Miami, Florida is well-known for its pristine white sand beaches and culture. Settled in 1825 and founded 71 years later, the beach community is home to about 470 thousand people. But the city actually dates back to 500 B.C. when there was a village of hundreds of people living by the Miami River. It is also the only town in the United States to have been originated by a woman. Her name was Julia Tuttle and she was a citrus grower from Cleveland. Miami is also known for its mild winters, making it a popular tourist attraction during the winter months. The temps rarely get below 50 degrees, even in January, and the average high on Christmas is 78 degrees.
With a plethora of fun activities to enjoy all year long, the city draws visitors from all over the world. More than 10 museums in Miami include the Miami Children’s Museum, Frost Art Museum, Frost Museum of Science, and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Jungle Island is also a popular theme park in Miami with about 3,000 species and a petting zoo. For those who enjoy a more natural escape, check out the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, which was ranked in the top 10 beaches in the nation. And the Oleta River State Park is the state’s largest urban park with bike trails, fishing, swimming, and boating to enjoy. As great as Miami is, though, an RV road trip to Tampa is a terrific idea for the family to enjoy in the motorhome.
Cape Coral is about 2.5 hours from Miami taking I-95 to I-595/75 to the northwest. The small town is part of the Ft. Meyers Metro Area and is a fairly new city incorporated in 1970. With an average temperature of 75 all year long, the city is the perfect place to hit the beach, do some hiking, or take the kiddos to an awesome theme park. With go-karts, a roller coaster, mini-golf, bumper boats, and even six midway rides for the little thrill seekers, Zoomers has fun for all. For the adults, enjoy the Sidetracked Bar & Grill for some adult beverages and a break from the heat. The best part? It is free to get in! You only pay for the rides you want.
For a wetter park, try the Sun Splash Family Waterpark. Zip down the Zoom Flume, which is 30 feet tall, or try Cape Fear, which is also 30 feet tall but has a dark tunnel to go through. Let the kids race each other on the Pro Racers slides, get wet under the Rain Tree, or just float lazily down the Main Stream River Tube Ride. Don’t forget the sunscreen. If that is not enough water for you, Cape Coral has 400 miles of canals with miles and miles of beaches to enjoy.
About 1.5 hours up I-75 to the north you can find Sarasota, which is a large city with a population of about 60 thousand along Sarasota Bay. How about some indoor activities to get you out of the heat? Mote Aquarium is an amazing indoor aquatic adventure with thousands of water creatures. You and the family can see manatees, stingrays, sea turtles, and much more. Help feed the animals and learn about how the staff keeps them healthy and happy. Feeding the sharks is an experience the kids will remember forever. Visit the Ringling Circus Museum next for a look behind the scenes of a real circus. You can even see an acrobatic show while you are there.
Head back outside to enjoy the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Get a selfie with a gator, pet some potbelly pigs, or enjoy some of the animal shows. You and the kids can even hold a parrot or a snake before letting the kiddos run loose at the playground before hiking through the jungle. If you want to see more, take a tour with Discover Sarasota Tours in an air-conditioned trolley. Learn about Sarasota’s past, see an Amish farm, and view the historic neighborhoods before heading on to your final destination.
Tampa is a popular tourist attraction with more than 165 beaches and parks to enjoy. It is also popular for Busch Gardens Tampa, the Florida Aquarium, Adventure Island, and the Lowry Park Zoo. Busch Gardens is a 335-acre theme park with 27 rides, nine roller coasters, and two water rides. The Florida Aquarium is an indoor attraction with 250,000 square feet of wildlife and fun. They boast over 7,000 species of animals and plants to enjoy as well as educational programs, a coral reef, and other exhibits. Adventure Island is a 30-acre water park with 10 slides and two pools to cool you off. And the Lowry Park Zoo, also known as ZooTampa at Lowry Park, has 63 acres of animals and fun things to do.
If you are staying overnight in Tampa, be sure to reserve a site in advance. Hillsborough County is an extremely popular place to be all year long, so you don’t want to show up without a reservation. Hillsborough River State Park is a nice quiet natural space with 100 campsites with electricity that can accommodate RVs up to 60 feet long. Only 27 miles northeast of Tampa in the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve, you can enjoy seven miles of trails, swimming, boating, and more. Just 27 miles in the opposite direction you can find the St. Petersburg / Madeira Beach KOA. They have over 300 sites that can handle rigs up to 60 feet long with full and partial hookups available. Many of them are on the banks of Long Bayou where you can launch a kayak, do some fishing, or take a swim.