It's no surprise that Florida has been consistently one of the top states to visit. The Sunshine State offers warm weather all year round and is especially enticing during the approaching winter months. Some of the best family trips take place in Florida, where visitors from around the world flock to enjoy Florida's pristine beaches, crystal clear natural springs, world-class amusement parks, and diverse wildlife attractions.
With all the activities to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to vacation in Florida. Whether you want to spend your days soaking up the sun with the kids, touring various museums, or jumping into breathtaking springs, there is something to please everyone in the family. Read on to discover five of our favorite places that are guaranteed to be kid-approved!
1. Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, and Siesta Key
These three top-rated destinations are not to be missed during your next family vacation in Florida. Located on the Gulf Coast just south of Tampa, these three islands are ideal for families who prefer beaches that aren't overcrowded like Miami Beach and Ft Lauderdale Beach. Although they're close in proximity, each of these three beautiful destinations has something unique to offer.
Anna Maria Island
The northernmost island has a small beach town vibe and is filled with cute shops and restaurants, and small inns and motels. Bradenton Beach, which is located on the southern tip of the island, can get touristy during busy months but is still less crowded than other beaches. Anna Maria is an ideal place for those who enjoy a peaceful environment, but still want the availability of established restaurants and shops.
Longboat Key is located directly south of Anna Maria Island and is connected by a bridge. Just 10 miles long, this island is almost entirely residential and filled with vacation homes, condos, and just a few beach resorts. There aren't as many restaurants or shops as there are in Anna Maria, but there are still enough options so that you don't have to cook every meal. If you're looking for some quality bonding time with the family on a mellow island, Longboat Key is the one for you!
Siesta Key is separated from Anna Maria and Longboat, so you can only get to this island by passing through Sarasota. Siesta Key Beach is famous for its crystal white sand, and beautiful waters. You may be thinking that Florida is filled with gorgeous beaches and that Siesta Beach isn't worth the drive, but you'd be missing out on USA's 2nd best beach.
2. Venice Beach
Further down the coast is another beach in Sarasota worth visiting. Once a fishing and farming community, Venice Beach is now a popular destination for families to enjoy surfing, hunting for prehistoric shark teeth, and exploring the nearby trails, shops, and pier. Bring the kids for an exciting day of collecting shark teeth, and see who can find the biggest one!
3. Mote Marine
You can't plan the best family trip in Florida without bringing the kids to an educational aquarium. Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit, marine research organization dedicated to marine conservation, and entertainingly educating visitors. From animal encounters, kayaking, breakfast with the sharks, boating tours, and more, Mote Marine has an activity for everyone. Your kids will be talking about their experience at Mote Marine for years to come.
4. Ringling Museum
Ringling Museum is an art museum, historic mansion, circus museum, historic theater, conservation laboratory, and research library. The museum sits on a staggering 66-acre property in Sarasota and is one of the most extraordinary museums in the world. The Ringling Museum is free on Mondays, so plan ahead and enjoy an entire day exploring the grounds with your kids.
5. Natural Springs
When people think of Florida, natural springs aren't the first thought that comes to mind, but Florida is home to some of the most stunning natural springs in the world. Depending on which spring you visit, you can kayak with manatees, swim in crystal clear waters, and even scuba dive into mysterious holes. Our recommendations are Rainbow River, Juniper Springs, and Weeki Wachee.
Treat the entire family to a much-needed winter vacation, and leave your worries and the cold weather behind for a while. With our suggested activities, you already have a list of five fantastic places to check out. In need of more suggestions? Be sure to check out Smugglers Cove to enjoy an exciting game of mini golf filled with a pirate ship, caves, waterfalls, and live alligators. Visit one of our five locations today!