Florida was once known as the “Spring Break” capital of the world for college students with its a very wide array of party towns including Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach, Key West, South Beach Miami and Panama City Beach.
However as the state and its tourism policies evolved over the course of the last 30 years, Florida has transformed from the “party” atmosphere to a very family-friendly destination for a spring break (or winter breach) holiday vacation. Our favorite family-friendly places to visit / things to do in Florida during spring break include:
Best Family-Friendly Spring Break Destinations in Florida
- The Orlando Area Theme Parks & Attractions
- Clearwater / St. Pete Beach
- The Palm Beaches
- Cocoa Beach / Cape Canaveral
- Destin / Fort Walton Beach
- St. Augustine
- Key Largo and the Upper Keys
Orlando Area Theme Parks & Attractions
With Orlando being home to world class theme parks and some of the best attractions in the world, it’s no wonder than more than 75 million visitors came to the Orlando area in 2018.
The Walt Disney World Resort
The Walt Disney World Resort is what put central Florida back in 1971. With four major theme parks, two water parks, a massive shopping, dining and more than 30,000 hotel rooms, you can spend weeks at Disney World and still not be able to accomplish all there is offered at this “magical” place.
Disney is perfect for younger children with all the characters and experiences. However, there is a fair amount of “thrill” rides for older children and teenagers at most of the parks.
Through the month of March 2023, Walt Disney World celebrates it’s 50th Anniversary. “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” includes a new of new rides & attractions, souvenir merchandise and food / beverages.
The Universal Orlando Resort
The Universal Orlando Resort is smaller than Disney with two major theme parks and a water theme park and an shopping, dining & entertainment district.
Although Universal Orlando has some “kid” areas is both of its theme parks, it is more suitable for older children, teenagers and adults. There are more traditional “roller coasters” and thrill rides at Universal.
From early February to April, Universal Studios Florida hosts a Mardi Gras celebration with daily themed parades and weekend concerts. Click here to learn more about Mardi Gras at Universal.
With it being very possible to accomplish all that there is to see & so at Universal in four to five days (especially with Universal Express), it is a perfect destination for a family-friendly spring break.
SeaWorld Orlando is one of our favorite destinations and features a major theme park (SeaWorld Orlando), water park (Aquatica at SeaWorld) and a smaller marine themed premium experience (Discovery Cove).
The SeaWorld Orlando theme park is the park single day park as you will be able to hit most (if not all) the rides, attractions and shows in one single day. Additionally, there are things to do for all ages as the little ones will enjoy Sesame Street Land which is just beyond Shamu Stadium.
Aquatica is SeaWorld’s water park which is home to a host of great rides and attractions. This park is also well suited for kids of all ages with a number of different themed sections that are age appropriate.
Clearwater / St. Pete Beach
If you are coming to Florida for a family-friendly beach vacation, then Clearwater / St. Petersburg Beach is the place to be as Clearwater Beach was voted as the best beach in America and within the Top 10 beaches in the world by TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice Awards (2019).
To go along with Clearwater’s white sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico is Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach. This 1,000+ foot fishing pier is at the heart of the beach area and includes a rock climbing wall, inflatable water slides and evening street performers.
One of Florida’s family-friendly beachfront resorts is the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa which is a 10-acre, 418-room beachfront resort that sits just steps from Pier 60.
The Palm Beaches
Jupiter Area Beaches, Waterways & Lighthouse
The town of Jupiter is more to more than 3 miles of beautiful beaches along its coastline with an average water temperate of 78 degrees.
Carlin Park is at center of Jupiter’s beach and has approximately 3,000 feet of guarded beach with ample parking space, picnic areas, barbecue grills, playgrounds, restroom facilities and an on-site cafe. Just to the north is DuBois Park which is directly on Jupiter Inlet. There is a seasonally guarded beach, a tidal lagoon / swimming area, canoeing / kayaking access, fishing jetty, restroom facilities, picnic areas and a children’s playground.
The town of Jupiter features some of the best waterways throughout the east coast of Florida. From paddleboarding to Jupiter Water Tours and waterfront bars/dining including Guanabanas Restaurant, The Square Grouper and U Tiki, there is something for everyone in the family.
The highlight of this area is the Jupiter Lighthouse and Lighthouse park. The deep red colored lighthouse was completed in 1860, stands 105-feet tall and is an icon for this area. The lighthouse and accompanying park features a museum and visitors center, swimming area along the intracoastal waterway, a 100+ acre natural area sports fields and a playground.
