There’s more to Florida than just theme parks (though of course you can visit those with a baby), and lots of places to visit with a little tot.
Here are my top 10 places to visit in Florida with a baby
Kennedy Space Center
Probably this will fill most bigger kids with joy and excitement, but if you (as an adult) are interested in all things space and rockets, then while you have a baby is actually quite a nice time to visit museums like this because there’s less whinging and much less running around following them instead of reading information cards!
The Kennedy Space Center is enormous, and you really need to go prepared to spend all day there. You can take a bus ride out to the space shuttle, and it is absolutely massive. Massive.
Key West has a reputation as a party town, and visiting the most southern point of Florida with a baby can feel a bit futile, because you’re missing out on one of the main reasons for going! But, of course, there are other things to do and see, not least the most southern point in the US, you can nearly see Cuba, and the other White House.
You can also watch the sun go down with the hundreds of other people and enjoy the entertainment that pops up all around you while you see the sun set.
On the way there stop off at the Hobo Cafe for a bite to eat, and on the way back explore the little boutiques of Islamorada – look out for the huge crayfish as you drive on the Overseas Highway and you’ll see the shops behind.
I worried a lot about doing this one. We went on Buffalo Tigers Airboat Tour to see the alligator farm, and I was stressed to the point of tears. Not about the alligators, but that the airboat was going to be too noisy for James’ ears. Rob had bought some ear defenders, and they did the trick – in fact James went to sleep, lulled by the sound of the airboat’s fan humming.
The tour is really good, you get to see alligators swimming about and our guide pulled a female up so we could see the size of it! We stopped for a while and listed to a talk about the Native Americans in the area.
The beaches are gorgeous; so wide and full of powdery white sand. The lifeguard stations are also good looking. A city for the beautiful people!
Manatees in the Crystal River
Eat at The Freezer in nearby Homosassa – we ate stone crab and shrimp like kings for paupers prices and it’s set up with tables over looking the marina.
Mermaid show at Weeki Wachee
In WeekiWachee you can see actual mermaids* as they swim to their version of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid. There is also a cafe, and a playground, should you also be visiting with an older child.
* May not be actual mermaids.
This is a nice little town with beautiful beaches and a marine science centre taking care of turtles and rehabilitating seabirds. There’s also the state’s tallest working lighthouse. We climbed up with James in the Connecta, and although it’s tall, it’s not super scary with a baby in tow. Another draw of the town is the North Turn where racing cars used to corner on the site of the original Daytona 500 NASCAR in 1936. Serving delicious food and with a lovely atmosphere, Racings North Turn is a great place to relax with views of the beach.
You can spend a day here and hike to see the waterfalls. On a sunny day you can perhaps take a picnic and swim from the pontoon – maybe you’ll share the water with manatees!
Walt Disney World Resort
There are few things cuter than a photo of a baby with Disney characters or wearing Mickey ears! Walt Disney World Resorts is fabulous for everyone, no matter their age, but I’d say babies don’t really care where they are so long as they’re with their parents, and grown ups want to be there. Children get tired and whingy, so really the best ages to visit is when they’re tiny or big. (Tongue firmly in cheek — we have taken our kids to Disney at various ages and they do as well as you might expect).
Universal is ace for families of tiny tots and preteens/teens. They have air conditioned rooms near where you get off rides, and you wait there with your baby while everyone else in your group queues or goes on the ride. When they get off you swap who has the baby – you skip the whole queue and are straight on the ride. The ride attendants really don’t care if the teen goes with the second parent. Also, occasionally you can swap several times – we did the Harry Potter ride about 6 times in a row every time we visited Universal Studios when James was a baby.
Plus – Hogwarts!
Have you visited Florida with a baby?
Is there anywhere you’d add to this list? If you’re going to Florida with your baby, there are so many more places to visit than I squeezed on this list! We went to many more great places (and some not so great) during our six weeks in the State, so if you’ve any questions, do ask!