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  1. #1
    imported_Cindy Guest

    Default 1st road trip in Florida - need suggestions

    Any suggestions will be appreciated. I am a single mother of two girls, 6 & 8. I would like to start a summer tradition of a roadtrip. I've always been a little intimated with traveling alone, but thought if I started on one nearby (Tampa, Florida) traveling someplace in Florida, it might work and give me confidence to stray farther next summer. I have a mini-van and camping equipment. However, I'm not sure I can put up a tent by myself so I may opt for cheap hotels instead. Could anyone suggest where in Florida I could go keeping in mind my children's age. Thanking you in advance . . . Cindy

  2. #2
    imported_Bob Guest

    Default First thing

    The first thing I'd do is take that tent out to the back yard (or to a nearby park if you don't have a back yard) and get the directions out and learn how to erect it! They are usually fairly simple and once you do it once or twice, you'll be a pro at it. Most small to mid-sized tents can be put up in minutes. As a single Mom, you might be more comfortable in more crowded campgrounds where lots of families stay -- and your girls would probably like it as there will be lots of other kids to meet and have fun with. That socialization isn't as likely in motels or hotels. Destinations? Florida screams "beach" to me! How about a drive out to the Keys? Bob

  3. #3
    Becky Scully Guest

    Default Road Trips Near Tampa

    How about camping at Ft. Desoto Park? Right on the beach and about an hour from Tampa. Bok Tower and nearby Spook Hill for a day "road trip"...I was about your kids' ages when my Dad took us (my brother and me) and it is still a simple marvel after all these years. Tubing on the Itchetuknee (spelling???) near Gainesville could be fun. Best bet is to pick up a copy of the local TV station's little "Florida Road Trips" book at any local book store. School vacations are so short these days that road trips are almost a thing of the past. I wouldn't trade our family's summer trips for anything and they have given me a life long love for travel.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Thanks for the Florida intel


    Thanks for the ideas, we haven't had much good "down home" tips from Florida in a spell and I have always enjoyed the marvelous little known places that seem to be around every corner in Florida!


  5. #5
    imported_Barbara Guest

    Default florida

    I would suggest Ginnie springs near Ft. White - they have a web page - the water of the springs is delightful and the river that runs through is fun - rent canoes, tubes. Itchetucknee State Park is nearby and you can go there for a day trip and tube down the river. Camping at Ginnie Springs is fun and there are a lot of children!!!! You can always find somebody to help you with the tent. you will need an airmattress. It is about 2 hours north of Tampa - get off 75 at High Springs.

  6. #6

    Default Ginnie Springs/Itchnetucknee (sp?) River

    As another poster mentioned both of the above places are great for camping and kids.

    Took both of my sons years ago (lived in So. Fla. for 6 years during the early 90's) when they were just about your kids ages and they absolutely loved it!

    There's nothing like floating down a crystal clear river on an inner tube, very slowly with jungle like greenery everywhere you look! Very relaxing.

    Plus you end up chatting with other tubers as you go which can be alot of fun.

    Just realize the water can be very cold though refreshing on a really hot and humid day.

    If you don't feel like camping, I remember there being quite a few inexpensive motels within a reasonable driving distance, that you could stay at.

    Good luck and have fun :).


  7. #7
    imported_Bob Guest


    Try Silver River State Park in Ocala. Beautiful campsites for everything including tent camping. NICE facilities. Playground, cracker village and museum on site. Clean short hiking trails. Silver Springs is about 2 miles to the North. There is a water park there for kids from 3-90.

  8. #8
    Kath79485 Guest

    Default Little late for 2005, but NEXT summer...

    Take the kids to Cayo Costa!!! Maybe you already know about it, a small wild island in the Gulf off of Ft. Meyers that you can reach only by ferry. The great thing about the place is that there are great day facilities for swimming and shelling as well as great little rustic cabins (that means no lights and no plumbing, but facilities with showers are a very easy walk away) for overnighting. It is one of the best places I've ever been. So good, my husband and I are going back in high season 2006. There's hiking, swimming, shelling, manatee-watching, fishing. A couple of nights with little kids would be pretty easy. There is simply so much to do and all the campers are great because once the evening ferry to shore leaves, it's like being castaways.

    How you get there: I75 to Bayshore, then out to Bokeelia, where you catch the ferry at the Tropic Star marina.

    Make sure you take everything you need for comfort, food, food storage and cooking. The island office sells ice and that's about it. Bottled water is a must. The island water is safe to drink but to a highlander (Colorado) it tasted pretty awful, so I ended up with a touch of dehydration.

    Oh, if you do go in summer, being from Florida I'm sure you know all about the bugs, but make it early or take repellent. Last trip was late May/early June and we just caught the beginning of the lovebug hatch---what a mess.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Good catch on the Cayo Costa!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kath79485
    Take the kids to Cayo Costa!!! Maybe you already know about it, a small wild island in the Gulf off of Ft. Meyers that you can reach only by ferry.
    Wow, this sounds like a great place. Thanks for sharing it with us!


  10. Default

    Hi Cindy,
    There is a lot to do in this area. I obviously don't know your kids or what their interested in but their are a lot of fun things do here. In Tampa, you have Mossi, which is a incredible science museum with lots of hands on exhibits meant for the kids. There is also the Lowry Park zoo and a Monkey, Big Cat, Tampa Aquarium and possibly other animal sanctuaries in the area. If you go to Clearwater, there is the Aquarium where Winter and Hope live from the movie Dolphin Tale. For beaches, I've heard Fort Desoto, St. Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island and Siesta Key. Although Fort Desoto is probably the best option as it looks like you’re interested in camping. There are also a lot of places you can go kayaking and snorkeling if you think your girls are old enough for it. I would definitely recommend going to Crystal River in Crystal River, Fl as you the river is perfectly clear and you can swim with the manatees. A Tarpon Spring also has some interesting places such as the sponge docks and has amazing Greek food. Dunedin is Scottish town and has an amazing and downtown main street and they usually have fun things going on there. Definitely check to see if they are still doing movies on the beach in Clearwater and Dunedin as those are free and can be a lot of fun for the kids. I personally wouldn’t recommend New Port Richey or Hudson because there’s not much to do there. You also have Busch Gardens and there are several places for mini-golf in the area such as Congo mini Golf in Clearwater and Port Richey. You can also go tubing in the Rainbow River and I've heard that is whole lot of fun to do especially in the summer. Sorry for the brain dump, I'm just trying to think of all the fun things you can do in the area. Hope this helps. I live in the area so if you have any questions. I'll try to look at this post again. I'm new to this site so I'll try to figure it out. Have fun in Tampa Bay.

    Jordan Edwards
    Last edited by Jordan Edwards; 06-04-2015 at 10:12 PM. Reason: I wanted to add more fun things to do.

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