When in Florida, don’t miss Miami, Tampa Bay, Orlando | travel | Hindustan Times
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When in Florida, don’t miss Miami, Tampa Bay, Orlando

In Miami, for instance, after you've feasted your eyes on the breath-­taking view of the Atlantic Ocean from your hotel balcony, you could check out the Art Deco district located on South Beach. The cities of Tampa Bay and Orlando too have a lot to offer to travel enthusiasts. Read on.

travel Updated: May 28, 2014 16:58 IST
Akshay Kapoor

Travelling to the US often makes one shudder about the long haul flight and the resulting jet lag once you reach your destination. Though the overall duration of our flight to Miami was also quite long, the four hour transit at London’s Heathrow airport proved to be rejuvenating.

The famous Miami Beach that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. (HT Photo/ Akshay Kapoor)

Flying Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic was also an advantage, as the armchair could be ­converted into a separate bed, which helped us to catch some much needed sleep. Once we landed in Miami, we were pleasantly surprised by the friendly nature of the airport officials, which extends to the denizens of the city too.

A street artwork in the Wynwood Art district in Miami. (HT Photo/ Akshay Kapoor)

After feasting our eyes on the breath-­taking view of the Atlantic Ocean from our hotel balcony, we proceeded to the Art Deco district located in the South Beach, which had well-maintained historical ­buildings, with a lot of artsy influences. Our next ­destination was the Wynwood Walls — an outdoor mural exhibit that showcases the works of famous street artists.

A model dinosaur looms large in Jurassic Park: The Ride (left); the vertically inclining Hollywood Rocket ­roller coaster in Universal Studios, Orlando (middle) and A unique artwork on display at the Wynwood Walls in Miami. (HT Photo/ Akshay Kapoor)

This exhibit is located in the Wynwood Art District, which houses over 70 galleries, and you can see that reflected on the walls of the buildings, which are splashed with vibrant artworks.

The next day was spent in the pleasant city of Tampa Bay, which we found to be a mix of both tradition and modernity. An interesting fact that we got to know there was that Tampa is also called ‘cigar city’, as it is known for ­producing high ­quality cigars. That became ­evident when we visited Ybor City, an area that has many cigar stores, and has South American influences in its buildings, streets, ­restaurants and lifestyle.

The Art Deco district located in South Beach, Miami (left); The Winter Park in Orlando, which offers scenic boat rides. (HT Photo/ Akshay Kapoor)

When we arrived in Orlando for the last leg of our trip, our first stop was Universal Studios. Among the main attractions was the World of Harry Potter, which featured a motion simulation ride and a roller coaster. There were more roller coasters to ­follow, like the 110 ft Incredible Hulk ride that has two vertical loops and the vertically ­inclining Hollywood Rocket.

The 110 feet long Incredible Hulk rollercoaster in Universal Studios (left); Tampa Bay, famous for its cigars, has many cigar stores to choose from. (HT Photo/ Akshay Kapoor)

Other ­attractions included the Transformers ride, the Spider-Man motion simulator, The Simpsons ride, and the Jurassic Park ride. Before heading off to Walt Disney World, we took the scenic boat tour of the Winter Park. The 12 mile tour covers three fresh water lakes and canals, with sights of ­luxurious winter mansions and villas. As for Disney’s Magic Kingdom, it looked like the ideal vacation spot for children.

How to get there
You can fly Virgin Atlantic from Delhi/Mumbai to Miami, Florida. The ­duration of the flight is about 17 hours. You can choose from three ­segments when deciding your travel plans — Economy (Rs 83,409), Premium Economy (Rs 1,18,915) and Upper Class (Rs 2,55,271). The ­benefit of travelling in Upper Class is that it ­features an onboard bar. Website: www.virgin-­atlantic.com/in/en.html
Contact: 18001023000

Disclaimer: The writer’s trip was sponsored by Visit Florida and Virgin Atlantic