Blue Skies. Crashing surf. Ice cream cones. Palm trees. Cool tunes. Scenic roadways. All of these things that encompass a Florida road trip make more happy kids and happy adults! Orlando is of course part of the east coast draw, but there’s a lot more to see and do along this route for families too.
Plan Ahead for Fun
All up and down the coast there are tons of places to choose from for hotels and beyond. We’re big fans of the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale for a little luxury location right on the beach. The hotel is within walking distance of many cafes, coffee shops and prime beach spots too for a whole day of lounging. Also, Air BnB is wildly popular in the smaller beach towns en route, which can accommodate families and offer space to cook, have separate bedrooms and even a private pool. In Cocoa Beach and Indialantic, there are several reputable chains with big rooms, onsite restaurants, pools and private beach access, such as the DoubleTree on the A1A highway.
If flying into the area, the hub you decide to direct your flight to can be an important part of the process. Fort Lauderdale can be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to reach the east coast, as many cities and airlines frequent the city. This allows for driving down to Miami and even beyond to Key West if you’d like to head south. Or, spend a few days in Fort Lauderdale, then cruise north along the coast to fun, smaller towns such as Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Melbourne and Cocoa.
Take Your Time Together
Many families fall into the trap of over planning, especially when it comes to Florida. Of course you hope to maximize your time there, even more so if this is your one big trip a year, but some of the best moments cannot be put into the itinerary.
We chose an easy, breezy route between Fort Lauderdale and Indialantic. We first took a stroll along the La Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, where kids can hit the beach and everyone can try fresh seafood along the main city strip. There’s an Everglades Holiday Park nearby as well with airboat rides and alligator shows. We then ventured north to Melbourne and Indialantic, with a stop for frozen yogurt on the way of course. There’s a perfect animal sanctuary for little ones to experience called the Brevard Zoo, which also has a ropes course to try out. The waterways through the canal between Melbourne and Indialantic are great for renting a kayak and even catching a glimpse of some wild dolphins that call the ocean home there.
Although the trip was cut short this time, it’s well worth another hour or two of driving to make it up to Daytona Beach. There’s miles and miles of beautiful, sandy beaches and a lively downtown area to explore.
Consider Serious Comfort
Just because you want to tackle a Florida road trip doesn’t mean you must drive there from wherever you’re based. It can be just as fun to fly into a hub like Fort Lauderdale and rent a car from there. Not only does this save the annoyance of a long and arduous trip to the sunshine state, it allows you to check out some new wheels and not worry about maintenance. You also can consider an upgrade that would be much more affordable than a permanent luxury car.
For instance, we loved cruising the east coast of Florida in our KIA K900. Most people would not automatically connect the KIA brand and luxury, but their top-of-the-line car has all the perks of the big brands without the big price tag. We loved the built-in GPS system that was simple to program so we never got lost. Yes, we have a special soft spot for the old fashioned map, but knowing the planned out route gave us more time to make pit stops, see attractions and not waste time being lost. Kids loved the fun feature of seeing the MPH and navigation cues projected in the heads-up display on the windshield, and they also enjoyed choosing from countless stations on XM radio.
Possibly the best perk was simply the space and smoothness of the ride—everyone had enough room to spread out, relax and enjoy the sunroof whipping wind through our hair. It was well worth the indulgence. KIA also has even bigger models and SUVs to choose from that many rental companies provide to fit all types of families.
Whether you make the long haul from home or fly to Florida, there’s nothing like a road trip adventure in a beautiful destination to keep the whole crew happy and smiling. Ride the waves, nosh on fresh food and treat yourselves to endless beach days and the open road.
Pure Wander was given a KIA to use for the road trip complimentary. All opinions of the vehicle and experience are that of the author’s alone.