Are you planning – or have you planned over the winter – a Florida vacation and trip to the beach? So many people in New England, where I now live, head to Florida for April (spring) vacation that when I lived in Florida I dreaded that month. With the state overrun by tourists, Disney World would sometimes have to close it’s gates because it was filled to capacity – and that’s a big place!
But Florida is a great place to visit in April if you want to avoid the mid-summer heat.
April is a great time to stay at the beach too. The water may be too cool for locals who are used to the 80 degree summer water temperature, but northerners would most likely love the ocean water. Being around a beautiful beach is more my idea of a vacation than standing in long lines, with millions of other people at Disney World, so my vacation would take place at a beach. (And Disney, Universal Studios, etc. are centrally located so you can always take a day trip there.)
New Smyrna Beach was always a favorite and it’s close to Daytona so visiting the Daytona Speedway and Museum would be fun. I went there on a field trip with one of my kids and we got in a bus that drove us around the track. You wouldn’t believe the steep sides where the drivers race! It’s worth the visit. There is a small lake nearby that was made when they dug up the dirt to make those driving hills.
If it’s shell collecting you want, plan to visit or stay on Sanibel Island on the Gulf coast. It is the 3rd best shelling spot IN THE WORLD! (updated to say: Sulu Islands, Philippines and Jeffries Bay, South Africa are #1 and #2.) I wish we’d have been able to get over to Sanibel more often when I lived in central Florida. It was only 4 hours away, but the cost was just something we couldn’t afford back then. We did get there a few times. Now the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is open with interesting seashell info and history.
Don’t forget to visit the numerous state parks. And head out on the water on a charter boat or rent a boat yourself and navigate the ICW, ocean or rivers. Taking some low-key, un-touristy trips to places the locals visit may make some excellent Florida vacation memories.
Read my other article on how to plan a Florida beach vacation, with tips on which beaches offer drive on traffic.