Top 5 Things to Do in Florida

Florida needs no introduction. Zillions of tourists flock to Florida every year for its warmer weather, beautiful beaches and tons of attractions. When planning a trip to Florida, the tough part won’t be finding things to do, but working out which ones to chose. I hope this list of the top things to do in Florida will help make that task easier!

manatees in florida

1. Visit Disney World

The happiest place on earth is still going strong and is well worth a visit – there just is nowhere else like it. This granddaddy of Disney parks always delivers a fun and magical time for all with multiple theme parks, water parks and attractions. It’s like a whole town in and of itself.

You could easily spend a whole week just in Disney World but don’t spend all your vacation here! Florida also has many other attractions on offer.

2. Visit the Manatees

Winter time in Florida signifies the time when manatees take refuge in places like Florida’s freshwater springs. Seeing a whole group of manatees together is an awe inspiring experience!

There are a few places where you can visit manatees. My favorite is Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River. More information here.

3. Drive down the Florida Keys

key west florida

Is there a more beautiful drive in the US than driving down the Florida Keys? I don’t think so!

This fabulous drive shows a completely different part of Florida as you visit the islands sprinkled down the far south of Florida. There are many places to visit along the way, fabulous beaches and great food. The views and just the experience are my favorite part though!

4. Discover America’s History at St Augustine

St Augustine is the US’s oldest city thanks to being the oldest, continuously occupied place in continental USA. It was founded by the Spanish in 1565, has been the capital of the Florida territory and has changed hands between the Spanish and the British multiple times before becoming part of America. This means there is an interesting chunk of history to discover here.

The Historic District is the main attraction. It is not very big but it is packed full of charming shops and restaurants and some big attractions such as the Colonial Quarter (an open air museum) and Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

5. Chill on South Beach, Miami

One of the world’s most famous cities, Miami is a great place for a vacation. It’s a big city with a ton of attractions from big museums to the cultural districts like Little Havana and Little Haiti to it’s too cool for school beaches – and that’s what we recommend most. You have to go chill in South Beach Miami.

South Beach is an attractive art deco neighborhood and it is worth a wander around – don’t just visit the beach (although you must go to the beach as well). Eat, shop and chill out in South Beach.


This is just a small taste of everything on offer in Florida. What are your top picks? Do you agree these are the top attractions?

Top 5 Places to Visit in Louisiana

Louisiana is a much visited state thanks to the world famous New Orleans. There are also many other places worth visiting on a trip to this great Southern state. Hopefully, this article will provide you with some inspiration!

The state capitol
The state capitol

1. New Orleans

So I couldn’t write a list of the top places to visit in Louisiana without this one. New Orleans is on many people’s bucket list and for good reason. This city is one of a kind! From getting lost in the French Quarter, taking in a jazz show to trying the unique and amazing food scene, you are sure to loooove New Orleans.

This city is also packed full of many lesser known attractions and with many kid friendly attractions like the zoo, children’s museum and insect farm!

2. Baton Rouge

The state capital is just a short hop away from New Orleans and worth adding to your itinerary. While lacking the glamour of New Orleans, there are some worthwhile museums and attractions here including the state capitol.

3. Abita Springs

Another short hop from New Orleans is this town about 30 miles north. If you are a beer lover, you will want to come here and visit the Abita Brewery. You can learn how beer is made and try out their craft beers over some excellent Creole food.

4. Breaux Bridge

For a completely different experience, visit this small town in the heart of Cajun Country. The town was settled by the French who traveled from Canada to set up home here. Today, nearly 30% of the town still speaks French.

5. Lafayette

Lafayette is the fourth largest city in Louisiana and is known as being the heart and soul of Cajun Country. There is plenty to do in Lafayette with old churches to visit, music to hear and popular swamp tours which are worth your time.

Read some more ideas here.

What’s your top place to visit in Louisiana?

You may also be interested in reading our guide to Alabama.

Why Visit the Deep South?

So you’re planning a vacation and considering the Deep South but wondering exactly why you should visit this region of the US?

Let me convince you!

