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Heading to Florida with the family? While Orlando typically gets all the attention as the top destination for family fun, the Sunshine State has a handful of other fantastic vacation destinations that are just as exciting for the entire family, minus all the crowds. Plan your next family getaway at one of the top family-friendly destinations in Florida and experience thrilling indoor and outdoor activities that don’t involve the Mouse.
The kids will love the St. Pete area, as there’s a long list of natural attractions to enjoy. Families can enjoy swimming and kayaking in Fort De Soto Park or try skimboarding at St. Pete Beach. Visit the Dali museum for an educational look at Surrealism or take a day trip to a secluded Caladesi Island.
For a more laid-back family vacation, Sanibel Island has some of the best shelling in Florida. Bike through J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, venture out to Captiva Island, or spot manatees at nearby Lovers Key State Park.
Previously a spring break destination, Fort Lauderdale has a plethora of family activities outside of its stunning beaches. Kids will love the interactive exhibits at the Museum of Discovery and Science, and nearby Butterfly World, the largest butterfly house in the world, is another fun spot to check out.
A quiet getaway is what you’ll find on the sugary white sands of St. George Island, where you can climb the historic Lighthouse, take a breezy bike ride through the trails, or go on a guided boat dolphin tour.
Families who enjoy history will love a visit to the historical Fort Pickens or the National Naval Aviation Museum. Take a stroll along the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier or head to Big Lagoon State Park for swimming, canoeing, and diverse wildlife.
Thrill-seeking families will love the roller coasters and animal encounters at Busch Gardens or a canoe trip down the Hillsborough River. Take part in the water activities at Clearwater Beach, visit ZooTampa at Lowry Park or take a trip to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
Located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin is a fantastic family destination. Fishing is #1 here, but kids can also enjoy water activities on the pristine beaches. Stroll the Destin Harbor Boardwalk or jump on inflatable slides at nearby Crab Island Water Park.
Water-loving families will enjoy fishing, diving, and snorkeling in the Florida Keys. For a day inside, head to the Key West Shipwreck Museum to hear unique stories of the 400 shipwrecks along Florida’s coast.
While Miami is known for its nightlife, it is surprisingly also a great destination for kids. You will be spoiled for choice with activities such as the Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Miami Science Museum, Jungle Island, and the famous Venetian Pool.
Nature-loving families will appreciate the options in Sarasota. Families can scout for sand dollars on Siesta Key beach, take a kayak tour of South Lido Nature Park, or marvel at aquatic life at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.
Kids will be delighted to explore the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in the United States or the colonial-era Castillo de San Marcos fort. Interact with history on the Colonial Quarter with live re-enactments or get up close and personal at Alligator Farm.