In my Facebook group of homeschoolers who believe in the power of travel, we often talk about hidden gems, fun places to check out and ask for suggested things to do in areas we are planning to travel to.
Ponce de Leon State Park in Florida has been suggested quite a few times by others who have checked this gem out. This beautiful spring is named after Juan Ponce de Leon, who led he first Spanish expedition in Florida in 1513-as legend has it --in search of the fountain of youth.
For the kids--the water was enough for them to want to check it out.
For this homeschooling momma-- it was the perfect mix of history and fun!
I wasn't sure when we were going to visit the park--because I knew a stop there meant an overnight stay on our drive from Louisiana to Florida. With having to maintain two households until March 2023, we were trying to avoid having to spend funds on a hotel room.
The opportunity presented itself:
Justin had a nail in his tire. And we were told it would take about two hours to get the tire fixed. Who wants to wait when you know there's adventure to be had?
I figured we'd drive out there, take a look and then head out.
We all took our shoes off, dipped our toes into the 68 degree water and decided we were going in for a dip.
Jon said to me " I wish I had my black shorts on because I would jump in."
So, we headed back to the car, pulled out a change of clothes, beach towels and a bag and headed back to the water. My car looked like someone threw up clothes everywhere but we were going for an adventure!
It was cold for about 3.5 seconds and then you got used to it. We walked, floated, dunked ourselves and swam for 45 minutes while waiting on Justin to get his tire fixed.
So what life lessons did we learn?
It's okay not to be prepared all the time. We were NOT the only ones in regular clothes in the water. Many people were "unprepared" but no one was complaining. Everyone was laughing, smiling and having a great time!
When things don't go as planned, make an adventure out of it. That morning I was super anxious wanting to be on the road by a certain time " so we wouldn't get to Florida at dark-- I was tired and wanted to get to our camper as soon as possible." We ended up getting to the camper at almost 10pm that night. We had been on the road at 530am that morning.
But, the time spent at Ponce de Leon made me realize this was a great chance to spend some unplanned fun time with my kids and so I did just that.
Get in the picture. Who cares if you've gained 50 pounds, your hair is a mess or you are not feeling so great. The memories may fade, but the pictures will last a lifetime.
It's okay to be on the road longer than anticipated. It's okay to be tired. It's okay to be anxious. But, when it comes down to making those memories, you should jump right into that water!
My son read a few postings at the park, mentioned a few things he remembered about the history of the park during our ride to Central Florida and my little one decided it was time to learn how to read a book--- I have no idea how that came about from playing in the cool, crisp waters but I'll take it!
I support my family by planning travel for others; schedule some time to chat about your next trip!
As a homeschooling mom who found that her children thrived more when living life together instead of being stuck in a classroom 8 hours a day, I turned my love of travel and educating my kids into the perfect mix: unschooling.