If you like the idea of staying in a hotel as opposed to self catering in a villa or condominium but like a more personal service and informal environment, then why not consider one of Florida's inns or bed and breakfasts (B & Bs), sometimes called "homestays".
Even if you plan on spending most of your time in Central Florida visiting the theme parks, you can still find bed and breakfasts only a short drive from Walt Disney World and Orlando
There are hundreds of individual inns and bed and breakfast establishments throughout the state of Florida ranging from small historic hotels and homes to romantic getaways and beach-side cottages offering real Southern hospitality.
Historic Florida Inns
Many of the inns and bed and breakfasts date back to the late 1800s/early 1900s and are located in historic districts and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A lot of these historic properties have been painstakingly restored and are full of character and decorated with beautiful period furniture; a far cry from most people's perception of the 21st century image of Florida's hotels, motels and high-rise condos.
Whilst some do not have the same level of facilities as a hotel such as en-suite facilities, Florida's inns and bed and breakfasts are much more personal than the sometimes bland hotel chains.
Most offer authentic home cooking including gourmet breakfasts and the informal atmosphere of staying with a Floridian family. With some you can expect extra indulgences like chocolates, fruit, full English afternoon tea and lemonade and then wine and cheese in the evening all included in the room rate.
Some bed and breakfasts have only a handful of rooms whilst others have upwards of 20 rooms, some with suites with a separate sitting room. Generally, inns tend to be larger and often have restaurants serving lunch and dinner though many bed and breakfasts will also serve other meals by prior arrangement.
When booking a bed and breakfast do check whether they allow children as some only accept children over a certain age but on the other hand, some will take pets or have pets themselves. There may also be restrictions on smoking.
Like most hotels, inn and bed and breakfast rates are usually based on two adults sharing a room and of course typically include a full breakfast. Like any type of accommodation, rates vary by season and level of amenities, anything from $60 to $500+ a night is not uncommon.
Bed and Breakfast Gift Certificates
With many of them, you can buy Gift Certificates in advance which you can then exchange to cover the cost of the accommodation at each of the bed and breakfast inns you visit. One such scheme is operated by BedandBreakfast.com which gives you access to around 4,000 properties across the USA and Canada.
This is a great idea if you are touring and wanting to stay at different locations during your holiday but note that some bed and breakfasts specify a minimum length of stay, particularly during the high season.