During the current months we are in the weather outside is great for getting out and doing things. Before you know it, summer will be here and the heat and humidity will keep you from doing many outdoor activities. The great news is that around Volusia County we have some great outdoor activities that you can engage in before it starts to heat up. Make a goal to do at least a couple of these either on your own or with your family, so that you can enjoy the activities and beat he summer heat!
- Take a hike. There are some great places to hike in Volusia County. From Ormond Beach down to Osteen you will find some nice hiking trails. There are some longer ones and some shorter ones for those who have small children. Some good ones to consider include Bulow Creek State Park in Ormond Beach, Hontoon Island in DeLand, Lyonia Environmental Center in Deltona, Doris Leeper in Port Orange, and Hickory Bluff Preserve in Osteen. If you want more options, check out the list here. Hiking season in Florida is from around October-April. Outside of those months it's simply too hot and humid and the bugs are horrible. Get out there in the winter/cooler months and it's wonderful!
- Go on a family bike ride. Volusia County has some wonderful paved bike trails. Pack some snacks and drinks to take with you, load up the bikes, and set out to enjoy the outdoors on bike for a couple of hours. Most have benches where you can stop and take a rest along the way, and they usually very little interaction with traffic, making them safer for the little kids. Check out the paved bike trails in Osteen, DeLand, and New Smyrna Beach. See the list of paved bike trails in and around Volusia County here.
- Check out the manatees. Cold mornings rea the perfect time to see the manatees at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City. When it's cold outside they huddle into the spring area to keep warm, since the water remains a constant 72 degrees all year long. Get there early to beat the crowd and avoid a long wait at the gate. Walk the boardwalk to stop off eat each viewing area and catch a glimpse of the gentle giants.
- Run (or walk) a 5K. Once summer arrives it is just too darn hot to participate in most organized runs. That's why most of them take place in cooler months. Choose a run that sounds like fun or will be in a place you would like to check out, or one that supports a charity you are fond of. Some local 5K's are posted in the running category and added to the events calendar. There are also some that will let a child 12 and under get a free registration for every adult registration, so if the parents register the kids can also participate for free.
- Take an eco-buggy ride. Volusia County offers a wonderful free program that provides educational outreach activities each month. There are many great events offered, including eco-buggy rides. Learn more about them, join the Explore Volusia email list so you can get the info on what they offer each month, and get the family out on an eco-buggy ride!
- Go on a group eco boat ride. Now is the time to get your group together and plan an eco-boat ride. You will see some wildlife, learn about natural area, and have some fun. The weather is perfect for this type of activity, whether you do it with your family or get together your homeschool or scouting group for it. Check out Blue Heron River Tours and be sure to inquire about their group rates.
- Organize or participate in a clean-up. Doing a clean up event in the summer will leave you dripping in sweat and hiding from the sun. Right now it's a great time to get involved in a clean-up event. Whether you organized one yourself or get in on one that someone else organizes it's a good thing. Clean up events can be held at the beach, river, parks, trails, or even in your own neighborhood. Any trash on the ground in your own community eventually makes its way to the ocean, so cleaning up everywhere helps the ocean and waterways. Clean-up events are often posted on the VCM events calendar and posted in the volunteer category.
- Go kayaking. A fun family activity or something for just you and your significant other to do, now is a great time for kayaking. Consider checking out the kayaking at Cracker Creek in Port Orange and Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach. There is even a Groupon for Cracker Creek (just type in kayaking into their search box).
- Take the family camping for a weekend. Tent and cabin camping is great this time of the year (for those of us with travel trailers, all year long is great for camping). There are places that have rustic cabins, such as Hontoon Island, or you can take a tent over to Tomoka State Park or Blue Spring State Park. Avoid most of the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes by camping now. While you are there, and depending on which place you camp at, you can also hike, kayak, and bike ride on that trip.
- Go on a picnic. A family picnic is a lot of fun! Pack up some food, drinks, a table cloth or blanket, and some fun (like a soccer ball), and head out to a place where you can dine in nature. Some great places to take a family picnic include Gemini Springs in DeBary, Lake Ashby in New Smyrna Beach, Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Smyrna Dunes Park in Ponce Inlet, Ponce Preserve in Ponce Inlet, Green Springs in Enterprise.
Summer's may be hot and humid in Florida, but we usually get a lot of nice weather the rest of the year. Now is the time to get outdoors and do some fun family activities. Volusia County and all of the Daytona Beach area is filled with wonderful outdoor activities to do with your family. Whether taking a hike, a bike ride, camping, or hitting the water for some kayaking or a boat ride, there is a lot of fun to be had this season. Get your family outdoors!