Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve written a post like this! Our family of four recently returned from a week long trip to Florida and I wanted to share about where we went and what we did when we were there. I love journaling about our travels this way – it’s so fun to look back on, and my hope is that it offers you some travel inspiration or ideas, whether you’re going to Florida or not!
Both Bjorn and I had been to Florida before, but not in a “touring the state” kind of way. He had gone to Disney as a child, and I had actually only been in Florida on a layover once. So we were excited to really tour several parts of the state more thoroughly on this trip!
One of my favorite things about travel (and other big events) is the actual planning! 🙂 I always love reading others’ itineraries and seeing how they decided to lay out their trips. So, that’s why I wanted to share an outline of our itinerary on the blog!
* A couple quick notes about our focus for this particular trip: We have two young children (age 3.5 and 1.5) so we knew we couldn’t necessarily pack in as much in a day as we used to! (Although in the end, I think we were pleasantly surprised with how much we got to see and do!) We knew we wanted to let the kids play in the ocean, since neither of them had seen the ocean before. We didn’t want to do just Disney (actually, we didn’t do Disney at all on this trip), and we wanted to rent a car. In addition to that, my husband is a history buff! Although he’s a state representative now, he taught middle school history for years and has been soaking up history his entire life! Historic sites were a large part of our 2016 Europe trip (and many other trips we’ve taken). For this Florida trip, we knew we wanted to see St. Augustine, because it is the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the U.S.! (Established in 1565 – before Jamestown was colonized – wow!) So if you enjoy history at all, or even think old sites are just plain fun to see, then you’ll like this itinerary!
Our 1-Week Florida Trip Itinerary
I had a much “prettier” looking itinerary than the below list, haha! (I LOVE designing things in Canva, so that’s what I used for our printed-out Florida itinerary.) But the list I’m sharing below is a bit altered from our original itinerary, to reflect what we actually did and saw!
For even more details, photos, and stories from the trip, visit my Florida 2021 highlight on Instagram!
Monday, March 29:
– Flight at 5 pm from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Tampa
– Flight arrives in Tampa at 9 pm Florida time
– Pick up rental car (it was 10:30 pm by then, so we got upgraded to a nice Dodge!)
– Night #1 at a Clearwater area hotel (I’d gotten a good deal on 2 nights at a La Quinta)
Tuesday, March 30:
– Play in the Gulf of Mexico: We spent the whole day at the ocean! We went to Sand Key Beach and it was stunning and so much fun!
– Night #2 at La Quinta in Clearwater
Wednesday, March 31:
– Drive to Orlando in morning (1.5 hrs. from hotel)
– Sea Life Aquarium in Orlando (our tickets were for 11:15 am
– After aquarium: Drive to Daytona Beach Airbnb (1 hr. from Orlando)
– Walk to and play in ocean
– Night #1 at Daytona Beach Airbnb (this is where we stayed!)
Thursday, April 1:
– Daytona Beach area day: It was a chilly day so we didn’t swim, but we waded and we loved slowly walking 4 miles to the pier and back!
– Night #2 at Daytona Beach Airbnb
Friday, April 2:
– Drive to St. Augustine in morning (1 hr. 10 min.)
– St. Augustine day: We wandered all over the city! Especially the historic buildings in the oldest neighborhood, but we also enjoyed the more touristy shops.
– St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
– Tour of Colonial Quarter
– Night #1 at Southern Oaks Inn in St. Augustine
Saturday, April 3:
– St. Augustine day: we got up early to get in line at Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S.! Our morning there was one of our favorite parts of the trip! We also played at a playground over the lunch hour. Walked through all of the shops again, stopped at Fort Mose, then seafood for supper.
– Night #2 at Southern Oaks Inn in St. Augustine
Sunday, April 4: Easter Sunday
– Easter Mass at Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine (the first Catholic parish in the U.S.)
– Change and then drive to Dade Battlefield in Bushnell
– Stop at Blue Spring State Park to see manatees during manatee season (kind of on the way to Dade, almost 1.5 hrs. into the drive)
– Dade Battlefield (1.5 hrs. from Blue Spring State Park) and the 250+ yr old ancient oak tree there
– 1 night at farm Airbnb in Dade City (20 min. from Dade Battlefield): We loved Dona’s place! She was so kind and the kids got to meet so many friendly farm animals! A wonderful, restful place to stay on our final night of the trip.
Monday, April 5:
– Drive to Tampa (less than an hour drive)
– Tampa area day: we spent much of the day at the Tampa Zoo! It was such a fun zoo – we got to see elephants, a giraffe, rhinos, manatees, a zebra, and more!
– Return rental car at Tampa Airport around suppertime; hang out at airport
– Flight leaves at 9:30 pm
– Arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport at midnight
– Lyft back to apartment
There you go! What a fun itinerary to look back on. It was a great family trip full of wonderful memories. 🙂
PS – For even more details, photos, and stories from the trip, visit my Florida 2021 highlight on Instagram!