Updated: Nov 14
Family Adventures: The Best of Florida
Fun and free things to do in the Sunshine State - enjoy nature and native Florida places!
Florida may be best known for theme parks and touristy Orlando. I’m sure you’re already picturing mouse ears and magic wands while trying to figure out how much money you have to save if you’re traveling this way! And yes, Disney, Universal, Sea World, and any combination of theme parks could easily keep you busy for weeks and cost a small fortune. Of course, you would have a great time and make plenty of memories. However, that is not the only Florida attraction.
In looking for our own family adventures I was not able to find a great list of free or cheap adventures for a family in Florida. Which is what encouraged me to start this whole blog in the first place. If you're looking to add theme parks visit this link for the scoop on how to do the parks right.
We live in central Florida on the East Coast. There are very few weekends (if any) that we are not out and about. As a family we stay active and I am always looking for new places to see on a tight budget. I will share with you some of my favorite locations for must see adventures. This looks to me like lots of day trips. If you are vacationing in Florida and want to see and experience the uniqueness of this state, this is a magical road trip! If I could plan your dream trip: you could start up in the panhandle and work your way down and across the state, exploring some of the amazing beaches, Kennedy Space Center, some of the hottest spots on the East Coast, enjoying a few days in Miami before going down to the Keys. On your way back up you'd hug the West Coast visiting Sarasota, Saint Pete, Clearlake and Tampa before ending in Orlando for a few days at theme parks and Springs. For this itinerary you would have to fly in to Pensacola and fly out of Orlando, however, any section of this trip can be segmented for your quality enjoyment.
Florida is a big State, and very spread out. Yes, the driving time may be long but spread over many days would give you a very scenic adventure! So, let's go :-) ** You can also stay central and have many day trips**
To make this easier for you - Clicking underlined links will open to the associated page with itineraries included and more details
Let this list serve as my favorite free or cheap family adventures and you can plan however you see fit!
Pensacola...(read more here) North/ West
A historic city with so much to see and do! The Panhandle area is known for beautiful beaches along the emerald coast. Why is it that color you can't take your eyes off? While you are here make sure to go to the Gulf Shores National Park and wander through Fort Pickins. If you are fortunate enough to catch a Blue Angels practice or show the sky above becomes a theater. In the evening, the Pensacola Beach pier and strip offer many food and social options and the Seville Quarter is a great district to explore. Historic Pensacola features many stops worth the visit and do a great job with hands on exhibits. Right down the street is Navarre, which competes with Destin for amazing beach places to visit. Those wanting mini golf and shopping will favor Destin, and those wanting more nature will love Navarre.
Florida caverns state park, Marianna Florida - (North West, toward panhandle) click link for more
For five dollars a vehicle every day until sundown you can check out this park featuring great trails and areas to play. The highlight of this place is definitely the caves! For $10.75/ person you can explore the caverns learning the history and significance of these living natural wonders. You could go on a flashlight tour into the caverns. Tours are about a mile long and 45 minutes but how awesome to see and hear about how the limestone caves formed and learn about stalagmites (rising from the ground) and stalactites (dripping from the ceiling). Weaving through the rooms observing all of the formations is a lot of fun, bring the family!
This amazing prehistoric spring is open only for snorkeling or scuba diving. Descend the steps and get your gear on, then jump into the water (72 degrees) which is 50 feet deep. There are some steps and a ramp, but as cold as it is it is easier to jump! You will be swimming with some fish and a turtle who lives there, but no alligators! There is a hole above the spring allowing the sunlight down, creating a beautiful light effect. You can also wave to those above and this is a great spot to take photos of your friends and family below. You do need to reserve your ticket before you arrive, as they are usually booked out up to a couple of weeks in advance. You will pay when you arrive, and if you bring your own snorkeling great you will not have to rent theirs. You are not permitted down the stairs if you are not snorkeling.
While you are in the area go next door to the Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens. This place too is a one-of-a-kind heaven on earth! You won't regret it!
