||Children won’t be stuck to their screens on a holiday in the Sunshine State, not when there’s so much to keep them entertained. Here’s a taster…
Florida’s Historic Coasts
Kids – and grown-ups too – can enjoy amazing stargazing on two special nights next month at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds in Elkton. Held in conjunction with Ancient City Astronomy Club, experts will teach families about the constellations, star names, and more, with telescopes and binoculars on hand to help with star spotting. The Night Under the Stars events, on August 1 and 2 from 8pm-10pm, are free to attend but space is limited and registration is required.
SEALIFE Orlando Aquarium
Wannabe superheroes can learn about the powers of five amazing underwater creatures and put their strength and intelligence to the test at SEALIFE Orlando Aquarium. Included in the aquarium admission, the Underwater Superhero challenges run until August 10 and will see youngster go face-to-fin against speedy sharks, test their strength against sea stars and more. Pre-book tickets online to guarantee entry and for discounted prices.
Visit Panama City Beach
Families can take a pontoon boat over to Shell Island to play on the beach and swim with wild dolphins around this uninhabited island. Throughout its history, Shell Island has seen Native American settlement, the arrival of Spanish explorers, and even pirates. There’s nothing here except pristine white beaches, so leave the screens behind, pack a picnic and a sense of adventure and make magical holiday memories.
West Volusia County
Children aged 6-11 can take part in hands-on activities designed to teach them about ecological, cultural, heritage and outdoor pursuits in West Volusia later this summer. The programme, which will see kids become ECHO Rangers, is held in parks, museums, historical sites and libraries throughout the area, with various ‘kick-off’ dates in September. Programme entry costs $20 per child accompanied by one adult.
Daytona Beach CVB
By kayaking or canoeing the beautiful waterways of Daytona Beach, kids can get close to some of Florida’s endangered plants and animals and the unique ecology and history of the area. Head to the 20-acre Cracker Creek, which sits next to Gamble Place, once the winter retreat of James N Gamble, the founder of Procter and Gamble Company, where you can rent tandem and single kayaks, canoes and launches.
Visit St. Pete/ Clearwater
At Clearwater Marine Aquarium, kids will love to learn all about the rescue and rehabilitation of sea animals and can help the care teams look after the dolphins, otters and pelican, and even the sharks. The aquarium is also home to Winter the dolphin, star of Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2.
New Smyrna Beach
Families can discover dolphins, manatees, fish, crustaceans and other wonderful wildlife at New Smyrna Beach’s Marine Discovery Center. Guides will navigate visitors through the waters of the Indian River on an all-weather pontoon boat or by kayak. A special summer camp, with hands-on, feet-wet experiences, teaches children about the waterways and aquatic life.
Whether by land or by water, children can reconnect with nature at Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola. Hiking, paddling, fishing, swimming and camping are all perfect ways to explore this 700 acres of upland, with saltwater tidal marshes and pine flatwoods, and spot wildlife, from dolphins to osprey.
Children can learn about loggerhead sea turtles on free programmes run by rangers at theDelnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. On a 199-acre barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, families can also spend the day shelling, birding, picnicking, swimming, snorkeling or dolphin spotting.
Give your kids a digital detox by showing them the sights and sounds of the Sunshine State on a Florida road trip. With a wide range of vehicles to choose from and prices to suit all budgets, it’s easy when you book car hire with Hertz. Join the free Hertz Gold Plus Rewards programme to beat the queue, and simply pick up your car from any of the 300+ locations across the State, taking advantage of daily rates from £26 per day on Florida bookings. Need some inspiration for a road trip? See the Full On Florida route on Hertz Road Trip Planner which includes 14 iconic and off-the-beaten track stops in the Sunshine State, with downloadable maps and insider guides.