British and Irish holidaymakers visiting Florida in 2021 will have a whole host of new attractions, hotels and restaurants to discover.
Florida’s theme park attractions continue to evolve, with thrilling new rides and attractions for guests to enjoy, and not forgetting the much-anticipated 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.
Since March, Florida has seen lots of new accommodation options, including luxury villas in the Florida Keys that are perfect for groups and multi-generational trips; tiny houses nestled in nature for those looking for wide open spaces; and a new RV resort in northeast Florida for those seeking low-contact travel. Looking ahead to 2021, the new year will bring a string of luxury properties to the Sunshine State, including the Mandarin Oriental in Palm Beach County and Hotel Effie Sandestin on Florida’s northwest coast.
Florida’s east coast has seen some exciting new-comers to the restaurant scene, including both sustainable and vegan dining outlets, as well as a new beachside café that delivers food and cocktails to your spot on the beach.
Read on for where to play, stay, eat, drink and celebrate in the Sunshine State in 2021 ...
WHERE TO PLAY
Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Jurassic World Velocicoaster
Summer 2021 | Universal’s Islands of Adventure | Orlando
Opening at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park in summer 2021, Jurassic World VelociCoaster will be Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, and the world’s first coaster based on the Jurassic World blockbuster franchise. The new species of roller coaster will raise the bar in extreme roller coaster design and become the ultimate experience for coaster enthusiasts and thrill- seekers with a series of intense manoeuvres that will send guests catapulting up to 70 mph and more than 150 feet in the air with the swiftest of prehistoric predators.
Ride the Tallest, Steepest, and Fastest Hybrid Roller Coaster in North America
Spring 2021 | Busch Gardens | Tampa Bay
In spring 2021, a new legend will surface at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with the evolution of Iron Gwazi, North America’s tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. Iron Gwazi will be 206 feet tall, feature a 91-degree drop, and reach top speeds of 76 miles per hour. The journey will include three inversions and 12 airtime moments as it races along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track.
SeaWorld Orlando Debuts its First Launch Coaster
Spring 2021 | SeaWorld Orlando | Orlando
Making its debut in spring 2020, riders will shiver through family friendly adventures on SeaWorld Orlando’s first launch coaster: Ice Breaker. Named after the icy Arctic summits, Ice Breaker will feature four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 93-foot tall spike with 100-degree angle.
New Sailfish Sands Golf Course Engages Non-Golfers
January 2021 | Sailfish Sands | Martin County
Due to open in January 2021, Sailfish Sands golf course is a new state-of-the-art facility, engaging both golfers and non-golfers, for a fun and sustainable golfing experience. With a championship 18- hole course and one of the few reversible courses in the United States, Sailfish Sands is definitely out of the ordinary. The regulation, 9-hole reversible golf course is sustainable, fun, and particularly designed to help grow the game and features tee boxes that can accommodate kids, senior citizens, as well as seasoned and new golfers. Sailfish Sands will also have a 13-acre driving range with low level lights for evening play and interactive LED targets that provide hours of fun for the whole family.
Miami’s Drive-in Movies Bring Back Retro Fun During Pandemic
OPEN | Multiple locations | Miami
A throwback from decades past, this new form of entertainment is a fun and affordable experience for the whole family to enjoy. Carpool Cinema Wynwood has Miami’s only boutique drive-in theatre featuring movies that are a blast from the past. From classics like Karate Kid and Back to the Future, the theatre experience is available on weekends from £35 per car.
Immersive Art Installations Come to Miami with Superblue’s First Miami Location
December 22, 2020 | Superblue Miami | Miami
Superblue, the ground-breaking new enterprise dedicated to producing, presenting, and engaging audiences with experiential art, launches its first venue in Miami on December 22. The inaugural program features the debut of a new immersive environment by Es Devlin, a transcendent digital experience created by teamLab, and an enveloping light-based Ganzfeld work by James Turrell. Representing artists working across the spectrum of experiential art, Superblue Miami’s opening installations offer visitors an unparalleled opportunity to be transported to an array of new worlds in a single visit.
The New St. Pete Pier Provides Fun for All
Open | St. Pete Pier | St. Pete/Clearwater
The St. Pete Pier is now the anchor of the highly anticipated St. Pete Pier District, which spreads out across 26 acres of spectacular Tampa Bay waterfront. The new attraction promises limitless fun, with observation decks, interactive exhibits about the local marine life, artwork and installations from local artists, a vendor and artisan marketplace, fishing deck, and a wide variety of restaurants and bars, surrounded by 360-degree views.
