What to Do to Make Your Child’s Florida Dream Vacation
As a mom, vacations are not always about ME. I have a husband and three children. Typically when planning a vacation, my husband and I try to focus on what our children would have fun doing. This year, we wanted to go bigger and give our children a Florida dream vacation. Looking back, my husband and I had as much fun as the children! Here is what we did.
A Trip Through Florida
Many tourists head straight to Orlando because of all of the attractions. There is so much more in Florida to see while you are there than JUST Central Florida. We made the decision to make a loop around most the state. Next time we head to Florida, we will have to make sure we hit the panhandle and the Florida Keys. We just ran out of time!
St. Augustine Area
Heading down from North Carolina, our first stop was just south of the St. Augustine area. We took a day with friends and enjoyed the beach. My boys climbed on the coquina rocks and waited for the waves to crash against their feet. My daughter hunted for unique seashells.
After leaving, we drove down a little further to the Matanzas Inlet where we walked along the waterway. My boys love anything animal related so it was no surprise when they were stoked to have a chance of looking at all the jellyfish that were washed up on shore. They even put the live ones back in the water. Just FYI, my boys have learned a LOT about jellyfish which is how they knew ways to touch them without getting stung. You can’t just grab a jellyfish or you may be hurting, so please don’t try this unless you educate yourself first!
West Palm Beach
Again, this time in West Palm Beach, we stopped at the beach to just enjoy the ocean air and watch the crashing waves before meeting my aunt and cousins at Red Robin… YUM. My boys found a palm tree where they tried their hardest to crack open a coconut. Guess we have to read more about how to do that for next time.
If you have never been to the Everglades… GO! Just make sure you fill up with gas before heading there. The roads are lined with swamp land so gas stations are few and far between. Although the Everglades are beautiful to drive through, an airboat ride MAKES a visit to the Everglades! Getting to ride around through the swamps and see the plants and animals close up, in their own habitat was nothing short of amazing. Down South Air Boat made our experience incredible!
Shortly after Hurricane Irma devastated Florida, our church loaded up a transfer truck full of supplies. Many were left without power and running water for weeks. My husband and his friend delivered all the supplies to Seagate Baptist Church in Naples who worked as a distribution point. My boys wanted to visit the church that the supplies went to. That was one of the top things on their list of things they wanted to do while in Florida. So, of course, we went to church at Seagate during our stay. It was neat to get to see the people we were able to help!
Also while we were in Naples, we took a trip to the Gulf. I have traveled a lot throughout my life but had never been to the Gulf Coast! None of us had. Warmer water welcomed us along with a few playful dolphins hanging right off the coast!
After making a loop down the eastern part of the state and up to the middle of the western part, we then went inland to Kissimmee.
Medieval Times in Orlando combined both entertainment and food into a dynamic family night! The show was packed with non-stop excitement and thrills that kept our family entertained throughout the entire show! We saw a dancing horse, jousting knights, a flying falcon, amazing sword fights, and horse races. Along with the show was an outstanding meal fit for a king!
At Old Town, we enjoyed a meal at A&W. No meal at A&W would be complete without a root beer float! Old Town has a Ferris Wheel that we were able to get a bird’s eye view of Old Town. Next, we walked around all the unique shops. After we had our fill of shopping, a visit to the Great Magic Hall was in order! There, a parlor style magician stumped all of us leaving us in awe!
My son HAD to ride the SlingShot. I was too chicken but he sure loved it! He was slung over 300 feet in the air with this ride!
Although you couldn’t get me to jump out of a plane, the indoor skydiving at iFly Orlando was plenty of a thrill for me! iFly is an indoor skydiving location that offers a flying experience for children and adults, ages three and up. iFly also uses their wind tunnels to help train prior to true skydiving maneuvers.
One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to Gatorland. Being able to interact with the animals and watch live alligators up close was a dream for my boys and mesmerizing for us all! Between feeding the gators and birds to the rookie gator wrestling and holding a live Boa, my boys were in heaven!
Both of my boys love anything dealing with animals. My youngest son, from the age of five, (now age 11) has dreamed of becoming something dealing with marine life when he grows up. Sea World was a perfect place to foster his dreams of working with the marine animals. There were many hands-on activities, inspiring shows, and roller coasters. It couldn’t have been a more perfect combination all in one park!
My daughter had never been to Disney but has a fascination for Mickey and Minnie. Taking her to Disney was a dream we had but quickly has become a dream of hers to go back! There is something extra special that you can see in the eyes of the little ones at Disney. Disney is one of the few places left that a child can literally just be…. a child! Even the big kids (and adults) can go back to the simplicity of a child while at Disney!
Orlando Magic Game
Talk about dynamite for the boys! Getting to watch the Orlando Magic play against the Boston Celtics was incredible! The smiles were huge as they watched an NBA game live for the first time ever!
Legoland Hotel and Theme Park
We finished off our week with a two day trip to Legoland Theme Park and Hotel. I wish we could have stayed a week! After the busyness of the week, Legoland was a perfect ending. Although there is so much to do at Legoland, parents can take it easy. The hotel is not one that you have to keep your children occupied in a boring hotel room. From the moment we walked in, we could feel the weight of the normal hotel stresses lift. There was a large open lobby with play areas galore! Seating for parents was scattered throughout, allowing parents to take a break while the children entertained themselves. That was HUGE for us after a fun-filled, exhausting week!
The hotel rooms were top notch and even the elevators gave our kids something fun to do. They have disco lights and music playing while the elevator is in use. A zero entry pool became our oasis.
With the park being, literally, just steps away from the hotel, we never had to get in our van once we arrived at Legoland. A quick walk back to the hotel as needed made the theme park experience so much more relaxing! Not to mention the more relaxed environment in the park itself. Legoland was not nearly as crowded as the other parks we visited which made it so much more enjoyable! Roller coasters for the older kids and kiddie rides for my daughter had us more than pleased!
We crammed a lot into our trip, but the week and a half vacation were incredible! I can’t wait to go explore more of what Florida has to offer in the future! What are YOUR favorite places to explore in Florida? It really was a Florida Dream Vacation!
Check out My Four and More’s Birthday Bash Gift Guide full of great birthday gift ideas!