Spring break is right around the corner, so it’s time to start planning your destination getaway. Setting off on a whirlwind world tour may seem exciting, but sometimes sticking close to home is even more fun. Luckily, the Sunshine State has no shortage of beautiful beaches and pristine vacation destinations. Many cities in Florida are well-known spring break locations, but if you’d prefer a more relaxing vacation without all the hustle and bustle of Panama City or Miami, consider these three alternative spring break ideas instead.
Given how popular the city is among tourists and Disney aficionados, Orlando may seem like a contradictory choice, but it’s easily one of the best locations for a fun-filled Florida getaway. Crowds tend to flock to Disney World and Universal Studios, but there are plenty of exciting things to do here besides theme parks. Become acquainted with Florida’s most infamous inhabitants at Gatorland, or turn your entire vacation upside down at the WonderWorks museum. You can also take a ride on a 40-foot Ferris wheel at ICON Park and see the city from above.
Though most people think Orlando is a town built on fun and frolic, the city also offers a lot of opportunities for introspection and intelligent conversation. The Orlando Science Center, for instance, gives visitors the opportunity to explore STEM principles and historic discoveries in an interactive environment, while the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Art allows you to walk among the largest collection of glass artwork by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
For an alternative spring break idea that combines elements of culture, history, and relaxation, consider taking a trip to St. Augustine. Though often overlooked in history books, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously settled city in the United States. The city was first founded in 1565, and it still bears many historical sites and landmarks to this day. One of the most notable landmarks in St. Augustine is Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest and largest masonry fort in the continental U.S. The fort is open to the public, now serving as an open air-museum that displays artifacts from the early 17th century and regularly hosts historical reenactments. Home to a plethora of intriguing museums and delicious dining options, St. Augustine’s historic downtown is also a popular tourist destination. If historic appreciation isn’t exactly your forte, never fear; St. Augustine is also home to many public beaches and lush local parks.
Homestead may be slightly less well-known, but it’s a great spring break destination nonetheless. With a rich history and quiet downtown area, Homestead may appear rather unassuming to the untrained eye. However, this city gives way to one of the most diverse and intriguing locations in the entire Sunshine State. Everglades National Park is only accessible from a few towns in Florida, and Homestead is one of the lucky few. Homestead’s trolley services offer easy transportation to the park, allowing visitors unbridled access to one of the most interesting ecosystems in the United States. Once inside the park, you can set forth on your choice of exciting outdoor adventures, from kayaking and camping to bird-watching and geocaching. You can even embark on a photo safari and attempt to catch a glimpse of flamingos, alligators, and manatees.