I’m pretty sure I’m not alone previously in thinking that when it comes to Florida you immediately think about Disney.
Well I couldn’t have been more wrong!
There are a gazillion things to do that don’t involve the mouse-shaped one and his pals, and so if you’re lucky enough to be venturing to Florida this year with kids, here are some awesome things to put on your ‘to do’ list…
A Florida classic to visit, you will quite probably want to take the kids to SeaWorld Orlando and it’s reassuring to know that the park has significantly upped it’s game when it comes to their animal welfare policies and what it has to offer visitors both old and young. With plenty of new animal-friendly shows, attractions and dining experiences, it’s back on the list.
This bustling beach town is perfect for families. Why not embark on Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise, visit Winter the Dolphin of Dolphin Tale fame at Clearwater Marine Aquarium or just spend a lazy afternoon playing and sunbathing on the white sands. When the sun goes down, head to Sunsets at Pier 60, a nightly festival with street performers, artisans and occasional movies under the stars. Clearwater Beach is also less than an hour’s drive from downtown St. Petersburg, where families can visit Great Explorations Children’s Museum, browse the Saturday Morning Market or take in a Tampa Bay Rays game inside the mercifully air-conditioned dome stadium.
Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola
The world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most visited museums in Florida, the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola offers visitors a peek into the rich history of over 150 restored aircraft. Representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation, visitors can experience hands-on history with more than 4,000 artifacts on its 37-acre grounds, while both kids and adults alike will be mesmerised by the famous Blue Angels practicing over the museum.
Sun Splash Water Park, Cape Coral
One of the most budget-friendly water parks in Florida, Sun Splash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral offers the entire family the perfect escape from the summer heat. Nestled on a 14-acre piece of land, younger kids can enjoy the park’s array of interactive water features and mini slides while older visitors can try their hand at the more adventurous 30-foot darkened tunnel and a five-story slide with a steep drop. Yikes!
Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River
Located on Florida’s west coast, Three Sisters Springs is a beloved natural springs area known for its unspoiled habitat. A 57-acre oasis, kids can have the opportunity to swim with manatees in certain months of the year. These gentle creatures can be spotted from land or boat, and an on-site trolley tour takes visitors to a boardwalk where manatee viewing is available.
Do you have any non-Disney recommendations for visiting Florida with kids?
See some of my other travel posts