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Florida is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, with numerous attractions and things to see, particularly for the younger members of the family. While the famous theme parks of Orlando and Tampa are a great draw for visitors of all ages, there are many other things to do in Florida if you’re traveling with little ones. Here are just a few ideas for inspiration.
Florida has 160 award-winning State Parks, offering visitors a chance to enjoy hiking, riding, canoeing, camping and fishing in the great outdoors. The Everglades National Park is a huge sub-tropical wilderness that is home to alligators, crocodiles, manatees and even panthers. The park holds regular ranger programs and guided tours which are great for families and there are special children’s exhibitions at the visitor centers dotted throughout the park.
Beaches and Water Sports
Florida enjoys year-round sunshine and 1,200 miles of coastline. There are beaches to suit all ages, from the toddler-friendly sands of Clearwater and Sanibel, to the sophisticated glamor of South Beach. Older visitors can enjoy peace and tranquility on Knight Island or Siesta Beach. The Florida Keys offer good opportunities to get beneath the waves, especially in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, a protected area covering 178 nautical square miles; perfect for taking your kids on their first snorkel lesson.
For the less energetic, Florida holidays are a great opportunity to go shopping, as the state has many world-class malls and outlets. These are often ‘mini-cities’ that include entertainment and dining as well as retail options. Some, like the Altamonte Mall, even have their own puppet theatre – great for when the kids getting tired of combing the stores. More traditional open-air shopping can be enjoyed at Palm Beach and Ybor City.
History and Culture
Miami has some of the finest Art Deco architecture in the world, and a city tour of the colourful buildings is a great attraction for older visitors. The oldest city in the USA, St Augustine, is in Florida and houses a fascinating museum of 17th century life if you’re up for giving the kids a quick history lesson. In addition, there are many museums designed to appeal to children that have interactive exhibits, such as the Miami Museum of Science and Wonderworks in Orlando.
Florida has many other unmissable attractions, many of which are geared towards all-round family entertainment, from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral to the theme parks of Disneyland and Universal Studios. Tourism is one of the main sources of the state’s income, and visitors of all ages will find a warm welcome, and plenty of family-friendly resorts and hotels to choose from.