The Sunshine State is one of the most popular family holiday destinations in the United States, and it is quite easy to understand why. Florida is home to pristine beaches and numerous theme parks that the kids will definitely enjoy. Here are some of the things you should check out on a family holiday to the Sunshine State.
Go on an Adrenaline High
Florida is quite popular for its numerous theme parks, making it the holiday destination of choice for children, the young at heart, and adrenaline junkies. The Busch Gardens in Tampa (shown right) offers numerous attractions, including the Cheetah Hunt, the Montu (an inverted roller coaster named after the Egyptian god of war, still one of the most exciting rides in town), and the SheiKra.
Legoland Florida in Winter Haven offers the Dragon (formerly the Okeechobee Rampage), a rollercoaster offering not only thrilling drops, but also a Lego castle, jesters, wizards, and an impressive dragon.
Universal Orlando Resort, on the other hand, is home to the Revenge of the Mummy, an indoor roller coaster filled with the horrors of dark ancient pyramids. Another must-try attraction in the Universal Orlando Resort is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which for some coaster purists does not really qualify as a roller coaster, but is noteworthy for the unique experience. You can live your Hogwarts dreams as you soar through the school castle, through a Quidditch match, and through the darkness of the Forbidden Forest.
SeaWorld Orlando is also a must-visit theme park, with the Kraken as its best roller coaster. The ride does not have floors—you will be strapped into a “flying chair”—a feature that enhances the thrill as you whiz through water. Make sure you and your children have a change of clothes ready.
Other must-try rides include the Manta (SeaWorld Orlando), Journey to Atlantis (SeaWorld Orlando), and the White Lightning (Fun Spot America).
Sun, Surf, and Sand in the Sunshine State
Florida is home to some of the best beaches in its part of the United States. South Beach might be known for the very beautiful people roaming around the area, but families can definitely enjoy the wonderful architecture and the amenities for outdoor sports (including jet skis and powerboats). Cape Florida, on the other hand, is still the best beach for families—the wide expanse of beach constantly enjoys a cool breeze and the water is always calm (perfect for children who want to enjoy swimming).
The appeal of Siesta Beach—located in Siesta Key—goes beyond the powder-fine white sand; it is perfect for families who want to lay back on the sand and soak up the rays, while watching the children swimming in the cool emerald waters. Sanibel Island, on the other hand, is perfect for those with children in a “collecting” phase—the beach offers numerous “treasures” (seashells) for the young ones to find. Sanibel is also home to many stingrays, and visitors like to splash and stomp around when going in to the water to startle the animals. Once you have had enough fun on the beach, you can take children to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, where they can have fun identifying the treasures they have collected.