Florida is great for family vacations, and lots of families visit the state’s theme parks. But what if you’re not into the thrill rides, crowds, or expense of a theme park vacation? It’s OK — Florida still has plenty of other family-friendly destinations. Check out the Best Family Vacations in Florida that are Not Theme Parks.
If Your Family Wants an Active Florida Vacation…
Sightseeing, exploring nature, and visiting museums is what some families look forward to when they are on vacation. If that’s your family, you’ll love visiting these Florida cities:
This city on Florida’s northeastern coast touts itself as America’s oldest city. Your family will soak up plenty of history in this walkable town, like the Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine Lighthouse, and Fort Mose Historic State Park. You’ll find plenty of other attractions, including a pirate museum and the supposed Fountain of Youth. If you’re daring, take a zip line over the alligator pit at St. Augustine Alligator Farm.
The Florida Keys
Most of the activities here revolve around the water — snorkeling/diving, kayaking, and fishing are popular. It’s easy to find boat and Jet Ski tours where kids are welcome. You can take tours of the coral reef right from some of Florida’s most popular state parks, like John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo and Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key. Down in Key West, kids love the Key West Butterfly Conservatory, Key West Aquarium, and Conch Tour Train. There’s plenty more to see and do throughout this island chain.
Cocoa Beach & Titusville
The two big draws here are the beach, which is known for its surfing, and Kennedy Space Center. Kids love both! See if you can time your vacation during a rocket launch for an unforgettable trip. You might also enjoy visiting Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where you can take the Black Point Wildlife Drive and see wild alligators and birds.
If Your Family Wants a Relaxing Florida Vacation…
Sometimes, all you want to do is park yourself on the beach or sit by the pool with a cold drink and not worry about a thing. Beach-loving families will enjoy these Florida towns:
Take a look at this picturesque, quiet part of Florida’s Emerald Coast. Not only the town of Seaside — but the whole stretch of road named 30A that runs along the Gulf of Mexico in southern Walton County — is perfect for a beach vacation. There are plenty of rentals here close to shops, restaurants, and that soft, white sand the area is famous for.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands
These barrier islands in southwestern Florida let families slow down and enjoy life. Any hotel, resort, or vacation rental here won’t be far from the beach. Most of the islands’ travelers enjoy playing along the shore and looking for seashells during the day and having a great meal in local restaurants at night. In addition, Sanibel Island is very bike-friendly — and you can rent bikes for the whole family from local outfitters.
The best thing about Hollywood Beach is the Broadwalk — 2.2 miles of paved, no-cars-allowed beachfront where you don’t have to stress about your kids running into traffic. Find a hotel along the Broadwalk and step right out onto the beach and its turquoise water beyond. There are plenty of restaurants and shops along the Broadwalk, too, as well as a playground and splash pad that kids love.
Choose your vacation style and have a fun Florida trip away from the theme parks!