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Top 5 Kid Friendly Beaches in Florida

Submitted by on Friday, February 27, 200914 Comments

photo credit: 2PassTheTorch.com

Florida is known for its fabulous beaches, which is only one reason it’s such a favorite family destination.  We’ve compiled our list of favorite kid friendly beaches, in no particular order, and what we think makes them so special.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Destin is part of the ‘Emerald Coast’ along Florida’s panhandle; so named for it’s soft, white sandy beaches and emerald green water of the Gulf of Mexico.  It’s a quiet, family-oriented community away from the hustle and bustle so you can enjoy a relaxing time building sandcastles and splashing in the emerald green surf.  Read our article written by a Destin native for the inside scoop on a Destin vacation.

Click here to find family friendly hotels in Destin.  Click here for more family activities in Destin and along the Emerald Coast.


Daytona is great for a vacation with tweens and teens.  Lots of activity going on here right at the beach.  The boardwalk is fun for all ages with shops, arcades and amusements on a pier that stretches out into the ocean.    Cars are allowed to drive on the beach for a fee.   Surfing is popular here, being that this beach is on the Atlantic Ocean and gets some actual waves.  If you’re a surfing novice, you could take surfing lessons and come home with great memories and a new skill.

Click here to find family hotels in Daytona Beach.  Click here for more family activities in and around Daytona Beach.

Sanibel, Captiva

Sanibel Island and Captiva Island make a great combo trip.  Both islands have the best shell collecting in America.  In fact, the beach is literally covered in shells.  Collecting the shells is so popular, the most common sight you’ll see is the ‘Sanibel Stoop’, where young and old alike are stooped over looking for the perfect shell to add to their collection.
As with most islands, you’ll find a quiet, laid-back atmosphere perfect for forgetting the stress you’ve left behind.  Read our itinerary to plan the perfect Captiva/Sanibel family vacation.

Click here to find family friendly hotels in Sanibel or Captiva.  Click here for more family activities in Sanibel and Captiva Island.


Clearwater, Florida has always been known for it’s white beaches and clear gulf water (hence, the name).  Kids young and old will ‘arrgh’ at the chance to sail on a real pirate ship aboard Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise.  Conveniently located between Tampa and St. Petersburg, a relaxing family beach vacation in Clearwater can be filled with theme park fun as well.  Busch Gardens Adventure Park is just across the bay in Tampa (about 20 min. away), and all the theme park thrills of Orlando are only 2-1/2 hours away.

Click here to find  family hotels in Clearwater.  Click here for more family activities in Clearwater.

Siesta Key

Siesta Key is in kid-friendly Sarasota, Florida.    In 1987, the “Great International White Sand Beach Challenge” proclaimed Siesta Key Beach as having the “whitest and finest sand in the world.”  The whitest sand is made of 99% quartz and is cool on little feet no matter what the air temperature.  Not only is the sand a dream to touch, it’s great for making sand castles.  With it’s year round lifeguard protection and shallow water, it’s one of the safest beaches for small children.  Nearby Marina Jacks, a playground with splash fountains,  along with O’leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill, and water sport rentals.   Sarasota is also home to the Ringling Bros. Circus Museum and winter headquarters.

Click here to find family hotels in Siesta Key.  Click here for more family activities in Sarasota and Siesta Key.


What child wouldn’t be entertained for hours on a ginormous sandbox?  So, pack the sunscreen, leave the passport at home, sink your toes in the sand and relax on any of these kid friendly beaches.

We parents are always learning from each other… please share your favorite kid friendly beach in the comments below, it just may make our next feature!

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  • Candice says:

    Love the article Steph! Especially about Siesta! (of course I may be a bit biased since I lived there for so long…it truly is a wonderful beach and always holds an aura of radiant healing energy too 😉 ). The Emerald Coast is also a fantastic place…not only Destin, but Ft. Walton beach too….lots of bike trails and even camping if you’re into that kind of thing). One beach I wanted to mention that wasn’t listed here has to be Casperson Beach (south of Sharkey’s restaurant in Venice, FL)…the sand is a quite a bit darker, but that’s because of all the fossilized sharks teeth found in the sand there. You can also find a park there and much else to do for kids, (especially if they enjoy finding fossilized sharks teeth!…you’ll see a lot of “Shark’s teeth stoopers” there on any given day)…
    The saddest part is tho’, when I moved there back in ’87, you could literally scoop up hundreds of sharks teeth in one bucket-full of sand, now, because of all the “collectors” and people who have scoured the beach and are selling the sharks teeth to the public, there aren’t many left, but still enough to make it a fun day for shark teeth hunting. But make sure to wear beach shoes on the dark sand….it does get very hot!

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  • Jane says:

    Great article, Stephanie!

    Next time you’re in the Destin area, you should also check out Perdido Key. It’s a short drive west of Pensacola, and over 61% of the island is protected parkland. A great family vacation spot for the nature enthusiasts looking for isolated beauty.

    Here’s a helpful site for planning:

    They have a great new site to help planning a trip there:

  • jane says:

    The article was great!

    Pensacola Beach has so many kid-friendly activities as well. The Dec.20 Santa and His Paparazzi Photo Session Island Style will be fantastic for kids to grab a picture with Santa. Its from 2 to 4 p.m. Don’t miss it! check it out at http://www.pensacolabeachholidays.com

  • Excellent article.
    Everybody knows that fabulous beaches located in Florida.
    Florida beaches
    .-= Florida beaches´s last blog ..Secret Harbour at Saint Thomas: destination for beach resort getaway =-.

  • Cruise says:

    Nice article. Florida is one of the great vacation destination in the world. Florida beaches are very beautiful and famous in the world. Thousand of tourists are visits Florida every year. Cruise. All these 5 beaches are truly amazing. My favorite beach is Daytona. Doytona beach is one of the great kids vacation destination in the world.
    .-= Cruise´s last blog ..TI’A MOANA – BORA BORA’S WONDER BABY =-.

  • Thanks for the great run-down of kid-friendly beaches. I’m planning a trip to Sarasota, and judging by all the kid stuff to do around Siesta Key, we’ll have to make that one of our stops!

  • Kris Clouser says:

    Great information 🙂

  • Liz says:

    Kid friendly beaches are the best! Playgrounds near by or good places to eat nearby-essentialy and Florida has a ton of them! I was there this past summer and my kids had a blast. We were in Palm Bay and had a great time exploring and spending much needed time at the beach. The Hotel was even better, the Palm Bay Hotel (www.palmbay-hotel.com) was affordable and close to the necessities!

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