There are many reasons to visit the amazing Deep South. Here are some of my favorites…

new orleans

1. The People

Southerners aren’t renowned for their hospitality for nothing. You will find the people in this part of the world to be welcoming, friendly and happy to help! From helping you with directions if you look lost to ensuring you find the best BBQ grill in town, Southerners will ensure you have a vacation to remember. Read our article about Southern hospitality here.

2. The Food

Southern food is also famous for good reason. Nothing beats a good old Southern BBQ and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From the famous New Orleans po’boys to the best lemon icebox pies, you will not only never go hungry in the Deep South but never be without something delicious to eat!

3. The Beaches

florida beach

Many people visit the Deep South for the beaches alone. There are just so many stunning beaches for your family vacation. From the popular Florida southern beaches to the Gulf Coast to everywhere inbetween, it is not difficult to find a great beach area which is perfect for a family vacation.

Read more in our Virginia Beach article.

4. The History

The Deep South is packed full of history. It can feel like you are walking back in time when strolling through Charleston or New Orleans’ French Quarter, not to mention places like St Augustine. There’s also many civil war sites like the battlegrounds in Vicksburg.

5. The National Parks

The Deep South is home to many of America’s most popular national parks and there are many you should try to squeeze into a Deep South vacation. There are many fun activities to enjoy in the wild like alligator spotting in the Everglades or Louisiana Bayou.

This is just my top 5 reasons. There are many more reasons why you should want to visit the Deep South! Are you ready to book?

What To Take When Traveling With Babies

Traveling, whether by yourself or with company can already be a stressful experience for many. Traveling with a baby, however, brings with it a whole new set of daunting scenarios that can drive even the sanest person bananas. The key to keeping your sanity and enjoying an adventure with your bundle of joy is to have an optimistic outlook and being very well prepared for your trip. First things first, babies aren’t as fragile as we are made to believe. Let go of your paranoia a bit and start planning for the things you need to have handy to make your trip a memorable one.

travel with babies

Whether it’s a quick jaunt to the grocery, an excursion to the beach or a long-haul flight to see the grannies, here’s a quick rundown of what to take when traveling with babies:

The Absolute Must Haves

Keep in mind that babies, especially in the first 8 months, are designed to basically eat, sleep, poop, wee and coo (not necessarily in this order). So, anything even remotely associated with any of these 5 basic activities are an absolute must have!

Travel Crib

Although many accommodation providers in the Deep South do provide cribs, it is a great idea to take your own. This way you don’t have to worry about a hotel not providing a suitable, safe crib and your baby will sleep better when they are sleeping in an environment that they are used to. The best travel cribs are well designed and very compact, made especially for travel. There are also special travel beds if your baby is starting to approach older toddlerdom.

Food and Formula

Babies need to eat, and they need to eat all the time (or so it seems). If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, then good for you! This means all you need is one boob and one baby, and you’re good to go. For those who choose the formula route: have a good enough number of bottles to cover your travel time, plus enough water and formula to ensure baby’s appetite is covered. If baby has started eating solids, make sure you’ve got his favorite cereal, fruit, juice, water and purees on hand. Pack them in serving size portions to keep mess to a minimum.


Diapers, lots of them. Whether you choose disposable diapers or go the cloth diapering way, lots of diapers, must have, period. Don’t forget all the other gadgets and gizmos that make modern nappy changing a breeze: baby wipes, changing pad, rash ointment, wet bag (especially for those who use cloth, comes in handy for soiled bibs and clothes, too) and hand sanitizer.


Extra clothes, enough said. No need to bring the entire closet, but make sure you have enough with an extra set or two, and make sure they are appropriate for the climate.

Other Items

Baby carriers allow you to be “hands-free”. Bring your stroller or favorite baby carrier (sling, wrap or pouch) with you.

Good to have, just in case

Think of things that would make travel easier for you and more comfortable for baby. Say you’re going on a long drive, his favorite car seat, a nursing pillow, some favorite toys and teethers would be good to have. If you’re going to the beach then add sunscreen, beach umbrella and beach blanket to the list.

