The American state of Florida is very popular among families with children because of Disneyland, but it has a lot more to offer as well. Florida has countless things to experience and your children will no doubt be left amazed at every turn. This article contains a number of tips for a successful holiday in Florida with your children. For example, did you know that your children also need their own ESTA?
Best time for a family holiday to Florida
Florida is a popular holiday destination among families. It is sunny virtually all year round (hence the nickname, the Sunshine State) and the busy state has something for everyone. If your days off are tied to the school holidays of your children, it is a good idea to plan your trip well in advance and book your stay in one of the many child-friendly accommodations early on.
If you have some more freedom with planning your trip, you should consider travelling to the United States between the end of November and May. Florida is the hottest state in the USA and the summers in particular can get very hot, with temperatures easily reaching 35 degrees Celsius or more. On top of that, in the evenings there is a high chance of heavy rain or thunderstorms. In the months of December to May, however, temperatures are pleasant. It is also less crowded in this period, which means that flight tickets and accommodations are cheaper.
Amusement parks in Florida
There is plenty to do for children of all ages in the Sunshine State. In Florida, you will find several famous amusement parks, including Disney, Legoland Florida and Sea World. During a stay in one of the Disney resorts you can, for example, book a breakfast buffet with your children’s favourite Disney characters.
Florida: Much more than just Disney!
Florida is not only the perfect holiday destination for children. In addition to theme parks, Florida has breathtakingly beautiful nature reserves, such as the famous Everglades National Park, wonderful cities and pearly-white beaches. Thanks to the Caribbean atmosphere of the city, a place like Miami is the perfect place to experience the ultimate holiday feeling. Moreover, one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States is located on the west coast of Florida: Sarasota Beach. Would you rather go diving or snorkelling? That is also possible in Florida, for instance in the Florida Keys or in Naples. Near the town of Naples on the west coast of Florida, you can catch wild dolphins swimming.
Florida has plenty to do for young and old. Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to the Ellie Schiller Homosassas Springs Wildlife State Park. This park, located between Tampa and Crystal River, takes care of weakened and injured manatees from November to March and has many other animals to see. A must for a trip to Florida with children is Weeki Wachee Springs, a tourist attraction where you can attend underwater shows of “mermaids”. The shows can be combined with a boat trip on the river or a dive in the spring of the Weeki Wachee River
Tour other parts of the United States
As the ESTA is valid for two years after it has been issued, this United States travel authorisation can be used for multiple trips to the USA. Each stay in America may last up to 90 days, which is more than enough to visit most attractions in Florida. If you have had your fill of Florida or simply want to visit other American states, you can also use the ESTA to visit other parts of the country. Introduce your children to the famous cities of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago or go to the different national parks to admire the natural beauty.
Apply for ESTA visa online
Whether you are visiting just Florida or making a tour of the whole country, you will need an ESTA or visa. Even children and babies need to have their own ESTA and passport. The ESTA is an electronic travel authorisation for the United States. Most European travellers meet the requirements to apply for an ESTA, and this also holds for travellers from the UK and Ireland. If you do not qualify due to personal circumstances, an appointment can still be made at the embassy or consulate to apply for a visa.
An ESTA is cheaper than a visa and does not require you to visit the embassy or consulate. Furthermore, you can apply for an ESTA for all family members at the same time using only one application form. Certain data, such as contact and travel details, only need to be filled in once, saving you a lot of time. You can submit a group application by clicking on “Add a traveller” in the application form. Additional fields will then appear for extra travellers.
Consent form for travelling with children
If you are travelling with children under the age of eighteen, but without both their parents or guardians, you must be able to present a consent form in addition to an ESTA. This form must state that all persons with parental authority consent to your travelling to the USA with the child(ren). It can also be a good idea to bring a copy of the passports of the parent(s) or guardian(s) who are not travelling with you, and an international birth certificate.