The coronavirus pandemic has forced you to cancel that long await trip to (insert exotic destination of your choice here). Now you and the kids are cooped up at home and craving a vacation. So, as a superstar stay-at-home mom, you might be wondering about what you can do now- and where can you go?
Luckily, although air travel may be tricky at the moment, especially with kids, there are plenty of fun alternatives. From virtual world travels to outdoor experiences, you will certainly be able to find a holiday idea that can satisfy your entire family. And you won’t even have to leave south Florida to do it!
Let’s take a look at three of our favorite Covid safe vacation ideas you can take with your family today.
There is no better time than now to take advantage of the 361 days of sunshine we get each year here in Florida. Pack up the car and take your family on an adventure in the great outdoors. The benefit of embarking on an outdoor family vacation experience is that it gets the kids active and gives you all a much-needed break from the screen time that rules our lives- especially during the pandemic. Plus, outdoor activities like camping are intrinsically Covid safe, as long as you practice safe social distancing and maintain your mask wearing protocols when other people are around.
While condo complexes and RV parks continue to be closed, or partially closed, due to the pandemic, state park campgrounds are once again open and ready for visitors. Walk-in sites are not always available, or highly restricted, so make sure you book ahead. You and your family can explore the abundant natural beauty at the Apalachicola National Forest campground, or explore the stunning diversity of wildlife at Monroe County in the Florida Keys.
Check current restrictions and regulations before you go, as some parks do remain closed, such as Suwannee River State Park and Cayo Costa State Park. But once you find a campsite that is open, pack up the van with plenty of picnic and BBQ supplies, and go enjoy the outdoor experience. Your kids will love romping around in the wild, and they can learn helpful new skills too- like how to set up a tent!
2. Virtual Vacation
From culture to thrills, plenty of sites from all over the world are offering fabulous virtual vacations that you and your family can enjoy from the comfort and safety of your own home. Take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace, the home of Queen Elizabeth II in London, England, then hop over to the Eiffel Tower to gaze at the rooftops of Paris. Visit the bustling cafes and busy streets of Japan, then zip over to visit the Great Wall of China. You can even cook food and serve drinks to match each world destination. To embark on your virtual vacation, all you need is a big screen and a high speed internet connection.
For art lovers, museums around the globe have opened their doors to you and your family. Look through internationally renowned art museums like the Louvre, skipping the long lines to get an up close and personal look at famous paintings and sculptures, like the Mona Lisa. Or visit the digital exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum, both in New York, and teach your kiddos about the stories of the famous artists whose work is housed there.
Theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and amusement parks are also available for digital entertainment. Hop from ride to attraction to ride at Florida’s own theme parks, like Disneyworld, Universal Orlando, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Check out the amazing animals at SeaWorld Orlando and take a virtual ride on the Mako rollercoaster. Then stop by the Atlanta Zoo for a peek at the adorable pandas living there- the zoo offers a live “panda cam” so you can visit these cute creatures from your couch.
3. Ocean Adventure
As long as you are traveling with just your family, you can rent a boat for your vacation while still saying Covid safe. Bring hand sanitizer and wipes to clean off any surface someone else may have come in contact with before you embark. And you may want to consider bringing your own essentials, like dishware and bedding. But otherwise, pack up the kids, designate a captain, and all aboard matey! You are ready to set sail.
A small boat, like a fishing charter, is a good choice for a small family vacation. Set sail from the coast in south Florida and you can sail around the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy the warm breeze blowing in from the tropics. If you and your kids are interested in wildlife, be sure to bring onboard snorkeling supplies: masks, snorkels, and flippers. You can look out for schools of colorful tropical fish, seahorses, sea turtles, dolphins, and even mesmerizing jellyfish.
Sail along the Everglades National Park shoreline and get a unique ocean perspective on the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River. Take along a pair or two of binoculars (or a nautical telescope) and you might just catch a glimpse of the elusive Florida panther! Look out for other endangered species that inhabit the park, such as American crocodiles and slow-moving manatees.
Stay Safe, Have Fun
Taking a family vacation during the time of coronavirus certainly requires even more careful planning and effort than a vacation with the kids during normal times. But once you settle on the type of family vacation you want to take- whether it is a staycation, a virtual vacation, a nautical adventure, or an exploration of the great outdoors while you camp, there are plenty of fun options available to keep you and your kids entertained and inspired- and to give you a much-needed break from all the remote work and learning taking place at home these days.