Families can also explore the historic Thursby House

Families can also explore the historic Thursby House, which harkens back to Central Florida’s frontier days. During manatee season, the rivers are closed to water activities to protect the animals. But during the rest of the year, the waters open up to swimmers, kayakers, canoeists, and snorkelers who want to enjoy some of the clearest water in Florida.

Families can also sign up for two-hour narrated tours that take place twice daily. These river tours explore the waters and feature expert information on the water, landscape, history, and wildlife. Blue Springs State Park has 51 fully-service campsites and is popular with RVers and tent campers.

If swimming with manatees in Florida is on your bucket list, the state’s other manatee hotspot is Crystal River, just 80-miles north of Tampa. Like Blue Water Springs, the adorable sea cows tend to visit during the colder months, but you can connect with local outfitters like this one to enjoy small-group swims with these gentle giants.

Crystal River is the only place in Florida where you’re allowed to swim with manatees. And it’s an experience that most visitors will never forget. Just make sure to follow the rules, both for your safety and for the safety of the animals. There are observers on-site making sure that everyone is behaving in a proper manner.

Crystal River Preserve State Park also has some beautiful hiking trails and birding opportunities as well as boat tours that will take you straight out to the Gulf of Mexico.

At the base of Florida’s Space Coast, on Key Biscayne just south of Miami is one of the best Florida State Parks for urban explorers.

Offering a far more relaxed atmosphere than crowded spots such as South Beach, Key Biscayne is a world away from Miami, even though it sits just 8-miles from downtown.

Bill Baggs Cape is fronted by a beautiful one-mile stretch of white sand beach. And on Thursdays through Mondays you can even tour the Cape Florida Lighthouse which dates back to 1825.

There are some excellent biking trails at the park. You can even rent bikes at the Bill Baggs Visitor Center. And it’s a popular spot for anglers as well along the Biscayne Bay seawall.

Although this Florida State Park is close to Miami, it never reaches capacity, so it’s a popular alternative for those who don’t mind driving an extra couple of miles.

There’s no on-shore camping at Bill Baggs State Park, but if you’re a boating enthusiast, you can dock your boat overnight for just $20.

Florida State Parks are all incredible to explore with kids. And while we love visiting destinations such as Busch Gardens in Tampa, nothing beats getting out into nature to experience the naturally beautiful side of this state.

If you’re new to family travel, head over to our tips for international family travel post, or to our family travel gear guide to make sure that you have everything that you need to explore Florida comfortably. For most of these experiences, you’ll be better off traveling with a child carrier rather than a travel stroller due to the nature of the ground. This will make your experience much easier.

If you’re passionate about family travel, head on over to our Family Travel Support Group on Facebook. It’s a fantastic community of parents who love travel. We share experiences, knowledge, and the lessons learned along the way. You can also sign up for our newsletter to keep in the loop about new family travel adventures

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Start your day with coffee and the best (Donutland) donuts in town at Lu’s Deli in New Bohemia.

Cedar Rapids has more than American fare when it comes to our dining scene. Check out options including Persis Biryani Indian Grill, Bari Italian, La Cantina, Pita’z, Mandarin Spice Asian Grill and even more option here.

Spring traditions are returning! Cheer on the Cedar Rapids Kernels, High-A team of the Minnesota Twins. The Kernels will play 60 home games in 2021 between May 4 and September 5.

If racing is more your style, check out Hawkeye Downs Speedway. This paved, oval track runs weekly Friday night races beginning in May and additional Enduro races on a number of weekends.

Start your day slowly with brunch at Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery. Enjoy vineyard vistas from the warm, but spacious indoor seating.

Take a stroll through Uptown Artway, the redefined gathering space that runs behind 7th Avenue in the heart of Marion’s business…

Lu’s Deli is locally owned and operated. Serving fresh, homemade subs, salads, pasta and desserts. We can cater your next business…

Cedar Rapids is proud to be an inclusive community. Through diversity and inclusion, we create a community that is vibrant and flourishes. The creativity that comes from engaging with people from different backgrounds and experiences benefits everyone. The City of Cedar Rapids embraces the differences in all our residents and works to build a community where everyone feels they belong.

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