Skip to comments.Florida trip advice needed.
Posted on 07/16/2012 7:20:14 PM PDT by enduserindy
I am taking the family to Florida soon and need help. I have 3 kids from 9-13 going. I know we have 2 days at Disney but what to do with the rest of my time? About 3 days down there. Thanks for any help.
Correction - about 3 more days down there after Disney.
There are hurricanes, floods and alligators there, just so you know.
go to space center.
I co-sign the space center, about an hour from Orlando, spend 4-5 hours and back.
Go to the beach! We like the Gulf better than the Atlantic, but Daytona Beach is a very popular place to be.
Universal is good, but not sure if you want to spend the money for two parks. They have lots of smaller places on International Drive.. indoor skydiving, fun ‘n wheels, etc, maybe try tripadvisor.com?
KSC or Busch Gardens, Tampa
There is plenty to see in the Orlando area.
Or you could go to Daytona to the beach, about an hour away.
Go to the Keys.
Find someone selling boiled peanuts and buy some.
Disney, of course. Just because you have to. EPCOT is terrible. In the same area, Gator World was very memorable, if it’s still there.
But the best... Tour Kennedy Space Center / Cape Canaveral. Unforgettable.
Beat me to it!
If the Space Center is not your thing, go west to Tampa. I like the waterfront and of course “The Bounty” from the MGM movie is moored there.
Then there are all the other amusement parks. But, after Disney, most are sort of a let down.
SEA WORLD! At least 1 of the days, but you can do two days there!
The Keys are gorgeous!
With that age group, Islands of Adventure at Universal is a must.
Also, away from the tourist stuff, an airboat ride to see the REALLY big gators. This one os the real deal.
Owner’s father was FFL, so he grew up in lots of war zones, Aftrca, etc. Cool dude.
There are Sea World and Universal in Orlando, the launch complex at Cape Canaveral and the nearby beaches on the east coast, and west along I-4, there are Legoland Florida in Winter Haven and the Fantasy of Flight aircraft museum in Polk City. Check their websites to gauge age suitability, location, and prices.
If your kids are girls, they’ll like to spend some time at the outlet malls in Orlando. Cruise up International blvd and check out the restaurants and the upside down building.
Treasure Island, Madeira Beach in Clearwater area is good. You can rent a wave runner and take the kids for rides in the inter-coastal waterway. The beaches are nice. A parasailing ride will be something they always remember.
I agree w/those who say KSC & TPA bay area; include Sanibel if you go West.
if you take 3 kids ages 9-13 to the Keys i hope you are ready to do a lot of explaining.
For history: St. Augustine - oldest city in the US
For entertainment: Universal Studios, SeaWorld, the Space Center (check online for a launch!)
For Excitement: check out an airboat ride, a gator park, or a multitude of other adventure things.
Question... Why only two day at Disney? We spend a week there and still don’t see it all.
#1 Buy a good “Insiders guide to WDW” type book. Check the reviews because I don’t know of a good one now. It will pay for itself in time saved. On a vacation, time = money. Look through the book and prioritize what each person wants to do. Get one which describes every ride. WDW will overwhelm you otherwise.
2. Go to Trip Advisor and check out what else you want to do in the area.
3. Draw up a budget and track it each day.
4. Make an itinerary to help remind you what you had planned on doing and see how close you stick to it.
5. Only you and your family knows what they want to do.
Check out the Holyland Experience...great experience for you and family!
beach!!!!!!Sanibel, Captiva, even Jacksonville............beach it baby!
The Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral aren't far away - save the travel distance, you won't be disappointed.
Another thing - I hate bugs, and the further south you go in Florida the bigger the swarms of gnats and other pesky flying critters you will encounter. LOL
At least, that was what I experienced - and forget the 'keys' - it just isn't worth it. I spent three months down there and it was awful!
It’s a bit of a hike, but St. Augustine has the Alligator Farm and lots of history, shops, and restaurants.(oldest city in America)
Is this a driving vacation?
There are many aviation museums to choose from: http://www.aero-web.org/museums/fl.htm
If you do happen to head up toward the panhandle, stop off in Pensacola to visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Head a little further to Mobile, Al and visit the USS Alabama: http://www.ussalabama.com/
From Mobile, you drive back north along I-65 and stop off in Huntsville, AL to see the US Space & Rocket Center there. http://rocketcenter.com/
Try New Smyrna Beach instead of Daytona. 27th Ave. Park has free parking and is the beginning of the no-drive portion of the beach. More family oriented than Daytona IMHO.
You got three days of bait.
There are plenty of sights to see besides Key West.
However, maybe because during the summer there are lots fewer people, I didn’t see any outrageous or offensive behaviour. I had my teen daughter with me and we had a fantastic time.
I agree that the Keys are very nice, but it’s really hot south of Miami right now; plus, from Orlando that’s a lot of driving - a good 5 hours one way from Orlando with kids. KSC would be a nice and near trip down memory lane for the adults, and may provide a bit of fun & inspiration for the kids... (BTW, I live in the Orlando area B^)
Universal Studios, Seaworld and Cape Canaveral, my kids absolutely loved the Saturn V.
And Universal has the Harry Potter land now.
Myakka State Park near Sarasota is a great place for an airboat ride to see alligators. You can also rent canoes and go out on the lake - but keep your distance from the gators. I believe you can also rent bikes and ride the roads in the park if you aren’t bringing your own.
Actually, Sarasota is a nice family place (only been there in winter, so don’t know situation in summer). Beautiful beaches and picnic parks.
Swimming with the dolphins was such a great experience that we sent the whole family (19) for a day which includes that and other close encounters with many varied and wonderful creatures. Just don’t know how to find a better experience for your youngsters and YOU. Just wait until you feel the powerful bodies they have....Wow!
This area was relaxing when we opted out of the Bahamas for Florida:
Are you saying you have a total of 3 days, with 2 days allotted to Disney?
I disagree with Rio & Ron — EPCOT is great for that age. Or Animal Kingdom. Of the 4 Disney parks, I’d probably skip the Studio (Hollywood, or whatever they call it now). With one day remaining, I’d do Sea World.
Spend a day at Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach (both Disney) to unwind. Also spend a day at Cape Canaveral. Take the cheapest tour, it is as good as the more expensive ones.
After going to Downtown Disney my kids wanted to go to the Holyland Experience in hindsight.
Sorry, I’m posting from a 100+ degree zone so the high 80s didn’t seem that bad. :-/
We tried to cram too much in last time so next time around, I would make the drive, spend the night kicking back on the beach in Key Largo and make the rest of the drive to Key West the next day.
I think it’s something everyone should see once, anyway. :-)
The Space Center, then Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach.
Swimming with the mantees at Crystal River is the most amazing thing you’ll do there. Tops Disney even for the kids. We still talk about doing that ten years later. Can not tell you how utterly amazing the experience is.
I hope you have a good time in FL
As an alternative next time, consider the MS Gulf Coast.
A lot more bang for your buck. These are not mine. I just live nearby. They are very nice.
Seconding the swim with the dolphins experience at Discovery Cove @ Sea World. My wife and I did it in May and they have added sea otters to the park since we have been there. I highly recommend it.
Agreed. Sea World is a good deal. Every time I’ve been, I paid once, and got back in for free the next two days (except parking, of course). And if you purchase your tickets online, you can get a discount by entering a company code. I just keep entering company names (e.g. Verizon) until I get a rate I like. And if you’re military, they treat you right.
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