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Self-Drive Discover Florida

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Overview

16nt Tour Begins & Ends Orlando: 3nts Orlando; 2nts Miami; 1nt Key West; 1nt Everglades City; 2nts Sarasota; 1nt St Petersburg; 1nt Crystal River; 2nts Wakulla Springs; 2nts Amelia Island; 1nt Saint Augustine.

Additional Pre-bookable excursion option: "Experience Package" which includes Zipline Safari (Day 3), Art Deco Walking Tour (Day 5), Fury Champage Sunset Cruise (Day 6), Kayaking in the Everglades (Day 8), Horseback Riding (Day 15) for €209 per person.

Details

Day 1

Fly from Ireland to Orlando
Arrive at Orlando International Airport, pick up your car and proceed to your hotel. Welcome to the Theme Park capital of the world! Enjoy an evening at Downtown Disney, with over 170 shopping, dining and entertainment facilities, everyone will find something fun to do. Or experience the exitement of an interactive dinner show, such as Arabian Nights. You will have four nights to enjoy the magic of Orlando.
Hotel: Seralago Hotel or similar

Day 2

Orlando
Today you have the choice to enjoy one of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks.
Magic Kingdom Park® - Meet Mickey Mouse and his friends in the Magic Kingdom® Park, where the fantasies of Walt Disney become reality with attractions for the young, and the young at heart. See Cinderella Castle at the top of Main Street, USA which shows America as it was nearly a hundred years ago. Visit Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square and Tomorrowland. See The Haunted Mansion and experience the thrill of riding Space Mountain. Make sure to visit Mickey’s Toontown Fair, THE place to meet Mickey and the gang in person. Enjoy the nightly fireworks spectacular featuring favourite Disney characters and a stunning music and lights display.
Disney’s Epcot® - Visit the two entertaining worlds of Epcot® (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). This Park is a showplace for the achievements of man, a tribute to innovation and imagination, and a fellowship of international culture. It consists of Future World and World Showcase. Future World features attractions such as Spaceship Earth, where you will experience a journey from the beginning of time to the electronic age. Ride Test Track, a high speed thriller that mimics actual vehicle testing conditions, sending you through breathtaking twists and turns. Explore all of Future World where innovation and invention entertain. World Showcase offers the cultures of eleven nations. The architecture and landscape change as you move from one country to the next. Taste the cuisine, shop and be entertained by distinctly different traditions. End the evening by watching Illuminations, a nighttime kaleidoscope of music and light.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® – Take off on an African Safari to encounter real elephants, lions, and herds of zebra and giraffe. Voyage millions of years back in time to rescue a dinosaur from extinction. Join characters from The Lion King in a celebration of the never-ending Circle of Life. Whether real, imaginary, or extinct, the animals who rule this domain bring to life a day of adventure.
Hotel: Seralago Hotel or similar

Day 3

Universal Studios® Florida – You’re the star at Universal Studios where you can ride the movies. Join the agents from “Men in Black Alien Attack” and zap aliens as you chase them through the streets of New York. Plunge into darkness on Revenge of the Mummy® a psychological thrill ride that combines special effects and speed. See Shrek 4-D an original 3-D film, with an added dimension where you will see, hear and feel the action right from your seat. Fly with E.T. on a star-bound bike as you help him save his home planet. You’ll find something that appeal to kids of all ages at the place where you become part of the movies!
Universal‘s Islands of Adventure® - Journey through five remarkable islands where all your favourite myths, legends comic books and cartoon heroes come to life. Enter a comic book city in the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man® a 3-D thrill ride, where you will battle evil and feel the adventure. Ride your couch through the pages of the famous children’s book “The Cat in the Hat!” on Seuss Island. Explore the Lost Continent® where you will find Dueling Dragons® the world’s first inverted dueling roller coaster. Experience all of the cutting edge rides and stories come to life at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
SeaWorld® Orlando – SeaWorld Orlando is a premiere marine adventure park. It features thrilling rides and amazing shows where the animals are the stars. Your feet will dangle on Kraken, the only floorless rollercoaster in Orlando. Meet Shamu, the famous killer whale in the sensational show Believe. Get ready for the ultimate adventure on Journey to Atlantis! Travel on water and high-speed rails through special effects and a 60 foot drop! Check out the current spectacle at the Sea lion and Otter Stadium, where Clyde and Seamore will be into some mischief. Make sure to include a stop at the dolphin nursery, where you can see up close new dolphin mothers and their calves. Experience the magic of marine life and the splendor of what lies beyond the ocean’s door.
Today’s Optional Experience
Zipline Safari (Experience Package): Prepare yourself for a tree-top nature tour like none other! This thrilling Zip Line experience allows you the perfect aerial vantage point to learn about Florida’s diverse ecosystems on a one-of-a-kind adventure. No persons under 18 allowed.
Hotel: Seralago Hotel or similar