Here is a local summer favorite: Bob’s River Place (North, West)
*Currently closed until further notice
This little hidden gem is located in Branford Florida on the Suwanee River. It’s a privately owned swimming hole with rope swings, tree houses, waterslides, and a backyard feel for hanging in the river with all the amenities of home. They charge $10 a person to get in and you are free to bring in your coolers full of food and drinks however no alcohol. You can barbecue and grill out, sing karaoke, float in the river, or wander and explore native Florida. It’s like a theme park without the long roped off lines, and the people just self-regulate. It does not feel like a theme park, but there’s a nice crowd every day that will join you on a raft to play king of the Island! Big fun.
The Springs: There are so many cool Springs…. (around 700)
Our favorite = Rainbow River: (West Coast) As a family rafting down the rainbow river was one of our favorite adventures! For $15 a person you can see real Florida, and get completely caught up in the beauty all around you. Bring your coolers, pack your lunch and spend your money on those rafts! Float away leaving all your troubles behind! The water is cool and on a hot day this is oh so satisfying!
Blue Springs Orange City in Volusia County (Central, East), (click for more) has a unique float away that takes you about a quarter mile down to the end of the Spring. This place is home to many manatees in the colder months, and closes to swimmers when they are nesting. But because it is connected to the aquifer, a real bucket list stop. Nature trail, serenity, and natural Florida at it's finest.
Alexander Springs (Central) (click for more) is another gem. If you want a swimming hole surrounded by wooded preserve, this place will be the Calgon take me away your heart is seeking. The cold water is refreshing while watching the water emerge from the rocks below is a great science lesson. Immerse yourself into serenity here where the natural Florida really remains pure.
St. Petersburg: (Central/ West Coast)
This whole city is pet friendly and scenic to stroll through. Art, cafes, bars, shops and museums line the streets and all along the water front runs a park with huge trees to climb. It’s a little bit historic, it’s a little bit urban and a little bit secluded. Great upbeat energy and nice place to just go wander. Picnic areas, great places for playing ball or flying kites! This has the most amazing sunsets - find a spot to be outside and watch the sun disappear from site!
The Salvador Dali museum is right there and while it’s not the cheapest, there are discounted tickets in every local hotel or tourist book. It is an interesting museum with an outside maze, cool interactive displays and awesome exhibits. Surreal art and examining some of the illusions really make the brain happy! You can spend more or less time, and if the weather is rainy or too hot this really gets inviting!
Fort De Soto Park: if you like historical significance this is the place for you! All of the weaponry available to climb or take pictures with tells a story. Kids just like to pretend they are in the winning battle, or blind the cannons. And the beach is one of the highest rated in the country. And it’s free to drive right in. Although a bit out of the way.
Clearwater Beach and Pier 60 is also close by and this is a very cool family spot. Spend time taking in the sites, but whatever else you do- catch the sunset. Watch the sun sink suddenly and the sky’s dramatic transformation with the crowd.
The Venice Fishing Pier at Brohard Park is right in the heart of shark's tooth country if you want to go treasure hunting! Searching for sea glass and shark teeth are often rewarding. You can find them in many locations all around the peninsula at many beaches, and the Sarasota area claims to have more than any other stretch of shore line! I will say the beaches there are different. This is not “you’ve seen one beach you’ve seen them all” No, not all beaches are the same!
Tampa: (Central/ West Coast)
The Riverwalk Experience:
Winding along the Hillsborough River is a trail connecting parks, restaurants, attractions, public spaces, and hotels. The Amalie Arena stands by as well as the University of Tampa. Lots of foot traffic gathers here to exercise or wander, enjoying the color-changing LED lighting system adding nighttime color to the path and nearby bridges. It is specially lit for various events, such as green and gold for University of South Florida commencement ceremonies and blue for Tampa Bay Lightning games.
The Florida Aquarium is a huge family destination, attracting millions of visitors a year. The 80-foot-glass dome in their wetlands exhibit and 500,000-gallon Coral Reef habitat with awe-inspiring views of sea life must be seen to believe. Great hands on exhibits create environmental and community connections that inspire conservation.