Lion Country Safari
Lion Country Safari is a 600+ acre drive through safari park and walk-through amusement park. Founded in 1967, Lion Country Safari was named the third best zoo in the nation according to USA Travel Guide (2009).
There are more than 1,000 animals at this park including lions, rhinos, zebras, giraffe and chimpanzees. Lion Country Safari also features paddle boat rides, animal presentations, a petting zoo, fish feeding and a number of children’s play areas. If you are a camper, there is a KOA Campground right on site.
Rapids Water Park
The Rapids is one of south Florida’s first waterparks originally opened in 1979. Since that time the park doubled in size to 30 acres and includes 42 slides and attractions.
Open daily starting March 7, 2020. there are a number of body slides, tube slides and raft slides to compliment a 25,000 square foot wave pool, lazy river, two “Flowrider” surfing systems and several children’s water themed play areas.
Daily tickets prices range from approximately $45.00 to $50.00 but here are sunset specials from the low to mid $20 range.
Located in Boca Raton, this is the perfect place for a full day of amazing family fun. Boomers features games, two go kart experiences, bumper boats, bumper cars, miniature golf, batting cages, laser tag, and a rock wall.
Cocoa Beach / Cape Canaveral
Cocoa Beach and the Cocoa Beach Pier
Cocoa Beach has some of Florida’s best beaches and it is know as of the best places for surfing throughout the state. And if you don’t know how to surf, there are a number of surfing schools right in the area. Visitors can also rent a variety of water toys including Jet Ski’s, kayaks and paddleboards.
The Cocoa Beach Pier is one of the highlights of Cocoa Beach, stretching 800 feet into the Atlantic Ocean. The Pier features a number of restauants, bars and gift shops along with beach & fishing rental equipment, beach volleyball courts and fresh water showers.
And while you are at
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Home to the national Aeronautics and Space Administration (also known as NASA), the John F. Kennedy Space Center is located in Cape Canaveral along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a one-of-a-kind experience which includes real life spaceflight exhibits, two IMAX theaters, numerous attractions & experiences, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, astronaut training experiences and a separate Apollo / Saturn V Center.
Destin / Fort Walton Beach
The Florida panhandle is home to a number of great beachside towns, each with their own character and charm. For the family-friendly spring break vacation, we highly recommend the Destin / Fort Walton Beach area.
Destin / Fort Walton Beaches
This area has some of the finest beaches with brilliant white sugary sand, turquoise water and amazing views.
Local area beaches include:
- Henderson Beach State Park
- Crystal Sands Beach
- Jetty East Beach
- The Shores at Crystal Beach Park
- Okaloosa Island beach
Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park
Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park features more than 40 rides, slides and water play areas including a lazy river, “Flowrider” thrill ride and a wave pool. In addition to the water features there is a 54-hole miniature golf course, a “Cyclone Twister” ride and a 100-foot high “Sky Coaster”.
The Adventure Park opens March 7, 2020 for Spring Break and the Water Park opens weekends starting April 18, 2020.
HarbourWalk Village is adjacent to the Emerald Grand vacation rental property and in the heart of Destin. You can find charter boats, all types of water activities, a comedy club, a Laser Maze and other amusements, a zipline & free fall and some of the areas best restaurants.
Known as the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is all about relaxation and history.
St. Augustine Area Beaches
According to VisitStAugustine.com, the area has 42 miles of beaches that are perfect for basking in the sun, fishing, surfing and more. Several area beaches include:
- Vilano Beach (driving is allow on the beach)
- Anastasia Park
- St. Augustine Beach
Having originally been founded back in the 1500’s, St. Augustine is home to a number of historical landmarks including:
- Castillo de San Marcos
- Flagler College
- Lightner Museum
- Oldest Wooden School House
- Fort Matanzas
- Fountain of Youth
Marineland is a hands on marine adventure you can interact with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Originally opened in 1938, the park was purchased by the Georgia Aquarium in 2011. There are even kayak and boat EcoTours available.
Key Largo & the Upper Keys
The Florida Keys are known for its beautiful water and relaxing lifestyle. But there still are so many things to see in do on a family-friendly spring break vacation.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park includes 70 nautical square miles and extends approximately three miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The park has so many wonderful sites to see above and below the surface. It’s really all about the water where you can take a glass bottom boat tour, go on a kayak adventure or snorkel / scuba.
If you decide to go below the surface make sure you see the Christ of the Abyss statute which is just outside of the state park approximately six miles east of Key Largo.
Dolphin Plus Bayside
Another great place in Florida where you can swim along side a bottlenose dolphin in a private lagoon.