Day 4

Orlando - Kennedy Space Center - Miami Beach (266 miles)
Leave the magic of Orlando this morning and head to Kennedy Space Center. This is the site of the American Space Program and NASA’s headquarters. At the Visitor Center, experience interactive simulators, live shows and close encounters with massive rockets. Meet a real member of NASA’s Astronaut Corps in the Astronaut Encounter. Make sure to see one of the IMAX space films on gigantic five-story screens. After a day of space exploration, continue to sunny Miami Beach. Miami is an international city, rich with a multi-ethnic culture which is reflected in the cuisine and architecture. The beaches are a great way to relax as you absorb the pastel buildings and turquoise waters. In the evening, take a short drive to South Beach’s Lincoln Road, this pedestrian-friendly outdoors Mall is home to ove 175 specialty shops, outdoor cafes, restaurants and galleries. For a special treat visit Ghirardelli Chocolatiers where you will be greeted at the door with a sample of their delectable chocolate; aside from the overhealming aroma of sweets in the air, the sheer size of the store is enough to impress even the premier chocolate connoisseur. Try one of their delicious shakes, malts, ice creams or baked goods.
Hotel: Dezerland Hotel or similar

Day 5

Miami
Warm breezes, swaying palm trees, and the sound of the waves washing ashore act as a backdrop for pastel-colored, Art Deco buildings making Miami’s South Beach a stunning and often intoxicatingly beautiful place. It has been called the American Riviera by seasoned travelers, but there’s more to this city than fine white sand and turquoise waters. World famous South Beach is home to fabulous shopping and restaurants, fashion shoots and filming of TV and movies. Walk along Ocean Drive and enjoy any type of cuisine you can imagine. Shop at Lincoln Road mall and take pleasure in 175 specialty shops and galleries. Learn more about the Art Deco Architecture by taking a walking tour of this district. At night, South Beach truly becomes “decadent” with scores of nightspots catering to both the adventurous and relaxed clientele. Consider a visit to Bayside Marketplace which offers unique shops and outdoor entertainment. Several types of boat tours also depart from Bayside Marketplace, including sightseeing cruises and party boats.
Today’s Optional Experience
Art Deco Walking Tour (Experience Package): Learn more about the Art Deco architecture by taking a walking tour of this historic district. Admire the exterior ornamentation of these landmark structures and explore the equally impressive interiors, at your own pace, while following detailed descriptions and learning a little bit of the history in your own custom-made guide booklet.
Hotel: Dezerland Hotel or similar

Day 6

Miami Beach - Florida Keys - Key West (170 miles)
Today, depart Miami Beach toward the tropical island paradise that is Key West. You will travel through the Florida Keys by way of the Overseas Highway, with its stunning vistas, via 42 bridges to the southernmost city of the continental United States, Key West for an overnight stay. There is always something happening in Key West. Specialty shops, outdoor cafes and restaurants line the streets. Take a ride on the Conch Tour Train for sightseeing and stories of the island. Visit the Ernest Hemmingway Home and Museum. Here you will discover where the author wrote and lived for more than ten years. Venture outdoors to meet one of the sixty cats, including some that have six toes! Tonight, walk along Duval Street to enjoy the festive atmosphere and sample a local favourite food, conch fritters. No visit to Key West is complete without taking part in the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. Performers, vendors and artists line the water’s edge to bid the daylight farewell.
Today’s Optional Experience
Fury Champagne Sunset Cruise (Experience Package): Toast the end of a perfect day in paradise as you watch the sun slowly disappear beyond the horizon aboard a Catamaran with champagne, beer and soft drinks included.
Hotel: Days Inn Key West or similar

