Sometimes you don’t want to travel far. Maybe you only have a weekend or a long weekend. Maybe there is a global pandemic. Maybe you want to vacation with people who are coming to visit you. Luckily, we live in a magical place with so many indoor and outdoor activities that you can fill your days with activities without getting on a plane or embarking on an eight-hour drive. Here are some ideas for those days!

Duval County

Giraffes at the Jacksonville zoo

Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events: Karting, ax throwing and a fun arcade are part of the fun found at Autobahn Indoor Speedway and Events.

Koala at the Jacksonville zoo

iFly: Experience the sensation of flying in iFly’s state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnels. Indoor sky diving at iFLY is a family-friendly activity, safe for all ages, experience levels and abilities.

Bravoz: Bravoz Entertainment Center features over 40,000 square feet of food, fun and fantastic memories. With 10 different attractions, there’s something for everyone. Jump into the foam pit, toss a dodgeball, slam dunk like the pros, and then head over to laser tag for a round in our Saharian Slums arena or test your combat skills with The Siege Tactical Laser Tag. See if you can score high at Mini-Bowling or beat the clock at Laser Maze.

Main Event: Every game and activity at Main Event is designed to bring family and friends together to share a fun, social experience and create lasting memories. Bowling, virtual reality and laser tag provide indoor, all-season fun.

The Escape Game: Recommended for kids 13 and up, these 60-minute escape rooms can accommodate up to 12 people.

Jacksonville Zoo: The Zoo has something for everyone with more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 varieties of plants. It is the only walking safari in Northeast Florida. Discover the earth’s wildlife through interactive and educational experiences – a true family adventure.

 

Flagler County

The Flagler Beach municipal pier

Flagler Beach: Grab the beach toys and your towel and head out to Flagler Beach for a beautiful stretch of sand. Flagler Beach also boasts great shops (like the Flagler Workshop) and restaurants, many with great water views.

Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa: This luxury, family-friendly resort offers several kids’ activities, including scavenger hunts, beach games, pool activities and more. Younger guests enjoy an action-packed day of fun with drop-off camps while you have time to attend adult-only activities. To spoil the parents, there is a blissful spa, two Signature golf courses or delectable dining to enjoy while your kids are safely entertained in Kids Crew. If you want to stay together, the resort boasts 10 swimming pools along with a twisting lazy river and a beautiful beach. 

Young girl face to face with a dolphin in tank at Marineland

Marineland: Make an ocean of memories as you meet bottlenose dolphins up close, see sea turtles and sand tiger sharks, experience the wonder of marine life, explore 80 years of Florida history and even swim with dolphins in their unique educational and conservation programs. Florida residents save 20% with promo code FLResident and valid ID.

Florida Agricultural Museum: This museum celebrates the past, present and future of agriculture in Florida. Enjoy a guided horseback trail ride or a self-guided orienteering course. Learn about rare heritage Cracker Cattle, Horses and Sheep in the History Tour. 

Ripple Effect Ecotours: Ripple Effect offers walking nature tours and jet boats and kayaks. Their mission has been to provide a low-impact, entertaining and educational eco-tour experience, to increase public awareness of all that nature has to offer in the region and to provide environmental education which encourages personal safety, respect and sustainability for these natural areas.

Orange County

Ferris wheel at Old Town in Kissimmee, FL

There are so many attractions in Orange County that we could not list them all, so we are listing some free attractions.

Disney Springs: Disney Springs has free admission to an area with over 100 shops, 64 dining options and over 25 attractions, shows and events.  

A huge water dragon made entirely of LEGO blocks entertains visitors at Disney Springs in Orlando, FL

Universal City Walk: Unforgettable family entertainment meets restaurants and shopping in this free area.

Disney’s Boardwalk: Experience the timeless charm of Disney’s Boardwalk, a quarter-mile promenade of exquisite dining, unique shops and exciting nightlife. Stroll along the water’s edge, play afternoon midway games and discover evening street performers. This free area evokes turn-of-the-century boardwalks in such coastal cities as Coney Island and Atlantic City. 

Old Town: A unique 18-acre walking area featuring over 70 unique and affordable shops, restaurants, bars, rides and family-friendly attractions. Mine for gold at Black Market Minerals, stroll through one-of-kind stores, catch a magic show at the Great Magic Hall, test your fears at Mortem Manor, try a classic game of Skee-Ball at Happy Days Family Amusement Center or relax with your favorite cocktail while enjoying free live entertainment on Trophy Row Stage. They host weekly events, including America’s longest-running weekly car show and cruise every Saturday. 

