It’s easy to see why people from around the country and the world flock to Florida each year. Travelers enjoy the beautiful, sunny and year-round warm weather. The cost of living is fairly low in Florida compared to many other states you might travel, the beaches are beautiful and there are world-class attractions like Disney.
Aside from Disney, however, what are some of the best places to visit in Florida if you have kids?
Fort Lauderdale is close to Miami and all of the excitement of South Florida, but it can be calmer and more relaxed than the action surrounding South Beach. When you’re planning a trip to Fort Lauderdale, you’ll see the accommodations tend to be more affordable than in Miami as well.
With kids, some of the must-sees in Fort Lauderdale include the beachfront which has 20 miles of shoreline and Las Olas Boulevard with great shopping and dining. There is the Museum of Discovery and Science, the Flamingo Gardens with wildlife shows, and Butterfly World at Tradewinds Park.
If you do opt for Miami or you take a day trip while you’re in Fort Lauderdale, don’t forget the Miami Children’s Museum and the Miami Seaquarium.
Naples is on the Gulf side of Florida. It’s most known for shopping and golfing, but it’s a quiet, scenically beautiful and family-friendly destination.
Along with the beaches that have white sand and calm waves, Naples also has the Naples Zoo and Caribbean Gardens. The Golisano’s Children’s Museum of Naples is worth checking out, as is the Naples Pier.
Clearwater Beach is consistently rated as one of the best beaches in the United States—even above the beaches of Hawaii. Clearwater not only has amazing Gulf Coast beaches but other places to visit with kids like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Pier 60 hosts street performers and artisans, and there’s Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise that gives you a tour of the Gulf.
Some other kid and family-friendly Clearwater ideas include:
- Taking a cruise from Egmont Key, with boats leaving from Clearwater Marina
- An adventure at Crystal River, where visitors can swim with manatees
- Spending the day at Sand Key Beach Park with kayaks and paddleboards for rent
When you hear the Florida Keys you probably automatically think of Key West, but that’s not all there is to do. When you’re visiting the Keys, there are some truly beautiful places to go, and there’s a laid back and relaxed vibe that works well for families.
Highlights of the keys include Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is on Key Largo. It’s one of the world’s best snorkeling spots,and it’s the only living coral reef in the continental U.S. There’s a huge underwater statue called Christ of the Abyss, and you can take glass-bottom boat tours or find plenty of places to rent kayaks and paddleboards.
Turtle Hospital is located in Marathon, and five of the seven sea turtle species of the world are found in Florida. The Turtle Hospital is the only state-licensed vet hospital in the world that only takes care of turtles.
Airboating through the Everglades gives families visiting the Keys the chance to see alligators, crocodiles, eagles, Burmese pythons and more wildlife.
Orlando is a great place to visit, and there’s plenty to do outside of Disney. It’s a budget-friendly spot, and essentially the whole city can feel like it’s geared toward kids. There is Universal Studios, but also the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, and the Crayola Experience. The Crayola Experience includes hands-on activities, and it takes up a massive 70,000 square feet.
A short drive from Orlando is the Space Coast, also great if you’re traveling with kids. If you time it right you may be able to watch a live rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center.
The Space Coast is one of the largest cruise ports in the world, and it is home to Cocoa Beach which is the surfing capital of the east coast.
Finally, Siesta Key is on the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s a short drive from Sarasota. The island is eight miles long, and it includes shopping, nightlife and more. The sand is quartz, the water is beautiful, and it’s often selected as one of the country’s best beaches.
This barrier island has four primary areas which are Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach, and Siesta Key Village. Siesta Key Village is a shopping destination, and there’s a laid back, casual atmosphere.