Day 7

Key West - Everglades City (212 miles)
Depart Key West and drive to Florida’s natural side, the Everglades. Often called the “River of Grass” because of the slow moving waters and the abundance of saw grass, the Everglades is Florida’s premier nature spot. Unique plants and incredible wildlife inhabit this area, including the famous Florida alligator. This subtropical paradise is Florida’s best kept secret; here you can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, walking, bird and nature watching, and visiting historical places of interest. Sample the local fish in the restaurants; grouper, snook and stone-crab claws are some of the favourites. The area is centrally located for easy access to such places as Big Cypress, Shark Valley, Seminole State Preserve, and Fakahatchee Strand. Visit Shark Valley and take an airboat ride to discover this splendor firsthand.
Standard: Captain’s Table or similar

Day 8

Everglades City - Sarasota (157 miles)
Enjoy a bit of the everglades this morning before departing up the West Coast to Sarasota. Sarasota is home to some of the most spectacular sunsets and sandy beaches on the Gulf Coast. While it maintains the charm of a sleepy beach town, it is also recognized as a cultural center. This is a perfect time to relax, lounge by the swimming pool or take a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Hotel: Helmsley Sandcastle or similar
Today’s Optional Experience
Kayaking in the Everglades (Experience Package): Discover the timeless Everglades Backcountry. Kayak through sun-dappled mangrove tunnels and get up-close and personal with nature through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Day 9

Sarasota
Today, you can opt for a short trip to Historic Spanish Point, a fascinating 30-acre historical, archaeological and environmental museum. Overlooking beautiful Little Sarasota Bay, Historic Spanish Point was the first site in Sarasota County to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Experience prehistory by stepping inside “A Window to the Past”, an archeological exhibition about the gulf coast region’s earliest people. Stop at St. Armands Circle and shop in designer boutiques and lunch in one of the many eclectic restaurants. For a dose of nature, visit Selby Botanical Gardens which boasts more than 6,000 living orchids and other plant life. Mote Marine Aquarium offers a firsthand view of the indigenous sea life.
Hotel: Helmsley Sandcastle or similar

Day 10

Sarasota - St Petersburg Beach (75 miles)
Continue your journey this morning to St. Petersburg Beach home of pristine white sand beaches, clear gulf waters, warm sunshine, and plenty of hospitality. At the quieter end of the sunny Barrier Islands that stretch 28 miles along the Pinellas Peninsula’s Gulf shore, the beach town of St. Petersburg attracts romantics and families to its powdery sands. Activities in this area revolve around the beaches and calm waters; swimming, paddle boating, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet skiing are but a few. For a more relaxing activity, go shelling; hunt for that perfect specimen to take back home. Many sunset dinner and sightseeing cruises also depart from these shores.
Hotel: Postcard Inn or similar

Day 11

St Petersburg Beach - Crystal River (74 miles)
This morning depart St. Petersburg Beach and drive along Florida’s Nature coast. With its beautiful views, rivers and abundant wildlife it’s a joy to drive here! As you continue on your journey, make a short stop a Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town, before continuing to Crystal River for the night. Enjoy a true adventure at the Crystal River. Take a conoe ride and get up-close and personal with nature. Swimming with manatees is also a favourite activity at Crystal River. See these protected mammals up close! You can also choose to take a boat trip and see the manatees from a short distance.
Hotel: Plantation Inn & Gold Resort or similar

Day 12

Crystal River - Wakulla Springs (162 miles)
Enjoy your last morning at Crystal River and depart after lunch for a drive toward Wakulla Springs. You might catch a glimpse of the famous local residents of this area, the Florida alligator, as you head north-west toward the Florida pan handdle. You will spend two nights at Wakulla Springs Lodge. This lodge, surrounded by beautiful nature and built by Edward Ball in 1937, shows you Florida of the ’30. With its marble and handmade iron this lodge is a beautiful place to stay. The lodge is on the National Register of Historic Places. Enjoy the rest of the day at the lodge and its natural surroundings.
Hotel: Wakulla Springs Lodge or similar

Day 13

Wakulla Springs
Today, visit Wakulla Springs State Park. At 185 feet deep, Wakulla, is one of the world’s deepest and largest fresh water springs. The grounds are home to many nature trails and an abundance of wildlife. There are over 180 species of birds to watch and photograph. You can choose to take a glass bottom boat tour or take a swim, or maybe even do both! Another wonderful nature spot in this area is the Apalachicola National Forest; it encompasses more than half a million acres of bald-cypress swamp. View longleaf and slash pines that support the world’s healthiest population of woodpeckers, open savannas, and odd plants. Take a hike on the Florida Trail for an up close look at this natural wonder.
Hotel: Wakulla Springs Lodge or similar

