3 Easy Kid-Friendly Road Trips from Jacksonville

With Spring Break around the corner, I have been finding myself dreaming up an adventure to go on with the kids. I highlighted 10 day trips from Jacksonville in a past post, but I’m ready to get out of town for a few days! But I don’t want to go too far, and I definitely don’t want it to be too long of a car ride. Here are a few great road trips to make with kiddos!

Winter Haven/ Tampa/ Clearwater

These areas are packed with lots of kid-friendly activities and a nice change of scenery with the Gulf!

Legoland

LegolandLegoland is located in Winter Haven Florida. It’s only about 40 minutes south of Disney World, but if you read my six tips for Doing Disney as a Florida Resident, you know I said STAY AWAY from Disney for Spring Break! This rule does NOT apply to Legoland though. Legoland sees much smaller crowds and is the perfect park to do in a day. We just recently took my kids and enjoyed trying something new as far as theme parks go! Legoland does a nice job of combining creativity, engineering, and activity into their park. Absolutely worth checking out if you have a Lego enthusiast in your house. The water park should be open for Spring Break as well, and that looked like fun!

This park was surprisingly appropriate for smaller kids! Had lots of rides for 2 to 4-year-old set, but I think the older kids (10+) might find it a bit boring. Buy your tickets online ahead of time for some significant savings!

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater MarineSeen the movie Dolphin Tale? If not, pop that in the DVD player pronto and get ready to fall in love with Winter (and Harry Connick Jr.- He’s just dreamy.) Winter the dolphin is the star of the movie that learns to use a prosthetic tail to swim. She lives at the Clearwater Aquarium, and you can visit her!

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit working animal hospital whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick and injured marine animals. You can learn more about CMA, get daily presentation schedules and learn about programs and animal encounters at SeeWinter.com. It’s truly an inspiring story, and you will love the opportunity to see her just as much as the kids!

Great Explorations Children’s Museum

Great Explorations Children’s Museum is a fun family educational experience that makes learning exciting for visitors of all ages. Free for children under 2 years. $10 for ages 2 to 54 years. $9 for ages 55 and up. Every adult 18 and over must be accompanied by a child, and every child 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

The Beach

I know we have a beach here, but the Gulf is a whole different ballgame. Enjoy the sunset over the water and the nightly sunset celebration that takes place in Pier 60 Park on Clearwater Beach. Features artisans, crafters, street performers and musical entertainment plus a free movie on Friday and Saturday nights. www.sunsetsatpier60.com

Charleston

CharlestonCharleston is one of my favorite southern cities. It offers many great activities that both parents and kids will enjoy!

South Carolina Aquarium

Fun, wonder, and education come together for the whole family in one amazing experience when you visit the South Carolina Aquarium. Participate in interactive exhibits and programs, and marvel at loggerhead turtles, stingrays, sharks, otters, moray eels, alligators and much more. $25 for adults, $15 for children 4-12, under 4 free!

Children’s Museum of the Low Country

Nine interactive exhibits, including a two-story Medieval Castle, a pirate ship, and a dedicated Art Room, allow your children to explore the arts, sciences, and humanities through their hands-on experiences. Tues-Sat, 9 am-5 pm; Sun, 12pm-5 pm; closed Mon.

Patriot’s Point

Walk in the Steps of Heroes at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. Tour the aircraft carrier USS YORKTOWN, destroyer USS LAFFEY, submarine USS CLAMAGORE, Medal of Honor Museum, Cold War Submarine Memorial and the only Vietnam Naval Support Base Camp in the U.S. Patriots Point honors active duty military in uniform with FREE admission.

Fort Sumter

Hop a boat to Fort Sumter, the place the Civil War began. Though little kids might not understand the significance of this trip, they will love the 30-minute boat ride over to the Fort and enjoy an hour or so to walk around and explore!

Horse and Carriage tour of Charleston

One thing you will see a lot of on the streets of Charleston are horses and carriages. This is a treat every time we go. My kids love being in the carriage, and I love listening to the drivers give history lessons on all sorts of different things about Charleston.

Savannah/Hilton Head

These two places are close and will pack in lots of southern charm and history with some beach time and resort relaxation time!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Fellow Blogger, Kathy, mentioned she is taking her kids to Savannah to see the St. Patrick’s Day Parade since the 17th falls on Spring Break this year! I loved this idea!

Monday, March 17, 2014 – The 190th Annual Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the second largest in the United States, steps off on St. Patrick’s Day 2014 at 10:15 a.m. in Savannah’s Historic District and lasts about three hours. Featuring more than 350 units, parade participants include U.S. military divisions, award-winning bands, marching units, the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales and much more.

Georgia State Railroad Museum

Georgia RailroadIf your kids love trains like my son, the Georgia State Railroad Museum will be sure to delight. Discover the history of the nation’s railways through exhibits, demonstrations and an extensive collection of rail cars. You can even take a ride on a real steam or diesel engine! The Georgia State Railroad Museum offers lots of family-friendly activities throughout the year. Contact them or visit their website for train ride schedules, special events, and more information.

Jepson Center for the Arts

The ArtZeum, in the Jepson Center of the Telfair Museums, is a 3500 square foot interactive gallery for children and families. The ArtZeum was designed with young people in mind, but challenges young and old alike to rethink their ideas about art!

Coastal Discovery Museum

Coastal Discovery MuseumThe Coastal Discovery Museum was established in 1985 with a mission to teach the public about the natural history and cultural heritage of the Low country. The Museum makes learning about Hilton Head Island and the surrounding region a fun-filled experience for the whole family.

The Sandbox

The Sandbox is a non-profit, hands-on interactive museum filled with unique entertaining, and educational play areas including a ship, international airport with a plane, Loggerhead Sandcastle, construction zone, bank, kitchen, arts and crafts and more.

What are some of your favorite road trips and kid-friendly activities in those places?

Kacey Roache is a Jacksonville native who lives in Ponte Vedra with her husband, TJ, and her three kids, Lucy, Lucas and Lola. Kacey graduated from Florida State University (Go Noles!) with a degree in interior design. She is passionate about the arts and arts education and has served on the board of Art with a Heart in Healthcare, Ponte Vedra Public Education Foundation for the Arts, Christ Church Creative Academy as well as the PTOs at her kids' school. In her spare time you might find her channeling her inner Serena Williams on the tennis court, performing in community theater, or enjoying the beach with her friends and family. Follow her family's chaos on Instagram: @kaceyroachepvb

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