Armature Works where a variety of eateries are available with delicious drink options and a nice social scene.
Pirate Water Taxi's are where you can rent paddle boards and arrange for additional water activities. The Water Taxi is quite a way to get around - offering 17 stops along the river at all the scenic locations along the route. Soooo much to experience in this one strip. This is a fun place for families as well as adults needing some quality time!
Jacksonville, (North East) (Click for more)
As the farthest north city on the east coast, Jacksonville is also the largest and most populated city of Florida, and with the most public park space! How much fun to visit some of their old historical areas and check out their beach lined parks. Amelia Island is an incredible place worth spending a long weekend. Each beach: Jax Beach, Neptune, and Atlantic, has a different vibe and great restaurants and shops to enjoy. Old world meets new world with beautifully designed neighborhoods and store lined streets. We especially loved Fort Clinch State Park, and looking for a trail from the fort down to the beach was awesome. Discovering the Willow Pond Nature Trail was a highlight. All of the massive live oaks dripping with Spanish moss set the tone for the day as being a fairy tale nature retreat into wonder. Each distinct area of Jacksonville has its own flavor, making for a unique city with some interesting history and beautiful nature.
Actual Downtown Jax was my home for a week while attending a strategic planning for Early Childhood. Great dinners every night and beautiful walks along the Saint John's River were a nice exchange for all the work we were doing. Each afternoon there is a food truck line up on the corner of the Marriott that we stayed in. We did not try their free public transport, the Skyway due to such a high presence of homeless. We had no problem Ubering and rather enjoyed learning more about the different neighborhoods through the eyes of our local drivers.
This little gem of a city is not necessarily free, with a little planning you can make it inexpensive. Of course going and walking around is scenic and will not cost you anything, but all those temping spots will lure you in! There are several days during the year that the Castillo de San Marco‘s is free. National Park week is held once a year but there are also national holidays that offer free admission throughout the year. Anastasia State Park is also close by and this stop is great for all water sports. Enter for $8.00 per vehicle and you have the shore line with all the cool trails and trees at your disposal. Visitors can also hike the coquina quarries by the entrance. Camping is available. Without spending a dime, you can wander the streets and explore history walking through time. There are all kinds of historical relics and cannons line the roads, it feels like its from another era. There is a wooden playground we always parked behind, right by the visitor’s center. Even when my boys were 12 and 13 they were still running around playing here! Great place to explore!
Castillo De San Marcos National Monument - $15 for adults (16 and older), Free for children 15 and under (must be accompanied by an adult). Free with your America The Beautiful park pass. Tour the fort, walking through the history of Florida. The Spanish fort constructed from 1672 to 1695 that has been a key player in the colonial era of wars and struggles as countries around the globe fought for the ‘New World.’ It has never been conquered despite changing hands a number of times.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse -$14.95/ adults and $12.95 for kids. Historic tower, keeper’s house, look out building, and nature trail are all included and provide views of the whole area that you will appreciate. Sunset/ Moonrise tours book out weeks in advance so plan ahead - tickets $35.00. They also have some other awesome nightly tours and Christmas time specials. Definitely check their website.
The Pier: there may be nicer beaches, (in fact the farther South you get the clearer the water gets) but if you’re in the area it is definitely worth a stop. For many coming to stay in the Orlando area it’s the best option and it does not disappoint. Kids can run around the pilings and parents can have a drink at the tiki hut at the end of the pier. Cost: whatever you eat or drink. The sun is free and the view is magnificent. Great pictures, and awesome souvenirs.
A1A water Sports offers a variety of rentals. If there is a launch while you are on the space coast, rent a bike and ride up to Jetty Park (Vehicles are $15/ day) to enjoy the view. Feeling the rumble of the rocket blast off while watching it soar into space makes you appreciate our technological advances and believe anything is possible! If you are trying to stick to the budget, you can walk to the park. Crowds to accumulate in the area however, which is why bikes are my favorite way to see the launch. Especially the night launches!
