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A Day Trip to Titusville

View from the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

We took a little trip up to Titusville last week, to explore the enchanted forest and to stop back by the Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge. If you haven’t been to Titusville, it’s most well known for it’s rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center. However, there are several undeveloped areas of Florida lands and beautiful wildlife.

We have taken several trips to this area to enjoy it’s beauty, and I want to highlight two of our favorite places in the area.

The first stop we made is at the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located right off of 405, between downtown Titusville and Port St. John. There is no entrance fee to the sanctuary.

Outside, you will find the entrance and a map of the network of trails. Inside is a nature center where kids can explore (most of it is currently shut down to COVID19). They also have an indoor and outdoor classroom for when they host classes for the community and for homeschoolers.

Just behind the main building, they have the butterfly garden. We didn’t see too many during our visit in the early summer, but I would imagine there would be many had we come earlier in the spring.

Here are some views of the trails. There is one big hill in the back (so weird- hills in Florida!) and there are some trails which are more shaded than others. The Mesic trail is very shaded (see photo below).

We walked the Coquina trail, the Mesic trail, and Tortoise trail. The Coquina trail is pictured below, it is much more sunny!

Coquina Trail

Along the trails, there were several views of canals and waterways. On the coquina trail, there were stops where you could overlook the water.

We spent a couple hours at the enchanted forest, and then we headed for a drive down black point drive at the Merritt island National Wildlife Refuge. There are other activities to do at the refuge (such as hiking and fishing), but we wanted to check out the wildlife drive after our long hike. To get to the entrance, you are going to want to head here.

Black point drive normally costs $10 to drive. It was free when we arrived, which was a nice surprise!

Black Point Drive offers a 14 mile dirt road you can drive down and look for wildlife. (Note: their website says its 7 miles, but it is much farther!) There are two points in which you can get out of the car was well. Mile 4 has a short path with two pavilion overlooks.

Mile 4 Pavilion Stop

Mile 9 has another overlook where you can get out and walk, plus it has a bathroom. Here is another view from the trail.

Our drive took about an hour and half, with stops. We saw two small gators, tons of birds, soft shells turtles, and a few snakes! One of the gators:

After finishing up our drive, we headed home. But there are more things to do in the refuge and in the Titusville area! To view a map to these two locations, and for more locations in Titusville, visit our page here!

Brevard county Enchanted Forest
Phone:(321) 264-5185
Address: 444 Columbia Blvd, Titusville, FL 32780

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Phone:(321) 861-0669
Address: 1987 Scrub Jay Way #32782, Titusville, FL

Outdoor Day at the Environmental Learning Center

View of one of the ELC trails

When you would like to spend a day outside in Florida nature, take a trip to Vero Beaches’ Environmental Learning Center (the ELC for short)! The center offers a variety of trails and boardwalks along the mangroves of the Indian River Lagoon, kayaking and canoe tours, nature walks, and children’s programs. You can visit their website for a schedule of their upcoming events.

ELC Boardwalk Trail

Our first stop was to take a walk along one of the boardwalks. They have two looping boardwalk trails, one that leads out to a platform where you can view the river. This is also where they have their guided canoe and kayak trips. They even have see through canoes!

Native Florida Plants for sale

Along the way, right before you get to the boardwalk, we discovered they have a huge selection of native Florida plants for sale! We can’t wait to get some of these for our yard here… excellent for the local wildlife.

Humpback Whale Jawbone

After walking the trail we came back toward the entrance and found this amazing giant humpback whale jawbone! Near the jawbone there is a shaded little area under the buildings with picnic tables and hammocks where the kids can stop to have a packed lunch or play on the hammocks.

Tadpole Pond

We then stopped back by the main office, where your kids can grab a bag for seining in the pond. The bag includes a net, a little jar, and a pair of binoculars. We let the kids take their shoes off and wade in the pond. They could have spent hours here looking for tadpoles!!

Our last adventure of the day was back by the entrance to the ELC. There is a small area off to the right side, where there is an outdoor mud kitchen. This was the best part! The kids made pretend “cakes” and breads’. I love that they have a rain barrel with mesh over it to collect water for the kids to use. It has a little faucet at the bottom for them to take water out. I want one for my kids mud kitchen at home!

