You’ve finally managed to get some family time, so you’re gathering everyone up and traveling to the Sunshine State. There’s only one problem—you have no idea what to do when you get there! Don’t stress out. Here are 7 eco-friendly Florida vacation ideas that will keep your fun in the sun environmentally responsible, too.

Go Snorkeling

While you’re in Florida, why not go snorkeling? The Florida Keys span a staggering 120 miles and feature the only living coral barrier reef in the United States. Here there are thousands of fish to discover, with two major areas for snorkelers: a shallow reef for inexperienced snorkelers, and deeper reefs for those with more experience. The dive sites also have mooring buoys that you can tie your boat to, rather than dropping an anchor and damaging any creatures.

Go Searching for Ghosts

If you find yourself in Key West, you have to take the Key West Ghost and Mysteries Tour. The tours run 90 minutes and you’ll explore the haunted and hidden side of the Island. The team at Key West Ghost and Mysteries has spent more than a decade researching the stories of the city to bring you the best and creepiest stories. The tour is family friendly, so feel free to bring your little ones. Space is fairly limited, so you need to call ahead.

Visit the Everglades National Park

The Everglades National Park is located in lower Florida and protects the Southern 20 percent of the original Everglades. The Everglades National Park rests on 1.5 million acres of land and is home to bald eagles, birds, alligators, deer, and hundreds of other species. There are many activities to do there, such as going on a guided tour, canoeing, camping, geocaching, and bird watching. There are also occasional special events held there.

Unwind by Golfing

If you’re feeling cramped up from being surrounded by your family for the entire trip, unwind at the Key West Golf Club. The Key West Golf Club covers more than 200 acres. The course, designed by Rees Jones, has 18 holes and contains the challenging Mangrove Hole course, which spans 143 yards. It’s also the only Caribbean golf course in the United States.

Head Out on the Water

While you’re in Key West, head out to Aquaholic Adventures and rent a paddleboard or kayak. They also offer lessons, guided tours, and exercise classes—so if you’re not graceful on the water, don’t freak out. They’ll also eventually be offering paddleboard snorkeling trips. Renting a paddleboard only runs to $20 per hour with a two-hour minimum, and the rentals include a life jacket, so when you eventually fall overboard, your ego might be a bit bruised, but you’ll be alright.

Experience a Jet-pack

One thing that many people have always wanted to experience is using a jet-pack. Now, thanks to a creative inventor, you have the chance to do just that—sort of. Some places offer the JetLev R200 flight pack for rental.

It’s a jet-pack that you strap on to your back. It’s tethered to a boat with a pump that propels you using seawater. The controls allow you to take off, make turns, hover in place, and land. It’s truly something that has to be experienced if you ever have the opportunity. Just bear in mind that you may have to take a training class before you’re allowed to use the jet-pack.

Participate in a Volunteer Effort

While in Florida, what could be more worthwhile than volunteering? If you’re a diver, you can help in reef restoration and coral restoration, then join marine scientists on a mission to preserve the coral reefs. You’ll learn all about the environmental impacts on the coral reefs from lectures and actual dives to restore the endangered staghorn and elkhorn corals. The goal is to re-establish the mature coral colonies so they can successfully reproduce and repopulate the reefs.

These are only a few of the eco-friendly things you can do while in Florida. There are literally hundreds of other activities you can participate in. The last time you and your family went to Florida, what did you do for fun? Can you think of any other eco-friendly activities that you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

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Featured photo credit: Snowman on holidays made out of sand instead of snow. Concept could be used for Global Warming & Christmas Cards via Shutterstock

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