Short Family Road Trips From South Florida


Whether you live in South Florida and just want to take a quick, affordable weekend away or you are visiting South Florida from out of state and want to see more of Florida, South Florida Finds has some suggestions for short car trips (3 to 4 hours) you can take with even the littlest or oldest family members!  For each location, we have included a variety of choices to pick from to occupy your time.

Already been to Orlando 100 times?  Check out some of the alternatives to the theme parks that we recommend.  You might not have seen all that Orlando has to offer.

There is never ending entertainment and recreation available for families in South Florida but sometimes you just get that itch to set out on the open road and explore someplace new together.  We help give you ideas for Orlando, the Space Coast area of Cocoa Beach, Fort Myers Area & The Florida Keys.  We wanted to choose places that are within a 4 hour drive of South Florida.  But aren't the Keys in S. Florida?  Sure...but if you're going all the way to the middle or lowers need extra time to get down there from most parts of S. Florida.

Orlando & Nearby Areas

Theme parks

1) Walt Disney World: The premier Florida destination, one that attracts millions of tourists from the world over. Walt Disney World is a massive spot, with a host of attractions including Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot Theme Park and Hollywood Studios that are sure to keep a visitor enthralled for days on end. 

2) Sea World: Another iconic landmark, the SeaWorld hosts immensely popular dolphin and whale shows, and boasts of a number of thrilling rides, making it an ideal family destination. 

3) Legoland in nearby Winter Haven:  150-acre interactive theme park dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions and the LEGOLAND Water Park, LEGOLAND is geared towards family fun! 

4) Universal Studios: The famed Universal Studios offer an insightful peek in the world of movies. In addition, the venue features a theme park, called Islands of Adventure, with some breathtaking rides and spectacular sights. 

5) Discovery Cove: With an island resort like setting, the Discovery Cove thrills visitors with a swim alongside dolphins, wading in the clear waters with a school of stingrays, or snorkeling through a reef. 

6) Gatorland: True to its name, Gatorland houses hundreds of gators, crocodiles and other reptiles, who participate in informative and entertaining shows and demonstrations. Alligator Jumparoo and Gator Wrestling are probably two of the most popular shows at Gatorland, and are not to be missed. Gatorland also features a leisurely swamp walk, and hosts Gator Gully Splash for kids. 


Museums and Science Center

1) Orlando Science Center: No matter which branch of science tickles your fancy, you will find that the Orlando Science Center has it all covered. From pure sciences to applied technology, the Orlando Science Center has a theme based exhibit for it all. For young kids, up to 48 inches tall, there's a special facility called Kids Town with some thrilling interactive and hands-on exhibits. 

2) Osceola County Historical Society Pioneer Village  Take the children to learn about Florida pioneer living. Excellent docent-led tours through a collection of authentic structures which once upon a time stood in different areas of Osceola County.  Or, come see the place yourself anytime between 10AM - 4PM for a self guided tour. Information panels and maps are available on-site.

3) Cornell Fine Arts Museum: Located at the Rollins College Campus, the Cornell Museum houses well over 5000 works of art, ranging from renaissance art to modern and contemporary American Art. 

4) Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art: A truly bedazzling art gallery, Charles Hosmer Morse Museum is home to the most exhaustive collection of work by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Do not miss the spectacular chapel interior designed by Tiffany, as well as several arts and crafts furnishing designed by this iconic American designer. *Warning: Glass Art may not be the best choice for small children to enjoy just yet!*

5) Dr Phillips Center for Performing Arts: Located in downtown Orlando, the venue plays host to some of the leading national and international artists in diverse spectrum of performing arts including ballet, orchestra, jazz, rock, pop, dance, and much more. 

Natural Beauty

1)  Bok Tower Gardens located in nearby Lake Wales is both a place full of beauty and Florida history. Hear the carillion bell performance from the pink marble tower, play in the new Children's splash garden, and taken in the hilly gardens that surround.  Definitely a wonderful way to spend at least half a day.  Located very close to Legoland.

2) Kelly Park or Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka.  Located just north of Orlando, these places are popular with the locals for a watering hole getaway.  Crystal clear waters with seasonal manatee visitors are what attract every nature lover.  Swim or canoe at either of these lovely locations as part of your next trip to Central Florida.

3) Harry P. Leu Gardens Stroll thru the gorgeous grounds and take a tour of the Historic Leu House Museum.  Depending on the time of year you can see a wide variety of native FL plants in bloom!

4) Exotic Animal Experience in Orlando.  Marvel at these adorable exotic critters and nab some memorable moments together with the kids.  Wallaby, kangaroos, a zebra and so much more make this a perfect spot for the animal lover in your family!

5) Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, south of Orlando.  Bring your trailer or tent and spend the night just a short drive from South Florida.  Walk thru a wonderful trail just skimming the top of the water and learn about the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) work in the park system of Florida.  Check with the state park to see if they have any special porgramming to enjoy while you're there.