Day 14

Wakulla Springs - Fernandina Beach / Amelia Island (217 miles)
Continue on your journey this morning as you traverse the Florida penninsula to reach the natural beauty of the Fernandina Beach / Amelia Island area for a two-night stay. Along the way you will drive through Osceola National Forest. This area is composed of nearly two hundred thousand acres of the original Florida waiting to be explored. The Florida National Scenic Trail winds its way through 23 miles of the Forest. There are twenty boardwalks on this hiking trail which offer dry views of swamps and wetlands. Well visible signes are posted along the road, feel free to make brief stops when you encounter them. Further on, Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island offer lovely natural beaches where you can spend time searching for unique sea shells and shark teeth. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and reconnecting with nature!
Hotel: Comfort Suites Fernandina Beach or similar

Day 15

Fernandina Beach / Amelia Island
Today, visit Amelia Island State Park. See 200 acres of pristine nature, beautiful beaches, saltwater swamps and forests along the coast. This park shows you the “real” Florida! Horseback riding on the beach and fishing are the main things that visitors come to do here. Have a relaxing afternoon picnic and enjoy the beautiful sights. During the evening take a walk or carriage ride through the forty historic blocks that line the downtown area of Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant seaport, and admire the elegant Victorian homes.
Today’s Optional Experience
Horseback Riding (Experience Package): Saddle up and take a ride on a gentle, well-trained horse and enjoy the beautiful beaches of southern Amelia Island.
Hotel: Comfort Suites Fernandina Beach or similar

Day 16

Fernandina Beach / Amelia Island - Saint Augustine (66 miles)
Leave Fernandina Beach behind this morning and drive to St. Augustine for your last night of the tour. Historic St. Augustine is the oldest permanent European settlement in the continental United States. Here, the blend of Spanish, English and American cultures come alive. Among the many points of interest is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a fortress which served as the city’s outer defenses. It is the oldest remaining European fortification in the continental United States. Explore the historic district with its cobblestone streets and interesting shops. There are many dining options in the Old City, including authentic pubs, gourmet bistros, waterfront terraces, and unique, casual cafes.
Hotel: Quality Inn Historic St. Augustine or similar

Day 17

St. Augustine - Orlando International Airport (125 miles)
Depending on your flight schedule you may choose to enjoy some more of this historic and charming city this morning before departing to Orlando. Another option is to stop briefly in Daytona Beach on the way to the airport. Daytona Beach has been depicted in countless movies; it is the only beach where cars are allowed to drive on the sand. It is also known as the home of the Daytona Speedway, one of the most well known and largest car race tracks in the US. Continue to Orlando International Airport.

Day 18

Arrive back in Ireland.

What's Included

  • Return transatlantic schedule flights
  • Economy size car rental
  • Hotel accommodation as specified, or of a similar standard
  • Welcome kit with comprehensive maps and day-to-day itinerary
  • Optional Experience Package for purchase see below for details



Additional Pre-bookable excursions: "Experience Package" which includes Zipline Safari (Day 3), Art Deco Walking Tour (Day 5), Fury Champage Sunset Cruise (Day 6), Kayaking in the Everglades (Day 8), Horseback Riding (Day 15) for €209 per person.

The weather information shown below refers to the first stop on the tour, call us and speak to one of our travel experts for the most up-to-date forecasts and weather details for your tour.

TODAY 32ºC
SUN 30ºC
MON 28ºC
TUE 31ºC
WED 29ºC
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average Temperature (Celsius) Average Rainfall (Inches)
24ºC
24ºC
27ºC
29ºC
32ºC
33ºC
34ºC
33ºC
32ºC
30ºC
26ºC
24ºC
2
2
3
3
3
8
7
8
6
4
2
3

Average Temperature (Celsius) Average Rainfall (Inches)

Jan
24ºC
2
Feb
24ºC
2
Mar
27ºC
3
Apr
29ºC
3
May
32ºC
3
Jun
33ºC
8
Jul
34ºC
7
Aug
33ºC
8
Sep
32ºC
6
Oct
30ºC
4
Nov
26ºC
2
Dec
24ºC
3

Book today

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Brendan White

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