Do you like water sports? Have you ever paddle boarded?
The first time I paddle boarded was in the Keys, and it was a challenge due to the current and many boats creating a wake – If you are in the area, a great place to learn to SUP is Turkey Creek. A series of water trails/ canals that wind through the back side of the Indian River provide a wakeless flat paddling experience. You will see a ton of wildlife, manatees, turtles, birds, and fish, maybe an alligator! Scenic and quiet. Once you feel confident, try paddling out to some of those barrier islands. There is a whole different experience on a semi secluded island, many have different features making them attractive. Sunken boats, tide pools, exploring or setting up a hammock to relax are all perfectly viable options. If you don’t want to paddle out, kayak or canoes are available at many locations. But this is a GREAT way to spend a Florida vacation.
Jetty Park - 35 acres of beach and pier that run along the Port Canaveral waterfront. $15/ a vehicle, it is also a place to fish, camp, or explore in a less crowded space if that is what you are looking for.
Sebastian Inlet State Park: (East Coast, Central Fl) Click here for more $8.00 per car. Fishing off the jetty, snorkeling through the tide pool, wave surfing at the Ocean: so many great things to do here. And a day of watching the boats go by while enjoying all the collide of the Indian River and Atlantic Ocean. If you are looking for a place to lay on the beach and read a book or walk all around enjoying the view, this stop has it all! If you are lucky you will see some of the areas most treasured wildlife also. Dolphins, manatee, sea turtles, and sharks are all locals. This is a family favorite, and hard not to be impressed by. Nature's Beauty and strength at it's best.
If you have younger kids (or need some air conditioning mixed with learning):
The Environmental Learning Center in Vero Beach (East, Central) will give many hands-on learning opportunities daily. I think they charge $2.00/person. When there are events it varies a little. Walk along the lagoon, learn about mangrove trees and many other species native to the area. Interactive displays are designed to help children love learning about nature. Butterfly gardens, tools for water exploration and aquariums for beach life make everything interesting. On a hot day it’s nice to have the air conditioned options but still feel you are in Florida and able to explore. They even have story times. They do offer pontoon boat tours if you would like to know more, of course for a small fee! Yes you will most likely see dolphins and manatees!
Hutchinson Island/ Fort Pierce (East/ Central) This fun hub located along the Treasure Coast, in St. Lucie County, Fort Pierce is a mixture of old Florida charm and new development tied together beautifully. There's been a lot of revitalization to give this community a downtown vibe. The waterfront district which includes popular spots to play, eat, and enjoy the view include Jetty Park, and a handful of restaurants surrounding. Parking is not too hard, as it ls free and winds along the canal front. Canal meets the Atlantic Ocean and is clearly the main attraction here. Rightfully so, as they have preserved the natural beauty of their beaches with no apology. If you are coming to the area, you'll enjoy the selection of restaurants and really unique beaches!
The Nature Conservancy Blowing Rocks Preserve/ Jupiter (East/ Central - South) For 2$/ person (children under 12 are free) this great beach/ barrier Island in Jupiter Inlet has a craggy limestone coast line that causes the water to shoot up through the air. Why is so much of the limestone above ground at Blowing Rocks? No one knows. The land here might have once been part of an exposed sand ridge or the top of a reef, or for some other reason higher than surrounding areas. Fun place to explore! It is totally different during high or low tide. Low tide will allow you to see all of the caves and wander the shore line. High tide will blow your mind with the great spouts!
Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter Island - High tide vs. Low tide - Click here for details.
Miami - (South, East) A city with everything! The free tram is the first thing I need to tell you about. The Metromover! It runs from 5 AM to midnight seven days a week. There are 14 stops in its circle and you can get on and off again seeing much of the downtown area easily. Riverwalk, Bayfront Park, and other places are close by and fun to see and take pictures. Wander, explore, see the skylines and enjoy the view which is ever changing and moving along.