Worst Case Scenarios

It’s best to be ready for any circumstance, so have a first-aid kit on hand complete with medication baby may need like allergy drops, saline drops for stuffy nose, insect repellant and your pediatrician’s number on speed dial.

Traveling with your baby need not be such a daunting experience. With a little extra planning and being ready with baby’s travel essentials, an excursion could do wonders for your spirit and be a wonderful learning experience for your little one.

Still worried? Here are some more suggestions about traveling with kids from

FAQ: What is the Best Stroller to Take to the Deep South?

After parents decide what to take on a Deep South trip, the next question is which is the best stroller.  The myriad of options can be confusing to parents, especially if they haven’t traveled to the Deep South before and unsure of what the facilities are like. Here are our recommendations…

best umbrella stroller in the deep south

Umbrella Strollers

Definitely bring an umbrella stroller. Whether you are flying or driving down, an umbrella stroller is compact and easy to take up and down hotel stairs. Unless you are planning on going hiking with your stroller, then an all terrain stroller is unnecessary.

There are many great options that would be suitable for the Deep South. The Baby Jogger City Select is very popular, but any lightweight umbrella stroller will do the job. If you do not already own one, check out these reviews of the best umbrella strollers to help you decide.

Double Strollers

If you have two kids, a lightweight side by side double stroller is the best choice. Again, you want one that takes up limited room and is not too heavy to carry up and down stairs. Most side by side strollers have no problems fitting through doorways in the Deep South, so this is not a concern. The Chicco Echo Twin Stroller is a good choice or check out some more of the best side by side double strollers.

Stroller Alternatives?

If you hate the idea of bringing your own stroller to the Deep South, they are often available at the big theme parks. Places like Disney World allow you to hire them. Bigger cities will also have companies that will hire them to you.

Another alternative is to use a baby wrap. A baby wrap is a great way to carry around your baby so you can have your hands free to do other things while your baby feels safe and secure. It has the added benefit of being small and lightweight so it fits easily in your luggage. There are many great wrap options and they are quite economical as well.

So the answer to the best stroller to take around the Deep South? Whatever option most appeals to you, but keep it lightweight so that it fits in your trunk or on the plane and is not too difficult for you to carry around.

Visiting Graceland

Graceland was the home of the infamous Elvis Presley. Rich in history, this location is a must-visit on your trip through Memphis, Tennessee.

Here’s why you should consider stopping in for a visit.

The American Dream

The home of Elvis Presley!

Graceland is more than just a house. It is a symbol of the possibilities available in America.

When Elvis was young, he was poor. His parents struggled to pay the bills, and he recognized how hard they worked to give him opportunities they never had. He promised them that one day, he would buy them the biggest house in town.

Graceland is the result of his promise. Fans look to Elvis not only for his music, but also his ability to truly create the life he desired for himself and his family. They look to Elvis not only as a singer, but also as a role model for all areas of life.

In-depth tours and showings

Take a tour of Graceland to learn about the history behind the King’s mansion. On this kid-friendly tour you will visit all the main rooms of the house, getting a feel for the lifestyle Elvis enjoyed. In the Graceland Archives, see some of the most antique artifacts from the house and learn the history behind them.

Take a peak into one of Elvis’s favorite rooms; The Jungle Room! With an exotic look this space was built to remind Elvis of Hawaii, one of his favorite places to vacation and tour.

Next, visit the impressive Trophy Building. See not only Elvis’s vast collection of gold and platinum records, but also his movies and the result of his charitable outreach. As a last stop on the tour, visit the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and his family are buried. Join millions of fans who have come to pay their final respects to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Bring a memory home with you from the gift shop!

Load up on your Elvis gear before leaving! Whether you want an Elvis shirt, mug, or even sunglasses, it is all available here for you to choose from. Special house décor is available, or you can pick up some CD’s and play some tunes all the way home!

Want to relive the story some evening in the future? Buy an educational DVD and learn even more about Elvis and his rise to fame.

Your kids will love the Elvis themed toys available for purchase. Teddy bears in leather jackets, games, puzzles, and more are all here to delight and entertain!

Read more about Graceland.

