Image of a reenactment taking place at Fort Mose Historic State Park

Discover These 15 Family-Friendly Historical Sites Near Orlando

These educational and fascinating properties provide families and children with a unique lens into Florida’s pioneering past. From Spanish-built forts to plantations, ruins, farms, and homesteads, these parks are an easy day trip from Orlando. 

And if your family needs more historical places to visit near Orlando then consider these Florida places for Black History. Many of these historical sites are an hour or two from Orlando. If you need something a little closer, De Leon Springs State Park is about 45 minutes away.

Important note – many of these historical sites have limited hours, usually 10am – 4pm, and some are closed on Sundays or major holiday

Forts Full of History

Fort Christmas Historical Park

  • Address: 1300 N Fort Christmas Rd, Christmas, FL 32709
  • 30 minutes from Orlando
  • FREE

Hosting annual events like their Florida Cracker Christmas, the replica fort in Christmas, Florida is a unique site where children often flock towards in the holiday season to send their mail postmarked from the holiday-named town.

Image of large fort inspired playground at Fort Christmas Historical Park
Fort Christmas Historical Park Image by Maria DiCicco

The old Christmas post office is on-site, always festively decorated during the Christmas season, as well as numerous homesteads dating back to the late 1800’s. Wander in and out of the homes to see how families at the turn of the century shared one bed per family, or where they used the outdoor outhouse when nature called. 

Children will find all of it quite fascinating, including the replica fort itself, where you can find displays and artifacts of Native Americans and early area settlers. Lastly, the park offers a great fort-themed playground for children to enjoy, while mom and dad spread out a picnic or grill in one of their large open-fire grill pits.

Image of the outside of a wooden cabin at Fort Christmas Historical Park
Fort Christmas Historical Park Image by Maria DiCicco

Bonus idea – Although there is no actual fort to visit, Fort Mellon Park in Sanford is a historical site with a great playground, and the Sanford Museum right next door is one of the many free things to do in Orlando. Fort Mellon Park is about 20 minutes from Orlando.

Fort Mose Historic State Park

  • Address: 15 Fort Mose Trail, St. Augustine, FL 32084
  • 1 hour and 45 minutes from Orlando
  • Admission to park grounds is free, visitor center is a $2 fee per adult

While there is no actual fort on site, you can walk the marshy boardwalk, visit their museum, or attend one of their many events annually, which include their first harvest festival, reenactments, a jazz festival, and more.

Image of reenactors at Fort Mose Historic State Park
Fort Mose Historic State Park Image by Maria DiCicco

On the first Saturday of every month, visitors can enjoy a lively reenactment of a militia muster, where families can witness the process of packing and firing a musket and a cannon. 

This enjoyable event is an educational and lighthearted opportunity for those interested in learning more about the free slaves of Fort Mose, and how they became part of the Spanish militia during the 18th century.

Image of an outdoor table with food and flowers at Fort Mose Historic State Park
Fort Mose Historic State Park Image by Maria DiCicco

Fort King National Historic Landmark

  • Address: 3925 E Fort King St, Ocala, FL 34470
  • About 1 hour and 45 minutes from Orlando
  • FREE

Visit the reconstructed fort, walk their informative trail with signs and artifacts, or prepare a picnic for the day. The Heritage Teaching Garden, is an interpretive trail that descends from the top of the hill (where the fort stands) to the Seep Spring and down through a ravine that includes foreign and native plant and tree species. 

Fort Clinch State Park

  • Address: 2601 Atlantic Ave, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
  • 3 hours from Orlando
  • $6 per vehicle

This Civil War fort offers an impressive list of events and living history programs, on top of touring the fort rooms and main areas. Reserve an evening candlelight tour of the fort in advance, or attend their soldier garrison cannon and battlefield demonstrations.

For less of a drive, check out these Florida State Parks near Orlando.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

  • Address: 11 S Castillo Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32084
  • About 1 hour and 45 minutes from Orlando
  • Standard Entrance Pass, $15.00

Truly one of the nation’s most spectacular fortresses to visit, this Spanish-built coquina fort offers countless events and activities, as well as informative displays and interior rooms to explore.

Image of child looking at fort and cannons at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument Image by Maria DiCicco

In fact there is so much to see in St. Augustine you may want to consider staying a night or two. One of our favorite places to camp in a cabin with kids is nearby.

Plantation Homes and Ruins to Visit

Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park

  • Address: 3501 Old Kings Rd S, Flagler Beach, FL 32136
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes from Orlando

Near the Flagler Beach area, you will find a hidden spot for a better understanding of Florida’s plantation past. At Bulow Plantation, no such building remains, however, a leisurely walking trail through the forest leads to the ruins of the homestead and sugar mill.

