When you tell your friends that you are headed to Florida for a vacation, the first question to pop up maybe are you going to the “most magical place on earth?” That is because Florida is often associated with only the mouse with the ears. Well, let me be the first to tell you, that Florida has so many different spots to vacation, that does not include being in a big tourist trap. Let’s go over some of the best Florida Vacations that not only have historical value to the state but are also hidden off the beaten path.
Best Florida Vacations
While St. Augustine is no longer a quiet and quaint town, there are so many different historical sites to visit. I love incorporating history into our vacations, so St. Augustine is the first on our list. There is so much to do in this town for family members of all ages. At Castillo de San Marcos, families can learn about the history of the fort and enjoy a picnic lunch on the grassy areas outside the walls. Families can also venture over to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and even climb to the top of the lighthouse. After these two places, I would highly recommend the Ponce De Leon’s Fountain of Youth. Oh yeah, do not forget to drink from the fountain too, kids love doing this. If you want to see the site of the first Catholic mass in the U.S. be sure to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. The history there is palpable, and there’s a museum, too.
Fort De Soto Park
While vacationing at Fort De Soto Park families can enjoy so many different outdoor activities. Families can camp, hike, boat, swim in the pools or the beach, and even go fishing. All of this while learning about the history of Fort De Soto, dating back to 1000 AD, when the Tocobaga Indians lived here. Fort De Soto was constructed in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and previously was scouted by Robert E. Lee for the Civil War. I can also say that your kids will also love learning about the mortars and rapid-fire rifled guns too. I do not want to give away too many details but know that the history here is going to be fun, and everyone will enjoy themselves.
Address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Located on the West Coast of Florida, I believe every family should visit the Estates of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison at least once. Families will be able to explore over 20 acres of land that contain nine different historical buildings and features over 1700 botanical plants. Kids will love to explore the Edison Museum, where there are many different exhibits and displays of Edison’s word. Let me tell you kids will enjoy the display of Edison’s Model-T Ford, which was a gift from Ford himself. From there, you and your family can explore Ford’s car exhibit, home, and his Cottage Shoppe.
Families will also have the choice of historian led tours or self-guided tours. Personally, with so much information, I would opt for a guided tour.
2350 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33901
Ernest Hemmingway Home and Museum
The Florida Keys have so much more to offer than just fun, sun, and beautiful sandy beaches. They also provide the Ernest Hemmingway Home and Museum. Kids will love learning about one of America’s greatest novel and short story writers. They will also like learning about their famous colony of polydactyl cats. All tours will include a 30-minute guided tour through the house, museum, and botanical gardens.
907 Whitehead St. Key West, FL 33040
Florida Caverns State Park
This history of the Florida Caverns in Marianna, FL may not be as exciting or as “cool” as some of the locations above, but it is an excellent vacation for some science lessons in geology. Kids will be in awe as they explore the caves and learn about the limestone stalagmites and stalactites. Families can also enjoy hiking, fishing, and there is even a 9-hole golf Depression-era designed course. Camping is also allowed here, to enable families to reconnect with nature and enjoy all the beauty she has to offer. One of the best camping tips that I can offer: bring bug spray!
3345 Caverns Road Marianna, FL 32446
Have you visited any of these off the beaten path vacation spots? Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments!