Best Florida Beaches For Families – Florida is known as the “Sunshine State” for a reason. The promise of plenty of sun and fun by the sea pulls countless people from across the continent and beyond to America’s favourite playground.
The same astute marketers could have simply chosen another, as appropriate moniker: “Beach State.” More than half of the state’s coastline – 700 miles out of 1,200 – is made up of beautiful stretches of sand.
Florida’s beaches, which stretch from the Panhandle on the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Amelia Island on the Atlantic coast, offer vacationers and day trippers alike the ideal backdrop for a great family holiday.
Florida’s top family beaches offer the whitest sand and the clearest waters on the East Coast. Aside from that, you’ll find a plethora of activities to perform with your children.
You may walk across sand dunes and wildlife sanctuaries, as well as parks and natural walks. There are recreation centres, museums, and indoor sports facilities where you can get away from the hot heat for a time.
Allow your children to enjoy exciting watersports such as parasailing, snorkelling, wakeboarding, and others. You could even be able to swim with marine species like dolphins and turtles on occasion!
Refer to our list of the best Florida beaches for families to help you find the best stretch of coast for your next vacation.
Best Florida Beaches For Families
- Clearwater Beach
Many families will choose Clearwater Beach for their seaside holiday out of all the top-rated beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Why? There are numerous explanations for this. To begin with, Clearwater Beach has some of the finest, softest sand in North America, with visitors claiming that it feels like walking on talcum powder at times.
It’s also a really broad beach, ideal for choosing a quiet location where you won’t be trampled or feel crowded, with plenty of room to set up an umbrella to shade the kids while they snooze or build sandcastles.
The sea is normally calm and shallow, making it ideal for younger children to play in, while older children can participate in activities like as parasailing or fishing off the long Clearwater Beach pier.
After you’ve had your fill of the beach, head inland to see top attractions like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is home to Winter, a dolphin known for his prosthetic tail. There are also plenty of other activities to enjoy, including wonderful shopping and restaurants, as well as sunset festivals, street music, and kid-friendly pirate cruises.
- Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach is regarded as one of the best Florida beaches for families, as well as one of the nicest beaches near the Gulf of Mexico. The white sand on Siesta Key is known for being soft and quartz-fine. It’s also been named as one of the most beautiful beaches in the state on two occasions!
Siesta Key is surrounded by kid-friendly attractions such as the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, where family may see botanical plants, birds, and other creatures, in addition to swimming and sunbathing on one of the top Florida beaches for kids. After that, you and your children can play mini-golf at Smuggler’s Cove.
The beaches of Siesta Key have a lot to offer and are among the greatest on the East Coast of the United States. This barrier island, just a short drive from downtown Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf coast, provides limitless lengths of soft white sand to explore, delightful warm shallow water, and a plethora of exciting things to see and do.
The sand is notable for its cooler-than-average feel when walking barefoot (ideal for toddlers), because to its granular quartz content.
Siesta Key’s main beach has a lot of nice places to stay and eat, but it also has a lot of good amenities. Picnic areas, playgrounds, sun shelters, volleyball courts, and clean restrooms are just a few of the highlights.
There’s plenty of parking, and you’re close to major Sarasota attractions like the Ringling Circus Museum and shopping excursions in Siesta Key Village.
- Cocoa Beach
Families can spread down their beach mats, set up an umbrella, and splash their feet on the beaches along Florida’s Atlantic coast. Cocoa Beach has a lot to offer families, not the least of which is its convenient location.
Cocoa Beach’s location on the Space Coast, just south of Cape Canaveral, puts it within easy reach of top attractions like the Kennedy Space Center and Walt Disney World, which is an hour’s drive inland.
There’s plenty of fun to be had on the beach whether you’re here for a day, a week, or a weekend. Swimming in the shallow seas offshore, surfing and boogie boarding (classes and rentals are readily available), and Jet Ski rentals are among the main activities for families with children on Cocoa Beach.
Choose a thrilling (and educational) manatee kayaking tour to get up close and personal with these fascinating (and docile) aquatic creatures for a truly unforgettable family adventure.
- Deerfield Beach
Deerfield Beach, named for a kind of deer that used to frequent its shores, is a pleasure to behold thanks to its sapphire-blue sea. It was named “Blue Wave Beach” for having the cleanest and most environmentally friendly beaches in the United States, and it is one of the top gulf shores for Florida beaches.
Aside from splashing around in the crystal blue water, families can have some indoor fun at Planet Air Sports, which has trampoline bungees, rope climbing, bumper cars, and aero-ball. Ski Rixen, Florida’s longest cable ski run, is also worth a visit.
- Fort DeSoto State Park
Those who enjoy nature should add the beaches of Fort DeSoto to their list of best Florida beaches for families. St. Petersburg is within a 20-minute drive from the park.
DeSoto State Park encompasses five separate keys totaling 1,100 acres, including mangrove wetlands that serve as a natural habitat for a variety of animal species, including loggerhead turtles that lay their eggs here. Young birdwatchers will love attempting to identify the islands’ more than 300 species of birds, which include herons, egrets, and pelicans.
