18 Best Family Vacation Spots in Florida: Something for Everyone!
Florida is a popular destination for families looking to spend time together on vacation. The Sunshine State has something for everyone, with its sandy beaches, theme parks, and diverse natural landscapes. Here are the 18 best family vacation spots in Florida, ranging from the iconic Walt Disney World to the natural beauty of the Everglades National Park.
Walt Disney World Resort – (Orlando, Florida)
No list of Florida family vacation destinations would be complete without mentioning Walt Disney World. This massive theme park complex in Orlando includes four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), two water parks, numerous hotels, and a shopping and dining district. Whether your family is looking for thrilling rides, character meet-and-greets, or live entertainment, Walt Disney World has something for everyone. Consider staying on-site at one of the Disney hotels, which provide Extra Magic Hours and other benefits.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Consider visiting Ichetucknee Springs State Park for a more natural vacation. This park in north-central Florida contains a series of crystal-clear springs that flow into the Ichetucknee River. The cool, clear waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, tubing, and kayaking. There are also hiking and biking trails, as well as a picnic area, in the park. Consider camping or renting a cabin to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Ichetucknee Springs State Park.
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center – (Merritt Island, Florida)
The Kennedy Space Center, located on Florida’s Space Coast, is a must-see for families interested in space exploration. The center includes interactive exhibits, simulators, and behind-the-scenes tours that provide visitors with an inside look at NASA’s operations. Visitors can also watch a rocket launch (if available) or go to the Apollo/Saturn V Center to see a real Saturn V moon rocket. Consider purchasing a KSC Tour Plus ticket, which includes a bus tour of the center’s working areas as well as a visit to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park, located just south of Miami, is a nature lover’s paradise. Coral reefs, mangrove forests, and hardwood hammocks are among the ecosystems found in the park. In the park, visitors can go snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, and birdwatching. There are also several ranger-led programs available to help visitors learn more about the park’s diverse ecosystems, such as guided tours and talks. Consider staying overnight in the park’s campground or taking a guided boat tour to get the most out of Biscayne National Park.
Clearwater Beach, Florida – (Clearwater, Florida)
Clearwater Beach, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is a popular beach vacation destination for families. The beach has white sands and clear waters that are ideal for swimming and sunbathing. There are also a number of restaurants, shops, and other attractions in the area, such as a waterpark and a pier with live music. Consider staying in a beachfront hotel or rental property to make the most of your trip to Clearwater Beach.
Busch Gardens Tampa (Tampa Bay)
Busch Gardens, located in Tampa Bay, is a popular theme park known for its thrilling roller coasters and animal encounters. There are numerous rides and attractions, as well as live shows and dining options, at the park. Busch Gardens is home to a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, and bears, in addition to thrill rides and live entertainment.
The park is divided into nine themed lands based on Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States, and South America. Aside from the rides and shows at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, guests can get up close and personal with over 4,000 animals from around the world during one of the park’s many animal encounters.
Universal Studios Hollywood – (Orlando, Florida)
Universal Studios, located in Orlando, is another must-see theme park for families visiting Florida. The park includes rides, shows, and attractions based on popular movies and television shows such as Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and The Simpsons. Aside from thrilling rides, Universal Studios offers a variety of dining and shopping options, as well as on-site hotels for visitors who want to stay close to the action.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Clearwater, Florida)
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, located in Clearwater, is a popular destination for families interested in marine life. The aquarium is home to a wide range of animals, including dolphins, sea turtles, and stingrays, which visitors can get up close and personal with through interactive exhibits and educational programs. The aquarium also functions as a rehabilitation facility for injured marine animals, and visitors can learn about the aquarium’s efforts to protect and care for these animals.
The Naval Aviation Museum (Pensacola, Florida)
The Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is a must-see for families interested in military history and aviation. The museum has over 150 aircraft in its collection, as well as interactive exhibits and educational programs. Visitors can learn about naval aviation history and get up close and personal with vintage planes and modern fighter jets. A gift shop and a theater showing flight-themed films are also available at the museum.
