Across the country, schools are wrapping up instruction and preparing to send kids on summer break. For most families, summer break means sleeping, playing outside, and planning a special vacation (or three) for the whole family. Now, more than ever, many of us need to escape reality, whether it’s from our office at home or our traditional 9 to 5 job. If you, like many families, have waited until a little later this year to plan your family getaway, why not organize a family road trip?
Road trips, especially RV-road trips, allow families more time together and require less time to plan. Why not ditch the desk for a bit and set off on a warm, sunny, and family fun trip to Florida? We know that Florida is known for its bigger-than-life amusement parks like Disney World, Busch Gardens, Legoland, and Universal Studios, but it offers so much more. Let us help you plan a kid-friendly vacation in Florida that ventures beyond the populated theme parks.
Kid-Friendly Vacations in Florida Near Tampa
Located in Homosassa, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the perfect family vacation spot to get an up-close-and-personal experience with some of Florida’s native wildlife. The park has several wildlife encounter programs where guests can interact with park rangers to learn about manatees, hippopotamuses, and alligators, as well as safely view some of these animals from a Fish Bowl underwater observatory. If you want more of a thrilling animal viewing encounter, check out the boat tours, which transports visitors from the west entrance along Pepper Creek.
Mermaids. Did your little girl’s ears perk up? Did the thought of seeing mermaids make you revert back to your childhood, too? Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is one of Florida’s oldest roadside attractions and one of the best kid-friendly vacation spots in Florida. The park’s mermaid shows are just one of the highlights at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. The park also has riverboat cruises, paddling, snorkeling, picnicking, swimming, and the Buccaneer Bay spring-fed water park. Since Weeki Wachee Springs State Park doesn’t have on-site camping, RV or tent campers can venture to either Lake Manatee State Park or Alafia River State Park, which are both within an hour’s drive of downtown Tampa.
When you plan your Florida vacation with kids, why not add a unique and educational experience into the mix? The Salvador Dalí Museum, which celebrates one of the world’s most well-known Surrealist artists, is a fun and interactive place for the whole family. You can schedule a tour, or just wander through the galleries. In the permanent collection galleries, kids and adults are permitted to use a hand-held sketch pad and draw the Cubist-style still lifes or the Surrealistic-style dripping clocks and melted faces that made Dalí a household name. The best part? There are several oversized recreational vehicle parking areas for you to park your rig on-site if you are taking an RV road-trip.
Kid-Friendly Vacation Ideas Near Orlando
For many families, a Florida vacation with kids isn’t complete without staying near some of the world’s most famous theme parks. Orlando, Florida is the heart of theme parks with SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, and the Magic Kingdom. Whether you want to visit a theme park, or simply bring your RV to the Orlando area, the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort provide both RV camping and resort-style fun all in one. This park is the epitome of stay and play, kid-friendly vacations in Florida.
The Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex, located in Cape Canaveral, Florida, is the place to visit to learn everything you might want to know about NASA. The Center has everything from astronaut encounters, bus tours of the facility, interactive space program exhibits, and up-close views of the space shuttles and rockets. If you want a more personalized experience, ask about some of the specialized add-on programs.
Family Vacation Spots Along Florida’s Emerald Coast
If you are a beach-lover, a vacation isn’t a vacation unless it includes a beach. While Florida has several well-loved beaches, Destin tops the list of favorite Florida waterfront destinations. Destin, located along Florida’s Emerald Coast, is known for its white-sand beaches and emerald-green waters. The temperate weather and sugary sands become the hub of all things recreational, such as camping, boating, fishing, paddling, biking, and hiking. Destin has five public beach parks and eight public beach trails to explore. If you want to explore all that Destin has to offer in your RV or campervan, Henderson Beach State Park is one of the area’s most popular parks for beach activities and RV camping.
Pensacola beaches, much like Destin’s beaches, have soft white sand juxtaposed against the Gulf of Mexico’s emerald-green waters. Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and Gulf Islands National Seashore provide the perfect stomping grounds for the ideal Florida vacation with kids. If you are looking to find an alcohol-free area on Pensacola Beach where the kids can play and explore, check out Casino Beach, where everyone in the family will find something to do. The Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier is an awesome place for fishing, and on Tuesday and Wednesdays, when the Blue Angels are in town, Pensacola Beachgoers can watch the Blue Angels practice for free.
The Best Places to Vacation with Kids Near the Florida Keys
Nature lovers and conservationists searching for kid-friendly vacations in Florida must add Everglades National Park to their summer travel itinerary. RV campers can stay and play in the area since the park has two first-come, first-served campgrounds on-site: Long Pine Campground and Flamingo Campground. At Everglades National Park, park guests can spend time exploring the swamplands while searching for Florida’s most recognized reptile, the alligator. The best way to see an alligator is by scheduling an airboat tour. But don’t forget, both alligators and crocodiles are native to this region, so there is a chance you might see more than one reptile while exploring the boardwalks, paddling areas, or even picnicking.
Once you are near the Florida Keys, it would be a shame to ignore Biscayne National Park, a park known for its eco-adventures, fishing, and beautiful coral reefs underneath the aquamarine waters. Activities at the park include snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, lobstering, and several private guided tours. While there is only tent camping permitted within Biscayne National Park, the mainland has several private campgrounds. If you prefer to stay in the Keys, consider parking your rig at the family-friendly, Long Key State Park, and taking alternative methods to get to the national park.
Ready for a Family Vacation?
With summer upon us, it’s time for a family vacay. Get your trip planning started by renting an RV. Outdoorsy has plenty of options to get you and your kids on the road to Florida in no time.
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