Don’t stress, it’s only a family vacation… The words my parents told me to make me feel relaxed and ready to take my family on our first journey away, oh how I’d listened! Or to be precise, oh how I wish I’d prepared myself better. The trick to a great family vacation isn’t about the destination. In fact, the destination is hardly the most important bit. The secret is to make sure there are enough things to keep everyone occupied, from the kids to the parents. Wherever you go, from the Wild West to the polar ice caps, as long as there is something to keep everyone alert and engaged, it means avoiding the one thing that threatens to derail a family break, boredom! Boredom is a slippery slope, and the best vacations are ones where everyone is catered for.
Florida, while it’s the most obvious place for a family to go (mainly due to some theme parks that you may have heard of!), it is a diverse place to cater for each of the family. And we’ll start with the family-friendly places and expand. Orlando is the one we all know and love, and it’s probably one of the most family-friendly places in the world, which makes it an essential choice for most families with young kids, and, Disney World aside, there are so many other things for the whole family to get involved with. Beginning with Orlando, the amount of theme parks and nightlife available to you should be plenty to keep everyone entertained. Besides Disney World, the other family theme parks include SeaWorld and Universal Studios, which are both great if you don’t want to go down the Disney route. The thing to bear in mind with theme parks is that you may feel that you are spending some of your time queuing. And if you are a semi-strict parent that limits the amount of gaming to an hour a night, then by allowing them to play while queuing will take out that boredom aspect! It will certainly make life easier for you and don’t forget, you’re all on vacation, so you need to let your mask slip a little. Boundaries are important, but for many families, you have saved for years for this journey, so enjoy it!
In fact, the time you spend together as a family at this point may be the most time you’ve spent together for quite a while. The modern family usually has two parents in work and so-called “quality time” is a very fleeting thing indeed. You need to make sure that the things you do as a family will be things you will all look back on in 20 years’ time and smile. It’s like The Simpsons episode, where they go to Itchy and Scratchy Land. Marge wanted the vacation to bring them together as a family, to get a lot of exercise outdoors, and have so many memories. And while the Simpsons ended up in the middle of a Jurassic Park-style scenario, the point was well made. And if you want to have a great vacation, then they are some great rules to follow! In Florida, there is so much sunshine that you hardly ever have to worry about being caught up in freak weather. So you could make a journey from Orlando to Cape Canaveral for a visit to the Kennedy Space Center, and hop over to Tampa, which not only has the animal-themed Busch Gardens theme park and the Florida Aquarium, but also the district of Ybor City, which was once the cigar-making capital of the world. You can then take the Tampa to Miami bus door to door so you can see the Sunshine State in all its glory, and spend some time down in Miami relaxing on the beaches and the kids can go swimming. Miami gives you access to the Florida Keys, namely the islands of Marathon and Islamorada, which are fishing towns, and from there you could go back to Miami and get a rental car. Driving up the coast may take some time, but if you really need to see Florida the way it was meant to be, blistering sunshine and beautiful beaches, this will be the way to do it. Just be sure to keep the kids occupied if you are planning on making a long car journey.
The big thing that is a draw for most families all over the world is the eternal sunshine. Sunshine, depending on where you come from, can be a welcome change from the slate-gray skies and ominous rainclouds, but with the sunshine comes a lot more opportunities for fun! The beaches and opportunities to get in the water are numerous, so dive right in! The thing about family time is that you will have kids that want to go and do their own thing, which is completely understandable. Having that space is important for a family, but you do need to be safe, and the best time to have the opportunity for your own time is a theme park, where there is plenty of staff around, giving you some peace of mind. During your time in your accommodation, there will be a few things for the kids to do, such as play on the arcade machines. And some friendly competition between father and son may be a good little bonding exercise! It’s a hard balance to get right. You want to get some proper time in as a family, but you also need some time to yourselves, and somewhere like Florida is a good way to tread that line. The overarching theme of Florida is sunshine, and if you don’t have much of it where you live, you’ll be so warm and relaxed, there will hardly be any time for feuding. Vacations are stressful, and somewhere like Florida is a very diverse place for families. You can get some entertainment for the kids, nightlife for the parents, and so much sunshine that you will feel invigorated! Don’t stress, it’s only a family vacation!