I have two wild little dudes, so I HAVE to keep them busy. They prefer the outdoors, nature, and to be on the go as much as possible. If our adventure includes animals of some sort, or water, that’s a huge plus! I get a lot of messages asking about all the places we go, or if I have any suggestions, so I figured i’d put a list together for you all of our favorite places we frequent.
- Marine Environmental Educational Center (MEEC) (Hollywood, Florida)
MEEC is a hidden gem. Nestled right along Hollywood Beach, on surf road. Its currently closed due to Covid, but this is such a special place to us and so many others! MEEC is a marine public education facility, located on the historic grounds of the Carpenter home. Their resident sea turtle Captain, is full of personality. She loves friends! You will quickly fall in love with her pure charm. Captain was struck by a boat in 2010, rehabilitated, and sadly was found stranded again with floating issues. She wears a cool little weighted backpack to keep her buoyancy. MEEC also currently has virtual classes, and when they’re open they do field trips, home school classes and more! For more information and to keep up with their re-opening click here MEEC =)
2. Coral Cove (Tequesta, Florida)
Coral Cove has quickly become our go to favorite beach spot. Its beyond gorgeous, very quiet, and keeps the kids busy for hours! My kids love to climb, search for marine life, and let their imagination’s take over. Its also very obviously picturesque! We’re in Broward, so this is about an hour away, but always well worth it.
3. Bonnet House Museum and Gardens (Fort Lauderdale, Florida )
The Bonnet house is absolutely STUNNING. We truthfully go just for the nature walks alone! They are currently open, with a self guided tour on your phone. You can buy your tickets online, and kids are free until September 6th. There’s a huge history behind the Bonnet house so ill let you check that out here.
The Bonnet house does cost more when you get tickets for inside the home as well. My kids love to just go explore the grounds, there’s so many bugs, animals, and beautiful things to see on the grounds alone!
4. Whiskey Creek Hideout ( Dania Beach, Florida )
Whiskey Creek, is a blast! There’s kayak and canoe rentals, a bar & restaurant, the creek, and the ocean just steps away. It’s located inside Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park ( formerly John U. Lloyd State Park ). Honestly, Whiskey Creek has it all! Tons of recreational activities, food, and if your kids are like mine, tons of critters they can find! Check it out!
5. Sawgrass Nature Center and Wildlife Hospital (Coral Springs, Florida)
Sawgrass Nature Center is a non profit dedicated to helping wildlife. They have are a working wildlife hospital so if you have an emergency or come across an injured animal in South Florida, please go here!
You cant go into the hospital, but you can visit their grounds! They have a ton of non releasable animals, you can roam around and learn about. Its a small fee to get in, and they currently have a no contact way to pay which is great during covid times! If you know anything about my kids you know their love of tortoises and birds. They have a ton of both! They also have educational programs along with camps. For more info click here =)
6. Chapel trail park nature preserve ( Pembroke Pines, Florida )
Chapel trail is a simple place which is part of why we love it so much. Its in the wetlands, and its so calming. Home to 120 species of birds, deer, marsh rabbits, alligators, snakes, turtles, largemouth bass, and insects. Perfect for nature lovers like my dudes! Its a long boardwalk, with pavilions, area’s to fish and canoe. Its honestly a great place to bring some school work, a book, a picnic, and just relax.
7. Wolf Lake Park (Davie, Florida)
Wolf lake is stunning. Honestly when we go there I don’t even feel like i’m in South Florida anymore. It’s 50 acres of pure beauty surrounding a big lake. Horse’s are also permitted, so you’ll often see people horseback riding which is always fun. Fishing is permitted as well, so bring your rod! Wolf lake is amazing for nature journaling as well, so bring your journal’s and field guides!
8. Loggerhead Marine life Center and Sea turtle hospital (Jupiter, Florida)
Who doesn’t love sea turtles!? Sea turtles play such an important role in our ocean ecosystems. Loggerhead marine life center is making sure to spread the word, and educate all while being a running sea turtle hospital. They rescue, rehabilitate and release all the turtles. If you’re lucky enough you can even be a guest at a turtle release! They are currently open, and you’ll need a mask. They also currently have virtual classes which is amazing for the ocean loving kids. Visit Loggerhead marine center!
9. Busch Wildlife Sanctuary (Jupiter, Florida)
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary is a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary dedicated to the protection and conservation of Florida’s wildlife and natural resources. They also have a wildlife hospital, if you find a sick or hurt animal, you can drop them off there. This place is huuuuge. Full of animals, who were non releasable. Overall its just a beautiful place to walk around in pure nature! They also have a TON of educational resources available that I highly suggest. Check out all the awesome animals!
10. Anne Kolb & Dania Beach Pier (Hollywood & Dania Beach, Florida)
I couldn’t choose just 10, so I cheated and put Anne Kolb and Dania together whoops!
Anne Kolb is one of our favorite places to go and just relax. We’ve done waterway cleanups there, we go fishing, we also just relax and do our homeschool work. The boys love to sit around and watch the boats go by, build things out of sticks they find, bird watch, and more! They even have a little boat tour through the mangroves which is a lot of fun. Last but most definitely not least, Dania Beach Pier! Don’t tell my kids, but I used to skip school and go here everyday, so it holds so many amazing memories for me and some of my closest friends. Dania beach is where my mom always took me as a kid, and some of my oldest memories are sitting on the beach with my mom. Also, the fishing at Dania is pretty bad ass, and the boys love to watch! (and make friends with pelicans)
Mounts botanical garden
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State
Florida keys wild bird sanctuary
We absolutely LOVE these places as well. If you go to my Instagram @erinbethray you will see photos from all of those above! Shark valley is an experience for sure. Mounts is absolutely gorgeous. Key fossil reef is one of my favorite’s. It’s really like nowhere I’ve been before! And the florida keys wild bird sanctuary is a dream for bird lovers!!
Honestly no matter how crazy us Florida people are, no matter how hot, humid, and nasty it can get. Florida is full of SO much beauty! These are just a few, of some of our favorite places. There are so many wonderful hidden gems ALL over Florida, not just South Florida. I hope this helps, you and your kids, have some fun, and GET OUTSIDE!