Wynwood Walls- this is an area that artists use to display their talent. They graffiti the area and over 40 huge murals by different artists line the streets. But it’s not just the walls. There are messages on the sidewalk, iconic figures around the bend, Great places for selfies, and so much excitement. Mixed in with places to eat, or drink, or snack, it’s just a great place to experience.
South Beach - of course. It’s South Beach. Enjoy the traffic. Drive slow with the windows down and take in the whole scene. Tons of people, music, cars, fashion, and sports in every direction. Park and walk the strip. Go to the beach and enjoy the sand and sea. It’s a high traffic area but because it is a fantastic hub that brings together the old, the new and the future in a few blocks.
Museums- The Miami children’s museum is free the third Friday of the month from 3 to 9.
Frost art museum (Florida international University‘s Modesto Mediq campus) is always free
Perez art museum is free the second Saturday of the month.
And there are lots of ways to get discounted tickets for many of the attractions/ museums you may be interested in. Check out cultureshockmiami.com for discounted tickets for students. They offer a good deals for lots of no activities. Teens 13 to 22 can buy tickets for five dollars and get a second ticket for the same price.
Heading a little further south is the Bill Braggs state park on Key Biscayne. For the $8.00 / car entry fee. You can gladly spend an entire day loving life! Be careful though it’s not attached to all the other Keys. It’s separate - And the Light House is the oldest structure in the vicinity, offers a couple of free tours a day on a first come first serve basis and the view from the top is stunning! The tours are informative and interesting for the entire family. The Beach at Bill Braggs Makes many top 10 lists and really is as good as they say.
Let's go down to the subtropical playground and visit the Florida Keys! This is an amazing scenic drive often surrounded by turquoise water just inviting you to visit.
The Keys: (South/ South) click for more
I asked my kids if they wanted to recommend their favorite thing about the keys what would it be and they all said the same thing. Since this is very rare, I feel confident recommending Robby’s of Islamorada to everyone. Here you can feed the fish (huge Tarpon) yourself if you are feeling brave enough! it is definitely a tourist trap. There is lots of arts and crafts and food and drink for a price. I would suggest not getting sucked in - but definitely buy a bucket or two and go feed the tarpon. With the rest of your day go to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. For 8$ a vehicle you can enjoy your entire day in the water or on the water. With a variety of water sports, I strongly recommend snorkeling to see the most beautiful fish underwater. Depending on how old the kids are bring goggles and or nets and just go play in the water. There are also Charter boats to go out snorkeling and we have done this as well. While it is not the cheapest option it is worth every penny if you have a family of strong swimmers.
The Seven Mile Bridge South of Marathon, is an amazing place to feel how small you are on a planet that is 70% water! The beautiful ocean color will convince you to smile and be happy while you just be! Immediately over the bridge is Honda Bahia State Park, which prides itself on offering one of a kind views. Here you can explore both the Atlantic and Gulf sides of the bridge. Once you get all the way down to Key West, you can walk Duval Street for entertainment. The Southern most buoy, the end of US1 (mile marker 0) and Mallory Square at sunset are mandatory Key's pit stops. Time for one more State Park? Make time for Fort Zachary Taylor, for history, an underwater environment wonderland, and beautiful beach. For a detailed itinerary to the Keys click HERE
Florida shopping secrets: Publix Subs are their own food group.
Publix supermarkets have a wonderful deli section, take advantage. Pack picnic lunches.
They usually have great BOGO's also.
Need camping/ pantry items? Go to Big Lots.
There are also lots of dollar stores.
Dollar Tree actually sells items for a dollar each (inflation = $1.25), whereas Dollar General and Family Dollar do not.
What do I need to bring?
Great to have your own cooler with snacks and drinks! Grab ice from your hotel and go!
Beach toys/ towels
First aid kit with what ever your favorite bug spray or repellent is (I make an essential oil spray)
I bring a few games (uno or monopoly) for a rainy day - Florida's known for unexpected rain.
Sun hat, sunglasses, bathing suits, cover ups, flip flops, water shoes, snorkel gear or at least goggles.
