Even though I have been in Florida for 37 years I’ve only been to Disney World about 3 times. I have to say that I don’t have any good memories being there. The only things I can recall are the long lines, crying babies, very expensive food, beer and other refreshments. I recall feeling very empty like I didn’t get my money’s worth. I felt like a plastic family. Nothing was real. It was all one big fake vacation.
However, I do recall camping with my family in North Carolina. We did whitewater rafting, swimming in a lake, camping for a week, cooking outdoors, tubing down a river. Driving through the scenic mountains and spending real quality time with them. It was the best vacation we ever took together. The only regrets I ever had about vacations is that I didn’t take more camping trips. I feel that it was one of the most bonding times in our family.
I’m not saying that Disney World doesn’t have its place. (though I can’t for the life of me know where that might be) I do know that a simple vacation, actually talking and playing with your family is the best. I wish I had known about the variety of Florida natural springs and campgrounds in North Central Florida however it wasn’t until my children were about grown that I discovered those beautiful gems.
Many of these State and National Parks have rich beauty and a unique culture of their own. Recreational areas have a variety of enjoyable things to do with children or adults. Swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, hiking, canoeing, camping, biking and picnicking, are available at most of the parks. The parks are filled with unique wildlife like freshwater eels, manatees, trophy size bass, rare birds, colorful snakes, lizards and frogs. Although in the main part of the parks you will rarely see alligators or bears if you do get off the beaten path you do need to be aware of your surroundings and take the necessary precautions.
According to Florida Travel and Tourist Information, 75,000,000 people visit and vacation in Florida each year. I can only wonder how many of these families take “plastic vacations” while searching for those wonderful family memories that will last forever. I’m sure most, don’t even know they exist. Please take time to research and learn about the area you will be visiting. Come and enjoy a real vacation with memories that will last a lifetime.