Pack-n-Go to South Florida
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Pack-n-Go to South Florida

It’s that spring break time of year . . . and Florida is on the list for many families. Most people when traveling with kids to Florida think of Disney World or the beaches. While Disney can be fun, and the beach and the sun are a sure thing with your kiddos, take a few days and head south to check out a some very cool things South Florida has to offer. Here are a few of my favorites…

1. Save a Sea TIMG_0454urtle
Did you know that the Loggerhead Marinelife Center  is saving sea turtles every day? It’s FREE to go and check out the sea turtles they are taking care of. Sea turtles are found with injuries from propellers, fishing line, plastic bags, etc. You can check on Bianca’s progress from your house on the live web cam. Don’t miss the educational programs and, if you happen to be there, a turtle release.

2. Climb a Lighthouse
I haven’t been inside many lighthouses, but you can climb the one on Jupiter Inlet. It’s really cool, but not for the faint of heart (literally and figuratively)! There are 105 cast-iron steps that spiral around a central iron column. Learn about the 1860 Jupiter Light and check out the exhibits in the waterfront History Museum located in the restored WWII Naval housing quarters building. NOTE: Children must be at least 48″ tall to climb the Lighthouse and must climb under their own power. Carrying a child is not permitted in the tower.

3. Learn about the Cuban Culture
Travel down to Miami and visit Little Havana to practice your Spanish. Stroll down Calle Ocho and stop for an authentic Cuban meal. Check out Viernes Culturales if you are there the last Friday of the month.

4. Take an Airboat Ride
Nothing can surpass the thrill (and noise) of an airboat ride. A bit on the pricey side, but if you’ve got a little daredevil, this might be the ticket. Sometimes you can even spot some alligators! Check Yelp or TripAdvisor to find the best one near you.

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5. Paddleboard at Gaunabanas
If you are in Palm Beach County, check out the paddleboarding that takes off from Guanabanas. it’s actually offered from the place across the street: Blueline Surf & Paddle. Boards are $20 each and small kids can ride on the front of your board. After you get your workout in, stay for lunch or dinner under the tiki huts and banyan trees.

6. Visit Kennedy Space Center
While not necessarily in South Florida, Kennedy Space Center is a great time for the kids if you are willing to drive a little. If you’ve got a budding astronaut in the family, they have lots of fascinating tours and experiences.

7. Get Wet at the Blow Hole
Are your kids into cool rock formations and getting a little wet? Check out Blowing Rocks Preserve. The preserve was named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline – the largest on the U.S. Atlantic coast. At high tide, the waves break against the rocks and force plumes of saltwater up to 50 feet skyward! When it was time to go home, I had to drag my kids away.

8. Cruise the Intracoastal Waterway
For the cost of a drink and a tip, you can take a short 20-minute boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway. Just show up at Panama Hatties in North Palm Beach and go down to the boat dock. I am not even sure if you have to buy anything to get on the boat tour, but I would stick with a drink and maybe an appetizer. The food is marginal, but the kids enjoyed the ride! For a more expensive option, you can always charter a boat. NOTE: Some of the boat tours can be quite lengthy and boring for kids, so check your options carefully.

9. Tour the Camp of the “Wildman of Loxahatchee”
Take a 2-hour boat tour with a stop at the restored camp of Trapper Nelson, the “Wildman of the Loxahatchee.” Tour around the grounds and buildings of a true Florida original, who made his living off the land as a trapper and fur trader. Once fame caught up with Trapper, however, he evolved himself and his home into one of the area’s first tourist attractions, “Trapper’s Zoo and Jungle Gardens.” Trapper’s unsolved death in 1968 gives a fitting sense of mystery to the site. Very, very cool piece of Florida history that is intriguing to adults and kids!

10. Relax.
Oh wait, can you do that with kids?

What can you add to this list?

-Lisa