These spots are sure to be new favorites for kids and adults alike.
Is it just us or did summer blow by at lightning speed this year?
With just weeks until the kids head back to school, time is running out to create a few more family memories this summer. And there’s no better place to do that than in the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
Whether you have a day or a full weekend to get away, we’ve rounded up some wild family-friendly activities that kids — and the adults chauffeuring them — are sure to enjoy.
So let’s pack up the family van one more time and head outdoors while summer is still in session. Here are eight family-friendly activities to try in the Corridor:
1. Tubing at Madison Blue Spring State Park
This park features a crystal-clear spring that’s a popular spot for families. It’s also the perfect place for a kid-friendly tubing excursion: Inflatable floats and tubes are allowed in the spring itself and the adjacent river.
Live Wildly tip: Don’t have your own tube? You can purchase a float from a private vendor located in the park from May through September on weekends only.
Want to hang out a bit longer? There are plenty of other activities your kids will love, from birding and fishing to paddling and picnicking.
2. Civil War History at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park
Take your kids on a trip into the past at the site of the second-largest Civil War battle in the state. Read up on the history yourself as you gaze at the park’s lone monument or book a guided tour for a more comprehensive experience. Just be sure to contact the park office at least two weeks in advance as these tours are only available upon request.
While this park is relatively small, hiking trails along with fishing and picnicking areas surround the area if you wish to extend your day — and you’re only a short drive away from other parts of the Corridor if you want to keep exploring.
3. Native American History at Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park
If you like the sound of seeing Florida’s tallest Native American ceremonial mound, look no further than this park. An interpretive trail starts at the base of the 51 foot tall ceremonial mound, built between 1,100 and 1,800 years ago, before winding past several smaller mounds.
The park also features numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing and birdwatching, helping turn this family-friendly destination into a full-day trip if you wish.
Live Wildly Tip: Want to remember the day forever? Challenge the family to put pen (or crayon!) to paper and recreate the awesome sights of the day or journal about what they learned in the Corridor!
4. Sandcastle Building at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Home to towering dunes, this park featuring 3 miles of pristine beaches is sure to delight kids of all ages. With the sand between their toes and ocean beckoning just feet away, your kids — and you! — are sure to be inspired to build the sandcastle of their dreams.
And once, or shall we say if, the youngsters get tired of that, there’s plenty more to do, from playing in the ocean to paddling, hiking and fishing. If you want to make a weekend of it, there’s even glamping through the aptly named Fancy Camps, a luxury camping company that gives you the opportunity to experience wild Florida without leaving behind all the comforts of home.
Live Wildly tip: If you want to stay a while but keep your digs more rustic, the park also features the regular assortment of camping amenities, with RV and tent sites.
5. Kid-Friendly Hiking and Biking at Highlands Hammock State Park
Instead of lying around in a netted hammock, how about hiking or biking through a natural one? You can do just that at Highlands Hammock State Park, which features a magnificent hydric hammock. What kind of hammock is this, you ask? It’s actually an evergreen forest dominated by a closed canopy of oaks and palms with an open understory of grasses and ferns.
With nine mostly shorter trails, including an elevated boardwalk through a cypress swamp, and a 3-mile bike loop, the park is a family-friendly destination that will excite all ages.
Live Wildly tip: Bicycle rentals and trail maps are available at the ranger station. Helmets (required for all cyclists ages 16 and under) are available for loan at the Hammock Inn.
If you’re looking to make a day or weekend of it, this park has a bunch of other kid-friendly activities, including a museum, campground, picnicking area, plus ample birding and wildlife viewing opportunities.
6. Snorkeling at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
What better place to take to the water than the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs. Your kids will enjoy snorkeling at this park, which boasts manatees and other diverse wildlife, along with 70-degree waters that will feel downright amazing on those hot summer days.
Live Wildly tip: Adventurous older kids won’t want to miss out on leaping from the 22-foot dive tower — it’s likely to be a highlight of this trip!
Additional family-friendly activities abound and include historic boat tours, fabulous hiking trails, and a full-service restaurant where you can refuel in between adventures. Want to make it a weekend? Book a room at the Wakulla Springs Lodge and stay inside the park.
7. Wildlife Viewing at Canaveral National Seashore
From sea turtles to manatees to hundreds of species of birds including the Southern bald eagle and peregrine falcon, this barrier island park is chock full of wildlife. Canaveral National Seashore even provides habitat for 15 species of threatened or endangered animals, the second greatest number in the entire National Park Service.
Sitting on the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in the state, the park features a wide array of other family-friendly activities including hiking, boating and fishing.
Live Wildly tip: If you time things right, you might be able to see a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center while you’re there — an experience your kids will remember for years to come.
8. Mermaid Show at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Take your kids to watch “The Little Mermaid” with a unique Florida twist: These actors perform the classic Christian Andersen tale in a 400-seat submerged auditorium. Keep in mind that the park advises that portions of the show can be a bit scary for very young children.
Live Wildly tip: Make sure you plan time to get the kids over to Buccaneer Bay Water Park, which features two body slides, a lazy river and a kiddie pool.
To get a glimpse of mermaid magic in the Corridor, check out Michelle Colson @guardianofthesprings on IG who shares her connection to the Corridor through her beautiful mermaid shows in Weeki Wachee and beyond!
Want to share your favorite family-friendly Corridor activities? Reach out to us on social media using #LiveWildlyFL for a chance to be featured in our next piece!