7 Best Cities To Visit In Florida That Will Make Your Kids Happy

In the grand scheme of life there is nothing more sacred than family. We have always shared the same values but none more passionately than the importance of putting family first and making time spent with loved ones a top priority.

This is why we travel together every chance we get, and these days bring mom along for the ride. When it was just us and our little guy, we had a blast traveling from one place to a next and creating memories that would last a lifetime.

These days, we live by the words “the more the merrier!” As our readers know by now, we are big on locations that are not only family-friendly but that are also fun for all ages, young or old.

This is why we’re featuring an all new blog post centering around a vacation spot that is world-famous for amusement parks, beaches, resorts and other family-appropriate attractions: Florida!

Many have heard about it, some have seen it first-hand and it is a bucket list travel destination for travelers world-wide but we’re going to let you in on some of the best kept secrets, a.k.a kid friendly cities, that the sunshine state has to offer.

Some might be as world-famous as the state itself but others will be sure to entice you to add them to your bucket list in the future if you ever get the chance to truly explore all of the magic, sun and pristine beaches the state has to offer!

First up, which will come as no surprise to those who are just as in love with Florida as we are, is:

1. Orlando

Home to more than a dozen different amusement parks, history-rich museums and cultural festivals, Orlando is one of the best cities to visit when you’re in town with little ones in tow.

Whether you’re looking for thrills at Universal Orlando on their twisty roller coasters, magic with beloved characters at Walt Disney World, history lessons at some of the finest museums or tons of cuddles from the animals at Green Meadows Petting Farm, you won’t leave Florida feeling like you missed out on ANY of the fun.

2. Destin

Credit: Emerald Coast

Pristine white sand, crystal clear waters with a hint of emerald and sunsets that will take your breath away. Need we say any more?

We’re joking, there is SO much more to say about this beautiful city in the Florida panhandle. You can book a sitter to walk the beach as a couple, or if you take little ones with you like we do, there is no shortage of fun in the sun to be had on the beach itself.

Into mouth-watering treats? There are tons of restaurants with menus that have items that even in the littlest mouths will devour!

To make it even more enticing, you can take your little ones to the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise where the crew will keep your kiddos busy with water gun fights, discovering sunken treasure, dancing and more! Better yet, if you’re a fan of marine life and are dying to see it up close, you can view dolphins in their natural habitat by visiting the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise.

3. St.Augustine

There are two kinds of visitors to the city of St.Augustine. Those who swear by the beach, which offers white sands and beautiful waters, and those who choose it for the history & streets lined with shops.

Personally, we’d say we would go for a little of both. We love a good trip to the beach but we also love popping into shops to see what trinkets they have available for purchase.

If you have a fan of all things reptilian, then you simply must visit the St.Augustine Alligator Farm. Home to a variety of crocs, alligators and caiman species as well as a special 15 foot saltwater resident, you can easily expect to spend an entire day just taking in the prehistoric creatures.

So, reptiles aren’t really your thing nor do your kids appreciate all of the teeth & scales? You can focus more on the history surrounding St.Augustine by heading over to Fort Castillo De San Marcos, a must-see historical landmark that draws in visitors from all over.

With tours, canon demonstrations and a junior ranger program to take part in, you’ll come away with a ton of new knowledge about those who defended the fort as well as its purpose.

4. Weeki Wachee

Credit: WeekiWachee.com

Located in Hernando County, and with a population of exactly 12 people, you might wonder why Weeki Wachee has made our list. Well, for the simple fact that the city is home to the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

This is the ideal place for those who aren’t a fan of the harsh beach weather that Florida is known for and who are looking for a memorable experience for their children outside of sandcastles and waves.

Home to the world-famous mermaids of the Weeki Wachee, the springs offer a variety of exciting shows including wildlife, the riverboat cruise and Buccaneer Bay, where you can experience the thrill of the water park slides, and direct access to the crystal clear springs.

It’s the perfect way to beat the heat, while enjoying the best of Weeki Wachee. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of other activities that include kayaking, hiking and boating!

