Finding Florida

EXPLORE- Our 2019 Family Goal

 

I am not exactly sure how it happened, but it is officially 2019!! Where did 2018 go? Did it go by in a flash for anyone else?? Anyway, despite my disbelief, 2019 is here and along with it are so many goals and plans for the coming year! Are you a resolution maker? A goal setter? Someone who just takes the year as it comes?

This year we have decided to change things up a bit and set a goal for our family. I LOVE the idea of choosing a word to focus on in the coming year. So we decided to choose a word to focus on as a family. Our 2019 word is: EXPLORE!

WHY EXPLORE?

We chose the word “explore” out of a huge desire to spend more time traveling and seeing new sights! We are a family that absolutely loves to pack up and go on adventures. We love to see new things, visit new places, and discover things we have never seen before. We are a very curious crew…and we love to learn new things. While the main focus of our word “explore” will be travel oriented…I also realized there are so many other things we want to explore. We want to explore new foods, a new language, and new books…so stay tuned for more on those avenues as well. But, for now, the focus will be on our plan to travel as much as possible!

EXPLORE THE WORLD…OR MAYBE JUST FLORIDA

Oh, how I would love to be a world traveler! Sadly, that is just not in the cards for 2019! Work schedules and finances just won’t allow for that right now, but that is OK because our Florida Bucket List is LONG…like CVS receipt long!

When we first packed up and moved to Florida 2 years ago, one of our major goals was to see as much of our new home state as possible. We have definitely seen a bit, but somewhere along the way, we stopped making it a priority. Life got in the way…as it tends to do…and we never got back on track with our explorations! That is all going to change this year, because like I mentioned, our list is LONG!

The 5 of us got together and came up with our top 20 things we want to see and do in Florida this year! I also turned to Instagram and asked for some top places to visit…and boy did ya’ll deliver!

 

FLORIDA BUCKET LIST

Florida is ginormous…like, really, really, really BIG…with a TON to see and do. There are so many beaches, museums, state parks, nature preserves..ahh…just so much! So, I want to share with you some of our family travel goals that we came up with for 2019! In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Spend the weekend at Sanibel Island
  2. Spend the weekend in St.Augustine
  3. Legoland!
  4. Take a citrus tour
  5. Spend a week driving through the Florida Keys
  6. Visit Bok Tower Gardens
  7. Visit Dinosaur World
  8. Ringling Museum
  9. Visit the Emerald Coast
  10. Rent a pontoon boat for the day
  11. Visit the Kennedy Space Center
  12. Visit Anna Maria Island
  13. Kayak Weeki Wachi
  14. Dali Museum
  15. Visit Lion Country Safari
  16. Kayak to Caladesi Island
  17. Visit Gainesville and go to Florida Museum of Natural History
  18. Tampa Riverwalk
  19. Rent a camper and stay by the ocean
  20. Visit Butterfly World

There are SO many more that could easily be added to this list…and I totally know this list will change as different opportunities arise this year…so stay tuned!

MAKE IT HAPPEN CAP’N

So, now comes the hard part…making this all happen! The plan is to sit down with a calendar and just block out time. If we don’t schedule things and make exploring a priority, it will get pushed to the back burner again! So, we are going to dedicate a couple weekends every month to seeing something new. Some of the items on our list are just small day trips, like visiting Bok Tower or going to the Tampa Riverwalk. Other items we are going to have to dedicate full weekends to, so that will require a little more in-depth planning!

So now to decide on where our first adventure should be…Any suggestions????

To read about some of our favorite explorations from last year you can check out my posts on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, Sweetwater Wetlands Park, or the Naples Botanical Gardens!

 

 

 

 

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Finding Florida, Homeschooling

State Park Family Pass for the Win!

florida, homeschool, annual pass, passport

My fellow Floridians…are you aware of the sheer number of State Parks in this state?? My mind is seriously blown! They  are everywhere!! Not only are they everywhere…but they are amazing! Whether you are looking for a place to go biking, birding, snorkeling, camping, shelling, hiking, tubing, or just relaxing…Florida State Parks have you covered! The amount of educational opportunities at each park is mind-blowing…Florida is so full of nature and history it is a homeschoolers wonderland!

My family moved to the Sunshine State in January. We relocated from New Hampshire…cold and snowy New Hampshire. When we arrived, it was sunny and beautiful. One of our very first stops was to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin. It is one of the most beautiful spots I have ever visited in my entire life. If I didn’t know I was in Florida I would have thought that I was on a tropical island. White sandy beaches, turquoise blue water, and dolphins…there were actual dolphins swimming off the shore. Postcard quality gorgeousness! We decided that day that we would be needing an annual pass to the state parks…even if just to go to Honeymoon Island. While at Honeymoon Island you can also enjoy a nature center, walking trails, and an osprey trail!

honeymoon island, state park, annual pass, passport

We purchased a family pass for $120…for the whole year! The family pass allows us to enter the parks with up to 8 people, with the exception of Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs which allows 2 people.  This is an amazing value…even if we only went to Honeymoon Island 15 times the pass would pay for itself.

It wasn’t until I began exploring the State Park website that I realized just how many places there are to visit. My homeschooling mind got extremely excited. There are so many historic sites to visit, nature preserves, archaeological sites, beaches to study sea life…and so much more! SO, we set up a little challenge for ourselves. We want to visit ALL of the Florida state parks…yes, all! I love a challenge, and this is most definitely a doozy. To make things even more exciting…the Florida State parks offer a passport program where you purchase a book and travel to each of the parks collecting stamps. If you collect all of the stamps you earn a free family membership for a year in addition to a $120 Florida State Park gift card good toward camping or cabin stays! What?!?! This is music to my ears! For more info on the passport book click here.

Challenge accepted!!! Our Passport just arrived in the mail and it is FABULOUS!

I hope you will join us on our adventures and learn a little more about the Sunshine State! If you aren’t from Florida, consider checking out the State Park website for your state!! I am sure they will be full of great resources. I guarantee the parks will be full of awesome adventures and learning opportunities for you and your kiddos!

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