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  1. Default Help with itinerary - Florida road trip with 2 small kids

    I'm back to this forum which helped me so much a few years ago on my first road trip through the West Coast.
    This time we got tickets for Florida (late August) and are hoping to do a 14-night road trip through this state.
    We are mainly interested in nature, beaches, wildlife. We are travelling with 2 small kids so we want to avoid long driving and prefer to stay 2-3 nights at the same place before moving to another place. That being said, this is my draft itinerary so far.
    Could you help me with it? In capitals the place where we would be sleeping.

    Day 1 (full day): Drive from Fort Lauderdale to Miami - MIAMI- Wondering if it's worth to rent the car at the start of our trip or once we go to the Keys and use UBER in Miami.

    Day 2: Visit Miami - MIAMI

    Day 3: Visit Miami - MIAMI

    Day 4: Drive to the keys - MARATHON

    Day 5: Keys - MARATHON

    Day 5: Keys - MARATHON

    Day 6: Early-morning visit to Everglades and drive to our next stop East or West Coast? (Recommendations?)

    Day 7: East or West Coast? (Recommendations?)

    Day 8: East or West Coast? (Recommendations?)

    Day 9:East or West Coast? (Recommendations?) (Stay near Magic Kingdom for an early start the day after)

    Day 10: Magic Kingdom - (Stay near Magic Kingdom - Recommendations?)

    Day 11: Cocoa Beach (relax) - COCOA BEACH

    Day 12: KSC - COCOA BEACH - IS KSC recommended for small kids? Will they enjoy it? Our eldest son is 5 years old.. If not, any alternatives?

    Day 13 - Drive to Fort Lauderdale (International flight at 10 pm)

    Is this feasible? Are we missing any highlights? I think the Everglades will be enough in one day, as I read there should be plenty of mosquitos and humidity. Is there any other park where we can enjoy wildlife and nice scenery?
    Thanks a million!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Weighing a Few Things in the Balance

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I traveled quite a bit with my two grandsons when they were younger, although not quite as young as your son, and what I found was that big and splashy (and expensive) was lost on them. They were just as happy hanging out in nature, on the beach or on the water, as they were at some big 'attraction'. Now admittedly, the Magic Kingdom is in a league all its own, so don't take this as a recommendation to skip Disney World, but do realize that the other places you've chosen are going to work out quite well.

    As for where to go between Marathon and Orlando, I'd probably head for somewhere around Sanibel Island/Fort Meyers Beach/Bonita Springs. Since you're going to be spending some time on the Atlantic Coast, this would give you some time on the Gulf Coast as well. Besides, the Florida Atlantic Coast is fairly built up, and this might be a change of pace. Also there are quite a few national wildlife refuges in the area and other similar venues.

    I think KSC might be a bit much for a five-year-old unless he's demonstrated some interest in rocketry or space exploration, and this is from someone who worked on multiple spacecraft missions. If there's a scheduled launch, you can watch it from any nearby beach. And there's Canaveral National Seashore, more wildlife refuges and the Upper St. Johns River Marsh NWA for more natural outdoor activities.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-06-2019 at 10:11 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think largely you're in for a great trip. A couple quick thoughts.

    I don't think uber is a realistic option for you. With 2 small children your kids need to be in car seats and the thought of trying to put 2 car seats in and out of an uber and then finding a place to put them while you explore sounds somewhere between impossible and a massive pain.

    After Everglades, I'd probably look at the west coast - maybe Fort Myers - since you're already planning to spend plenty of time on the east coast.

    Yes, Kennedy Space Center should have plenty for your kids to do.

  4. Default

    If I could add in, also agree with exploring up the west coast, Gulf side, of Florida. About an hour north of Ft. Myers is Venice and Sarasota. Several family friendly things around there are the Mote Aquarium,, Myakka River State Park, with a canopy walk and river boat rides. Also in the area is Big Cat Habitat,, a nonprof rescue for the big cats. I’ve never been there but these places are often recommended locally for people with family coming to visit.

    Remember, it will be HOT at the end of August, but also not as crowded as it is now during the winter “snow bird” season when it seems all of the north comes to Florida. One thing to be aware of on the west coast is Red Tide, which was terrible last year in places. Here’s some info on it, If it’s bad then time at the beach may not be good, but also watch the news and maybe going just further north or south and it won’t be as much of a concern.

  5. Default

    Been there, done that!

    Five year old children will not remember this trip!

    I took my kids to WDW when they were around 5. We went back several years later and I told them that maybe we should skip some of the rides we did previously. To my astonishment they claimed they had never been here before!

    Makes sense. HOW much can you remember from that age?

    So, waste the money on WDW etc if you want to. Just have realistic expectations. They’ll likely have just as much fun at some beaches, playgrounds, and hotel pools.

    That being said, a great place to stop with kids is Robbies of islamorada, where they can feed tarpon if the pelicans don’t steal their fish food. It’s a fun tourist trap too. Look it up; lots of videos online.

    If you get that far, the Key West Aquarium is a great place for kids, with lots of hands on activities.

    Along the West coast is Weekie Wachee. It’s a State Park now and Yes, they still have mermaid shows! In fact, the park will soon be done with an extensive restoration. Admission includes a pontoon boat ride down the crystal clear river, and admission to the water park.

    There is also Homosassa Springs, which is also a State Park. A boat takes you down a short river from the visitors center to the park. Nice boardwalks through areas featuring Florida wildlife, as well as a hippopotamus. It has an underwater viewing room where you can see schools of fish go by. They also have a couple rescued manatee.

    A part of Old Florida, Cypress Gardens has been resurrected as LEGO LAND. If your kids love LEGO, they’ll love this place. There are even LEGO themed ski shows! It’s expensive like all theme parks but sometimes there are special online deals. Of course, staying at the hotel is expensive.

    If you are near Palm Beach on the East coast, consider Lion Country Safari and Amusement Park. My grandson had a great time there. Lots of coupons and online deals. If even has a campground where you might be woken by the sounds, of not the smells, of the lions.

    Have fun!

    BYW, my own WORST childhood experience was a very brief summertime stop in the mosquito infested Everglades. Our family of seven never returned in the summer again.
    Last edited by travelingman; 02-07-2019 at 02:38 PM.

  6. Default

    Thank you all for your amazing tips and advice!
    I will check all the info carefully now and decide what is best for us.

    I had never heard about "red tide" but this is something I'll watch out as we might need to change our itinerary based on that. Thanks for pointing this out!

    Thank you all!

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