-Updated for 2017- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 visit Bayfront Park, a playground with splash fountains, dine at Marina Jacks, or O’leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill, and water sport rentals. Sarasota is also home to the Ringling Bros. Circus Museum and winter headquarters.
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!