Spring is finally here! After a Florida cold winter, the trees are beginning to bloom with the blossoms of the upcoming warm season. Be sure to check out these outdoor family-friendly locations in Central Florida.
Nothing signifies the celebration of warm weather in Florida like a trip to the beach. And for one of the best beach experiences on the east coast, look no further than the Canaveral National Seashore. Located directly east of Central Florida, the pristine beach is ideal for fishing, swimming, and sunbathing. The beach sits on an undeveloped strip of coastline that is a habitat to a multitude of wildlife, making it as authentic to Jurassic Florida as you can imagine. You can access it from the northern entrance via New Smyrna Beach or the Playalinda Beach side near Titusville. Admission is $20 per car, but for $40, you can get an annual pass, which is a great asset to have during the Florida spring and summer seasons. Also, to keep the fun family-friendly, try not to wander to further piers, where nude sunbathers gather.
Here in the Land of Flowers, gardens are an ideal place to experience springtime Florida flora. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is a hidden gem known to Central Floridians as one of the best places to appreciate Florida in bloom. In addition to the variance of beautifully maintained plants and flowers, the gardens also boast the gorgeously designed Singing Tower, whose Carillons ring out over the pastoral landscape multiple times a day.
You can also enjoy El Retiro, a historic retirement home once owned by Charles Buck (not to be confused with the park’s namesake), whose Mediterranean-style villa would make any retiree jealous. Tickets are just $17 for adults and $5 for children. Children under five years old can get in for free.
While Bok Tower Gardens are a glorious treat, the drive to Lake Wales might deter some families. For those needing something more local, Harry P. Leu Gardens is a sublime spot to visit in Florida in springtime. Located on Forest Avenue Drive between Audubon Park and Mills / 50, Leu Gardens is a park most Central Floridians have visited. The gardens, situated on idyllic Lake Rowena, allow visitors to peruse the tree and floral-lined pathways between the Leu House Museum, Floral Clock, and various eclectic outdoor sculptures. The gardens also host rotating exhibits throughout the year, so spring and summer will be no exception. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for veterans and kids ages 4-17, and free for children three years old and younger. Bonus: Leu Gardens has several family-friendly dining options and activities to choose from in Winter Park and College Park.
Remember to hydrate often and wear sun protection so that your springtime excursions stay refreshing and enjoyable.