8 Cheap Kid-Friendly Florida Vacation Ideas
Hello, friends! Each year millions people flock to sunny Florida to soak up the sunshine and hit our mega theme parks. With 1,350 miles of beautiful, sandy beaches, it’s no wonder so many people love to visit The Sunshine State. But, Florida is so much more than beaches and theme parks... I mean do you really want to stand in line for hours with a hot and cranky kid while you wait for a two minute ride?
We are also home to 161 State Parks, aquariums, caverns and the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine. If you’re planning on visiting Florida for Spring Break, or even Summer Break, consider adding these 8 Cheap Kid-Friendly Florida Vacation Ideas to your itinerary.
1. Marine Science Center- Ponce Inlet, Florida - The Marine Science Center is located just south of Daytona and is a wonderful place to escape the crowded beaches. The staff is very knowledgeable and will teach your little ones all about various sea creatures that are being housed at the center for rehabilitation. Some highlights include the stingray exhibit and a chance to get up close and personal with a sea turtle... I mean, who wouldn't want to do that? This small building is jam packed with fun!
2. Aquarium- St. Augustine & Tampa- Come face to face with some of your favorite sea animals at one of Florida's aquariums! The Florida Aquarium, located in Tampa, is ranked in the Top 10 Aquariums in the Country by TripAdvisor.com! Exhibits include Journey to Madagascar, Bays and Beaches, Coral Reef, Ocean Commotion and Wetlands Trail.
The brand spankin' new St. Augustine Aquarium is an exciting new attraction in Northeast Florida. The aquarium features an interactive Shark & Stingray Cove and hands-on habitats. You can even snorkel with sea life in a natural Florida reef environment, how awesome is that? The aquarium will provide you with wet-suits, masks, snorkels, vests and even shoes!
3. Jacksonville Zoo- Jacksonville- The Jacksonville Zoo keeps getting better and better! In fact, it ranks as the #2 thing to do in Jacksonville and a Top 25 Zoo in the US by TripAdvisor. The Zoological Park & Gardens features an incredible tiger exhibit, a stingray touch tank, and a petting zoo. Be sure to check out my favorite animals: monkeys and penguins!
4. State Parks- Statewide- As I mentioned before, Florida has 161 State Parks! Put on your tennis shoes and sun screen and enjoy the great outdoors! Some favorites are Little Manatee River, Blue Spring, Florida Caverns (see #8), Little Talbot Island and Bahia Honda.
5. Splash Parks- Statewide- Consider looking into Splash Parks or Splash Pads in the city you are visiting. Florida is full of these cheap and fun play zones!
6. St. Augustine- St. Augustine is known for being the nation's oldest city. The historic district is jam packed with charm, fabulous restaurants, quirky museums and landmarks. There's always something going on in this tourist-friendly town so be sure to check the local calendar. Be sure to snap a few photos of my Alma Mater, Flagler College while you're there.
7. Camping- Remember those State Parks I mentioned earlier? Many of them featuring camping options. Many of these parks have incredible rivers or springs for you to cool off in, which will be much needed in the hot Florida sun! Trust me, there's nothing better than sitting around a campfire after spending a day on the water!
8. Florida Caverns- Marianna, Florida- Wait... Florida has caverns? You better believe we do! The caverns limestone stalactites, stalagmites (and other formations with super weird scientific names) are some of Florida's best kept secrets! Beat the heat and go underground to explore this lesser known side of Florida. You won't be disappointed!