For in-depth information on specific locations, consult the local visitors centers or tourism bureaus listed in each chapter. For information on the entire state, the hardworking folks at the state’s tourism marketing board, Visit Florida, are available both via telephone (888/7-FLA-USA—888/775-2872) and online (www.visitflorida.com ). They can provide maps, trip-planning tools, and information on hotels and attractions.
The U.S. dollar is the coin of the realm throughout Florida . Currency exchange facilities are available in all of the state’s major international airports—Miami , Orlando , and Tampa —as well as in tourist districts near the Orlando theme parks  and Miami’s South Beach  area.
Major U.S. banks are well-represented throughout the state; Bank of America, SunTrust, Wachovia, and Chase branches are quite easy to find, as are a number of regional and state banks and credit unions. These banks also have ATMs at their branches, as well as many freestanding ATMs in heavily touristed locations. Independent ATMs can also be found at many attractions, bars, and convenience stores, although these often carry exorbitant fees. Many grocery stores accept ATM debit cards and will give cash back, usually up to $50–100 at a time, with purchase for no additional fee.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted everywhere from theme-park food stands to gas stations; many places also accept American Express. Diners Club and Discover cards are sometimes accepted, but their usage is far less common.
The statewide sales tax is 6 percent, but many counties and municipalities levy additional “local option” sales taxes, ranging 0.5–2 percent on top of the state tax. Hotel taxes range 9–12 percent on the room rate in addition to sales tax.
For the most part, gratuities and service charges are not included on restaurant bills, although in some instances—South Beach  lounges, tourist-heavy restaurants—you should check your bill first, especially if you are part of a large group. A 15 percent tip is considered the baseline for acceptable service, although 20 percent for restaurant bills and cab fares and $1 per drink on bar tabs is far more common. $1 per bag is normal for hotel porters.
Broadband Internet is available throughout Florida , although many rural areas have limited access. Many hotels offer wireless Internet access, if not in guest rooms then at least in public areas, and coffee shops and bakeries like Starbucks and Panera Bread also have Wi-Fi.
In most Florida locales, 10-digit dialing is standard, meaning the area code must be dialed before the main number. Pay phones are all but nonexistent. Cell phone coverage, however, pretty much blankets the state. In all but the most remote areas of Florida, you’ll be able to get at least a couple of bars on your phone—even in the heart of the Everglades . AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon have towers all over the state as well as dozens of stores and service centers in most major cities.
There are five major television markets in Florida —Jacksonville, Miami–Fort Lauderdale, Orlando–Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach–Fort Pierce, and Tampa–St. Petersburg–Sarasota—as well as smaller markets in the Keys and Panhandle. Each market carries the four U.S. networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX) as well as PBS, Univision, Telemundo, and community programming.
Radio in Florida is fairly flavorless, with a standard assortment of rock, pop, country, and public stations on the FM dial, and talk and sports on the AM dial. In Tampa , Orlando , and Miami , there are also several stations that play Latin music, as well as superlative college stations that suffer from limited wattage.
Florida is home to two of the best newspapers in the United States—the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald—a fact that’s made that much more impressive by the presence in those markets of competitive dailies. Single-paper towns like Orlando, with its Orlando Sentinel, and Jacksonville, with the Florida Times-Union, have considerably less to be proud of when it comes to their daily papers. Thankfully, each of Florida’s major cities boasts a solid (and free) alternative weekly, like Miami New Times, Creative Loafing, and Orlando Weekly.