ICON Park Movie Nights – Lake Eola Park: Free outdoor movies on the last Friday of the month from April through August.

 

Seminole

Treasure Island Fun Center: Free admission. Purchase a play pass to enjoy video games, pool tables, pinball games, air hockey and kiddie rides.

Seminole Lanes Bowling Center: Enjoy bowling, laser tag, games and food at the Seminole Lanes Bowling Center.

 

St. Johns County

The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, touted as the likely 1513 Florida landing site of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon

Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth: 15 exhibits over 15 waterfront acres. This is an educational and fun attraction.

St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park: The park is the exotic realm of awe-inspiring crocodilians, breath-taking birds and playful primates. There are daily wildlife shows and even a zipline to zoom over the zoo.

Colonial Quarter: The Colonial Quarter has dining, shopping and free concerts and shows. You can also get the Colonial experience by booking a tour where you will learn about blacksmithing, see a musket demo and climb the watchtower. 

The Pirate Treasure Museum in St. Augustine, FL

Old Towne Trolley Tour: With live guides, the Old Towne Trolley Tour includes admission to the St. Augustine History Museum. The hop-on/hop-off tour allows you to take time where you want to explore and then pick up the trolley again when you are ready to move on.

St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum: The museum features over 800 authentic artifacts celebrating the history of piracy, both factual and fictional, from the 1600s through the present day. The museum spans about 5,000 sq. ft. with a 1,300 sq. ft. courtyard.

Potter’s Wax Museum: Potter’s Wax Museum is America’s first and oldest wax museum. It’s a place to have fun while learning about history and culture through the people who made it. You’ll stand next to Harry Potter, his friends Hermione and Ron and his mortal enemy, Voldemort. You’ll see Presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Adams and others. Benjamin Franklin, Cleopatra, Ponce de Leon and Elvis are also here – along with Annie Oakley and Davy Crockett. Come with the family, bring your group or come on your own. Be sure to bring your camera – photography is not only allowed but it’s also encouraged!

St. Augustine Ecotours: St. Augustine Eco Tours was founded as an educational resource for the local and extended community. The goal of our programs is on-water interpretive experiences that focus on environmental education, conservation and wildlife and habitat protection. They have boating expeditions, kayak adventures and sailing excursions.  

Volusia

Aerial photo Daytona Lagoon water park

Daytona Lagoon: A full day of fun awaits for the entire family – whether you prefer thrilling water slides, a wave pool swim, a multi-level family splash and play center or simply relaxing and floating along the lazy river, there are many ways for family water park time. If that is not enough, or you prefer staying dry for your visit, try out the family entertainment center where you can compete in laser tag, race against each other at the beach side’s only go-kart track, play and win in thier MEGA Arcade or see who has the best putting skills on their 18 holes of mini-golf. 

Sea Turtles being cared for at the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, FL

Marine Discovery Center: The center has indoor saltwater Marine Exhibits. Outdoor attractions include wildflower and butterfly gardens, a nature playscape, fitness stations and a salt marsh. To get out on the water, book a kayak or boat tour. Admission to the facility & grounds is free. Programs have fees.  

Reptile Discovery Center: Enjoy a walk on the beautiful outdoor nature trail where you will see all kinds of reptile species — lizards, alligators, tortoises and more — active and sunning in their natural enclosures. The indoor exhibits house rattlesnakes, cobras, mambas and many other snakes from all over the world. New this year to those displays are a rare white rattlesnake and a taipan. The live venom extraction program — given at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday — is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Marine Science Center: Through innovative learning experiences, visitors can view seabird and sea turtle rehabilitation, get hands-on in a teaching lab and explore exhibit galleries and a nature trail that illustrate the story of marine life in Volusia County. 

Museum of Arts and Sciences: The museum has an interactive children’s museum and a planetarium. The Children’s Museum is home to interactive exhibits that demonstrate various principles of science, including a racetrack, doctor and radiologist exhibits, tennis ball launcher, video light microscope, a make-believe pizza parlor and more!  

Each of these counties has a variety of parks, walking trails and other outdoor events that are ideal for the family. Please check with the attractions before embarking on your adventure to find out hours, restrictions and costs. With such amazing attractions in our backyard, a staycation can be varied and exciting every day!

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