Florida is the number-one long-haul destination from the UK. In 2019, Florida welcomed more than 1.5 million British holidaymakers. Home to the best theme parks on the planet, award-winning beaches and more than 175 national and state parks, it’s not hard to see why.
Florida isn’t just a state, it’s a state of mind. It’s where you go to be more relaxed, carefree and ready for fun, creating a mindset you can carry with you every day afterwards.
Can you travel to Florida?
Since March 2020, it has not been possible for British nationals to enter the US if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran or China within the previous 14 days.
US citizens and permanent residents of the US, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visa holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt. They will still be able to enter the US, subject to normal entry requirements.
Further restrictions on certain visas (H1-B, H2-B, J and L) were put in place from June 24. To see if you are affected, please refer to the US government’s travel page.
Those allowed entry to the US must be prepared to self-isolate for up to 14 days after arrival.
The current restrictions limit the number of airports receiving flights from international destinations to 13 airports. Miami is currently one of them.
The Foreign Office currently continues to advise against all non-essential travel to the US, and those travelling for essential purposes will be required to self-isolate upon return to the UK.
The most up-to-date information on US border controls for UK citizens can be found here.
How is Florida planning to reopen to travellers?
The situation is changing on a daily basis. For the most up-to-date information regarding theme parks, beaches, attractions, state parks, restaurants and all other tourist establishments, please refer to Visit Florida’s Covid-19 website hub here, which is updated daily.
The following restrictions are currently in place:
Restaurants and food establishments
They may operate at full capacity for on-premises consumption of food and beverages.
Bars, pubs and taverns
Bars are not allowed to serve alcohol for consumption on the premises, although take-out sales are still permitted.
Gyms and fitness centres
These may operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitisation.
Museums and libraries
These may operate at full capacity if permitted by local governments.
Professional sports venues
These may remain open and continue operating for games, events, competitions and training.
Shops and retail
These may operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitisation protocols.
Movie theatres, auditoriums, bowling alleys and entertainment
Movie theatres state-wide can operate at full capacity along with concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades.
Organised youth activities
Youth sports teams and leagues, youth clubs and programmes and childcare may operate. Summer camps and youth recreation camps may also operate.
Florida’s visitor centres on interstates I-10, I-75 and I-95 are open. The visitor centre at the Capitol in Tallahassee are closed. Rest stops along interstates remain open.
When will flights resume from the UK to Florida?
Airlines including British Airways, Virgin/Delta and Tui operate regular services from UK airports to Orlando and Miami. However these remain suspended while border restrictions and Foreign Office guidance is in place.
Check with the airlines for the latest schedules on when services are due to resume.
Can you cruise from Florida?
A No Sail Order for cruise ships went into effect on March 14, 2020. Travellers and agents should contact their cruise line directly for further information and continue to monitor the US Department of State and CDC for updates.
What is the latest advice for tourist attractions across Florida?
Theme parks and attractions
For the latest information on major theme parks and other attractions, please refer to these links:
- Walt Disney World
- Universal Orlando Resort
- Legoland Florida
- Busch Gardens Florida
- SeaWorld Orlando
- Florida Attractions Association
The Florida Keys
Monroe County reopened the Florida Keys to visitors in June 2020.
State and national parks
The Florida State Parks system is reviewing operations on a daily basis. At parks where camping is offered, there may also be measures in place to reduce density while honouring current reservations. Florida’s national parks are increasing access and services in a phased approach across all units of the National Park System. Before visiting a park, please check the park website to determine its operating status.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
For updates and guidelines from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, click here.
Florida’s Turnpike is temporarily collecting tolls by electronic means only. When you come to a toll plaza, please drive through – do not stop. If you don’t have a SunPass or interoperable transponder, you’ll be billed through toll-by-plate.
What measures are in place for Florida’s individual counties?
Florida has 67 counties with separate guidelines and Covid-19 updates. Below is a list of the counties which are most visited by UK tourists, their major towns and cities and the current situation with beaches in that county. Click a county name to be linked to the most updated information.
(Panama City, Panama City Beach, Mexico Beach)
(Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne)
(Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pompano Beach)
(Crystal River, Homosassa, Inverness)
(Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City)
Beaches open with restricted hours
(Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach)
(Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key)
(Flagler Beach, Palm Coast, Marineland)
(Tampa, Brandon, Plant City)
Most beaches open
(Vero Beach, Fellsmere, Sebastian)
(Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, Cape Coral)
(Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Palmetto)
(Stuart, Indiantown, Port Mayaca)
(Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables)
(Key West, Islamorada, Key Largo)
(Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island)
(Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Santa Rosa Island)
(Orlando, Winter Park, Winter Garden)
(Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Yeehaw Junction)
(Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton)
(New Port Richey, Dade City, Zephyrhills)
Most beaches open, with restrictions
(Clearwater, St Petersburg)
(Sarasota, Venice, Siesta Key)
(St Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach)
(New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach)
(Seaside, Sandestin, Grayton Beach)
Most beaches open
To watch the first of two webinars with Visit Florida, Daytona Beach and St Pete/Clearwater, click here.
To watch the second webinar with Visit Florida, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and Discover Crystal River, click here.
PICTURES: Peter W Cross
Last updated January 20, 2021