While you are visiting, read more about some fantastic places to visit in the Deep South.

Visiting Virginia Beach with Children

Virginia Beach is a beautiful location to visit with the family. Especially in autumn when the trees turn bright red and orange, Virginia Beach is an ideal location to spend a weekend.

Have kids? Virginia beach has many family friendly attractions for everyone to enjoy!

virginia beach
Beautiful Virginia Beach

The Best Attractions For Families

The Virginia Aquarium is a perfect location for your child’s imagination to run wild. Catch swimming animals with your hands and observe the beauty of the ocean in observation tanks featuring exotic animals from around the world.

Another great location to stop for an afternoon is First Landing State Park, the primary site of the Jamestown colonists in 1607. Rich in American history, this area has seen activity from Native American canoes, settlers, traders, as well as modern cargo ships. Brush up on your history as your kids run along the shore and play in the waves.

Whether you’re an expert angler or just want to bring the kids out on the water you’ll love the fishing options available at Virginia Beach. Located near Chesapeake Bay, the open Atlantic Ocean, and many small freshwater waterways, there are opportunities available no matter what your skill level or preferred location.

Reel in some world-class offshore action or bring the kids to a calmer inland location for a day of excitement and anticipation. No matter what you’re looking for in a fishing experience, Virginia Beach has the perfect experience for you.

The Best Dining Options

If you like to fish, you will love participating in a ‘Catch and Cook’ evening with a participating restaurant in the area. Simply join a charter fishing tour with one of the providers in the area and bring your catch to a local participating restaurant. (Options Include: Rudee’s, Croc’s 19th Street Bistro, Murphy’s Irish Pub, and Waterman’s Surfside Grill) They’ll cook it for you and you’ll be able to enjoy the rewards from your adventure earlier that day!

If you want to dine like a local, there are many delicious restaurants along the beach itself! These locations range from family oriented eateries to high-end locations for a romantic evening with the sweetheart. For a map of these beach restaurants, visit this link.

Have a sweet tooth? Check out some of the local chocolate factories in the area! For a taste of homemade European style chocolates try the Schakolad Chocolate Factory. Care for an exquisite fondue? The Royal Chocolate is as good as it gets!

Looking for something stronger? Six breweries are in the Virginia Beach area for you to explore. You will need to leave the kids at home for this one unfortunately as they won’t be allowed inside on the tour.

Places to Stay

You will have no shortage of places to stay in Virginia Beach, and you’ll be able to find affordable lodging on nearly any budget! For a slightly more expensive option, check out the Vacations Homes lining the water. Condo rentals are also available, as well as many lovely bed and breakfast locations.

A large number of hotels are also available. Many are located along the shore just a short walking distance from the main attractions and restaurants.

Driving Instructions

Virginia Beach is conveniently located within a day’s drive of most American cities in the northeast. City specific directions are listed below.

Boston, New York, and Philadelphia – Travel south on I-95.

Quebec, Montreal, Toronto (Canada) – Travel south on I-81.

Washington, Richmond, Williamsburg – Travel east on I-64.

Raleigh – Travel north on I-95.

Charlotte – Travel north on I-85.

Once you arrive, you’ll want to make your way to one of the eight parking garages stretching along the coastline. Once your car is taken care of, you will be free to enjoy all the wonderful experiences Virginia Beach has to offer!

Read more about Deep South places to visit during your vacation.

Kids Bedding on the Road

I tend to stay in a wide range of accommodation types when I am travelling around the south. With kids, this becomes even more necessary as I try and keep costs down, allowing my family and I a chance to see and do more, rather than spending money on where we sleep. Touring and vacations can be expensive, so I try to minimize the costs where I can. Taking our kids bedding with us is a big help.

Taking What You Need With You

It is something I started doing when we traveled as a family with out first born. Babies need many things, and that includes bedding. Taking a portable travel crib for our baby, I realized that a familiar, constant, bed time environment helped our baby get to sleep quicker. Sleep was more settled and better as well; sleeping in provided bassinets or cribs didn’t result in the same good night’s sleep for everyone.