State Park Rainbow Springs (Dunnellon, Florida)
Rainbow Springs State Park, located in Dunnellon, is a natural oasis in the heart of Florida. The park contains a series of crystal-clear springs that flow into the Rainbow River, making it a popular swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking destination. There are also hiking and biking trails, as well as a picnic area, in the park. Consider camping or renting a cabin in Rainbow Springs State Park to get the most out of your visit.
The LEGOLAND Florida Resort (Winter Haven, Florida)
LEGOLAND Florida Resort, located in Winter Haven, is a must-see for families with young children. The resort includes a theme park with more than 50 rides and attractions, a water park, and a hotel. The focus of the theme park is on LEGO-themed rides and attractions, such as a LEGO factory tour and a LEGO-themed water park. Consider staying on-site at the LEGOLAND Hotel or LEGOLAND Beach Retreat to make the most of your visit to LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park, located in southern Florida, is a unique and diverse wilderness area that is home to a variety of plant and animal species. The park has a number of hiking and biking trails, as well as boat tours that allow visitors to get up close and personal with the park’s wetlands and wildlife. A number of threatened and endangered species, including the Florida panther and the American crocodile, call the park home. Consider camping or staying in one of the park’s lodges to get the most out of Everglades National Park.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory (Key West, Florida)
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, located in Key West, is a must-see for families interested in nature and conservation. The conservatory is home to many different butterfly and bird species, as well as turtles and iguanas. Through interactive exhibits and educational programs, visitors can learn about the life cycles of butterflies and the importance of conservation. There is also a gift shop and a cafe at the conservatory.
Orlando’s WonderWorks – (Orlando, Florida)
WonderWorks, located in Orlando, is a science-themed attraction that is ideal for families with children. Over 100 interactive exhibits, including a simulated hurricane, a space zone, and a laser tag arena, are part of the attraction. Visitors can also take part in educational activities and live demonstrations.
WonderWorks is designed to be an interactive and hands-on learning experience, making it an excellent choice for families looking to entertain their children while also educating them. There is also a gift shop and a cafe at the attraction. Consider purchasing a combo ticket that includes admission to both the main attraction and the laser tag arena to make the most of your visit to WonderWorks Orlando.
John Pennekapp Coral Reef State Park (Key Largo, Florida)
John Pennekapp Coral Reef State Park, located in Key Largo, is a must-see for families interested in marine life and snorkeling. Coral reefs and marine animals such as fish, sea turtles, and dolphins can be found in the park. Snorkeling, diving, and glass-bottom boat tours are available for visitors to explore the reefs. There is also a nature center and a picnic area in the park.
The Dry Tortugas – (Monroe County, Florida)
The Dry Tortugas are a group of seven small islands in Monroe County that are home to a variety of plant and animal species. The islands are popular for snorkeling and diving because of their clear waters and coral reefs. Visitors can also tour the historic Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas. Consider staying overnight at the park’s campground or taking a guided boat tour to get the full experience of The Dry Tortugas.
Kelly Park/Rock Springs (Apopka, Florida)
Kelly Park/Rock Springs, located in Apopka, is a popular spot for families looking to cool off on a hot Florida day. The park contains a number of natural springs that flow into a number of pools, making it a popular swimming, snorkeling, and tubing destination. There is also a picnic area and a playground in the park.
Florida Aquarium – (Tampa, Florida)
The Florida Aquarium, located in Tampa, is a must-see for families interested in marine life. The aquarium is home to a wide range of animals, including fish, dolphins, and sea turtles, which visitors can get up close and personal with through interactive exhibits and educational programs. The aquarium also has a touch tank and a stingray pool where visitors can get up close and personal with marine life.
Where to Stay in Florida for Family Vacations
There are numerous lodging options to consider when planning a family vacation in Florida. Consider staying in a hotel or resort for a more traditional vacation experience. To make your stay more convenient and enjoyable, many hotels and resorts provide amenities such as pools, kids’ clubs, and on-site restaurants. Consider staying in a vacation rental such as a beach house or cabin if you want to do something different. Vacation rentals provide greater privacy and space, and many include amenities such as pools and outdoor areas.
No matter where you choose to stay during your Florida family vacation, it is critical to consider your family’s needs and select an accommodation that will best suit your needs. Florida is a popular vacation destination for families looking for a variety of attractions and natural beauty. The Sunshine State has something for everyone, from theme parks to natural springs.