Don't forget sunscreen (I like straight zinc which has less toxins)
Waterproof phone case, consider a floatation option - if you do drop a phone or camera in the water it will sink pretty fast!
*When I am in and out of the sun, in and out of the water, and eating outside of home a lot my skin definitely gets weird. My favorite thing is this: The Face Lotion Bar. It keeps my skin from peeling after sun, and clears up and bumps or redness I develop super-fast. My skin is very sensitive it's been a game changer for me!
When your luggage is weighed and possibly paid for, I am as conservative as possible. A few bathing suits, something nice to wear for dinner, casual shorts and yoga pants, tee shirt, tank tops.
You still need some beach towels as many of the places will not provide.
If you have a go pro or waterproof camera you will get a lot of use with it on this trip!
But how can navigate to all of these places?
Are you road tripping? Beginning your Florida Adventure farther North West and heading down the East or West Coast, as far south as you wish then looping back up on the opposite coast. You can go down on one coast and back up on the other catching most of these bucket list places.
Depending on your starting point, you could drive through Pensacola, Destin and the Panhandle. You could stop at Marianna to see the Devil's Den, and cave tour. Snorkel in the spring there. Head farther south to Bob's River place, and make your way down to Clearwater/ St. Petersburg. Hang out on the Pier and see the sunset. Keep going South through Fort Meyers/ Sanibel, which is worth a pit stop to search for shark's teeth. Go south through the Everglades taking the Tamiami Trail - The Tamiami Trail is the southernmost 275 miles of U.S. Highway 41 from Florida State Road 60 in Tampa to US 1 in Miami. Arrive in Miami. Go down to the Keys. In the Keys, make sure you go to Robby's!
On your way back up, ride the East Coast. There are lots of great stops along the way.
Definitely stop at Blowing Rocks Preserve. Be amazed at nature. A little farther up the road stop at Sebastian Inlet or Vero Beach. Both have great shorelines. The West coast water's are much calmer (the gulf) and the East coast beaches are the Atlantic at it's finest.
Sebastian stop - Captain Hiram's is an outdoor restaurant/ resort with live music and a dance floor in the sand. The rent jet skis, kayaks, paddle boards and charter boats for fishing trips.
A little farther North In Brevard County (the Space Coast) is Melbourne Beaches/ Cocoa Beaches. Port Canaveral draws a lot of attention. If there is a rocket launch these are worth catching. The barrier Islands here continue to be local favorites, offering lots to explore in the water. Sea Turtles nest in this strip of land frequently, with Florida hosting nearly 90 percent of loggerhead nests within this species’ northern Atlantic Ocean population, the state plays an important role in its conservation. Try to see some sea turtles right before the sun comes up!
Continue all the way North to St. Augustine and you have made a great journey. The peninsula of Florida is a beautiful journey to experience. From Pensacola to Naples its 9 hours... From Naples to Miami its 3 hours, down to Key West add 6 hours. From Miami to Jacksonville its 5 hours, if driving nonstop. My personal advice would be Spend a night in the panhandle, a night in Clearwater, one in Miami, one in the keys, one in Jupiter, Melbourne, and St. Augustine. If you have more time, you could spend 2 nights or more in each location not lose days to drive time.
Where to stay?
I don't like to use Airbnb's unless I am staying multiple nights in a location. I find the booking and cleaning fees make it too costly. Florida is a beautiful place to camp and has many great camping sites, if you are road tripping. A few nights of camping/ hotel stays are a great compromise to keep cost's low. If you do great research you can find hotels with free breakfast, and this always makes me feel better about my budget. You could also consider renting a camper or RV which maximizes time.
Theme Park Madness: click for more Orlando adventures
Have you heard that Orlando is an international tourist attraction with over a dozen theme parks? Of course, Disney and Universal rival each other for local favorite. The Harry Potter vs. Micky Mouse battle is serious! The real deal is, they are all fun, and all offer a memorable experience. You just hope to avoid crowds and heat exhaustion. We have visited the parks over the years and learned how to get the most out of our days. They are not budget adventures for sure - they require a bit more monetary freedom, and when we go, I always joke that I don't know how much to save for Disney, like a million dollars? Sure feels like that. Once you get over the ticket shock there is much fun to be had! We greatly enjoy our theme park days and I will share all of my favorite tips and tricks in each blog. But if you're visiting Orlando and wish to do some wandering beyond, then this guide is for you: Orlando Besides the Theme Parks.