Aside from the park’s beautiful lengths of pristine white sand, there’s also additional amusement to be had. There are several adventure playgrounds, numerous hiking routes, two fishing piers, bike rentals, and an ancient fort dating from the Spanish-American War, all of which are waiting to be explored. Picnic areas, restrooms, and on-site lifeguards are among the other attractions.
- Manatee County Beach
Manatee County Beach is the greatest and most popular beach in Florida. Your family can walk around its 7-acre shoreline, picnic areas, and playgrounds, which are named after Florida’s official marine mammal, the manatee. Aside from that, take in the breathtaking vistas of the country from the Sunway Skybridge.
Take your kids on a beach treasure hunt, see how ships are created at the Florida Maritime Museum, schedule a dolphin-watching tour, or try ziplining. In addition, the county is linked to other tourist destinations such as Tampa Bay and the Manatee River.
- Fort Lauderdale Beach
Fort Lauderdale may be just the ticket for those looking for an urban beach experience without the hordes of, say, Miami. It is significantly more family-friendly than many other similar beach destinations, as it is surrounded on one side by the Atlantic and on the other by a gorgeous (and lengthy) boardwalk that separates the beach from the waterfront-facing resorts and hotels.
The beach is seven miles long and two miles wide, with two miles of it manned by lifeguards, so there’s plenty of room to spread out with the kids. From swimming and snorkelling off the beach to renting Jet Skis or kayaks and exploring the inland canals and rivers, there’s plenty to do.
Take a walk (or rollerblade, for that matter) along the boardwalk for a change of pace and a bite to eat at one of the numerous restaurants along the path. If you visit at the correct time, you’ll be able to enjoy street acts and entertainment, as well as festivals and concerts.
- St. Augustine Beach
From St. Augustine Beach, families may enjoy one of the nicest beach views in Florida, as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Walking a little further inland, your family will find picnic grounds, a nature trail, and a sea turtle nesting ground at Ocean Hammock Park, Florida, which is considered one of Florida’s calmest beaches.
You’ll also find a variety of things to do with your kids, including sculptures in the St. Augustine Beach Sculpture Garden, the stunning 17th-century Castillo de San Marcos castle with a drawbridge, and maritime history exhibits at the St. Augustine Maritime Museum.
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- Panama City Beach
Those looking for a memorable family beach holiday should try Florida’s Panhandle, which is typically overlooked by sunseekers in favour of spots further south. One such location is Panama City Beach.
The white-sand beach here is a joy, stretching for 27 miles along the most westerly piece of Florida’s Gulf Coast, and facing mostly shallow waters that are perfect for swimming and canoeing.
Kayaking and paddleboarding, snorkelling and diving, fishing charters and dolphin tours, as well as Jet Ski rentals, are all popular activities in addition to sunbathing and swimming.
There are enough family-friendly things to keep kids occupied for days away from the beach. Water parks and amusement arcades, as well as music and entertainment venues, a fun pirate festival, and plenty of wonderful shopping and dining options, are among the attractions.
- Fernandina Beach
Swimming in Fernandina Beach’s 13 miles of crystal-clear water will be a dream come true for your kids. Later on, you can visit Fort Clinch State Park for a tour of the ancient fort’s galleries.
Egan’s Green Creekway, a protected zone of plants and wildlife adjacent to this beach, is a pleasant place to stroll. Better still, get on your bicycles and peddle from one end of the paved walkways to the other.
The family can also visit the Nature Center, where they will be able to get even closer to a few water species during a short interactive programme led by wildlife experts.
- Venice Beach
Few of Florida’s many great family-friendly beaches can boast the feature that distinguishes Venice Beach: shark’s teeth. Venice Beach, like most of Florida, was once completely submerged. It is widely regarded as the “shark tooth capital of the world.” As the sea drained, so did the shark habitat, until only the region around Venice Beach remained.
Millions of shark teeth are now underwater off the coast, with many being washed ashore practically daily, just waiting for children to discover them (the best places to look are said to be around the Venice Jetty).
Other enjoyable activities in the area include wildlife spotting, with regularly spotted species including dolphins (dolphin excursions are provided), turtles, and plenty of bird-watching opportunities. There are also a fishing pier, a lengthy boardwalk, volleyball courts, picnic spaces, restrooms, and lots of parking along the beach.
- Amelia Island
Amelia Island, part of Florida’s network of barrier islands and beaches, is one of the most popular with children due to its sand dunes and lovely resorts. Families adore staying here because of the numerous sports and leisure opportunities available on the island.
Try kayaking and paddleboarding, hike the sand dunes, and visit Amelia Island’s historic district to see brief performances of famous figures like pirates and treasure hunters.
Additionally, fill your stomachs with delectable meals from international eateries located throughout Amelia Island. Finally, if the family has two hours to spare, proceed south to Amelia Island State Park.
- Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers Beach is located just south of Venice Beach (and north of Naples). It’s the ideal area to spend a day or longer outside, enjoying valuable family time on the beach, on Estero Island, just a short drive outside of Fort Myers.
Unlike many of Florida’s premier beach resorts, Fort Myers Beach has managed to keep its small-town beach community atmosphere. There are various beaches in the vicinity to select from, but the best bet is to go directly to the heart of Fort Myers Beach, where you’ll find the Pier and Times Square.
There are many fantastic family resorts here, most with direct beach access and plenty of fun activities to enjoy, in addition to its historic bed-and-breakfasts and fine inns. And what a beach it is! The sand is smooth and powdery underfoot and seven miles long, making it ideal for playing and creating sandcastles.
In addition to the usual enjoyable activities like swimming, diving, and snorkelling, Fort Myers Beach has acquired a reputation for being a fantastic area to observe dolphins, and a number of exciting dolphin-watching trips are available (book in advance if you can to avoid disappointment during the peak seasons).
Other enjoyable activities include fishing from the strategically situated pier or playing beach volleyball with family and friends.
- New Smyrna Beach
From its shores to its Historic District, museum, sand dunes, and lighthouse, New Smyrna Beach, Florida is a holiday resort overflowing with family-friendly activities. You can easily plan indoor and outdoor activities for the entire family.
Surf the beach’s shallow waves or visit the Marine Science Center to learn about aquatic wildlife. Visit the New Smyrna Museum Of History to learn about the history of this Florida community, and then visit Smyrna Dunes Park for fishing and a family nature trail.
Traveling with children is a challenge. It’s a lovely site to pitch a beach umbrella for a while, thanks to its large, lengthy beach area. The sights and laid-back atmosphere will not disappoint you, whether you’re here to relax or participate in outdoor activities.
While there are the normal Jet Ski rentals and wakeboarding options available, the area’s natural habitats are given a lot of attention. The nicest of these may be found at Smyrna Dunes Park, a 70-acre nature preserve on the north end of Smyrna Beach with an easy-to-walk 1.5-mile-long boardwalk ideal for wildlife viewing. Picnic tables and parking are available.
- Daytona Beach
Daytona’s prior reputation as a location for grownups and college-age big kids to, well, unwind has long since faded. Modern sensibilities (along with consumer demands) have triumphed, and Daytona now rates well as one of Florida’s best family-friendly travel spots.
With its large and hard-packed beach, it’s not uncommon to see automobiles parked directly on the beach (but not in the main beach area), with makeshift picnic shelters and changing rooms.
If you’re travelling with older children, try to set up as close to the main beach area as possible, around the famed pier; this way, you’ll be able to keep an eye on the kids not only when they’re in the water, but also when they go out to investigate the infinite amusement arcade alternatives nearby (including those on the pier itself). Rentals of jet skis and scooters are also popular activities for older teenagers.
In fact, families come here for more than just the beaches. Daytona Beach is not just an hour or so from Orlando, the world’s theme park capital, but it also has a number of world-class attractions of its own.
The legendary Daytona International Speedway, which hosts thrilling NASCAR races, as well as the popular Daytona Lagoon waterpark and Marine Science Center, are among the top-rated tourist attractions in Daytona Beach.
- Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island, located just west of Fort Myers and connected to the mainland by a magnificent bridge, has established itself as a popular family holiday destination. The distinctive reputation as the ideal site to collect seashells, a beach holiday activity that, let’s face it, never gets old, is at the top of the list of fantastic reasons to visit (so bring a bucket and spade).
The beach is immaculately clean, with smooth sand that is a joy to stroll on, sit on, and play on, as well as plenty of shade provided by handy shelters and the numerous palm trees that line the beach, boardwalks, and picnic places.
Aside from swimming and sunbathing, popular family activities include renting bikes and exploring the numerous dedicated cycling trails. Rentals of boats and jet skis, fishing charters, and sunset cruises are all popular activities.
Children interested in learning more about the island’s unique animals might visit the JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which is known for its excellent interactive displays and exhibits.
- Marco Island
Marco Island is a barrier island located along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, with a beach that stretches virtually the full length of the west coast. It’s lined with beautiful marinas and is one of the greatest interior waterways you’ll ever see. However, because of their distances from one another, doing so on foot may take a long time. As a result, hiring a car will be the most practical option.
Enlist the help of the family to go on a tour to see dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. Choose from a variety of watersports, including parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boating.
- Fort Walton Beach
It’s all about watersports and water activities in Fort Walton Beach, one of the best Florida beaches for families. After all, water enjoyment is why families return year after year to one of Florida’s cleanest and safest beaches.
Begin with a pontoon boat rental, then go on to a banana boat, jetski, or waverunner. The family can then go on a guided snorkelling excursion to have a closer look at the beautiful shells on the seabed. Swim with dolphins every now and again! Finally, purchase Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park admission tickets to see marine animals such as dolphins and seals perform incredible tricks.
- Dubois Park
If you’ve had your fill of swimming and want to try something else, Dubois Park in Jupiter is a popular choice among Florida beaches. There are many playgrounds and family leisure centres to select from at this beach and inlet.
Allow your children to swing, slide, and climb at outdoor playgrounds, or take them to the West Jupiter Recreation Center to play soccer, basketball, and other sports. In addition, the family can visit an equestrian facility, ride horses, and be guided around the equestrian trails by an expert.