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The “Sunshine State” is the southernmost point of the United States, extending to the Caribbean and Cuba. It was the first mainland region of the USA to be settled by Europeans – the Spanish landed in 1513, kicking off the American Frontier – but there is archaeological evidence of Native American settlements thousands of years before the explorers arrived. With millions of visitors each year, Miami is a well-rounded travel destination for young, single travellers, couples and families alike. The city is synonymous with Cuban culture, world-class beaches, sunbathers in string bikinis, and the bumping nightlife and architecture of its historical neon-lit Art Deco district. Orlando is another fun destination, particularly for families. Its main claim to fame is the many theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios but it’s a great starting point from which to explore other attractions like NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Fort Lauderdale was once a heavily-fortified camp and the scene of a battle during the Second Seminole War when settlers tried to remove the aboriginal inhabitants who had lived in the area for thousands of years. Now it’s a major holiday destination, with Venice-like canals that connect the Everglades with the Atlantic Ocean. Welcoming locals are laid-back, and it’s quieter than Miami. Take a ride on a luxury yacht and visit subtropical gardens and parks. Off the southern tip of the Florida peninsula are the Florida Keys, a great spot for diving (you might even spot dolphins, manta rays, sharks, pelicans and tropical fish). This string of tiny limestone islands was once only accessible by boat but are now linked by a long highway all the way to Key West, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Further west from the keys are the Florida Everglades. This is alligator country – best seen from the deck of a hovercraft – with shallow waters, teeming with unique wildlife, birds and floating flora. The Everglades are massive (more than 64,200 hectares) and can be accessed from three different points. Best for: Beach Bums; Couples/Honeymooners; Families; LGBTQ-friendly; Nature Lovers; Road Trippers; Cruising

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