golf & Beach Resort or Longboat Key Club & Resort. Explore more of what Florida has to offer below:
Everglades National Park
Even if you're not a wildlife enthusiast, the Everglades National Park is mesmerising. This substantial breeding ground for tropical wading birds attracts over a million visitors each year. Avoid the crowds and reserve your own private airboat with Carrier's Concierge for a personalised tour of these fascinating protected swamps, as you discover alligators, birds, eagles and plants.
Kennedy Space Centre
Explore NASA's launch headquarters, tour the launch and landing facilities and meet members of the Astronaut Corps. Gain a real sense of what it's like being in outer space as you take part in an Astronaut Training Experience.
Away from adrenaline-packed adventures at the theme parks, Florida has over 1200 miles of coastline to explore. The southern part of the Sunshine State promises more tropical weather, whilst the waters of the Gulf Coast are calmer and warmer than the Atlantic side. These include Miami Beach, buzzing with a vibrant Latino spirit; art and culture blending with music, dance and film. Popular with surfers, South Beach's smooth sands offer the perfect place to kick back and people watch, there are also family friendly beaches a little further north. When you tire of lounging, retreat to Collins Avenue where a mix of haute couture, retail markets, designer boutiques and outlets test the stamina of the most dedicated shopper.
Naples, Florida's luxury Gulf-side destination, is bursting with golf courses, gourmet restaurants and boutique shops. The blissful beaches with gently lapping waves firmly place this as one of the most romantic beach destinations in the States.
> Best place to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
Easily reached from Naples or Sarasota, Sanibel Island has the calmest shores in Florida. The pastime here is shelling - seashells cover almost every surface and are the island's claim to fame. The vibe is casual and seafood is an art, featuring grouper and stone crabs.
Florida Keys and Key West
On this coral archipelago on the southern tip of Florida, activities are focused around the tropical waters. Fish for a prize catch on a fishing charter, discover colourful tropical fish on a snorkelling trip or dive to explore a shipwreck on the ocean floor. Back on land, the pace is deliciously relaxed. Browse art galleries or museums, feast on fresh seafood, or simply sway on a hammock suspended between two palms. The tiny island of Key West at the end of the Florida Keys bursts with personality. Do as the residents do and go where your spirit takes you - visit the aquarium, sip a cocktail in a Duval Street bar, explore the Mallory Square boutiques or tour Ernest Hemingway's old home.
> Best place to stay: Cheeca Lodge & Spa.
The Palm Beaches
Home to America's millionaires, the Palm Beaches offer 47 miles of Atlantic coastline. From family beaches offering restrooms, changing areas, playgrounds and nearby nature centres to idyllic patches of white sand where you can relax and revive, there's something for everyone. Palm Beach County is the epitome of East-Coast refinement, offering everything from luxurious accommodation to celebrity chef restaurants and cultural attractions. It is a golf haven for every level of golfer, and spa lovers are more than catered for with a choice of world-class spas. Add Gatsby-era architecture, museums, theatres, shopping, lakes, waterways and pristine beaches - Palm Beach is the perfect escape at any time of year.