Mom and son enjoying the beach in Key Biscayne in Miami, FL. Photo by Steph Wiestling of
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Florida Family Vacations: Miami Beach and South Beach

Mom and son enjoying the beach in Key Biscayne in Miami, FL. Photo by Steph Wiestling of
enjoying the beach in Key Biscayne in Miami, FL

Ahhhh, there’s nothing that compares to Miami Beach, and South Beach. The sights, the sounds, the colorful people! If you’re looking for a fabulous Florida family vacation, you won’t find anything like Miami Beach and South Beach in all the world. Miami Beach is a golden strip of fine golden sand with emerald waters. Families flock to Miami for fun, sun, sand, beaches, business and entertainment,  -Miami Beach and South Beach rock! And it’s not just for hot, young celebrities, it’s also a super kid friendly environment too.

But listen up, there are two things you should keep in mind when vacationing in Miami, Miami Beach and South Beach area:

First, this is a tropical area, and as such be prepared for rain. Yes, it rains a lot, so it would be most beneficial if you just planned on it, and maybe even schedule your vacation for at least a full week so that you’ll be able to catch some rays. Of course it’s gorgeous there, with sunshine and warm temperatures, but just prepare yourself for at least some rain, that’s just the way it goes in the tropics (how else would everything stay so green and lush?).

Second- Miami, South Beach and Miami Beach aren’t just for the rich and famous, and not everything is for the hottest of the hot celebs to go out clubbing and such. If you know where to go, families can really have a great time on their Florida family vacation.

Kid Friendly Things to Do in Miami & South Beach on your Florida family vacation

Miami Beach & South Beach:

There is so much to do in this area that you won’t be able to decide what to do first, but I recommend heading to the beach first to insure your Florida family vacation contains the most important element…the beach! It just wouldn’t be a real Florida family vacation without going to the beach, and these famous stretches of surf and sand and sure to please kids and adults alike. As Elaine Sosa Labalme so aptly explains on her travel with kids site,

Sure, things change over time, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the beauty of Miami’s beaches.  South Beach, the stretch of Miami Beach from First Street to 30th Street, is a wide expanse of sand backed by colorful Art Deco hotels.  The northern end of the beach, from 30th Street down to Lincoln Road (approximately 16th Street) will be most appealing to parents and small kids since it’s quiet and peopled by like-minded souls.  As you move further south, the area from roughly 12th to Fifth Streets is party central, with revelers and their cocktails creating a beach-y moveable feast.  A long boardwalk connects the entire length of South Beach so you can stroll, bike or blade to the beach that best suits your needs.

Crocodile Flats at Miami Seaquarium in Miami, FL. Photo by Steph Wiestling of

SEAQUARIUM; The Miami Seaquarium is located right in the middle of the tourist area, on the causeway between downtown Miami and Key Biscayne. It’s a fabulous stop where you can witness an outdoor aquarium experience that’s only possible in our tropical climate. Be sure to budget enough time to spend at least half a day there! Admission to Miami Seaquarium is $29.95 for adults and $22.95 for children ages 3-9. If you’re planning to visit more than once this year, you can purchase an annual pass for an additional $10 per person. Also, you can obtain free admission with your Go Miami card.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Just a short drive to Key Biscayne and you’ll find a gorgeous State park with a long, cozy stretch of sand (many times) voted one of the top 10 beaches in the U.S.  Also home to the majestic Cape Florida lighthouse, (built in 1825 and the oldest structure in Miami’s Dade County), which stands sentinel over the beach.  Offshore, a sand bar protects the beach and virtually eliminates waves, making this an ideal swimming beach for young kids.  And then there’s that sand, grains so silky soft you’ll want to roll around in them (and your children will).  You can also rent bikes or walk a nature trail and the place is never crowded.  Life is such a beach.

Miami Metro Zoo; Miami’s Metro Zoo is fast becoming one of the best zoos in the nation. Its climate allows it to keep a wide variety of animals from Asia, Australia and Africa like no other zoo in the country. One of the first free-range zoos in the country, the exhibits are entirely cage-less. Animals are grouped according to their geographic territory and animals that live together peacefully in the wild are placed in exhibits together.

playing mini dentist at the Miami Children's Museum in Miami, FL. Photo by Steph Wiestling of

The Miami Children’s Museum: Directly across the Causeway a 56,000-square-foot facility where children come to “play, learn, imagine and create.”  Tell them they get to play and everything will be fine.  Older kids will start at Mt. MiChiMu, a colorful climbing wall that greets you as you enter the museum.  It won’t be long before everyone has entered KidScape Village, where you can visit the dentist (his toothbrush is six feet long), “pick” some oranges (they fall fast!) and “rush” to the scene of a fire thanks to an interactive video display.  Upstairs, kids will haul cargo with their own shipping cranes and proceed to navigate small ships as Biscayne Bay Pilots.  The museum has wisely installed climbing structures outdoors for that much-needed fresh air break.  And hey, if junior just has to see “Winged Wonders” one more time (our son insisted on it), Parrot Jungle is right across the road and entrance to both attractions is good all day (be sure to have your hand stamped at each).  (305) 373-5437.