WHERE TO STAY
New Luxury Rental Villas on Islamorada are Perfect for Multigenerational Getaways
OPEN | Islands of Islamorada | Florida Keys
Opened in March 2020, the new luxury 30-unit Islands of Islamorada, with rental villas and a suite hotel, is an enclave of 22 three-story waterfront villas, each with four bedrooms, full kitchens and outdoor recreation space, accommodating eight to 10 guests. Amenities
Minimum three-night stays are required, priced from €1,435 per night for villas and from €515 per night for suites, plus taxes.
Nantucket’s Iconic White Elephant Resort Opens Sister Property in Historic Palm Beach
OPEN | White Elephant Palm Beach | Palm Beach County
On November 4, Nantucket’s iconic White Elephant Resort opened its boutique sister property in historic Palm Beach. The 32-room and suite property maintain the welcoming feel of a private residence, and each accommodation offers a private outdoor space. Among the amenities, is an art collection exceeding 100 works, personally curated by the owners. Guests have complimentary use of Priority Bicycles and BMW vehicles, as well as exclusive access to Barton & Gray yachts. Stay from €362 per night (July 2021).
Expect True Southern Hospitality and Southern Food, as the NEW Hotel Effie Sandestin Partners with Award-winning Chef Hugh Acheson
February 2021 | Hotel Effie Sandestin | Sandestin, Northwest Florida
New luxury hotel, Hotel Effie Sandestin, will open on Florida’s northwest coast on February 1, 2021. The 250-room hotel will have an upscale spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and the only rooftop pool on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Partnering with highly acclaimed Georgia native, Chef Hugh Acheson, the hotel will have four exciting culinary outlets that will showcase Acheson’s creativity, fusing coastal cuisine with a sophisticated French influence. Stay from €149 per night (February 2021).
Hotel Boom on Florida’s Space Coast
OPEN | Florida’s Space Coast | Brevard County
Holiday makers heading to Florida’s Space Coast in 2021, can take advantage of nine new suite hotels that have opened in the destination this year, including Hampton Inn, Home2Suites, Hyatt Place, Springhill Suites and Extended Stay. Highlights include “Launch View” rooms at Hyatt Place Titusville Kennedy Space Center and a fire pit at SpringHill Suites Cape Canaveral.
Mandarin Oriental Set to Open Second Florida Property
Late 2021 | Mandarin Oriental | Downtown Boca Raton, Palm Beach County
Set to debut in Downtown Boca Raton in late 2021, the 158-room hotel will be Mandarin Oriental’s second property in Florida and seventh in North America. All rooms and suites will be designed in a sophisticated and contemporary style, with exacting attention to detail that is reflective of the Group’s oriental heritage. Inspired by both ancient Asian and European traditions, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer holistic rejuvenation and relaxation. The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, consisting of another 92 rooms, will be located in the adjoining tower connected to the hotel by sky bridge. The two buildings will form part of a two-million-square-foot, upscale mixed-use development called Via Mizner, which will also include a half-mile of luxury retail.
Demand for RV Sites Brings a New Opening to Northeast Florida
Spring 2021 | Island Oaks RV Resort |Baker County, Northeast Florida
For those looking to travel in the comfort of their own “RV bubble”, Northwest Florida has a new RV site due to open in spring 2021. Island Oaks RV Resort, located just 30 miles west of Jacksonville, offers the best in creature comforts, wrapped into a natural setting. Campers can paddle waterways, swim and fish in the lake and explore the preserved wetlands centred on the property.
Small Town Living in Tiny Houses
Open | The Tiny Houses | Levy County
Levy County is known for its unpolluted skies and untouched nature, making it a haven for those seeking to social distance. Visitors to the area will enjoy the novelty of staying in a tiny house at the aptly named The Tiny Houses enclave. Found in the heart of Williston, the five separate units are tastefully decorated, have their own porch and plenty of outdoor space. From €81 per night (January 2020).
LEGOLAND Opens Pirate Themed Hotel
OPEN | LEGOLAND Florida Resort | Central Florida
LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel opened in April 2020 and is the resort’s third accommodation, featuring 150 fun-filled rooms, a heated pool with a deck complete with LEGO® soft bricks, hundreds of LEGO models, in-room LEGO treasure hunts and exclusive character experiences. The new hotel rooms are fully themed with interactive LEGO Pirate models throughout and include an array of humorous decor designed specifically for a kid-centric family holiday. From €296 per night (August 2021).
Margaritaville Unveils its First Compass by Margaritaville Hotel in Bradenton
Open | Compass by Margaritaville | Anna Maria Sound, Bradenton
Margaritaville opened the first of its kind resort, Compass by Margaritaville, in July 2020. The brand new, boutique concept hotel is located on the beautiful island community of Anna Maria Sound in Bradenton, with stunning views of the water and Neal Preserve. Floridays Woodfire Grill & Bar will feature a casual waterfront dining experience with local favourites, fresh seafood and wood-fired grilling. From €112 per night (September 2021).
