South Florida Vacations: How to Prepare Your Kids for the Great Outdoors


Planning a family vacation can be one of the toughest things that a couple may have to do and when it comes to travelling with your kids, the level of organization that is required by the entire operation could prove to be a logistical nightmare. The first thing that you have to do is to agree on a destination as early as possible so you can refine your vacation plans in an accurate and decisive manner. The place that you intend to spend your leisure time in should be responsive to the needs of every family member and nothing spells a sense of fun and excitement more than the prospect of going on a vacation in South Florida.

The level of diversity that is present in South Florida outdoor play is relatively unmatched. There are a host of things that you can do when you’re around the area. The prototypical itinerary of every other South Florida vacation almost always includes beaches, cruises and run up to the Orlando theme parks. You might be interested in expanding the options that are available to you and your family by including some activities that are a bit off the beaten path like camping and exploring the diverse wildlife that South Florida has to offer. For vacationers who are a bit new to the South Florida scene, you will need to balance the values of recreation with safety especially when you travel with children. Let’s take a look at a number of crucial steps and measures that have to be implemented by every parent to ensure that everyone involved gets to come away from the vacation with nothing but fond and enlivening memories. 

The South Florida Elements 

There are a slew of factors that you have to take into consideration when you go deeper into the process of organizing your South Florida vacation. One of the primary things that you must pay attention to is the nature of the place’s elements especially when you intend to spend a significant portion of your leisure time engaged in outdoor activities. Make it a point to choose a season that is favorable for the type of activities that you have planned. For example, it might be a good idea for you to schedule camping trips during a season where the weather is a bit cooler (generally December to March). This mitigates the issue of mosquitoes and other pesky insectsand is overall more comfortable for extended time outdoors. 

Chances are, you’re going to want to visit the beaches of South Florida during the summer. Make the decision to proceed to a location that is relatively less crowded. The beaches in South Florida are a popuular attraction year round but during the "snow bird" season a massive amount of tourists can overtake the well known spots.  If you are a major fan of high heat and humidity then a summer beach visit will not daunt you.  If you are not so keen on lots of sun exposure but have to travel during the summer, then plan to visit the outdoors and be back before 11am or go after 5pm.   Midday outings should always be kept short even with sunblock and keeping hydrated with water.  Be sure to also check out our article Summer Survival in South Florida for more information and tips as well.

Diversity in Recreational Activities 

What’s so great about a vacation spot like the South of Florida is its ability to cater to tourists the whole year round. Even during the seasons when outdoor play may seem to be less than ideal, there will be activities for you and your children to revel in. Every town within the area has attractions that respond to a variety of preferences. Look for a town that provides you with museums, zoos, tourist attractions, low cost/free public amenities (parks, libraries, etc), quality hotel accommodations, and restaurants and you’ll soon discover that your options are nearly endless! 

You can find thrilling escapes like paintball, speedboat tours, Trapeze school, and extreme water sports.  Calmer pursuits can be had at some of the amazing local parks for a relatively low cost. Many of the local parks have features like water parks, nature centers, and golf that are as good as more expensive private attractions.  Be sure to check out our article 16 Can't Miss South Florida Mega Parks when planning out your family's vacation.  Whether you are looking for culture (museums, art festivals, shows), natural attractions (air boat rides, alligators, nature centers),  shopping, or adventure your family will be able to find plenty to do indoors and out.  

Preparing for the Outdoors 

The main thing that you want to do is to prepare yourself for the climate. Always remember to bring weather appropriate clothing for you and your children. If you intend to spend most of your time outdoors, bring essentials like sunglasses, sunscreen, and bug spray. Anti bacterial wipes and hand sanitizers are travel essentials so make sure to bring them along with you when you’re travelling. There may be instances when you won’t be able to gain access to clean running water so a touch of hand sanitizer can prevent your children from coming into contact with germs over the course of your travels. 

Exercise an extreme sense of situational awareness throughout the course of your outdoor adventure. If you plan on taking a camping trip, think about talking first to a local park ranger who can help guide in understanding South Florida's unique flora and fauna.  Some plants and animals can be dangerous especially for younger children who may not be as cautious as older children.  Have a quick talk with kids before your adventure about what to expect, where to meet if you get separated and what specific dangerous to be aware of (ex. alligators can jump so don't stand too close to them).

At the beach, parents may be tempted to nap, read a book and allow lifeguards and strangers to watch their frollicking beachside babes.  Be careful to never turn your back on the ocean or allow children to head out into the water unaccompanied.  Be aware of where they are at all times and make sure they stay hydrated and get breaks from the sun.  It can be extremely stressful if your child inadvertently gets hurt by stepping on a sea urchin as they stroll along the shore or stepping on a man-o-war but just remember to always attend beaches that are guarded in case of such incidents.

Whatever your adventure, be sure to bring sting treatment, Neosporin, band aids, and kid's oral pain reliever to cover for every contingency.  There is a great deal of attention that needs to be invested by parents in terms of preparing for travelling with children. The level of importance that this step acquires takes on a heightened sense of urgency if you intend to spend a significant amount of your time engaged in remote outdoor activities. 

Final Thoughts 

Planning a family vacation doesn’t have to be stressful and frustrating as long as you invest a decent amount of time, research, and resources into adequately covering every point that’s included on your itinerary. Choosing a family friendly location like South Florida and being aware of the nature of the destination’s elements will enable you to shape your activities accordingly. The safety of your children precedes any leisurely craving. Packing the right clothes, shoes, and entertainment devices way ahead of time can help you to address the odd lull in your vacation schedule. Do not forget to bring along medical aids and a basic first aid kit. Bringing along antihistamines, plasters, and painkilling syrup can save you a lot of grief later on.