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Mind-Blowing Family Attractions in Florida

by Susan Finch

Aug 16, 2018

© Brian Lasenby | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Florida is home to world-class amusement parks from Disney to Universal and LEGOLAND, but also boasts plenty of totally unique and mind-blowing attractions. Ever wanted to see a shipwreck, mermaids, a mysterious castle or a rare habitat? You can do all of that and more without ever leaving the state of Florida. Here’s where to go and what to see for a unique family vacation to Florida.

Visit Old Florida in Dry Tortugas

Dry Tortugas National Park © King Ho Yim | Dreamstime.com

Comprised of mostly open water and seven remote islands, Dry Tortugas National Park lies just 70 miles off of Key West and encompasses 100 square miles. Visitors can only reach the area by boat or seaplane to explore the 19th-century Fort Jefferson. Head to Garden Key to visit the park headquarters, campgrounds and the historic fort. Bring along your snorkel gear and swimsuits and get ready for a memorable day in the water. You’ll see coral heads, reefs, shipwrecks and the occasional goliath grouper.

Scuba Dive Through Neptune Memorial Reef

Located 3.25 miles east of Key Biscayne, the artificial Neptune Memorial Reef offers an artistic interpretation of the Lost City of Atlantis. The memorial reef is free to visit and is a popular spot for scuba divers, underwater selfie lovers, students and even marine biologists. Families who don’t want to scuba dive can swim, snorkel or spread flowers in remembrance of loved ones. Just a heads up, the Neptune Memorial Reef is a spot many choose to spread their final ashes.

Explore the Everglades

The Everglades National Park earned a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage site list and is home to rare and endangered species including manatee, American crocodile and the Florida panther. Guests can explore paved and marked trails in the park or hop on a kayaking tour to see more of the area nature up-close and personal. But if you’re not up for kayaking, family airboat tours are also a popular way to see the exotic, swampy waterways.

Ponder the Coral Castle

Built singlehandedly by Edward Leedskalnin 1923–1951, the Coral Castle Museum is comprised of 1,100 tons of coral rock and welcomes visitors to its unusual and mysterious grounds. Leedskalnin did all of the work himself, relied on no modern construction conveniences and claimed he knew “the secret of the pyramids.” To this day, scientists and thinkers alike debate how exactly Leedskalnin accomplished this feat.

Find Enchantment at the City of Live Mermaids

Mermaids are alive and well at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.Guests gather at the 400-seat auditorium and watch the mermaids perform their version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. Mermaid friends, a birthday party and a sea witch enchant guests as they root for the mermaid to unite with her prince. Afterwards, take a trip on a river boat cruise and learn more about area wildlife before swimming through Buccaneer Bay water park. Families soar down water slides and just generally have a blast.

The charm of a Florida vacation is its rich variety of attractions, from beaches to wildlife. Get the kids involved in the planning process and choose something that speaks to everyone.

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