The latest trend may be “tidying up,” but there’s so much more to it than simply downsizing your wardrobe. While creating space in your closet can indeed be life-changing, the real take-home message from the minimalism movement is that people and experiences — not things — make our lives richer.
Sure, a pair of shoes might bring us joy in the moment, but the memories from a fun-filled family vacation will last a lifetime. Florida, boasting a diversity of experiences, is the perfect place to enjoy some much-needed time to yourself, even if you’re bringing the whole family along.
That’s why Romper teamed up with VISIT FLORIDA to remind moms and families everywhere of the magic that happens when you share moments with the people you love. Here are five Florida destinations where you can enjoy all the bells and whistles of a family vacation, and make those magical memories.
1. The Florida Keys
Visiting the Florida Keys will put you on certifiable “island time," meaning the opportunities to relax are more abundant than ever. A 113-mile road trip through the island chain makes it possible to get up close and personal with jaw-dropping scenery and topaz waters. And, you can make pit stops for a variety of activities, ranging in energy level from action-packed adrenaline rushes to serene moments of the utmost chill.
After diving into the unknown with a snorkeling adventure at Key Largo’s John Pennekamp State Park and capturing that family selfie at the Southernmost point of the United States in Key West, you can escape to remote Dry Tortugas National Park, a conglomerate of islands 70 miles west of Key West. Sure, it’s accessible only by boat or seaplane, but once you’ve arrived, the moments to yourself are abundant. With unforgettable clear waters and a coastal breeze, you’ll take a deep breath of “me time” with every inhale.
The eclectic city of Orlando has a long list of activities sure to satisfy travelers of all ages, including — of course — the world-class theme parks. You can also explore Orlando’s public art scene on a walking tour, soak up the sun along the east coast of Florida at nearby New Smyrna Beach, or surprise the animal-lover in your family with the chance to pet real live alligators at one of the many wildlife parks the area has to offer.
Of course, once you’re ready to check out of adventure and check in to “me time,” the city’s spa scene will be waiting with open arms. From Himalayan Salt Stone massages to pedicures, there's no better way to relax than with a glass of bubbly and a little beauty treatment in Orlando.
For a trip rich in history, culture, and sunshine, look no further than Pensacola. Nicknamed “The City of Five Flags” for its varied past, there are plenty of learning opportunities for history buffs and the naturally curious alike. Maximize “me time” without ditching the entire family by taking a self-guided tour at the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum, or get lost in the wonders of aviation at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
Once your brain is satiated, steal some solo moments at one of Pensacola’s must-see beaches. With white sands and gorgeous waters, you’ll be able to experience absolute serenity while still checking in with the fam to give kudos on the sandcastle your kids worked so hard on. And in between sunscreen applications, you can treat yourself by dining and shopping at the Pensacola Boardwalk.
4. Tampa/St. Petersburg
Infused with multiple cultures and a mix of historic and modern architecture, the versatility of activities to enjoy in Tampa is impressive. The downtown area is rich in new fusion cuisine dining options, craft cocktails, and regular festivals hosted in Curtis Hixon Park. Ybor City, a product of the cigar-rolling industry that dates back to the 1800s, is world-renowned today for its nightlife. And, if classic family fun is more your style, there are roller coasters, and even live sharks sure to spark up excitement and awe.
Though plenty of opportunities for “me time” exist within Tampa (like venturing out for a solo run on the Tampa Riverwalk or a shopping stint at Hyde Park), a short 30-minute drive will bring you to St. Petersburg. An easy destination choice famous for its reputation of having the “most consecutive days with sunshine” (holding strong at 768 days), you’ll be able to get the most out of your beach day and down time so you can refuel for your next group activity.
5. Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is known for its beaches, art, culture, and events, making it a prime destination for any vacation. Get down and dirty with swamp life — from rare birds to the American Alligator — on an Everglades Swamp Tour, and then see how the other half lives with a gondola ride through Fort Lauderdale’s canals. Dubbed the “Venice of America,” you’ll get the chance to feast your eyes on local multi-million dollar estates.
The city’s many golfing destinations make coveted “me time” easy with an early tee time. If golfing isn’t your thing, a walk or bike ride along Fort Lauderdale’s beachfront promenade is sure to help you reset. Of course, whatever you decide is contingent on whether you can drag yourself off the beach. Either way, you can’t lose!
This post is sponsored by Visit Florida.