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Car Rental in Florida
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Car Rental in Florida: Your Ticket to the Sunshine State
Florida remains one of the most exciting US states for visitors of all nationalities, boasting phenomenal homegrown fruits, stunningly diverse landscapes, and the best beaches and theme parks in the country. Given the lack of good intercity public transportation, the huge number of parking lots and the wide roads, driving in Florida is a real joy and automobile hire is the best way to make the most of your visit to the Sunshine State.
The best time to visit southern Florida is between mid-December and mid-April, though this also marks high tourist season. If you feel comfortable with daily afternoon downpours (followed by more sunshine!) and relentless heat, you’ll find tourist destinations more manageable in the summer. Tourist season in northern Florida runs from the end of May to the beginning of September. Hurricane season lasts from June through November.
The native language of the United States is English, the native language of the vast majority of Floridians. However, 20% of the state’s inhabitants speak Spanish as a native language, and in certain metropolitan areas, Spanish outranks English as the native language, such as in Miami and parts of Tampa.
The currency is the US dollar. Currency exchange is highly available at airports and popular tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses.
There are airports in most towns in Florida, so be specific with your choice of destination for air travel. You may be surprised to find that you can get much closer to your intended destination than expected. The major international airports are in Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale, and these are each excellent places from which to pick up your rental car. Automobile hire is available in virtually every Florida town and urban area.
Travellers headed to Florida for its glorious offering of theme parks can pick up rental cars along any of the major interstates or highways that intersect Orlando, though booking a car for pickup at the airport is perhaps the most convenient. Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and downtown Orlando are all around just 20 minutes away from the airport in good traffic conditions. Renowned Cocoa Beach is less than an hour away.
Beach goers will want to head to Miami International Airport, where Miami Beach is just a 25-minute drive from the airport. Take even more advantage of Miami’s location at the tip of Florida by taking the 22-mile drive into the Everglades or the spectacular drive south along the keys to Key West. This 3.5-hour drive is definitely worth it, and taking advantage of the secluded beaches along the way is highly recommended.
Driving in Florida
While Florida’s major cities are bustling with activities to keep any avid traveler busy, automobile hire is hands down the best way to make the most of your Florida vacation. With some of the best beaches and most unique landscapes in the continental United States, Florida is a state that is best explored via individual car.
- Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road in Florida.
- Unless otherwise marked, after coming to a full stop at a red light, you can turn right from the right lane if there is no oncoming traffic.
Typical Speed Limits
- In cities and residential areas: 30 miles per hour (circa 50 km/h)
- On rural interstates and limited access highways: 70 miles per hour (circa 110 km/h)
- In school zones (sometimes just during school hours; signs will demarcate when school hour speed zones are in effect): 20 miles per hour (circa 30 km/h)
- On most other roads and highways: 55 miles per hour (circa 80 km/h)
- Traffic in major Florida cities will be especially bad in the hours around 8 am and 5 pm.
- Parking in most Florida cities will be regulated by time and fee, though it certainly is available, and parking garages are particularly easy to find.
- Your domestic driver’s license is sufficient to drive in Florida.
- There are numerous tolled expressways, bridges, and connectors throughout Florida which make intercity travel slightly more expensive and infinitely more convenient. Ask your rental company if your car includes a SunPass transponder.
- While the minimum driving age in Florida is 16, you will have to be 21 years of age to rent a car. Drivers under 25 may be charged extra. 38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit esta.us for more information. Everyone who enters the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included in the visa-waiver program, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.