Compared to the rest of Florida, the central region is quite hilly though bear in mind that the highest point in Florida is only 340 feet (104 m) above sea level. What is more, no part of Florida is more than 62 miles (100 km) from the coast.
Some 80 million visitors come to Florida each year and over half of them head for Orlando and the theme parks, but central Florida is also home to many citrus groves and cattle ranches which suit the climate with hot summers and mild winters.
Home to the largest theme park in the world, the Walt Disney World Resort was started in 1963 by Walt Disney when he bought up 45 square miles (120 sq km) of swamp and scrub land.
Forty years on and it is still growing and now consists of the original Magic Kingdom, Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow), Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios), Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
Around it have blossomed a number of other theme parks including Universal Studios and SeaWorld. The number of visitors to Orlando continues to rise and is fast approaching 1 million visitors per week!
Read more about Orlando.
Kissimmee and St. Cloud
Kissimmee retains some of its old cowboy and cattle ranching roots with its annual rodeo at the Silver Spurs Rodeo. Nowadays most people know the area for its abundance of hotels, condos and villas and proximity to Disney World and the other Orlando attractions.
The aptly named Winter Garden, a few miles west of Orlando on the shores of Lake Apopka, has undergone a transformation in the last few years and now boasts a beautifully preserved historic district.
This part of the coast is known as the ‘Space Coast’ in recognition of the importance of the John F Kennedy Space Center, home to NASA’s manned space programme. NASA restarted the space shuttle programme in 2006 with the launch of Discovery STS–114.
Cocoa Beach has a long stretch of golden sands and refreshing sea breezes; a good place for a family beach holiday. No visit to this part of the coast would be complete without a visit to the world famous Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, open 24 hours a day.
In the past, the long flat sands of Daytona have hosted car races and world land speed attempts. Today you can drive your own car along a 20 mile (35 km) stretch of the beach during the summer.
Daytona Beach also has the Daytona Beach Boardwalk with the newly opened Sand Blaster roller coaster.
During March, upwards of 100,000 students descend on Daytona Beach for Spring Break.