Even if you didn't have the experience of going to summer camp as a kid, you still probably have a sense of the nostalgia former campers feel when thinking about summer days spent hiking and canoeing and crafting, and the nights spent talking with your friends in a cabin all night or telling stories around a fire. But, you can recapture those feelings on a well-planned camping adventure through Florida to a possibly-unsuspected destination: Disney World. Disney actually has a resort called Fort Wilderness that, between the archery, fishing, movie nights, and group campfire sing-alongs, is as close as you can get to reliving your summer camp days. Pack up the RV and get ready for some serious reminiscing about summer camp on this trip!
Destin, Florida is a popular beach destination for a reason... just check out the soft white sand and endless ocean views at the town's Henderson Beach State Park. The swimming and fishing are incredible if you ever tire of lying out on the sand, and since this is a state park, it's not as developed, touristy, or crowded as the public beaches in Destin. Plus, there are some really nice campsites for those who want to fall asleep listening to the waves lap against the shore, cooled by ocean breezes. Make the beachside campsite extra homey by staying in an RV from Thor Industries; they've got an RV for every style of camper.
Florida is a gorgeous state, but hidden below the surface is a whole other world. Florida Caverns State Park reveals a side of Florida that you never knew existed. This dry cavern is the only show cave in a Florida state park, so you're bound to see tons of unique sights, and learn a ton about the geology and ecosystem of Florida while you're at it. The park has a fresh water spring that you can check out, and then you can cool off underground with a cave tour (literally, since the 65-degree temperature below the surface is a nice respite from the sun and humidity of the area.) Spot cave formations like stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones, draperies, and more in the various rooms within the cavern.
As you make your way into Tallahassee, stop into the Tallahassee Museum. It's unlike anything anywhere else, as it's a science and history museum that's mostly outside, taking advantage of the pleasant Florida weather. It encourages discovery through exploration and hands-on fun, since you'll be on an outdoor trail hopping from exhibit to exhibit. Expect to see lots of animals, especially ones that are being rehabilitated, playgrounds, ziplines, swampy landscapes, a historic homestead with costumed interpreters, and tons more.
Of course, it can get a little hot exploring the Sunshine State, but you can always refresh yourself with a dip in one of Florida's many fresh-water springs. Madison Blue Springs State Park is one of the prettiest. Fresh, cool, 72-degree water is constantly being pumped from the natural, underground aquifer, and it's great for swimming, scuba diving, and canoeing, all set within a lush forest on the lovely Withlacoochee River.
Gainesville's most unique little attraction provides a cool look at the Milky Way galaxy. The Solar Walk is a 4 billion to 1 scale model of the solar system. It runs down the city's 8th Avenue and provides a great interactive way to understand just how big our solar system is, and how small Earth is in comparison. They even have two Halleys Comet statues! Pluto evangelists will appreciate that, even though the former dwarf planet lost its status as the ninth planet in our solar system, it has kept its place on the Solar Walk!
Silver Springs State Park provides a different way to appreciate Florida's springs. This has been a classic roadside stop since the 19th century, and even though you can't swim in the water here, they offer a super cool glass-bottom boat ride, boardwalks to hike on, and canoeing and kayaking. They actually rent boats here so you can get out on the water for yourself! Look for fish, turtles, gators, and all kinds of other cool creatures.
The Florida Citrus Tower is another old-school attraction. It was built in the 1950s to give tourists a 360-degree panoramic view of the citrus groves that once blanketed the sunny, flat Florida landscape. However, new highways that bypassed the Tower, along with the construction of suburbs over top of former citrus groves have kind of dampened its popularity. The retro architecture of the building, and the views the 22-story tower provide are still absolutely worth checking out.
The trip ends with a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth: Disney! Fort Wilderness is a resort within the park that's a total hidden gem: The cabins and campsites are a lot cheaper than the swanky hotels in other resorts in the park, and the atmosphere is a lot more special. It's like being back at summer camp, with better food and cooler daytime activities, of course (this is Disney, after all.) When you're not exploring the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, there's horseback riding, canoeing, the pool with a waterslide, fishing, archery, campfire sing-alongs, movies under the stars, an arcade, and some great shows and dining options. Even if you're not normally a fan of camping, you're sure to love Disney-style camping!
There are a ton of ways to feel like a kid again on a Florida road trip. Exploring museums, swimming in a swimming hole filled with fresh spring water, making sand castles on the beach, not to mention Disney, all fill this adventure with as much fun as possible. Whether you're looking to entertain kids or just someone who's really in touch with their inner child, you'll feel the magic on this trip.