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I’ve mentioned before I would LOVE to go to Florida and not do the theme parks…. I know I know shock horror right!!? Chances are it won’t happen until the kids are older and are all Disney’d out if you like, but the further away I venture from Disney and the theme parks the more powerful that desire becomes. This list is something I always refer back to when I discuss with Hubby the possibility of heading back over the pond ‘for a break’ so check out my top 5 things to do with kids in Florida (besides Walt Disney World!)
My first would be to visit Downtown Celebration. We did this for the first time on our most recent trip across the pond last October and truly loved it! It’s located just south of Disney and as you drive down the road towards the Town Center you will be in awe of all the beautiful (and totally unaffordable!) houses!
Sitting by the lake in a rocking chair its certainly one of my musts! But do take care with children, there are no fences that run alongside the [gator filled] lake so do not let them out of your sight!
We had breakfast at the Market Place Cafe and it was such a refreshing change from a theme park meal I have to say and felt it was really quite reasonably priced in comparison to what we usually pay for breakfast on property. [this quaint little town is totally free to walk around!]
My second recommendation is to visit a park – they are nothing like your regular play parks at home but are beautiful, natural, cultural parks and there are tons of them around the tourist areas of Orlando. My personal favourite has to be where we got married; Cypress Grove Park. You will need a car to get to the majority but this one in particular is worth the trip out for sure, plus it’s not far from Mall at Millenia and north of Universal Studios if you want to kill two birds with one stone.
The 1925 estate house in the grounds makes an amazing back drop for photographs and again I know I’m biased but its truly beautiful. [again the grounds are totally free to walk around!]
Thirdly, would be to visit a beach. Although I personally have never done this I would love to! My husband has though and whenever we depart Port Canaveral on a Disney Cruise I admire those located on the east coast of Florida all the time! If you are still on the beach around 5pm and time it right you will get to see some of the cruise ships leave too!
Although a little further south then the entrance to Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach looks beautiful and I’m pretty sure if you were to walk north from Cocoa Beach you would be able to see the ships leave. [you will find that any beach you head to from the Orlando area you will come to a toll so be sure to keep your change to hand!]
Fourth I would have to say shopping. Although kids maybe aren’t a massive fan of traipsing around shops, Florida truly has something for everyone. There are very equipped with things you can hire and push around the children in such as cars etc – pick up one of those as you go in and trust me they will be happy! There are four main shopping outlets/centers that we’ve visited in and around the Orlando area of Florida; Mall at Millenia, Florida Mall and the two Premium Outlets north and south of International Drive.
Both malls house department store style shops with Macys, American Girl and JC Penney at Florida Mall and your higher end stores such as Prada, Tiffanys, Michael Kors etc at Mall at Millenia.
The outlet stores are pretty much like our outlets here in the UK, they have your high street discount stores such as Adidas, Nike and Toys r Us and you will even find a Character Warehouse aka a ‘cheap Disney store’ should you want to pick up some massively discounted Disney goodies !!
Lastly, and by no means least, mini golf. Yes that might sound a little crazy [no pun intended!] in comparison to other recommendations I’ve mentioned and you’re probably thinking ‘seriously!? Not really worth taking time out of your holiday to visit surely?’ but seriously kids and adults will love it!
There are so many out there and every single one are all fantastically themed! We always end up at the Pirates Cove Adventure Golf and we are yet to find one better. It’s affordable and fun!
I would really love to hear what some of your favourite things to do outside of the theme parks so feel free to leave a comment down below, oh and if you too are into Florida vlogs then feel free to check out our most recent Florida series over at hakzvideos.com
Thanks for reading,