Kids and Florida normally bring to mind theme parks and over the top tourist attractions. Don’t get me wrong–when it comes to family entertainment, it pays to be a Florida resident for sure!
But even with a discount, living the theme park life is expensive. We gave up the Disney annual passes a couple of years ago. Strangely enough, it was one of the best decisions we could make.
(Note to Hubs* This does not mean I would be adverse to renewing our passes! One of us will never get tired of Disney!)
Rather than taking spontaneous weekend excursions to Orlando, we’ve discovered a side of our state that we’ve been missing out on.
So here are a few ways to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty with your kids without spending a bunch of money.
Go on a playground tour!
My kids love it when we do a playground tour. We simply pack lunches and hop from playground to playground. There are so many different playgrounds and parks in Fl that you can do this multiple times over the summer and still not hit them all!
Take a Beach Day!
Florida’s coastlines are beautiful and stretch for hundreds of miles. Our favorite North Florida beaches are Vilano beach in St. Augustine, FL and St Augustine beach. Packing lunches and lounging in the sun and sand is a free and fun way to spend a day.
Drive down to the Springs
We discovered Silver Glen Springs last summer. It is near Ocala. It is breathtaking. For one, the sand boils and crystal blue-green water were even more beautiful than the waters of the Caribbean. Add that to the year round water temperature of 72 degrees. It’s a little shocking to go from sweating in steamy 100 degree daytime temperatures to clear and cold water. But it felt good! I don’t think that anything else compares to the springs with it comes to witnessing Florida’s natural beauty. My kids absolutely loved it.
Explore the rivers
My Dad lives on a little tributary in the country. We often visit him for a day of fishing and relaxing. With so much water in the area, it is likely someone you know or are related to has access to a river or beach. I would love to get the kids a canoe when they get a little bit older. For now, they like to eat watermelon and watch the fish!
Many local restaurants like Whitey’s fish camp, Clark’s fish camp, and the Jacksonville Landing are accessible by water. You can even dock at the zoo for free!
One of my son’s friends has play dates and parties at his home on the river. They have a zip line and huge back yard and the best parties.
The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. Mother Nature puts on her own fireworks but her show doesn’t get as much publicity as Magic Kingdom’s.
What free or frugal day trips have you taken lately?