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FLORIDA ITINERARY: How to spend ten days in southern Florida

GUIDE: From the southernmost point in Key West and the alligators in Everglades to the crazy parks of Orlando and those old, rusty spacecrafts at Cape Canaveral – here is how to spend your days in southern Florida.

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MIAMI BEACH/ORLANDO, FLORIDA — The Sunshine state has something to offer any time of the year. In July, when it is hot, the whole state seem to vibrate, and the lights of Miami Beach glow at its brightest. And in January, if you arrive from the winter up north, Florida is still warm and welcoming.

The Traveling Reporter – in an attempt to pursue some off-season tourism – did a ten day drive around Florida in January 2013; below is our day-by-day itinerary. Using our Florida Itinerary, you’ll be able to see as much of southern Florida as possible, any time of the year.

 

Day 1: Art Deco Miami Beach

Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Photo: Traveling Reporter

Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Photo: Traveling Reporter

South Beach, Miami Beach, is our starting point, and the first day is used to check out the art deco hotels on Ocean Drive, lay on the beach (if the weather permits) and have a late lunch at Jerry’s Famous Deli on Collins Avenue.

There’s lots to see in Miami Beach, but few real attractions. We recommend that you actually enter some of the hotels, all with their own special history, as the lobbys are often as spectacular as the exterior.

Also, it’s southern point can offer spectacular views with ocean liners and cargo vessels passing by close to shore.

 

Day 2: Leaving Miami Beach

Residential neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Residential neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

We pick up our pre-booked rental car and hit the road. From the start, you’ll need to make a decision if you want to go north or south. We want to do both Key West and Orlando in our ten days, so planning is essential. We start off to the north, since we plan to fly back from Key West after having left our rental there (more about that later).

The next decision, going north, is which road to chose: The fast but boring interstate, or the scenic but slow coastal roads. Or even the Florida Turnpike, although it’s a toll road?

We choose the scenic coastal A1A, which passes through Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and several other places on its way towards Cape Canaveral, which is where we plan to make a left turn towards Orlando later on.

But before that, our first stop is Fort Lauderdale, in many aspects a nicer city than Miami with a rich yachting and boating culture, excellent beaches and beautiful canals dug among residential neighborhoods. Our advice, as you stop here for lunch, is to head inland beyond the beach and take a walk around the jettys and nice villas surrounding the city’s center.

Also, the mega fashion outlet Sawgrass Mills is closeby, so if you haven’t done uour shopping yet, this is the time. Take the Port Everglades Expressway west from the coast to get to Sawgrass Mills, which is on West Sunrise Boulevard. A warning, though: This place is so big that it will easily consume most of the day (and lts of money) if you go there…

We decide to continue north along the coast. Here, cities have grown together and it’s impossible to know when you exits one and enters the next. there are places to stop at and things to look at everywhere, although driving the coastal roads can be both exhausting and time-consuming. So we hit the gas to put some distance behind us.

Our next point of interest is West Palm Beach, where the über-wealthy live in their secluded estates behind walls of green bushes and closed gates. Passing by, you don’t really see that much. But somehow, it’s exhillerating to even drive by so much wealth. At least, we spot the vast luxury compound of Donald Trump.

Just north of Palm Beach, arond the city of Stuart, we manage to find a decent motel where we stop for the night.

Next: Entering the Space Coast

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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.