By Jill Martin
Looking for family-friendly spring break destinations? Want to avoid the college crowds as much as possible? Here are my top five picks along with ideas for what you can see and do while you're there:
Get in that Keys state of mind in no time. Ride jet skis, go fishing (deep sea or on the flats), snorkel, tour Crane Point Museum
and Nature Center, spend the day at Sombrero Beach or just lounge at your resort’s pool. The weather is here, and it’s beautiful. You can also check out the Turtle Hospital and meet its residents, swim with a dolphin and get your fill of conch fritters.
It’s a hop, skip and a jump from Orlando and Miami to this off-the-beaten-path paradise. Visit the Loggerhead Marine Life Center and learn all about these endangered creatures. Climb rocks on the beach and look for their version of sea glass (small rocks in all colors that are smooth as glass). Go snorkeling. Take in a spring training game. Tour their famous lighthouse. There is something for everyone in Jupiter
During spring break, the college kids go home, which leaves this fabulous town all yours for exploring. And Tallahassee rocks
! Visit the Tallahassee Museum
and walk their boardwalk nature trail, past bears, panthers, cypress stumps, otters – it’s awesome. There is so much to do here and their onsite café is great for lunch (get the bbq beef sandwich). Mission San Luis
is another hands-on experience for all ages – meet a blacksmith, explore an Apalachee village and go inside a Spanish Fort. Wakulla Springs
is a close drive, and one of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs. You’ll love it. Hit their beach, swim or take a riverboat ride. And this is the short list of things to do in our state’s capital.
Many hotels won’t rent to those under age 25 so this tends to keep spring breakers (the college crowd) away. This is an affordable destination
and the beaches are lovely, long stretches of sandy delights. Check out the Beached Whale for lunch or dinner – try Yucatan Shrimp (sop up the garlic butter with slices of bread). Rent a Segway
. Take a cruise on the Pieces of Eight Pirate Ship and spy dolphins
. Try a fresh grouper sandwich. Fish off the pier. Check out the Everglades on an adventure tour. Spring training baseball
is in town (Go Boston! Go Minnesota!). Visit the Ostego Bay Marine Science Center and learn about the local creatures – hands-on fun.
Explore the Old Cit
y with your family. Take a trolley tour. Help your kids do the scavenger hunt at the Lightner Museum
. Spend the day at the beach. Climb to the top of their famous spiral-painted lighthouse. Tour the old jail. Visit the Fountain of Youth and the famous Castillo de San Marcos
fort. Take in a winery tour. See the creepy, weird stuff at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum
. Take a free ferryboat ride to Fort Matanzas
. So much to see, so get going!