Last year, I was blessed enough to Pull Off the Great Vacation Caper. Thanks to a great deal offered by an annual blogging trip, I was able to take my kids on their first plane ride for a great family vacation to Florida. We visited Universal Studios, and had a blast. We also took some time out to go for a great drive along the coast, and hit the beach.
Florida is one of those states that has it made when it comes to exciting things to do. It is definitely my favorite travel destination. From the coastline to the Everglades to the theme parks, there are just so many activities. To help, here are the ten top places to visit in Florida for a good time.
1) Disney World
It’s called the happiest place in the world for a reason. A trip to Disney World is a trip through nostalgia, it doesn’t matter how old the visitor is, there’s something here for everybody. Flights to Florida don’t get much better when a visit to Disney world is involved.
2) Spend a day in the world of Harry Potter
We had the awesome treat of visiting Diagon Alley while it was closed to the public! Our small group was able to take advantage and check out the place without it being covered in massive crowd. You can walk through Diagon Alley and stop by the Leaky Cauldron for a drink of Butterbeer. Or maybe take in a game of Quidditch and cast a spell. The world of Harry Potter comes to life at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a treat for any fan of the boy wizard and his friends.
3) Explore the water
The beach is my favorite part of Florida, and there are many to choose from. Florida has over 11,000 miles of rivers and waterways, so it’s no surprise that there are countless attractions in or on the water. Snorkel at the Biscayne National Underwater Park, or rent a canoe and paddle the Hillsborough River in Tampa.
4) Swim with the dolphins
What better memory than to take a dip in the ocean with a dolphin in the warm Florida sun? Plenty of places offer this opportunity, but Discovery Cove in Orlando has some of the best options year round.
5) Explore the Everglades
The Everglades are home to a wide array of plants and exotic wildlife like manatees, crocodiles, and the Florida panther. Kids of all ages will get a kick speeding through the water on an airboat ride, or for the even more adventurous, you can see a crocodile show and get up close and personal with that frightening reptile.
6) Take a trip into space
Ok, not literally, but a trip to the Kennedy Space Center gets you pretty close. See how the first rockets were blasted into space or try your piloting skills in the shuttle launch simulator. Although we did not go inside, I did drive my kids past the space center to get a look at where the magic happens. Besides catching a glimpse of a space shuttle, the surrounding views are stunning.
7) Search for seashells
Florida boasts almost 700 miles of beaches along its coast, so there are plenty of opportunities to bring back that perfect shell to remember the trip by. I actually got engaged on the Florida coast under the guise of looking for seashells. I was presented with my engagement ring in a seashell ring box. 🙂
8) Learn to surf
Surfing is not my thing, but it does look fun! What better time to catch a wave than in the sunshine state. Head to Cocoa Beach for some of the best waves, and the best instructors around. You’ll be carving the waves in no time. My kids and I visited Cocoa Beach and LOVED it.
9) Get some culture
The Salvador Dali museum is home to 96 oil paintings by the museum’s namesake, all housed in a 20,000 sq ft museum designed specifically to mimic the artist’s eclectic appeal. Even if you or the kids aren’t big art fans, the works here are unique enough to capture the attention of even the harshest critic.
10) Experience South Beach
I’ve visited South Beach several times. Probably the most popular beach in Florida, it’s reputation as a haven for the fun loving is well deserved, both for young and old alike. Parents will enjoy the clubs and eclectic dining spots around town, and kids will enjoy all the water sports and great beaches around the city.
With so much to do, it’s going to be hard to fit them all into one itinerary – you might just have to return for another visit.