Spring break is your reward for surviving the winter, and there’s no place like Florida to celebrate with a week-long getaway. Choose a gorgeous beachfront Florida vacation rental on the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, or opt for a spacious family home near one of the many amusement parks in Orlando. Check out the eight best spring break vacation destinations in Florida.
Located on Florida’s panhandle and the Gulf of Mexico, Miramar is a great haven for college students during spring break. La Dolce Vita sets up your chairs and umbrellas each morning on the beach, where you can spend your days playing in the water and soaking up the sun. Enjoy a day of racing at the Track Destin, which offers multiple go-kart tracks, bumper boats, bumper cars, and arcade games. For a fun dining experience, check out Cabana Cafe, featuring live music and American favorites that kids and adults love.
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Head to Orlando to experience the thrills and chills of exciting amusement park rides. Disney’s Magic Kingdom features. It’s a Small World ride for the entire family and Space Mountain for teens and tweens. While park-hopping at Disney, opt for lunch in Italy and dinner in France at Epcot and then head to Animal Kingdom to enjoy the amazing Kilimanjaro Safari ride. Universal Studios offers two unique theme parks with rides themed to popular movies, including Harry Potter and Jurassic Park. At Sea World, kids enjoy the combination of an aquarium, marine mammal shows, and an amusement park. To appease the chocolate lovers in your crew, head to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen, which features a hip steampunk theme.
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Spend a week on the miles of white sand beaches in Clearwater, Florida. Surf, build sandcastles, and spy on dolphins frolicking in the water while enjoying this gorgeous destination. Kids can learn more about dolphins at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where workers care for dolphins that can’t survive in the wild. See a show and sign up for the up-close visit with one of the aquarium’s dolphins. Spring is an ideal time to visit the Florida Botanical Gardens, which combines a formal garden with natural areas of native and non-native plants, flowers, and trees. When it’s time to eat, enjoy an upscale family dinner at the Island Way Grill.
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4. Cape Canaveral
Spend a week at Cape Canaveral, where you can discover America’s space program with a tour of the Kennedy Space Center. Buy tour tickets at the gift shop along with a pack of astronaut ice cream for the kids. A bus takes you to major buildings at the center, where you can hop off and enjoy a self-guided tour. Enjoy an IMAX movie about space at the Kennedy Space Center, then head over to Exploration Tower, which offers seven floors of fun and on-hands exhibits that teach you all about the natural world and history of Florida. After a long afternoon, take a break at the observation deck, which offers views of the cape, ocean, and town.
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Combine big city life with the stunning beaches in South Beach, Miami. The Miami Seaquarium is a popular spot for young kids. There, you’ll see frolicking sea lions and a killer whale performing in several shows a day. After visiting the aquarium, stop by Azucar Ice Cream Company for a scoop of some unique ice cream flavors, such as cinnamon buns soaked in bourbon. In the early evenings, stroll along the Lincoln Street Mall, with its upscale shops and restaurants, or catch a movie at the Colony Theatre. Take a tour of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which offers a taste of European grandeur in this hot southern town.
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Located on the Gulf Coast, Tampa offers beaches, boats on the lake, and amusement parks. One of the biggest spring break attractions for families is Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This African-themed amusement features amazingly fast rides for teens and kiddie rides for smaller family members. It also has its own on-site zoo, Lowry Park Zoo, with more than 500 species of animals. At Tampa Harbor, you can rent a boat for an afternoon or entire day. Zoom around the bay with friends, or do a little fishing with the kids.
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Slow down and take life easy with a vacation rental along the beach in Naples. One of the hottest spots in town for families is the Naples Zoo. Forget about walking past animals in habitats, and hop on a boat to float past monkeys cavorting on their own islands along with other species of animals. Visit the Naples Pier at least once during your spring break vacation to see the glorious sunset. You can also fish or watch for dolphins out in the Gulf from the pier. Grab sandwiches from Rumba Cuban Cafe, and enjoy a picnic on the pier or on the beach.
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8. Key West
Cruise along the roads above the ocean and through the small towns of scenic keys to arrive at the southernmost city in the United States, Key West. Kids love riding on the Old Town Trolley Tours Key West to visit the best areas in town. They’ll also enjoy seeing six-toed cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Take a family photo for the mantel at the Southernmost Point Buoy. With more than 50 species of butterflies, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory offers the chance to have one of these delicate creatures land on your shoulder. Take a tour of the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum, and climb the 88 steps to the top to enjoy the stunning view.
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