From sun-drenched beaches to renowned museums, Miami, Florida seems to have everything you need for an unforgettable vacation. Staying at a Miami vacation rental puts you in the center of all the action. If you’re craving something more than beautiful coastline and noteworthy cultural centers, there are numerous fantastic cities and towns perfect for a weekend getaway situated within a six-hour drive of Miami. Check out seven incredible places in proximity to Miami.

1. Orlando

disney world castle orlando
Source: Flickr/Kirt Edblom

Your kids won’t be able to thank you enough for a weekend of family fun in Orlando, a three and a half hour drive from Miami. You can get a two-day pass to Disney World, Epcot, and the Animal Kingdom to spend the weekend riding roller coasters, exploring the cities of the world, and seeing African animals on the savannah. Not a Disney fan? Universal Studios offers a two-day pass to its theme parks with rides and shows based on its most popular movies, including Harry Potter. Sea World offers the combination of an amusement park, aquarium, and live animal shows. In the heat of the summer, hit one of the waterparks, including Universal’s Volcano Bay, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, or Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

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2. Cape Canaveral

cape canaveral rocket launch

Learn all about America’s Space Race and the history of space exploration with a weekend in Cape Canaveral. You reach your vacation rental in a little over three hours and can make a stop at the iconic Ron Jon’s Surf Shop to pick up some souvenirs before checking in. Spend all day Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center and visit the museum at the main visitor’s center and buy tickets for the tour. Buses take visitors out to several buildings in the center, where your family gets off and explores that building before reboarding the bus to the next destination. Take in a movie about the cosmos at the IMAX theater at the center and have lunch in the Orbit Cafe during your weekend stay.

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3. Tampa

florida palm trees sunset

Enjoy life on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida after a four-hour drive to Tampa with its great location on Tampa Bay. Rent a boat from Little Harbor Watersports to spend a day out fishing on the bay or trying your hand at waterskiing. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is an amusement park with the theme of African animals. Teens and tweens love riding the Cobra’s Curse coaster while younger kids enjoy the kiddie rides. The park also includes a zoo with 300 species of animals. Try shopping in a new location at the International Plaza and Bay Street shopping area or save some money at the Tampa Premium Outlets with upscale stores, including American Eagle Outfitter, Ann Taylor, and Coach.

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4. Key West

florida coast holiday

Getting there is half the fun when you make the three and a half hour trip to Key West. Taking in stunning sights as you cross bridges that run for miles over the ocean and pass through small communities in isolated keys. Feel the hustle and bustle of daily life fall away as you enter the town of Key West. While in town, take a tour of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and notice the cats that live there. These cats are the descendants of Hemingway’s cat that was unusual due to its six toes. Sign up for the Old Town Trolley Tours Key West to see all the best sites in town, and don’t miss the Southern Most Point Buoy.

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5. Naples

naples grande resort florida
Source: Flickr/Josh Hallett

Shop in new stores and try the menu at different restaurants with a weekend away in Naples. Located on the Gulf side of Florida, this town experiences a population explosion in the winter months so aim to visit in the spring and summer months. Board a boat in the Naples Zoo and drift past islands with monkeys playing and some of your favorite animals. Check the schedule to watch an alligator feeding. The Naples Botanical Garden covers 140 acres and displays both native and non-native species of flowers, plants, and trees. In the evenings, take the family to Bistro 821 for an upscale dinner of Mediterranean-influenced fusion dishes or feel like you’re dining in Tuscany at the Osteria Tulia with its rustic charm and rich Italian sauces.

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6. Marco Island

tigertail beach marco island

Two and a half hours from Miami and near the Everglades National Park, Marco Island is your ticket to a low-key weekend for some quality time with family. Learn a little about the local history at the Marco Island Historical Museum before heading out for a day on the beach and splashing in the surf. Marco Island Boat Tours takes families out on the Gulf of Mexico to see the dolphins and the whales. Book a tour of the Everglades with Captain Ron’s Awesome Everglades Adventures.

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7. Fort Myers

fort myers beach

In less than four hours, your family can settle into a Fort Myers vacation rental for a weekend of fun and sun on the Gulf of Mexico with its calmer, warmer waters. Head to the Imaginarium Hands-On Museum and Aquarium for an afternoon of learning through play and make sure to capture a photo of your kids petting a stingray. The Edison and Ford Winter Estates covers more than 20 acres and includes a lab, research facility, botanical gardens, and a museum. You can see where these great inventors got some of their best ideas in the winter months.

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