There is something special about family-friendly getaways, especially when they are less than three hours from home. You get all the benefits of being on vacation, but you don’t have to travel very far. Additionally, you can make the most of three-day weekends and really maximize your rest and relaxation time. Ready to pack your bags and see where three hours can take you? Let’s go!
Orlando is the obvious long weekend destination, and first on our list of family-friendly getaways. Slightly more than two hours from St. Augustine, Orlando is the home of our favorite mouse, the most magical wizards, creatures of the deep, and all the princesses you can shake a tiara at. There is no shortage of hotels, resort-style or budget, and theme parks abound. However, Orlando offers so much more than roller coasters, parades, and water parks. I-Drive has quickly grown into a tourist must-do, with mini-golf courses, a variety of restaurants, and the refurbished ICON Park with its’ iconic Wheel rising 400 feet above the city. The Amway Center, in the heart of the city, is home to the Orlando Magic and Predators, as well as countless international musical and theater acts.
Next up is Daytona Beach, a mere hour from St. Augustine. We have found Daytona Beach to be a favorite for family-friendly getaways, just because it’s an easy drive and it’s the perfect blend of low-key and fun. Choose from a variety of beachfront resorts, and then either take advantage of the hotel pools and amenities or hit the beach. Check out all the mini-golf, the boardwalk, and the Breakers Oceanfront Park. The Daytona Speedway, home of the Daytona 500, is also a unique place to tour, whether or not its race season.
Let’s switch directions and head out of Florida and into Georgia. Not too far over the state line is a lovely state park called Jekyll Island. The park offers a variety of accommodations from camping site rentals to a historic five-star resort, all of which provide easy access to the many beaches. Driftwood Beach is always a favorite, for its stunning driftwood configurations, perfect for exploration and play. Visit the artisan shops, go shelling, or check out the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for the latest turtle rehab and recovery details. For those interested in a little more action, the Summer Waves water park is open seasonally.
Continue north on I95 and you’ll find yourself in Savannah. Founded in 1733, Savannah is a bit younger than our own St. Augustine, but it’s certainly full of historic character and charm. There are so many cool shops and eateries, as well as great museums and historic points. If you have a child in Girl Scouts, it’s important to note that Savannah is the home of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the organization, and her birthplace remains a popular tourist site. Stroll along the riverfront, take a ferry ride, and don’t miss the beautiful fountain at Forsyth Park. Please note, the cobblestone streets might make things a little difficult for strollers, but if you are up to the challenge, it’s worth the effort.
So this one is sort of a stretch: Tampa is three hours, but Clearwater is just slightly outside the timeframe. All I’m saying is if you make it as far as Tampa, it’s worth the extra 20 minutes for the beautiful beach and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (home of Winter and Hope). Tampa, however, is chock full of fun things in its own right. Check out a Tampa Bay Lightning or Rays game, or even a NY Yankees spring training game. Visit The Florida Aquarium or ZooTampa at Lowry Park. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers theme park fun for all ages.
And there you have it! Five great destinations for incredible family-friendly getaways. Fill up that gas tank, load up your kids and have fun!
Looking for travel opportunities closer to home? Check out these great day trips in Flagler County.