5. Kenansville

Credit: Visit Orlando

As shameless animal lovers, we felt that we just had to include Kenansville for one very specific reason: Wild Florida Gator Park.

It’s not to say that Kenansville isn’t without it’s own charm to draw in visitors, however, the main attraction is definitely Wild Florida. In this case, when you have children with you, the park is absolute perfection with what they offer for their visitors.

If you have a little animal enthusiast at home, you won’t want to miss the amazing experience that you can have at Wild Florida. Available for up close and personal experiences are lemurs, porcupines and our personal favorite, SLOTHS.

The one of a kind experience allows you to accompany a trained expert into the habitat of your choice of their featured furry friends and actually feed perform species specific enrichment activities. Not only that, but for an extra fee you can also take SELFIES with your animal of choice. If that’s not a one of a kind, heart stopping opportunity then we don’t know what is!

6. Tampa

Credit: WISE.travel

Although listed on the bottom of our list, Tampa is by no means any less exciting. From amusement parks to some of the worlds greatest zoo’s, a trip to this particular city will be one for the family vacation books.

One attraction in particular that we want to mention is the Florida Aquarium. Home to a 250,000 square foot aquarium, the Florida Aquarium is a must-have on any vacationers bucket list.

From clown fish to the great white, your whole family will be wowed by the many different types of marine sea life that are housed at the aquarium.

Marine life not a thriller in your life? Then there’s also several amusement parks such as Busch Gardens, ZooTampa at Lowry Park and of course, the Museum of Science & Industry.

Affectionately nicknamed the Big Guava, Tampa will not disappoint. This is especially true if you’re looking to make your trip a memorable one for your littlest travelers.

7. Clearwater

Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Clearwater gets it’s name for the dazzlingly clear waters of its beaches. We know we’ve covered a lot of mention of beaches in our post so we’ll skip over the details of the beach side of things for now and say that there’s plenty more to do in Clearwater than to just get sand in your shoes.

For example, the mini-carnival “Sunsets at Pier 60” will grab your attention in a hurry with it’s street performers, musicians and wide variety of wares for sale. Families can also visit Winter, the world-renowned dolphin who overcame unbelievable odds, in residence at the Clearwater Aquarium.

Tired of all of the water? Feast on delicious authentic foods at the East Gateway District where you can also find La Feria de la Nieve, old fashioned Mexican ice cream.

Well, there you have it. We’ve compiled a list of 7 Best Cities To Visit In Florida That Will Make Your Kids Happy for our readers that we think you’ll love taking a look through.

For animal lovers, thrill seekers, cultural enthusiasts and more, there are so many different experiences waiting for you in the sunshine state. Whether you’re traveling as a couple, or in our case, as a whole family unit (little guy included!) you’ll never run out of fun, exciting gems to uncover in Florida.

It is one of the best states for families that we’ve ever seen and can’t wait until our travels one day take us to its beautiful beaches, zoo’s, thrilling amusement parks and beyond!

Advertisements

7 Things to Do In Orlando With Toddlers

Anybody who is a native of Orlando knows that there is no end to engaging, fun venues for entertainment. In fact, the city is famously known for being one of the largest amusement park hot spot of the United States. Within just a few short miles from downtown you have parks such as Disney, Epcot, Universal, SeaWorld and many more! These parks alone are a major draw for tourists as well as native Floridians but there are a lot of families traveling to Orlando for vacation that may not be too keen to spend their time at some of the busiest, most expensive places the sunshine state has to offer.

One example of this is definitely parents with small children. Like us, who don’t see toting tiny littles around through all of the hustle and bustle as a feasible option, tourist families would much prefer a smaller scale entertainment venue. Little ones are apt to get cranky, tired, overheated/cold, hungry and a myriad of other issues that can quickly make a fun day go downhill. Plus, after shelling out the big bucks for top dollar amusement parks (Disney, SeaWorld, etc.) it can be frustrating and disheartening to parents to have to pack up the family and leave midway through the day.

