5 best family vacation destinations in Florida

When families — particularly ones with small kids — think of Florida for a vacation, the first destination that usually comes to mind is, inevitably, Disney World.

And while that’s a great place to start (it does, after all, make this list), there are plenty of other options in the state for those looking for sun, sand, or something else entirely.

Read on for five of the best family destinations in Florida, from bustling beach towns to quiet getaways.

SLIDESHOW: ‘Happiest places’ on earth: Disney park openings through the years


1. Disney World

Let’s just get this one out of the way: Walt Disney World is the go-to destination for families (and many others) in Florida, with more than 40 million annual guests, most of whom head to the Magic Kingdom.

But no matter which park you choose, the resort has options for pretty much any type of vacation. You can go all-out or budget-friendly when it comes to planning, with plenty of lodging options (our favorite for families is the Animal Kingdom Lodge). Plenty of the on-site hotels offer fun activities for kids, too, so when adults need a break and want to hit a spa (or the bar), children and teens are in good hands.

It’s a fairly quick trip from Orlando International Airport — just 25 minutes by taxi. But if you stay on property, you’ll get a free shuttle to your hotel.

Disney World is part of ABC News’ parent company.

2. Amelia Island

Just a 37-minute drive from Jacksonville International Airport is Amelia Island, a relatively uncrowded spot for families who want to kick back and chill out with a traditional, low-key beach vacation.

Popular with families from Georgia and southern Florida, it has 13 miles of peaceful beaches and hardly any of the tourist-trap tack that’s often part of the scenery in other beachside towns.

Popular activities include geocaching, fishing, horseback riding, and eco-tours on river cruises. The Seaside Amelia Inn lives up to its name, perched right on Fernandina Beach, and is just a five-minute drive to the center of town.

3. Captiva Island

An hour drive from Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers is the quiet Captiva Island. If you’re looking for a destination where you don’t have to plan or think (because, well, you do enough of that), this is a great place to park.

The island as a whole is a great area for birdwatching and seashell-gathering if you’re looking for leisurely outdoor activities, but resorts provide plenty of other entertainment….

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