Kids Can Join the Surf Academy at the Newly Transformed Opal Grand Resort & Spa in Delray Beach
Open | Opal Grand Oceanfront Resort & Spa | Delray Beach
Poised in the heart of Delray Beach, the newly transformed Opal Grand Oceanfront Resort & Spa presents laidback sophistication, thoughtfully composed American-Caribbean design and an enviable location overlooking the blue water and pristine beach of the Atlantic Ocean. From June until August, ocean-loving families can take advantage of the beachfront location and enrol in the resort’s Surf Academy program. From €171 per night (August 2021).
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Sustainable Seafood Hotspot Opens in Delray Beach
OPEN | Lionfish | Delray Beach | Palm Beach County
Lionfish is doing its part to help save the ocean’s ecosystem by serving its namesake lionfish, a species that is ravaging the ocean, particularly the Caribbean, by devouring fellow sea life and damaging coral reefs. The rare, delicious white flaky fish will be served in a multitude of ways, including whole, fried and as the centrepiece of a citrus-infused ceviche. Alongside lionfish, diners can expect fresh-catch cuisine, grass-fed meats and local, seasonal ingredients.
Enjoy Food and Drink Delivered Right to Your Beach Chair in Martin County
February 2021 | Seaside Café | Stuart Beach, Martin County
Seaside Café, due to open February 2021, will overlook the uncrowded shores of Stuart Beach. Food and drink can be enjoyed on the deck or on the beach, with the cafe’s beachside delivery service. Seaside Café’s oceanfront Tiki Bar will also boast an amazing selection of drinks, including frozen daiquiris and margaritas to help you beat the Florida heat.
The Largest Vegan Restaurant in the USA Opens in Fort Lauderdale
Open | Old Riverhouse Vegan Village | Fort Lauderdale
The Old Riverhouse Vegan Village opened in August 2020, in the heart of the historic district on Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk. Built in 1903, the Old Riverhouse is the second oldest building in the city. Accommodating upto 1,000 guests, the vegan eatery claims to be the largest vegan restaurant in the USA. Expect vegan comfort food, tapas, omakase sushi bar, craft coffee, fresh juices and cocktails.
Flo Rida to Open New Distillery with Tasting Room, Cigar Bar and Wine Lounge
2021 | The Old Sistrunk | Fort Lauderdale
The Old Sistrunk Distillery is forecast to open in 2021 in Historic Sistrunk, Fort Lauderdale’s oldest African American community. A partnership between rapper, singer and songwriter Flo Rida and businessman and ex-rapper Victor G. Harvey, the distillery will produce the duo’s new Victor George Vodka, along with gin, whiskey, tequila and other specialty liqueurs. The public will have access with a tasting room, cigar bar, and wine lounge.
WHERE TO CELEBRATE
Walt Disney World Resort Celebrates 50 Year Anniversary
October 2021 | Walt Disney World Resort | Orlando
October 2021 will mark the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. For 50 years, the world-famous resort has managed to keep the magic alive amongst the young and old. Never complacent, the resort has grown, evolved, and adopted some of the most innovate features seen in theme parks and resorts. Whilst plans for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” are yet to be revealed, we are confident that in true Disney style, it will knock all previous celebrations out of the (theme) park.
LEGOLAND Florida Plans a Year-Long Party to Celebrate 10th Anniversary
2021 | LEGOLAND Florida Resort | Central Florida
In addition to making the biggest LEGO cake ever, LEGOLAND Florida Resort is lining up new events, attractions and shows in 2021, to celebrate 10 years since the resort first opened in 2011. A new water sports stunt show, Piratefest Weekends, 4-D movie, Master Builder Experience, LEGO Friends Weekends and an awesome birthday party, are just a few of the new ways that LEGOLAND fans can celebrate at the Central Florida theme park resort.
Wild Florida Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary with A New Drive-Thru Safari
OPEN | Wild Florida | Kenansville
Set in Lake Cypress in the headwaters of the Florida Everglades (just 30 minutes by car from Kissimmee), the animal park now offers a two-mile drive-thru safari park experience, alongside its thrilling airboat tours. Expanding across 85 acres of untouched scenic landscapes, guests can view giraffes, zebra, eland antelope, scimitar oryx, American bison, mouflon sheep, and more, as they roam the land.
About VISIT FLORIDA
As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 131.4 million visitors in 2019. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $91.3 billion to Florida's economy and supported 1.5 million Florida jobs in 2018. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, $2.15 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, The Hertz Corporation, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, Simon Shopping Destinations and Universal Orlando Resort.
To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA, follow @FloridaTourism on Facebook and Twitter.