This is why, as parents with a toddler, that we decided to do a little digging and see what the city of Orlando has to offer for travelers who want to get the most out of their trip. We were shocked at just how many different options Orlando has available, especially in terms of affordable entertainment for the younger family members in a traveling group. If Orlando is on your traveling bucket list in the near future and you’ve been stressing about options that you can enjoy with even the smallest members of your family, stay tuned because we’re about to list 7 of the best options we found!

1. Take a ride on the Icon Orlando.

Are you a fan of breathtaking views? If so, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to board the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast. Be sure to come with your camera/phone fully charged because you won’t want to miss a single beautiful moment from the time you board until the time you disembark from this giant rotating observation wheel. Single day admission is also super affordable, so if in the future we’re able to visit with our little one, it won’t break the bank either!

2. Take the family tubing down river at Kelly Park/Rock Springs Run.

There are those who dream to see blue waters but don’t like to fry at the beach. That’s us, and Kelly Park offers a great alternative with its spring fed waters that stay cold (68 degrees!) all year long and crystal clear waters. The park features a fully functional concession stand, picnic pavilions, souvenir shops and much more. You can rent tubes onsite as well as reserve camping spots if you’re looking to spend a weekend at the springs. Admission is typically about $6 per carload, parking is within easy walking distance to the water and the experience is one you’ll keep with you for years to come.

3. Get creative at the Crayola Experience.

As one of the most iconic brand names in U.S history, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to explore Crayola if you find yourself in the Orlando area. With dozens of creative, hands-on experiences featuring every color imaginable (and even ones you can name yourself) the Crayola is a unique and one-of-a-kind family adventure that you’ll want to revisit time and time again. Among the available things to see and do, you can shop the gift store, travel between a dozen activity station, play games and grab a tasty lunch from the snack bar. There’s even an indoor playground on site to help keep the smaller members of your group happy.

4. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the World of Chocolate Museum.

Yes, you read that right, there’s a museum dedicated to chocolate right in Orlando. From the moment you step foot in the museum your journey to all things chocolate will begin, including a brief stop in the rain forest to learn about cacao, the origin of all things chocolate. Though the guided tour itself is only 45 minutes in length you’ll get the full experience with stops that include 25 sculptures made purely from chocolate, see some of the machinery used to make chocolate and visit the tasting room! From there you can explore the cafe as well, so no need to despair once the tour is over.

5. Get your glow on at the Putting Edge.

Family members of all ages will love being transported from their every day world and into a world of ethereal glowing features. This illuminated universe is made even more epic by the fact that you get to play mini golf against your loved ones and visit the included arcade if golf isn’t your thing.

6. Enjoy the farm experience at Green Meadows Petting Farm.

As of this very moment, the farm is expanding and moving to another location so it’s closed for the big move, however, it’s definitely an experience you don’t want to miss with your little ones. From cows to chickens and goats, you’ll be in awe at the animal encounters that are available for the picking and your little ones will delight in being able to provide the animals with daily snacks.

7. Fly into the sky with the Orlando Balloon Rides.

If you’re the fearless type, then these hot air balloon rides are for you! This is truly the experience of a lifetime, as the Orlando Balloon Rides company has become one of the worlds largest operators of commercial hot air balloons to date. The company is committed to making each and every experience a memorable, experience for each member of your party.

Although we’ve included 7 of what we consider the best experiences to share with your family, little ones included, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what awaits you in Orlando, Florida. A quick internet search will provide you with dozens of other opportunities that we strongly suggest taking advantage of if you’re looking to save money as well as ensure that your youngest family members can join in on the fun during your Orlando vacation!

5 Top Things to do at Walt Disney World Florida

We’ve never met anyone who hasn’t had a bucket list for travels. Even if it’s local, or just a few hours worth of travel time, friends/family and strangers can be heard saying how they have a dozen places or more that they’ve dreamed of traveling to. Personally, we have dozens of destinations on our travel list. Yes, this includes both near and far destinations but on the larger scale of things, our most fantasized about locations are many thousands of miles from my hometown. We’ve dreamed of worldwide travel since our childhood.

