VISITING CENTRAL FLORIDA

We just got back from Central Florida and can’t stop talking about how much fun we had. This was definitely one of our most unique and adventurous travel destinations to date! Everything from feeding llamas and lemurs, to learning to kneeboard for the first time, there really wasn’t a dull moment. Central Florida has so much to offer and I can’t wait to share some of our favorite parts. Read along with our Visiting Central Florida – A Family Travel Guide to see what we chose to experience, where we ate, and the amazing place we stayed.

MUST STAY IN CENTRAL FLORIDA

Cabana Club Resort

The Cabana Club is a family-friendly RV and cottage oasis located in Central Florida. They have a brand new zero entry pool with a super cool water slide, a poolside pavilion, an interactive splash pad, and lots of entertainment! Their brand new entertainment complex has a challenging 9-hole putting course, a beautiful activities lawn, and several firepits to roast marshmallows or just relax by an evening fire. Even pets are welcome to explore the grounds and clean up at their onsite doggy wash station. There is so much to do for the kids, especially on the weekends. They post a new weekend itinerary every week, full of fun activities, contests, and crafts. The kids will look forward to every one!

We stayed in one of their new cottages. I was so impressed with how spacious they were. It included bunk beds, a king size bed, and a pull out couch. It’s perfect for bigger families. I also loved that there was a fully stocked kitchen. That way we could have everything we needed right there in our cottage. We did eat out most lunches and dinners but I would definitely suggest at least bringing stuff for breakfast. 

You can use code THEGRAYRUBY to get 10% off your stay!

 

MUST DO IN CENTRAL FLORIDA

Safari Wilderness

Safari Wilderness Ranch is not like any zoo or theme park safari you have ever experienced. You and your family will get to immerse yourselves into a natural adventure that will have you believing your are in far away Africa or Asia.

The best way to experience this safari wilderness adventure is by traveling in their custom safari vehicles. They have extremely knowledgeable staff and experienced driver guides that will navigate you through over 260 acres of beautiful wilderness. You will see over six species of antelope, water buffalo, different types of deer, llamas, camels, ostrich, zebras, warthogs and more. The best part is that you and the family get to engage with the herds and feed the animals by hand. How cool is that!!

There are many different experiences that they offer in addition to the safari like feeding ring-tailed lemurs. This was absolutely thrilling! Such awesome primates that are just as curious about us as we are about them. They are so cute eating grapes out of our hands.

Some more of their offerings include camel expeditions, kayak safaris, sunset safaris, and ATV safaris. You can also schedule school field trips and rent out facilities for events. The opportunities are endless and each one is very intimate, plus unforgettable!

Explorations V Children’s Museum

This fun-filled museum in downtown Lakeland really values children & families!  They celebrate the five senses, hence the the Roman numeral “V” in the name. The way the museum is set up, encourages exploration and communication between children and their families. There are so many playful learning experiences that reinforce creativity and stimulate the senses here. We had such a great time exploring all three floors of this interactive museum and will be back again on our next time to Lakeland.

Elite Cable Park

Elite Cable Park offers active watersport activities in a very safe and family-friendly environment. They offer some great programs for all levels of expertise, from beginners and small children to those training for national competitions.

Our experience with ECP staff and our coach was outstanding! I cannot say enough about the time he spent with the girls and the patience he displayed while adapting to each of their comfort levels. Everyone had such a positive experience and felt like they were part of the watersports family. My husband had such a great time, that we are talking about hosting his next birthday at the park! This is a must visit attraction.

Central Florida family travel

 

MUST EAT IN CENTRAL FLORIDA

The Joinery

The Joinery is a modern food hall and craft brewery located on the banks of Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. There are about 10 vendors under one roof, all with their own individual flare and tasty offerings. The coolest part is that everyone in the family can choose the cuisine that suits them best, order from the booth and then all sit together in the dining area to enjoy. 

Sabu Ramen

Sabu Ramen is Lakeland’s first traditional Japanese ramen shop and is located in the Joinery. They have a selection of Japanese street snacks, some of the best ramen we’ve had, and delicious steamed buns. There are gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options available.

ATO

ATO is also in the Joinery and offers awesome sushi, huge sushi burritos, poke bowls, plus dumplings, seaweed salad, and miso soup. This is the sister company of Zuku Sushi at Armature Works here in Tampa and is just as good. We ordered the poke bowls, which are our favorite. You can also request any of the burritos in a bowl and custom your order in anyway. They also offer gluten-free and vegan options. So good!!

Ava

Ava offers authentic Neapolitan-style, wood-fired pizza. They are also at the Joinery and also have a booth at Tampa Armature Works. They offer some great special toppings like, San Marzano tomatoes, house-made sausages, Florida-sourced mozzarella, and more! My daughter loves the Margherita Pizza so much!! You can easily sub a gluten-free cauliflower crust or vegan cheese and sausage for any pie on their list. If you have never tried Ava, make sure to visit them when in Lakeland. Well worth it!

Tantrum’s Lakeside Grill

Tantrums is located on the Elite Cable Park property and is a one of a kind, waterfront,  casual dining experience. They have a great menu with some mouth-watering sandwiches and fun shareables to enjoy while you watch all of the entertaining water sports in action or take in a beautiful sunset.  

Strawberry Hut

Strawberry Hut has been around since 1993 and has been voted “Best Cuban” 13 years in a row. Their bread is delivered fresh from the bakery daily and it is delicious! The Veggie Cuban is one of my all-time favorites and the shakes are something else, especially the strawberry! Make sure that the next time you are near Lakeland you stop by and try a Cuban, you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

Instagram photo spots

We all love a good photo opp and Central Florida had so many good ones. Here are a few we visited.

The rainbow wall

I had so many friends on Instagram ask about these walls so I thought I would share in this post to spread the love. We went in the evening and it was the perfect amount of indirect light for the best picture quality. This can be found at Haus 820 at 820 N Massachusetts Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801.

 

The boho wall

This yellow wall was so cute and there are big windows right in front to get plenty of natural light.   Find this wall right inside of the Joinery

 

Family Travel Vlog 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Diana | The Gray Ruby Diaries (@mrsblinks)

Weather in Central Florida

It is almost always sunny in Central Florida. The summers are hotter and there is often rain in the afternoons, but the heat allows you to enjoy the water all around.  

 

Thank You to Visit Central Florida for hosting us on this wonderful outing! Such a warm welcome to your family-friendly destination and amazing hospitality at every turn. We will be sure to come back again very soon!

Central Florida is a must-visit for your next family vacation! Want an insider look into what it’s really like to vacation in Central Florida? Head over to my Instagram to watch us enjoy our time there.

 

 

Have you and your family visited Central Florida?   Were you as pleasantly surprised as we were? What are some of your favorite things to do in Central Florida with your kids? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

 

Want to read more about our family travels. CLICK HERE

 

 

The best places to go with kids on Central Florida