The Florida heat can make popsicles melt and tempers flare. These ten tips will help you chill out and make the most of the beautiful summer weather. Whether you’re headed out with the whole family or goin’ it solo, we have a range of fun-filled activities for everyone to enjoy. So grab your sunglasses and slap on some sunscreen; we have got just the place for you!
Everglades Airboat Safari
Feel the wind in your hair as you ride through 4,200 acres of protected swamps, marshes, and rivers of the Central Florida Everglades aboard an airboat at the Wild Florida Airboats and Wildlife Park. Catch a glimpse of alligators, eagles, turkeys, wild boars, wading birds, and more from aboard the airboat. Then get up close with more than 200 different animals native to South America, Africa, and Australia in the wildlife park. Upgrade your package to include lunch at the fantastic Chomp House Grill, and take home a free alligator souvenir!
Admission: Wild Adventure Packages from $82 (Adult) & $72 (Under 13)
Hours: Mon – Sat 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Spend the day at Aventura Mall
Not just the largest shopping mall in all of Florida, Aventura Mall boasts tons of fun features such as a movie theater, a free library, and the Rainbow Valley Playground.
Spend a day perusing the luxury stores and museum-quality art while the kids tire themselves out running through the mist of the Gorilla Fountain and climbing the 93-foot Aventura Slide Tower!
Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 am-9:30pm
Sun 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Pay a visit to the museum!
Spend a memorable day learning about art, culture, and science inside one of Florida’s family-friendly museums and galleries, like The Dali which offers an air-conditioned reprieve from the Florida heat. Your family can enjoy the works of the famous painter Salvador Dali and explore the ‘Avant garden’ in the back. Kids workshops are available all summer for the little artist in your family.
Admission: Adults $25.00, Youth (age 6-12) $10.00 Kids (5 and younger) Free
Hours: Sun – Wed 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thu – Sat 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Hit up a water park
If you want all of the ‘splash’ of a Disney water park without that sinking feeling when you see the price tag, try Tidal Cove. The waterpark features a 60-foot tower with seven water slides, a 4,000-square-foot kids pool with an aquatic play structure, the first-ever FlowRider® Triple surf simulation pool in the country, and a VIP pool area for adults. It’s fun for the whole family and a great way to keep your vacation afloat on a tight budget. Just don’t forget your sunscreen and hat!
Admission: From $65-$200. Children under three are free
Hours: Pools & Retail: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm 7 days / week
Attractions 10:00 am – 7:00 pm 7 days / week
One of the best ways to see Florida’s beautiful waterways and mangrove forests is on a kayak in Oleta River State Park, especially on a guided eco-tour with Oleta River Outdoor Center. The two-hour, easy exploration offers visitors a view of the gorgeous landscape while learning about the area’s natural flora and fauna. Paddle through the refreshing shade of the mangrove forest and stay for a meal at Blue Marlin Fish House, at the entrance to the park. They boast a gorgeous view of the park as well as a welcome snack (and ice-cold beer) after a long day of paddling.
Fees: Adults $45, children 12 and under $20; view kayak, canoe, bike, and paddle rental prices here.
Hours: Mon- Fri 9:00am – 6:30 pm
Sat- Sun 8:00 am – 6:30 pm
Have a Spa Day
Treat yourself and spend a day of indulgence at one of Florida’s many luxury day spas. At the Waldorf Astoria Spa in Boca Raton, you will get pampered from head to foot with their array of therapeutic massage packages, tranquil body treatments, and satisfying spa services. When you’re finished, relax in the private pool, sauna, or jacuzzi.
Fees: Vary based on Spa Services
Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm 7 days/ week
Go Ice Skating
If you’re looking for something even more chill, why not hit up the ice skating rink? Palm Beach Ice Works is open all weekend long this summer for public skating to keep fit and have fun out of the sun. They also offer the coolest weekly summer camps in Florida, teaching kids to figure-skate and even play hockey!
Admission: (1-hour public skate): $15 Includes skate rental
Hours: subject to weekly changes, check their website here
Head To A Theme Park
What better way to catch a breeze than to fly through the air at 80 mph on one of Florida’s legendary roller coasters. From Universal Studios to SeaWorld some of the most famous rides in North America come straight from Florida. To make the most out of your theme park experience, get there early to beat the crowds as well as the heat. See the shows! Many theme parks offer live shows under a shade cover or in an air-conditioned theater to give you a break from the midday sun.
Our Top picks for afternoon rides are:
– Universal Orlando’s indoor rides include Transformers: The Ride in 3-D; Simpsons ride, Terminator, and Jurassic Park: The Ride.
Hours: 9:00am – 8:00 pm 7 days/week (subject to change)
Admission: from $109/ day
– SeaWorld Orlando’s Arctic Encounter, Sharks Encounter, and Antarctica Empire of the Penguin
Hours: 9:00 am – 10:00pm 7 day/ week (subject to change)
Admission: from $56/ day
Look Out for Mermaids & Manatees
Rather than spending the day on the blistering hot sand, why not check out one of these breezy spring parks:
As one of the few state parks that has a spring flowing directly into the Suwannee River, Manatee Springs State Park is a great place to stroll under the shade of the luscious Cypress Forests. Keep an eye out for manatees sunbathing in the spring water, as well as other local wildlife! Take a swim in the spring, and don’t forget to bring your bicycle to check out the nature trails all around the park.
Admission: $6 per vehicle
Hours: 8 a.m. until sundown; 7 days/week
The 12,000-acre Weeki-Wachee preserve offers relief from the heat with crystal clear waters, slides, diving platforms, areas to sit and eat, and more. But the park is especially famous for its legendary mermaid shows that happen every day of the week*.
Admission: $13 for adults, $8 for children ages 6 to 12. Ages five and under free.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 7 days/week
*The mermaid show and the ranger experience offer limited seating. Guests who wish to secure a seat for the mermaid show are encouraged to arrive when the park opens.
Take a Distillery Tour
Nothing beats an ice-cold cocktail on a hot summer day. Mom and dad can leave the kids by the pool and enjoy the best of what Florida has to offer at one of the many local distilleries! St. Augustine Distillery and Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery provide free tours and tastings of their award-winning handcrafted rums, bourbon, whiskey, gin, and vodka. Why not pick your poison and give it a shot?
Hours: Retail Shop 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; 7 days / week
Tours: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm; 7 days /week
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am – 5:00 pm
Sat 11:00am – 5:00 pm
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com