No longer is Florida’s Daytona Beach reserved for spring breakers alone. This under-appreciated destination offers plenty of family-friendly fun for parents and kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens.
One of the largest museums in central Florida is the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach. It’s truly a superb museum and offers a little bit of everything for everyone. Set on a 90-acre nature preserve, it has more than 30,000 objects, including one of the finest American art collections in the Southeast and one of the most significant collections of Cuban paintings found in the country. There’s the Prehistory of Florida Gallery, with a giant ground sloth skeleton; a family museum with restored railroad cars and antique automobiles, plus a huge collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia; and a state-of-the-art planetarium.
Daytona’s Marine Science Center is a hands-on museum that allows children to learn about the environment around them, most specifically the environment and biosphere found right there in Daytona and Volusia County. There’s an aquatic touch pool with stingrays and hermit crabs, as well as a toddler program three times per month with activities specially designed for visitors under age 5, making this a perfect visit for those with smaller children. It’s also budget-friendly, at only $5 per adult and $2 per child.
Try some vintage-style boardwalk treats at Zeno’s Boardwalk Sweet Shop, around since 1948. Try the “World’s Most Famous Taffy,” created by fourth-generation taffy makers. If you love it, you can even sign up for the taffy of the month club and have the sweet treat shipped straight to your home. Other sweets you’re sure to love include brittles, fudge and popcorn, as well as seafoam, a unique confection with an initial crunch that gives way to melt in your mouth.
Another longstanding confectioner is Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory, founded in 1925. Stop in for a free factory tour and then browse the expansive shop to get your chocolate fix.
There are fun festivals and special events occurring all spring in Daytona Beach. Visit Ponce Inlet Lighthouse on National Lighthouse Day, April 6, to celebrate Florida’s tallest lighthouse with kid-friendly activities. During Easter weekend, don’t miss the Eggstravaganza Easter Celebration in downtown Daytona Beach for games, candy and more. A Celtic Festival takes place April 13–14. There’s even a Pokemon Championship April 19–21.
Traveling with young children and, dare we say, toddlers, can often mean packing everything but the kitchen sink. You’ll need all the essentials, from food, clothing and baby hygiene products to travel gear and just-in-case accessories for every scenario under the sun. Sounds like a lot because it is, but companies like Totts can cut out a significant part of the packing process by shipping all the consumables you need for your trip, like wipes, diapers, body wash, detergent, hand sanitizer and more, to your destination. Travel a little lighter and have all the what-if necessities waiting for you at your Airbnb, hotel or campsite.
There are a lot of creatures rumored to be walking this earth, but no one knows for sure if they are real or mythical. One of these creatures is Bigfoot; you hear about it in stories, see it portrayed in movies and even hear people report sightings from all over the United States. There is no way it can travel throughout the United States, so could that mean there are multiple Bigfoots and they are just extremely good at hiding?
Cruising seems tailored for families. With great deals (and there are a lot right now), endless entertainment and great shore excursions catered to children, it seems like you can't go wrong, but not all cruises are created equal. Choosing a line specially designed to accommodate families with children is crucial when planning a family vacation and Norwegian Cruise Line makes your decision easy.
This summer, family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with the debut of Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. The journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away by a Peninsula Camp Counselor to a luxurious guestroom where a charming teepee awaits. An afternoon of camp-themed games and activities, including a hotel-wide scavenger hunt, rounds off the family-friendly experience, fun for children of all ages. Whether it’s a luxe staycation or an extended holiday, Camp Peninsula is an ideal way to ensure the little ones are happy campers.
When you have little ones, every experience can be a teaching moment and travel is no exception. Through travel we learn compassion, tolerance, history, an appreciation for different cultures and cuisines, and the value of having an open mind. But one thing often overlooked is that travel can teach budgeting.