In the upper Midwest, the winters can be brutal. As a family, especially one that does not enjoy a lot of the winter sports, we try to break up the monotony by going on a winter vacation some place warm with our kids. We have taken them to places like Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica a few times. While those are amazing places to visit and offer many opportunities for learning and exploring for all ages, these trips can get complicated quick when you throw kids into the mix.
Why go to Florida with Kids?
This year we decided to explore a different option and take our 5 year old on a Florida vacation instead. Why Florida? Well, for one, it is within the US borders. Many things are easier with children and toddlers without crossing a border. Flights are slightly shorter and cheaper. No need to worry about odd rules when renting and driving a car. I also do not worry about my children eating something that does not agree with their sensitive tummies. And in the event we do need a doctor, there is something to be said for a familiar healthcare system. I personally feel that safety is not as much of a concern either.
And then there are so many things to see and do in Florida. The weather is warm year round. The only thing to watch out for is the hurricane season. Generally speaking, this is not a problem from mid-November on.
Beachy vibes and sunny skies
For our vacation we decided to stay on the Atlantic Ocean side in Boca Raton, about an hour north of Miami. The weather was perfect the first couple of days! The warm temperature and clear skies let us truly enjoy the beach and the pool after the frigid temperatures of the Midwest. And that’s where we spent most of our time. Boca (as the locals call it) is rich with beautiful sandy beaches lining the shores of the Atlantic. We loved coming to the South Beach Pavilion and Park as the location is perfect, there are plenty of cabanas for a small fee, and the beach is just to die for.
The second half of our trip the weather wasn’t quite as beach-friendly…So we searched around and found a few places to enjoy with our child indoors or at least while not wearing a swimsuit.
Indoor activities for all ages
Our favorite was hands down the La-La Land in Boca Raton. Now we have been to a fair share of indoor playgrounds. This one had so many things to love about it though for both toddlers and older children! There were so many obstacles I haven’t seen at other similar facilities.
To start with, the play structure was three stories tall and everything was set up for adults to pass through. This means no crawling on your knees or hitting your head on bars and planks above you people! Yay! There were many slides including a giant 4 person wave slide and a donut slide (one of my faves!)
Right in the center stood a separate spider web structure which our kiddo enjoyed to no end. The challenge here is to climb up 4 layers of the “web” to get to the giant spider hanging above. Then there is a run-up soft wall structure with a super fast slide at the top for those who can scale it! It took Daniel a few tries, but soon he mastered it by running up and grabbing hold of the rope to pull himself up to the top. If your kids are into foam balls, they would be happy to find several foam ball loading machines and a foam ball pit with (you guessed it) a foam ball fountain. Or course no playground is complete without a trampoline, and this one was no exception.
And if that isn’t enough to tire out even the most energetic kiddos, the facility includes a Ninja course on par with those you see on TV (kid-sized but quite challenging for adults as well) and a very sizable rope course for an extra charge.
For the younger ones there is a whole separate fenced off area complete with their own slides, obstacles, a ride-on boat that actually rocks and plays music, and a spinning coconut tree among other things. Even my 5 year old loved it! The whole playground is super safe, soft, and full of fun activities.
The next day we visited the Sugar Sand Park and Children’s Science Explorium within the park. The park is also located in the city of Boca Raton, FL. This place is a good-sized facility. The Explorium has two large rooms set up for all sorts of things for kids to explore. It actually holds traveling exhibitions twice a year for about 4 months each. During our time they had an exhibition on all sorts of noise occupying one of the two rooms. Honestly, we felt like there was so much for kids to explore there and tinkle with! And if you go on a weekday like we did, you’re not likely to encounter any crowds.
The Sugar Sand Park itself contains a couple beautifully groomed trails and a small garden right outside. Right there is also a gorgeous working Carousel (available for a small extra charge) and a huge Science playground. This one is probably one of the larger outdoor playgrounds we’ve ever seen. Very new and well maintained. We highly recommend this park for all kiddos over the age of 3, although even the younger ones would likely have a great time exploring.
On our last day of the trip, my husband took Daniel (our oldest) to another place nearby to allow me to pack us up. I don’t know about you, but my anxiety levels drop several notches when I can pack the family by myself. Maybe it’s just me! By the way, if you need help packing your family for a trip, check out my other posts: Packing List for Infants and Toddlers and Flying with Kids – 10 Simple Tips for some useful advice! I love this packing list and we really do use it every single time!
In any case, they decided to explore the Boca Raton Children’s Museum. It’s a quaint little house that contains a few interesting rooms for children to explore each with its own focus. While the facility is not large, it does have quite a few activities to occupy your littles. To be fair, however, it is mostly geared towards the younger ones. Outside there’s also a pretty cute play structure in the form of a ship where the kids can pretend to be captains or first mates for a day!
Our trip came to an end, but it was a fun one even though we encountered some unusually cool weather. It did not stop us from enjoying the sunny Boca Raton and the city of Miami. In fact, if not for the cooler temps, we may have missed out on so many fun experiences!
Don’t forget to leave a comment and share if you enjoy taking your littles on family trips. I want to hear all your suggestions for where we should go next! Laters, xo