Having realized this I tried to take as much of the  bedding/bed equipment that we needed as was possible. Traveling by car made this easier.

Budget (and Free) Accommodation

I’ve talked before about how to keep the costs of accommodation down.  We make a big effort to stay with people we know. Budget accommodation helps in that by and large kids are free. You pay for the room and not how many people are staying. If you bring your own beds, and bedding, you don’t need to pay for extra beds.

When we stay at other people’s places, such as relatives, it can be very welcome if you bring your own bedding. This lessens the impact on your host.

Between using these two options as our main source of accommodation, I’ve become used to packing and taking bedding for kids when traveling around the South.

What We Use

Now our kids are older, we don’t take travel cribs. Instead I like to use self-inflating mattresses, like the type hikers and campers use, because of their low weight and size when not in use.

These work well in rooms with a carpet and underlay floor. It isn’t the softest bed ever but it reasonably comfortable with a good pillow. On harder surfaces I’ve experimented with bringing our own foam underlay as well as inflatable mattresses but these take up much more space.

Inflatable mattresses work well when we have the space but require that something be brought along to inflate the mattresses, as something like a reversible vacuum cleaner or even a pump is rarely available.

On The Bed

On the bed itself, I try to keep things as much like home as possible. To do that I try and bring the same bedding the kids use. We bring their pillow from home, for example, with their favorite cases on them to help with the sense of continuity.

I’ve found the best choice for bed covering isn’t blankets but instead are some smaller goose down comforters, like toddler down comforters, that feel like what our kids use at home (just a bit smaller).

Sheets and blankets can feel nice but the goose down comforters are able to keep the kids warmer than a similar weight or volume of blankets. Plus it makes the kids feel like they are sleeping in their own beds. We don’t take the full sized ones we use at home, instead we try and find smaller ones that are big enough to cover the kids, but small enough to pack in a car and carry around.

The USA Very Popular with Travelers

Did you know the USA is the second most visited destination in the world?

After France, more people visit the USA than any other country and it is not surprising. There is so much diversity in the south of this country, let alone in the rest. What is also interesting is that Americans travel domestically more than any other nation on earth. Read some more fun facts below, and for your next trip, consider visiting the south.


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You can also read why you should visit the Deep South here!

Southern Hospitality

Southern Hospitality is known the world over. Strangers know that they will be welcomed with open arms when traveling through this part of the United States.

southern hospitality

It’s not possible to put a finger on exactly what defines Southern Hospitality, but here are a few things you may expect when acting as a guest to Southern hosts.

The Best Food

It is custom to give guests access to the best stores in the house when they come knocking. This has been tradition for well over 100 years. Cakes and delicacies are shared and guests are told to ask if they feel even the slightest discomfort.

Moving to the South? Expect your neighbors to show up with lavish gifts of delicious food! It’s a custom dating back over 100 years, and is an integral part of how Southern communities come together.

Refined Etiquette

As a guest in the South, you will always be treated with high levels of respect. If you are a woman, doors will be opened for you. Terms such as ‘Sir’ and ‘Ma’am’ and commonly used to show respect.

Hosts are aware that you may be uncomfortable in a new, unfamiliar setting. Therefore they will always strive to help you feel at home. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to a church function to become acquainted with the neighbors!

Help When In Need

If you’re traveling alone without a place to stay, have no fear. Southern hospitality still applies!

Knocking on a stranger’s door and asking for help may get you strange looks in most of the United States Here, however, you will most likely be greeted with a smile and genuine interest towards how you can be helped.

If you don’t have a place to stay for the night, asking for help could get you a place to sleep as well as dinner, drinks, and an invitation to a party going on that night. Don’t head to the South demanding that strangers wait on you hand and foot (of course), but don’t be surprised when you end up getting more assistance and care than you really need.

The South Welcomes You!

Whether you are just passing through or purchasing a permanent residence, you will be delighted by the respect and care neighbors and friends direct your way.

If you’re only staying for a short period of time, you will leave with fond memories. If you plan on staying for longer, you will feel a sense of connection to the community that is often lacking outside the South.