Orlando is home to many of the world’s most beloved theme parks, making it every child’s vacation dream come true. For adults, the sophisticated city of Miami beckons with its stunning beaches and Latin-inspired cuisine. Together, these two iconic Florida destinations — separated by a 3.5 hour drive — offer a family vacation unlike any other.
So why not kick things up a notch and take a fun-filled road trip from one city to the other? Here are a few stops along the way that you won’t want to miss!
Departing from family-friendly Orlando hotels like the Walt Disney World Dolphin, your first stop on the turnpike will be the verdant city of Kissimmee, located along the northern shore of Lake Tohopekaliga. Often referred to as “The Gateway to the Everglades,” this charming destination offers year-round warm weather, making it an ideal spot for a golfing getaway.
To fully appreciate Central Florida’s natural splendor, treat your family to a hot air balloon ride over the lush orange groves and spectacular wetlands that make this region so special. A variety of balloon tours are available in Kissimmee, all of them perfect for adults and children alike. For a truly breathtaking experience, schedule a ride at sunset and marvel at the sky’s neon transformation.
The next stop on your family road trip is the friendly city of Winter Haven, home to Florida’s famous Legoland theme park. The second largest Legoland in the world, this award-winning park includes more than 50 rides and attractions designed specifically for children 12 and younger.
For teens and adults, a visit to Flyboard Central Florida, located on the shore of Lake Conine, takes fun to a whole new level. This professional flyboarding school will have you soaring above the lake on your very own water-propelled jet pack. No experience is necessary, and the average lesson takes only about 15 minutes.
Heading further south, you’ll arrive at gorgeous Lake Okeechobee, where an afternoon of outdoor family activity awaits. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a curious novice, you won’t find a better family fishing spot than Lake Okeechobee. Professional guides offer group or private bass fishing tours that include all the necessary gear, so don’t worry if your kids haven’t cast a rod before. They’ll be reeling a fish in no time.
West Palm Beach
Continuing on, you’ll come to the lovely waterfront city of West Palm Beach, one of the three largest cities in South Florida. Combining the vibrancy of a major urban destination with the picturesque charm of a historic small town, this once-sleepy local has reinvented itself in recent years, and the results are incredible.
Free trolly cars make getting around town easy and fun, or families interested in exploring the area on their own can rent SkyBikes from kiosks located throughout the city. For children and nature lovers, The McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary is one of West Palm Beach’s must-see attractions. Home to hundreds of amazing animals, they offer tours and hands-on programs for visitors of all ages.
Don’t be surprised by your last stop before Miami. Although its pop culture image often includes spring-breaking college students, the truth is that Fort Lauderdale has far more to offer families than you might expect.
From the magical Butterfly World, a popular science center that allows children to interact with thousands of brightly colored butterflies and hummingbirds, to a cruise on the Jungle Queen riverboat, where you can take in a dinner show or sightsee on a private tropical island, the possibilities for family fun are abundant.
And finally, after your whirlwind 240 miles journey from Orlando, you and your family will arrive at a dazzling destination like the W Miami, located in the heart of the oceanfront city, where you’ll begin the next phase of your unforgettable Florida vacation.