But I want to save Money!! Saving Tips & Tricks:
Book Your Flight ✈
Getting to Florida... Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines will search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Use Skyscanner first because they have a bigger reach!
Sign up for one day sales at Southwest Airlines.
Airfarewatchdog is another good site to help you find the best price.
If you are renting a car the trick on a road trip is unlimited miles. Check Costco for car rentals, or Toura which many of my friends have had great experiences with.
Consider using a credit card that allows you to get cash back. This is becoming a popular was to travel or save for traveling, using all of your cash back for your excursions.
Preplan snacks and drinks.... When you are making your way around the state and traveling stop off at Walmart to stock up on items you don't want to get at a convenience shop. Cooler, drinks, waters, snacks, granola bars, easy items for in-between meals. We NEVER buy these from a gas station, because prices are double. We're not blowing our trip budget for convenience. If you wanted to fly without additional items such as towels and cooler you could grab these now, and mail them home or gift to another family on your way out.
Accommodation requirements... We make sure our hotels offer free breakfast, which saves time and money in the morning. Also, we make sure they have a fridge and microwave in the room to heat up leftovers, we always seem to have leftovers. If I can make it happen, I bring an electric Kettle. Especially with kids having access to clean boiled water is a life saver. Now I've got tea, hot cocoa, oatmeal, or even instant mac n cheese (not my favorite but they love it). I also bring my diffuser with some essential oils but that again is personal preference. Makes it feel like home and sets the tone.
**If you are lucky enough to have a best friend/ family in the area that is always a bonus!
** Camping can be saving, but also can require lots of planning/ booking ahead of time, and Florida camp sites stay booked, if this is your plan definitely coordinate ahead of time.
**Once you know you are making this trip start packing/ purchasing items that will make your beach bags and road trip more enjoyable. Buy some gift cards, or get your Florida State Park pass,
My Must Haves:
Bring - Snorkel, underwater camera or go pro, sun hat, sunscreen, after sun lotion, beach bag, beach towels, small bag for valuables, waterproof phone case, consider a floatation option - if you do drop a phone or camera in the water it will sink pretty fast!
I like the essential oil "passed tense" which is good for spot treatment of bug bites or irritations from any environmental type skin issues, allergy pills/ essential oils, dinner clothes.
If you have allergies pick up some local honey and take a teaspoon a day! This will help your system sync with the native plants better.
Also, check out these blogs for more info on a particular area:
Also, if you do need some Orlando time, we love Cabana Bay for the lazy river and location:
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In all of your travels, explore, adventure and enjoy every minute.
A little rain might fall, (especially in Florida) so don't forget to dance in the rain!
Thank you for visiting, I'd love to hear your feedback, and favorite things to do!
Where ever your travels take you, be sure to keep your presence in the moment.
Enjoy where you are at. Be a little flexible with people and their navigation of time.
Let go of things you can't control.
Remember to put your people above things, and cherish the memories.
A note from the editor:
The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning your trip. I hope this makes it easier for your planning process.
I specialize in helping families spend more time enjoying their quality time together and less time having to figure it all out. My four children have been my test subjects of planning great family adventures for many years and now that my youngest is 18, many of my travels are work related, or grandma related! As time has changed, I've evolved but I still LOVE TO TRAVEL, explore, wander, visit, discover, learn and love. I gravitate toward nature, which is where I find my happy place. I use the term single not to emphasize my status but to signify that if I can manage some family fun on a limited teacher's salary with four children, anyone can do it. I am just very intentional in how I spend my time and earnings. I typically seek out budget friendly ways to enjoy my time, but will occasionally splurge for the right reasons :-)
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July 24 - 27, 2024.
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