It’s Spring Break season and there is no better place to spend it other than here in the Sunshine State. With the world’s best white sand beaches and tourism attractions, you have all the fun you need right here in your neighborhood. Check out these Florida-specific activities to make your break worth wile.
“I live where you vacation” is a popular phase for Floridians and it couldn’t apply more.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Florida beaches are top spring break destinations for families all over the country, and we are lucky enough to have them within driving distance of home. Each coast offers something different.
On the west coast, Clearwater Beach is perfect if you’re looking for a day packed with activities. The lively beach offers an inflatable playground right on the sand, tons of local shops to explore and a nightly sunset celebration on Pier 60 complete with crafters and street performers. When it’s time to recharge, grab one of the famous grouper sandwiches at Frenchy’s Original Cafe. Over on the east coast, Daytona Beach is the place to be for spring breakers. You can spend the day watching Nascar races at Daytona International Speedway or even drive your own car right on the beach in designated areas. Plan a day to wake up extra early to catch one of the beautiful sunrises.
But you don’t necessarily need to leave town to spend some time in the sunshine. Have an outdoor adventure at Wild Florida, where an experienced guide will take you on an airboat tour through the exotic Florida Everglades while teaching the importance of conservation. Then, visit the venue’s gator and wildlife park to get up close with animals. Bok Tower Gardens, located a short distance away in Lake Wales, offers a more leisurely day outdoors with beautiful landscaping and an eight-story singing tower carillon. The new Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden was designed to help kids connect with nature through fairy trails, a spider web play structure and an area to connect with their artistic side.
Under The Sea
Aquariums are a fun way to stay out of the sun while still getting a bit of the ocean. With one trip to the Gulf Coast you’ll find three different aquariums where you can choose to spend your day. You may have heard of the Clearwater Beach Aquarium because they have two very famous Dolphins. Rescue dolphins Winter and Hope were both rescued and brought into the aquarium where they were nursed back to health. Winter is the star of the movie “Dolphin Tale” filmed in Clearwater and based off of her encouraging survival story after losing her tail in a crab net.
The Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa and the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota are fun options as well, offering their own special wildlife interactions. Closer to Central Florida is the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium located on International Drive near the Orlando Eye. Here you’ll find a 360-degree acrylic tunnel and interactive rock-pools that gets you up-close and personal with all types of sea creatures. Opt for a behind the scenes tour to learn more about how the team cares for the sea life.
Spring Break of Service
School may be out for the week, but graduation requirements should still be top of mind. Spring break is the perfect time to earn high school community service hours if you still need them, whether you choose to volunteer with a group of friends or make it a family activity. Find the perfect way to give back through Hands-On Orlando, an organization that plans and manages meaningful local volunteer projects, from planting shrubs to cooking meals for the homeless.
Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families with an opportunity to fulfill some memorable dreams. Get involved by preparing frozen treats at the Ice Cream Palace or helping host a variety of entertainment offerings throughout the village. Since 1986 the organization has worked with 154,000 families and is the perfect place to see how volunteering your time makes a difference.
Special Olympics Florida is always welcoming volunteers to coach, fundraise and assist during events. The national organization has been hosting events since 1968 to benefit kids and adults with developmental disabilities. Visit the organization’s website for a list of volunteer opportunities and to complete an application.
At Orange County Library System, volunteer needs vary by branch and can include anything from assisting with special programs to performing office duties. With 16 locations in Orange County, including downtown’s Orlando Public Library, it’s easy to find something that matches your interests.
Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard
International Drive has so many fun and educational attraction that you can spend an entire day exploring them all. At Extreme Dinosaurs the Exhibition, more than 16 animatronics dinosaurs offer a real-life look at the prehistoric age. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not provides the opportunity to explore oddities from around the world, such as a shrunken heads exhibit, and take a walk through a spinning vortex tunnel. At I-Drive 360, discover a variety of under-the-sea creatures at SEA LIFE Aquarium, meet historical leaders and modern-day celebrities at Madame Tussauds and get a birds-eye view of Orlando on the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye. The complex also features a modern arcade game experience called 7D Dark Ride Adventure, where you can fight zombies, aliens and more in a realistic setting complete with wind, sound and movement.
Then, not only can you discover six educational Wonder Zones, including an Imagination Lab and Space Discovery zone, at Wonderworks but I-Drive’s upside down attraction is also home to an interactive dinner show at 6 p.m. each evening. The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show features Tony Brent, a one-man cast of dozens, on most nights as well as guest entertainers. Expect a mix of magic, impersonations and improvisational comedy over a meal with unlimited cheese and pepperoni pizza, salad, beer, wine, soda and dessert.
Another immersive International Drive attraction with a dinner show attached is Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. You will be transported to the evening of April 14, 1912 to celebrate Captain Edward John Smith’s retirement party on the Ship of Dreams with notable passengers such as Margaret “Molly” Brown. The Titanic Gala Dinner’s four-course meal includes a salad and Beef Bouillon with Croute to start; a main course of Sliced Beef with Mushroom Demi-Glaze, Chicken Breast with Sherry Cream Sauce, glazed carrots and dill-roasted potatoes; and Chocolate Mousse with Brownie for dessert. Vegetarian and dietary options are available as well. When dinner concludes, guests will tour the galleries and experience a re-enactment of the fateful night that the ship sank.
These are just a small sampling of what the Sunshine State has in store for spring break. No matter what you choose, it’s sure to be a memorable week for all ages.