Beyond The Parks

Siew

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 11, 2004
We are travelling to Florida for the first time. Besides going to the WDW Theme Parks, we are also thinking of bringing the kids to one of the Florida beaches or maybe do 1 to 2 hr scenic drive.

We only have 1 day, any recommendations ... one that is not too far from WDW and safe to be (ie not quiet and secluded).

Thanks ahead.
 

catnik

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Siew:

The Kennedy Space center is located approximately 45 min to 1 hour east of Orlando on the coast; it is an interesting, fun overview of the U.S. space program to date with some poignant tributes to those astronauts killed in the line of duty. Well worth the trip, IMO, with or without the kids...........

http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/
 

myboysmom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
If you want a great beach with out all the crowds you should consider the beaches along the "Space Coast".

There is the Canaveral National Seashore, try this link http://www.nps.gov/cana/ . We went there on advice of a friend and did not regret it. Our boys collected tons of sea shells, saw lots of cute little lizards and we loved the view- no condos anywhere. There is a small entrance fee, but lots of free maps and field guide type things to help you with all those shells.

My sister and her family talked us into Daytona Beach, ok been there. Saw two sea shells. After lunch we drove down to the Space Coast (we asked if they wanted to come too). Wished we had spent the whole day there. My neice was really sad that we had so many cool shells- it was the main thing she wanted to do at the beach.

We were there in Dec., so the water was cool. We didn't plan on swimming so we didn't take our suits (silly me). There are places to change. The boys did plenty of wading and were plenty wet and full of sand when we left (glad it was a rental car :) )
 

Siew

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 11, 2004
Our boys collected tons of sea shells, saw lots of cute little lizards and we loved the view- no condos anywhere. There is a small entrance fee, but lots of free maps and field guide type things to help you with all those shells.

[/B]


What do you mean by cute little lizards? Are they running all over the place...?

Have you been to Tampa or Clearwater Beach?
 

catnik

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Siew:

We have family that live in the Clearwater area so we visit them/go to that beach each year. There are not a lot of shells along that stretch but the water is more tranquil than the Atlantic coast and the beach area is very clean/nice. It would be a good choice if you were looking for a relaxing/lazy day away from the parks.
 

myboysmom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
The reptiles live in the sand scrub behind the dunes.

There is a nice boardwalk we took to the top of a large pre-historic mountain of shells left by native peoples 1,000's of years ago. We learned alot about the natural area.

I have not been to Clearwater or Tampa's beaches. We were really looking for something not too comercial in nature and would allow us to see some wildlife, walk for miles and collect shells.

People were fishing in the surf and it was really neat. If that is not your thing, that's cool too.

The "Unoffical Guide to Florida With Kids" has a section on beaches. It gives you a great overview of the different types of beaches.
 

Siew

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 11, 2004

The "Unoffical Guide to Florida With Kids" has a section on beaches. It gives you a great overview of the different types of beaches. [/B]


Hi, do you have the web address?
 

castlegazer

Soccer Mom! Soccer Player & Mom! Go USA!
Joined
Feb 27, 2003
www.cocoabeach.com

I love Cocoa Beach - and it only takes 45 minutes and is a pretty drive (boring but pretty). Plus you can take the kids to Ron Jons surf shop and see the Magic or Wonder if its in port - you will travel right past the port and its fun to come over the rise over one of the rivers and see which one is in that day.
 

cheerdaddy

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 1, 2004
we have been to the gulf shore beaches many times...clearwater beach is probably the busiest and most commercial on the areas on that side of the pond....we have also been to Maderia Beach several times; the beach is pretty calm and there is lots of shopping, site seeing tours, fishing trips, etc...at the historic John's Pass Marina...we took a boat tour that took us out to Shell Island; lots of shells and a pretty good time....St.Pete Beach has some of the nicest beaches on the gulf shore as well...For a little quieter day, you could drive about 20 minutes to the south of St.Pete Beach to the Fort Desoto park and beaches....In 2003, we ventured to the Atlantic side for the first time and went to Cocoa Beach for the day...the kids loved it!!! the waves were alot bigger, but, there wasn't much for collecting shells though..BTW, we felt safe at all of these places...
 

Siew

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 11, 2004
Originally posted by cheerdaddy
we have been to the gulf shore beaches many times...clearwater beach is probably the busiest and most commercial on the areas on that side of the pond....we have also been to Maderia Beach several times; the beach is pretty calm and there is lots of shopping, site seeing tours, fishing trips, etc...at the historic John's Pass Marina...we took a boat tour that took us out to Shell Island; lots of shells and a pretty good time....St.Pete Beach has some of the nicest beaches on the gulf shore as well...For a little quieter day, you could drive about 20 minutes to the south of St.Pete Beach to the Fort Desoto park and beaches....In 2003, we ventured to the Atlantic side for the first time and went to Cocoa Beach for the day...the kids loved it!!! the waves were alot bigger, but, there wasn't much for collecting shells though..BTW, we felt safe at all of these places...

Hi! Any idea how long is the ride from WDW to St Pete Beach ?
Also, we are thinking of taking a slow drive from St Pete to Clearwater Beach. Do you know how long will it take? Where is a nice place for dinner at Clearwater Beach?

Thanks!
 

cheerdaddy

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 1, 2004
It's about 1.5 hours from disney world to St.Pete Beach area...there are numerous dining options in that area...one of our favorites was a place called Johnny Leverock's...it's a local version of a Red Lopster...another popular place is Crabby Bills'....the drive up Gulf to Bay Blvd from St.Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach is about 30-45 minutes depending on traffic...sorry, we only spent one night in clearwater beach, so our dining experiences were limited to Hooters' and McDonalds....
 

twotoohappy

<font color=red>Lovin' Pete!<br><font color=teal>I
Joined
Aug 30, 2003
What about spending a night or two at Disney's Vero Beach. It's right on the beach, great pool, characters, etc.
 

SCOTTOHIOCPA

Trip number 20 to WDW June 2013
Joined
Feb 2, 2004
South of clearwater beach in the mouth of Tampa bay is Fort Desoto. Very quiet and great fishing on the pier. This might be too far away though - maybe 2.5 hours, but very scenic once you get to the coast.
 

LauraR

Mouseketeer<br><font color=red>Needs to do some se
Joined
Sep 17, 2003
MyboysMom---Cape Canaveral sounds great! You really made me want to go there. Our family really likes nature over development, too. And we love looking for seashells! I looked at the website, and was just wondering which way you accessed the beach, from the north or the south? Sounded like there are two entrances. Thanks for the info!
 

myboysmom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
There are two areas. We were at the south entrance the day we went.

You can't get all the way through the park, as the space center is right in the middle. It was so cool that we could see the shuttle on the pad from where we were. We went in by Titusville. The entrance was a little hard to find, we missed the turn the first time!

I would have liked to see the north area as well, but we just didn't have enough time.
 

jubileegirl

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 23, 2004
If it doesn't have to be the beach I've always thought that Silver Springs looks like a great antidote to WDW. It's a nature park about 75 miles north of Orlando. We haven't been there but it looks kind of old fashioned and beautiful. I think there's a waterpark attached to it too so you can have a swim.
 









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