A family vacation to Florida ranks among the quintessential American travel experiences. Thousands of children’s happiest memories are of lazy days at a Florida beach, and for couples, the drive along U.S. 1 through the Florida Keys (ideally in a convertible) is unforgettably romantic. Parts of the state have been overbuilt, but in addition to plenty of sensational beaches, Florida retains a certain appealing eccentricity undiminished by resort developments. At its best, Florida feels relaxed and tropical — even exotic — and many visitors understandably adopt a favorite patch as a second home. Dining on fresh, local seafood is one of the state’s great pleasures. Florida’s northern coast is best in spring and summer, but the southern end of the state tends to be most pleasant in winter. In the center of the state, Orlando’s theme parks remain popular throughout the year (school breaks bring the largest crowds). Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

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