Overall we had an excellent day at the ELC. The two places that we did not stop on this trip, was the touch tank area (which is indoors and upstairs). and the butterfly garden. We ran out of time! Next time we will have to stop by.

The ELC is free on the first Saturday or every month (check their Facebook for an update to be sure before going). Regular price is $5 for kids and $7 for adults. If you go, pick a nice day and plan to spend several hours outside.

Environmental Learning Center
Monday – Saturday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
(772) 589-5050
255 Live Oak Drive
Vero Beach, Fl 32963
Located on the western base of the Wabasso Bridge on the 510 Causeway

St. Augustine Nights of Lights on a Budget

Let’s start out by saying I LOVE St. Augustine. So every year, I make a special effort to drive the 2 hours to see the nights of lights and visit some of my favorite St. Aug attractions. There are plenty of ways to spend some money and take a train, trolley, boat, or horse carriage to view the lights (see the list here), but as a family we prefer to just walk around and enjoy what St. Augustine has to offer for free.

Project Swing Park

So First up… parking. There is a huge and expensive garage just a few blocks from St. George street (a popular street for dining and shopping), however it’s a whopping $15 a day to park there! I prefer to park either at the Castillo de San Marcos by the water, which has pay per hour, or one of the smaller lots… I recommend 5 Artillery Ln Parking or one of the two lots off Spanish St. – I have included a map at the bottom. Plan to spend about $5-7 on parking.

If you do park at or near the garage and you have children, the playground is a MUST stop. It is classic castle playground with lots of obstacles, swings, hanging rings and bars. My kids could spend hours here.

Our next stop, while we still have daylight, is usually the Castillo de San Marcos. If you want to explore the fort, you can go inside for $15 per adult and free for kids. Typically we don’t go inside, as the fort closes at 5pm. We have a great time just playing outside in the huge grassy area, walking along the castle walls, and taking in some beautiful views of the harbor.

Our next destination – St. George street – we usually head towards just as it is getting dark. You could easily do St. George street first during the day if that is your preference. It is a favorite for shopping and dining. We start around the intersection of Cuna St. and St. George and head south.

On St. George, there are several side streets that take you to more shopping and browsing, so don’t be afraid to take a little detour if you see something interesting! There are lots of great shops on the side streets, including a great tea store, and even a jerky store!

One the main strip, there are plenty of ice cream and coffee shops, a pizza place, a taco shop (don’t forget $2 tacos on Tuesdays!). My kids enjoy viewing the holiday decorations during the season – there are quite a few. They also enjoy watching the taffy be made at Zeno’s World Famous Taffy. You can watch the machine right from outside the window!

My absolute favorite stop on St. George street is a made-in-house candy and sweet shop called Savannah Sweets. They have a wide selection and I’m happy to spend $10 on treats from the store! We have yet to make it home without having eaten all our sweets.

After walking down St. George heading south, you will hit a huge green space and park lit up with holiday lights (if you visit in Late November to Early January). There is a large gazebo and plenty of historic monuments to view in the park. We usually make this our last stop to let the kids run around before deciding on a place to eat dinner. This is my favorite place to view the lights in the park and along the bridge of lions. Sometimes we also take a walk along the water to view more lights, depending on how cold the weather is that day!

So that’s it! There are of course many MANY other attractions and things to do in St. Augustine, but this is my list of what I do at a low cost budget while still having fun and enjoying time with my family. Hope you enjoy! Let us know if you have any St. Aug favorites!!



A Day Trip to Mims

During the heat of May, my daughters and I braved a hot trip outdoors with some friends. We took a day trip to Mims, along the east coast off of I-95. There are a couple of attractions in the area, that are ONLY available in the spring (April/May), so we jumped on the opportunity to try something different! We visited the sunflower maze and we went blueberry picking.

The first spot we hit was Sled’s U Pick Sunflower Maze. While I little pricier than I would have liked ($5 a person), the maze was indeed beautiful and great for photography. It would be a great learning opportunity about bees and pollination as well.