Image of ruins at Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park
Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park Image by Maria DiCicco

Observe what still stands and enjoy the informative signs telling more history of the area.

Dudley Farm Historic State Park

  • Address: 18730 W Newberry Rd, Newberry, FL 32669
  • 2.5 hours from Orlando
  • $5 per vehicle

An enjoyable stop near the I-75 corridor, a day at Dudley Farm includes witnessing the life of Florida’s early settlers from the way they farmed (and large farming equipment your boys will love), the way they stored and cooked food, the farmstead and the home they lived in.

Image of a small child outside of a historic building at Dudley Farm Historic State Park
Dudley Farm Historic State Park Image by Maria DiCicco

Go on a cool winter day and you will feel transported to the past.

Gamble Plantation Historic State Park

  • Address: 3708 Northeast, Patten Ave, Ellenton, FL 34222
  • 2 hours and 15 minutes from Orlando
  • No entrance fee. Tours: $6 per adult, $4 per child (6 to 12 years)

Take a guided tour of the stately Antebellum home, have a picnic, or walk the grounds of this historic plantation.

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park

  • Address: Co Rd 490, Homosassa, FL 34448
  • 2 hours from Orlando
  • FREE

Visit to see the ruins of an old sugar mill, which processed sugarcane into syrup, molasses, and rum.

Kingsley Plantation

  • Address: 11676 Palmetto Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32226
  • 2 hours from Orlando
  • FREE

It is free admission to explore the waterfront grounds at the Kingsley Plantation, where you can observe slave quarters, the planter’s house and kitchen house, a garden, and a barn.

Pioneer Life in Florida

Barberville Pioneer Settlement

  • Address: 1776 Lightfoot Ln, Barberville, FL 32105
  • 1 hour from Orlando
  • $25 One Day Family Pass – Two adults with children/grandchildren ages 18 and under
  • $10 General Admission, $4 Youth Ages 6-12, Youth under age 5 FREE

Enjoy touring this pioneer settlement where, much like the rest of these, you can see depictions of turn-of-the-century Florida living, from sugar cane boiling, to a schoolhouse, and many other historic properties.

Self guided tours require admission. Docent-led tours require 24 hour advance notice, and a minimum of 5 people.

Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 am — 4 pm; Sunday Noon – 4 pm

Cracker Country

  • Address: 4800 US-301, Tampa, FL 33610
  • 1 hour and 45 minutes from Orlando
  • Open for select events

This replica Florida pioneer village is only open to the public for certain events, like their Christmas in the Country, but they invite children for educational field trips and privately scheduled tours as well. At their public events witness reenactments and depictions of life from candle dipping to churning butter and then some!

Pioneer Florida Museum & Village

  • Address: 15602 Pioneer Museum Rd, Dade City, FL 33523
  • 1 hour and 45 minutes from Orlando
  • Adult $12, Senior $10, Students $6 – children under 5 are free

Named in the top 20 lists for things to do in Tampa with family, this fun museum and village offers year-round events like their moonshine festival, or Cracker Cowboy dinner, not to mention their Christmas festivities! Enjoy touring the old homes and grounds, or perhaps join in on a quilting workshop.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park

  • Address: 18700 S, Co Rd 325, Cross Creek, FL 32640
  • 2 hours from Orlando
  • $3 per vehicle

Visit the Florida Cracker home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, famed author of “The Yearling”. Take guided interior tours of the farmhouse Thursday-Sunday, or enjoy a playground, boat ramp, and picnic facilities in the neighboring county park.

Heritage Village

  • Address: 11909 125th Street, Largo, Florida 33774
  • 2.5 hours from Orlando
  • FREE

Free to visit, this living history museum provides demonstrations to the public on activities at the smokehouse, sugar mill, and boiling shed, and lets you walk in and amongst over a dozen houses, cottages, and land areas. There’s even a barn and town store to see!

Check out these Heritage Village tips and details.

Manatee Village Historical Park

  • Address: 1404 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, FL 34208
  • 2.5 hours from Orlando
  • FREE

Visit the old general store, the blacksmith’s shop, or see an old steam engine locomotive parked out front. With plenty to see, you may also want to consider visiting during the Christmas festivities.

If you enjoy educational and enriching experiences like these, then check out the many free classes in Orlando for kids.

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Maria DiCicco
Globetrotting since 1995, Maria is a daughter, girl-mom and wife to a Spaniard. She is a karaoke wunderkind, natural born storyteller and creative writer. She’s a wine and gin enthusiast and charcuterie builder extraordinaire. Seeking to inspire others to “Travel More”, she shares travel advice, destination spotlights and more at her site