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Five Smart Choices for Summer Fun in Florida

Beautiful Clear Waters of Seista Key

By Myscha Theriault – Independent Travel Resources at

If you’re searching for ways to keep the kids entertained while traveling to Florida this summer, you’re in luck. Florida is certainly not lacking in options for family-friendly entertainment. The key to not getting burnt out on any one form of summer fun? Diversity. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing. So before booking your entire summer vacation itinerary at one theme park after another, consider that you might be better off to alternate a day at Mouseville with an historic lighthouse tour, followed by a day at the beach. Here are five major forms of Florida fun for you to rotate into your tourism schedule.

Water Parks

Tassie Twister

Wherever you travel in our sunny state, you won’t be far from a family splash zone. There are water parks throughout Florida, with some of the more elaborate ones being located near prominent theme parks and other popular in-state tourist destinations. For those that are booking accommodations in or near a theme park anyway, these parks make a great way to break up a day of waiting in line for rides without having to drive to a completely different destinations.


Pelicans at Fort De Soto Dock

One thing’s for certain. Beaches abound in the Sunshine State. From Destin to Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach to Sarasota, Florida has some of the best beaches in the world. And with coastline on three sides, there are plenty of them to go around. Fun picks include canine-equipped Fort De Soto Park in Tampa Bay, sexy South Beach and sleepy Longboat Key.

Theme Parks

Hogwarts Express

Let’s face it. Florida is basically theme park central, at least as far as the eastern United States is concerned. Whether you’re heading to Legoland, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios or Disney, there’ll be lots to see and do. Theme parks don’t necessarily represent the most affordable entertainment options in Florida, but they are some of the most popular. Interspersing theme park visits with other affordable options like beaches, lighthouses and state parks can help balance things out



A trip to the zoo is a treat for nearly any child, and with all of the wildlife experiences Florida has to offer, visiting one while you’re in the state simply enhances your overall vacation experience. Lowry Park Zoo is home to numerous animal exhibits and an actual working manatee hospital, for example. Elsewhere the Central Florida Zoo offers animal encounters as well as an air adventure park.


Cape Canaveral Lighthouse

While many travelers think immediately of New England when they hear the word lighthouses, the truth is there are also many Florida lighthouses to consider visiting. Especially if you’re a Florida resident looking to introduce your child to all the state has to offer. Try visiting several over summer break to get a sense of the local history and maritime tradition. It’s also nice to visit an attraction with less congestion and souvenir overload when you are trying to get the kids to wind down after a hectic day.

This summer, consider all that Florida has to offer while booking your child’s entertainment schedule. While theme parks are certainly fun to visit, there are other options equally deserving of your tourist time.

Myscha Theriault Myscha Theriault is a syndicated columnist for McClatchy-Tribune, best-selling author, and professional blogger whose work has been featured by Forbes, MSN, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, AOL, and others. Print interviews include Better Homes and Gardens, Women’s World, and All You Magazines. She is the founder of, a web site for independent travelers. You can also catch up with her on Twitter.

Originally Published on July 7th, 2012

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