In fact, one of our most desired places to visit is Walt Disney World, which most known is located in none other than sunny, Florida! Although we’ve been longing for pristine beaches, shady palm trees, quaint beach side eateries and marine life, we can’t deny that a day filled with pure Disney magic & fun has been beckoning to us as well. Walt Disney World has long been called the most magical place on earth, and with all of the spirit of childhood dreams & experiences meant to stay with visitors for a lifetime, it has more than earned its reputation over the last 40+ years since its grand opening.

Although we have yet to cross Disney World off of our ever growing bucket list, we know a few who have and had so many delightful stories to tell. From my loved ones and even those we’re just meeting, the stories of things they want to experience when they visit are endless. This is why we’ve decided to compile our own list of top things to do at Walt Disney World, should our day ever come to sprinkle ourselves in Pixie Dust and explore every nook & cranny of the most magical place on earth. We hope that for those who have never experienced Walt Disney, our list helps inspire them to either make or add new experiences to their list of things to do; for those of our readers who have made the trip, we hope our list can hold up to the true experience you’ve gotten to live!

1. Character Meet & Greet.

This might be something that is best suited for little ones but to be honest, meeting the Disney Characters that have brought magic into our lives as well as countless others, is among the first things we’ll be doing if we ever make it through the gates of Disney World! Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Peter Pan, Ariel and more can be found around the park (check your map so you don’t miss scheduled meet ups!) waiting for you with a hug and eager to hand out autographs.

Visitors can also schedule FastPasses to be able to schedule a meetup with multiple characters at once, like Anna & Elsa. Meeting your favorite characters will require dedication and research but if you’re a true Disney fan it’ll be worth the leg work.

2. The famed Fireworks show.

Who doesn’t love a good fireworks display? We know we certainly do! If you’ve heard about the character meetups before, then you’ve definitely heard words about the world famous fireworks shows at Disney World. The best part about this spectacular shows is that there’s more than one so you’re guaranteed to witness one or the other or both if you’re paying attention/plan accordingly.

You can catch the formal shows that are done in specific areas of the park or you can catch the standing view shows that are done park-wide, featuring dazzling fireworks & an accompanying parade. If you can’t bear to settle for second best, we’ve heard that the show you want to be at can be found within Magic Kingdom, at the Happily Ever Show. Living out your childhood dreams at Walt Disney World will be topped off by the iconic Disney castle coming to life with animation, story, and song to tell some of your favorite character stories.

3. Grab a seat and Be Our Guest.

As a die hard Beauty and the Beast fan, this is one experience that Shafa can’t pass up, no matter what experience try to dazzle her along the way. We’ll have to be sure to make our reservation well in advance because as we’ve heard it be told, it’s almost impossible to get a dinner reservation unless it’s done with plenty of planning beforehand. Lunch is easier to get into, however it isn’t exactly the full experience we’re dying for.

4. Dine Around the World.

This particular feature of Disney is able to be experienced by both adults and children. Celebrated in Epcot (another park within Disney) visitors can experience the wonders of food around the world or popular adult beverages from France, Germany, etc. You won’t walk away disappointed or with an empty stomach, that’s for sure!

5. Calling Avatar fans!

We know we should have mentioned more about rides and dining options in my earlier 4 top things to do a Walt Disney World BUT we couldn’t pass this one up. If you’ve ever seen the film, Avatar, then you know you absolutely have to have to experience Pandora – the World of Avatar, for yourself. Visitors can experience 3-D rides such as Flight of Passage, wander though the floating mountains or go on to dine at vegetarian friendly restaurant locations inspired by the movie.

    Like we said, we know we should have talked more about rides, food, etc. but from our own bucket list and those we’ve spoken to about their own experiences, the top 5 had spoken to us. Our research also led us to so many other noteworthy things to do within Walt Disney World, but maybe our readers will get a part 2 to the Top 5 Things to do at Walt Disney World, in the near future!