For New Yorkers, Florida is like our front porch. We go there to relax, to have fun, to build our retirement homes, and to save money on taxes! Almost all my relatives live or have lived in Florida now. It’s a New York tradition: want to avoid freezing your butt off this winter? Want to have an affordable out-of-state vacation? Destination: Florida!
I have visited the state a few times. One of the most memorable was when I was a young lady and got to stay for several weeks in the Orlando/Kissimmee area. It was incredible! I got to see Disney World (this was when Epcot had just opened), and a terrific Universal Studios wax museum. Then, we spent some time at the coasts, both Atlantic and Gulf. Wow. I can still see the aquamarine water lapping on the white beaches. It was quite an experience. I want my kids to see it someday. I wish I still had my photos of my time there; unfortunately, they burned in a house fire. I guess I’ll need to take more photos, eh?
I stayed in Kissimmee. Kissimmee is a beautiful, family-friendly city. It’s south of the hustling, bustling Orlando– if you want to see Orlando or be able to see both Florida coasts, I recommend you stay in Kissimmee. The tourism department there is superb– they really know their stuff and they are very eager to please. Plus, the entire area is geared for tourism. Besides the usual amusement parks, boutiques, shops, golf courses, and entertainment venues, Kissimmee has even more spectacular attractions for anything you can think of. This is a really good time to go, too, because the season is just beginning and the New York snowbirds are coming home (which means more elbow room for you). And the birds are migrating- my boys are bird-watching freaks. Imagine seeing a Tri-Color Heron or White Ibis swoop down in front of your binoculars! That would be cool.
Kissimmee is surrounded by parks, and many of the parks are boggy and filled with birds. The parks are meticulously kept– they have wooden decks for pedestrians and bicyclers. The countryside is just amazing.
Going on right now until May 16th is The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Imagine seeing Florida’s best flowers all in bloom in vivid displays (The name “Florida” means “Feast of flowers”). Plus, there’s a butterfly garden, hosted by “Minnie Mouse.” You can go to enjoy (and breathe in) Florida’s luscious flowers, as well as meet some expert horticulturists who offer tips on gardening.
The Heritage Trail
History! This is right up our alley. Kissimmee has a spectacular historical tourism venue: a Historical Society & Pioneer Museum with a village set in the late 1800s; the St. Cloud Historical Museum with historical stuff on cowboys, the railroads, and military paraphernalia; historical museums about Osceola County and Kissimmee, and loads more. We love this kind of stuff.
But best, best, best of all— Kissimmee has (are you ready?) a Medieval Castle! I SO want to see this. It’s a “dinner theatre” kind of attraction, but the place is HUGE. They serve Medieval-times food in an Medieval-times atmosphere. Actors and actresses perform shows. And best of all, knights hold lancing contests. Wow! I love the Middle Ages– I study the history in my free time– and this would be THE thing to do in Kissimmeee. Plus, Kissimmee has other dinner theatres: Arabian Nights, Pirates, and more.
Guess What, There’s More
Plus in nearby Orlando, there’s the incredible Titanic Museum (I am a big fan of Titanic history)! The kids and I have studied the history of the ship and other ships, as well as the “Gilded Age” of America. This would be an incredible experience.
And… we would never go to Florida without seeing THIS: TBN’s The Holy Land Experience. Wowsa!!!! Have you heard of it? It’s near Kissimmee, in Orlando. It’s a huge, huge reproduction of ancient Jerusalem and the ancient Holy Temple. They have shows, historical tours, and so much more. That would be the experience of a lifetime. Wow, after thinking of all this stuff, I think we need to ramp up our plans to see Florida! It all sounds so amazing, doesn’t it?
Kissimmee superbly blends the cultural, historical, and natural attractions. You can drive 10 miles in any direction and experience something new and amazing. It’s so impressive! Check out Kissimmee, Florida, for your next vacation– the rates are good and they’d love to have you visit! Click the link for more ideas of what to see and where to stay.