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FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

Smithfield, Virginia
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FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

We are planning to fly into Sanford and do a coastal roadtrip. Are there roads that run along the ocean? Thinking about driving down the Atlantic and up the Gulf coast. Probably will only stay 1-2 nights in each location. Any must stop attractions with young boys? We want to visit a gator farm...possibly the one in Ft Lauderdale as we enjoy the Gator Boys show. We want tl go all the way down to the Keys. Are there any beaches in particular for seashells and/sharks teeth? Any certain route we should take? Our kids are used to long road trips, we frequently drive 500 miles in a day! We appreciate any and all advice!

Fort Lauderdale...
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1. Re: FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

What time of the year are you planning this trip for ? The east coast is best for being along the ocean, the west coast offers the best shelling/sharks teeth.

Smithfield, Virginia
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2. Re: FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

It will be the end of January. It's ok if we can't actually go in the water..we live near Virginia Beach.

UK
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3. Re: FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

Drive down a1a where you can along the east coast.

There are coastal roads along the gulf coast, but they change name/number every so often. One route is spectacularly nice, and that is from Lido Key off DT sarasota, along Longboat Key to Anna Maria island. Go all the way north to the end to Rod and Reel pier to eat, watch the fisherment/tarpon/pelicans/herons and the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Mote Aquarium off Lido is great for little uns. Take the boat trip if you can.

The drive along the keys is Fabulous (by day) with fun places to stop (like feeding the huge Tarpon at Robbie's marina)

Tampa, Florida
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4. Re: FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

There isn't one continuous road that runs along the coast on either the East or West side. You'll get some short stretches of road that do but inevitably you have to come back inland before you can get to the next piece that runs along the coast. Any map of Florida will show this.

On the way to the Keys stop at Islamorada at Robbie's Marina to see and feed the huge tarpon that come right up to the pier. You might also want to visit Shark Valley (google for details).

In Tampa there's the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, and of course Busch Gardens. If the boys saw the movie, Dolphin Tale, the featured dolphin lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Orlando
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5. Re: FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

You can run A1A along long stretches of the East Coast. From Sanford, if you drive to the Cocoa Beach area, you can run along it at least to Ft Pierce. You won't want to do that too far past Hutchinson Island as you keep going on and off the islands.

Driving through the middle and lower Keys is beautiful.

Melbourne, Florida
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6. Re: FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

First how many days do you have to do this trip? Use mapquest or google maps to see distances between cities. Keep in mind that taking A1A and the secondary roads will be more scenic but will take more time to get places too. I think you have a good plan but you need to pick some places to visit then work around that plan. For gators either plan on the Everglades (which can be accessed from either coast) or stop at Gatorland in Kissimme. If you decide to do the keys you should plan about 3 to 4 days there. Usually 2 in Key West and 2 in the middle / upper keys.

As everyone has said there is not one continuos road along either coast. Hwy A1A is scenic, From Sanford you can head straight over towards Daytona Beach, or down to Cocoa Beach. You may want to spend the first night at either of these places. From Cocoa Beach to Vero Beach is about 2 hours. You will pass Sebastian Inlet along the way which is an interesting stop. Walk out on the jetties to see the fisherman and surfers. Sometimes you will see manatee near there but it will depend on how cold our winter is. At Vero Beach I would head over to I-95 then south to Jupiter. Check out Jupiters Blowing Rocks near Jonathon Dickinson Park. Over night there or in Palm Beach.

Visit Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach, then had towards the Everglades / Keys. Unless you want to see large expensive homes and hi rise condo's I would skip this part of A1A altho you can see some fo the beach alround Ft. Lauderdale and South Beach in Miami. Make sure you pick up a mini sunpass to get thru the cashless tolls (or get a car rental with a sunpass) in Miami on the way to the Everglades and Keys. (there is info acout the cashless tolls on the Miami forums.)

Hope this helps a little for the trip along the atlantic side. Enjoy, sounds like a great vacation.

Fort Lauderdale...
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7. Re: FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

I second blowing rocks, be sure to check the tides before you go to get the full effect. Head inland near Boca and spend some time at Sugar Sand park. In the Keys Robbie's is an excellent suggestion, you may also want to pack a picnic lunch and stop at Anne's Beach.

8. Re: FL Coastal Roadtrip with kids ages 4&6

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