Parrot Jungle Island; A short hop from the beach and right off the MacArthur Causeway is .  Taking a page from the Sea World playbook, Parrot Jungle showcases its avian residents in a variety of settings and performances.  At the Parrot Bowl, “Winged Wonders” is a 20-minute flight of fancy featuring countless colorful parrots, an Andean condor and a cassowary, an ostrich-like bird that can swallow an apple whole.  Our son was riveted by the cockatoo who rode a bicycle on a high wire above the stage – okay, we were, too.  “Manu Encounter,” evoking the tall cliffs of Manu, Peru, is a more free-form experience, with macaws, parrots and squirrel monkeys having the run of the place and kids chasing after them.  There are tigers and snakes, turtles and ‘gators to be seen, but the real thrill for the kids will be with what’s flying overhead.  (305) 2-JUNGLE.

Miami Museum of Science; Check out the latest kid-friendly exhibits at the Miami Museum of Science. You’re bound to find a learning adventure for the whole family. The museum is home to the Bird of Prey Research Center and the Weintraub Observatory.

The Lincoln Road Mall is South Beach’s version of a town square.  Spanning the pedestrian-only stretch of Lincoln Road between Collins Avenue and Alton Road, the street is teeming with eclectic shops, restaurants and cafes.  Sidewalk tables spill out of almost every establishment, guaranteeing a bird’s eye view of the buff bodies ‘blading by.  The not-so-buff can be happily found at one of Lincoln Road’s many ice cream shops…The Miami Beach Bicycle Center at 601 Fifth Street is your best bet for bicycle rentals by the hour or day – tag-along wheels available.  (305) 674-0150.

Best Kid Friendly Restaurants in Miami Beach and South Beach while on your Florida family vacation:

The best Kid Friendly Restaurants in South Beach voted on at Urban Spoon

  1. Joe’s Stone Crab…
  2. Lime Fresh Mexican Grill
  3. Burger & Beer Joint
  4. Barton G. The Restaurant
  5. Baires Grill
  6. Rice House of Kabob
  7. Texas de Brazil
  8. Miss Yip Chinese Cafe
  9. La Locanda
  10. Primo Pizza

The best Kid Friendly Restaurants in Miami Beach; from Urban Spoon

  1. Sazón Cuban Cuisine
  2. Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine
  3. Tamarind Thai Restaurant
  4. New Campo Argentino
  5. El Rey Del Chivito
  6. Confiteria Buenos…
  8. New York Bagel Deli
  9. Che Sopranos Pizza…
  10. Mr Taco Mexican Food

Other neighborhoods in Miami Beach area; (click on link to go to

Best Places to Stay on your Florida family vacation in Miami Beach and South Beach; Kid Friendly Resorts and Hotels:

Ritz Carlton South Beach
1 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Picture yourself immersed in 16,000 square feet of spa luxury or dining at the only beachfront restaurant on South Beach. … more

Carillon Miami Wellness Resort
Miami Beach, FL 33141
Carillon Miami Wellness Resort provides an integrative approach to wellness by providing an unparalleled level of unique, customized experiences and personalized … more

Fontainebleau Miami Beach
4401 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140
Fontainebleau welcomes you to 22 spectacular oceanfront acres in the heart of Miami Beach. … more

Sanctuary Hotel
1745 James Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
The Sanctuary is the center of swank with luxe amenities and a ‘sceney’ restaurant that are at the top of the scale. … more

Deauville Beach Resort
6701 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33141
The Deauville Beach Resort is located five miles north of South Beach, and approximately 13 miles from Miami International Airport. … more

Delano Hotel
1685 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Designed by Philippe Starck, the Delano is located in South Beach’s Art Deco District, directly on the ocean, and approximately 12 miles from the Miami … more

Crowne Plaza Z Ocean South Beach
1437 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
The Crowne Plaza Z Ocean Hotel is an exclusive, all-suite boutique hotel located on Miami Beach’s famed Ocean Drive, just steps from the Atlantic Ocean. … more

The Setai
2001 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
The Setai is an intimate, serene oceanfront resort in the heart of South Beach, and is approximately 12 miles from Miami International Airport, two blocks … more

Grand Beach Hotel
4835 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140
The Grand Beach Hotel offers an ocean front location, two beach front pools, tranquility pool, Chez Gaston restaurant, three lounges and bars, 24-hour … more

Ramada Marco Polo Beach Resort
19201 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33160
The Ramada Marco Polo Beach is located beachfront in Sunny Isles Beach just minutes from shopping, dining and recreation at Aventura Mall and Bal Harbour … more

Holiday Inn Miami Beach Oceanfront
4333 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140
The newly renovated Holiday Inn Miami Beach – Oceanfront is located directly on the beach, with access to the famous two-mile long boardwalk and is approximately … more

Marriott Stanton South Beach
161 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Complimentary lounge chairs and umbrellas on beach during this time. Steeped in art deco splendor, the Marriott South Beach Miami. … more

Come to Miami Beach and South Beach for your next Florida family vacation and find out why it’s one of the best Florida has to offer!

If your family has stayed in Miami or Miami Beach for a Florida family vacation in the past, please leave me a comment, I’d love to hear how it was!

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