The maze takes about 30 min to an hour, and the location is no frills, so bring your own snacks, water, and sunscreen!

The second spot we check out was EverAfter Farms Blueberry picking (only about 5-10 min away).

This place was so cute! It has a tractor ride and a petting farm, as well as TONS of blueberries you can pick yourself!

The best part is they let you eat all the blueberries you can while picking, AND the blueberries themselves are only $5 a pound! A pound is a ton of blueberries, much more than you get in a tiny container at the store.

We really enjoyed this place and plan to come again next year! Please feel free to click the links to find the farms websites, and below are the addresses for the locations 🙂

Sled’s U Pick Sunflower Maze, Burkholm Road and Dixie Way, Mims, Fl

EverAfter Farms, 4400 Bouganvilla Drive, Mims, Fl 32754


Wild Florida Gator Park!

If you are like me, and like the zoo experience but prefer a quieter, less crowded setting, than Wild Florida is your place. We like to visit during gator week in May, when admission is free!

This park is set up like a zoo or a wildlife refuge. They have tons of local Florida wildlife as well as animals from around the world. (This is the only place I’ve ever seen a zedonk or a zorse.)

Among out favorite activities are feeding a white tailed deer little pieces of corn, getting up close to peacocks and peahens, talking to the friendly Macaw, and visiting the bird aviary- where we held a bird!

They also have a gator shows, one where a person does a variety of tricks with a huge alligator, and one where they feed the gators and crocodiles. There are restrooms, refreshments, and a playground.

And of course air boat rides (but those come at a price of course).The whole park takes about 2 hours to walk through and my children and myself really enjoy ourselves every time.


Rockledge Gardens

Rockledge Gardens is huge nursery located in Brevard County. Our family enjoys visiting the gardens on the weekends when we have the time. The sell all types of plants and they have a farmers market and other events. This is a great place to take the kids to just walk around or to purchase your own items for your garden.

At the gardens, you can enjoy all the usual expectations from a nursery and beyond. There is an excellent selection of vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, pots, garden decor and more! The farmer’s market, located inside one of their buildings, is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The garden staff is extremely knowledgeable in helping you get your plants growing. They have fertilizer and other nutrients on site, as well as a displayed list (pictured above) of what is currently in season to grow. The prices on all the plants are really reasonable.

There is a small play structure and slide for the kids too! Plus mine really enjoy running around in the field area of the gardens and going through the butterfly garden when they have butterflies (pictured below).

Check their website for updates and for free events. We have gone to a few at the garden where they have the HUGE fire pit going during the winter months (very few times you can use that in Florida!)

I hope you have a chance to visit this amazing gardens as well! Have a comment? Leave it below!

Deer Park Peaches

Today we went back to our local, not too far from home peach picking spot. This was our second time here and I really enjoyed the experience (and so did my kids!).

It is a local family orchard, tucked back on a dirt road off of route 192 in Osceola county. The family opens their farm during April & May of every year for people to pick peaches for $3/lb.

The peaches are very fresh and tasty. Florida peaches are smaller than the ones in the store, so expect to see a different size than you are used to. The farm has buckets for gathering. When you check out they have local honey to purchase along with other goodies and drinks. My family spent our Easter Sunday here and enjoyed the beautiful Florida weather we are having before summer hits us.

*Deer Park Peaches 6900 Kemper Rd, St. cloud Fl

*Restrooms on site
*Check their Facebook for updates on hours.


Let’s face it, traveling is expensive! If you are a family like ours, we are looking to give ourselves and our children fun experiences without breaking the budget.

So, as a native Floridian myself, I started gathering a list of activities that cost $10 or less. Whether you are from Florida and looking for a short day trip, or you are here for the sunshine, or to visit your grandparents, I hope you will find this site helpful. Experience much of what Florida has to offer without emptying your bank account.

Enjoy! Check out the menu to the left for our favorite activities with maps of locations. View and follow our blog below for more detailed posts and photos on select spots! And please bear with us as we add new locations each week!