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Florida has 663 miles of beaches. With so much beach to choose from, how do you find the best Florida beaches for families? Ask a TravelingMom, that’s how! The Fabulously Frugal TravelingMom has lived in Florida for over ten years and has been traveling to the state her entire life. Check out the 8 beaches that top her list for the best beaches in Florida for families.
As Floridians, my family and I genuinely enjoy the beach. Even though we live a few miles away from one beach, we still love exploring the other beaches of Florida. I have visited all of these beaches with kids and have found unique family friendly qualities in each of them. Since I can’t pick just one best beach for families in Florida, here are my top picks for best Florida beaches for families.
The Best Florida Beaches for Families
Florida beaches have something to offer everyone, even people that don’t love the beach! Each beach town has something uniquely different to offer to visitors. Some of theses family friendly beaches are geared to nature and outdoor adventure lovers while others are geared to families who want to go the more touristy route with family themed attractions. No matter what kind of family friendly beach vacation you are looking for, you will find it in this list of top Florida beaches for families.
The best family friendly beach in Florida with southern charm
Yes, Florida is geographically in the south, but it’s not exactly considered a “southern state.” Most Floridians do not eat grits, and if they do, they don’t eat them with shrimp on top. At least, those in the middle and southern part of Florida don’t. It’s a completely different story on the Florida/ Georgia line. Amelia Island, a barrier island with 13 miles of beach, is known for local shrimp, local flavors, and southern hospitality.
What makes Amelia Island family friendly?
The small town feel combined with southern charm makes for an unforgettable family vacation. The city feels safe and clean, and so do all of the beaches. All of that combined with reasonable accommodation rates make this an ideal beach for families visiting Florida.
- Hunting for shark’s teeth early in the morning on the beach
- Eating local shrimp
- The ferry over St. John’s River heading towards A1A
The best family friendly beach in Florida for those who are tired of cookie cutter beach resorts
Chances are that if you haven’t heard of Seaside as a vacation destination, you’ve probably heard about it another way. Seaside rose to fame after The Truman Show was filmed there in 1998. The town is also known for its New Urbanism design; it’s one of the first planned communities in the United States that is completely walkable. Seaside is famous for its architectural design and pedestrian friendly plan.
What makes Seaside family friendly?
The real question here is, what doesn’t make Seaside family friendly? Out of all the beaches I’ve ever visited, nothing screams family friendly more than Seaside. There are bike rental shops, neighborhood activities for kids, and family friendly concerts located in the center of the town.
- Concerts and food trucks in the amphitheater
- Farmer’s market
- A picture in Coleman Pavilion
The best Old Florida family friendly beach
Naples has a distinct “old Florida” feel. Sometimes described as “forgotten Florida,” old Florida towns are pockets of the state that thrived during the first wave of development in Florida, but have since been bypassed as travel destinations as tourists flock to Orlando and other big ticket resort towns. The great thing about Naples is it has continued to thrive as a tourist destination without becoming a tourist trap. Naples still has protected beaches that aren’t littered with too many resorts and condos. The beaches all are public with easy access and parking. Many of the beaches even have long boardwalks through protected wildlife areas, something you won’t find on the coasts of more developed Florida beaches.
What makes Naples family friendly?
For decades Naples has been considered a sleepy old retirement town. Believe me, I know. I happen to live in Naples. I debated about whether or not to include Naples in my list of best Florida beaches. If I had written this post 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have included it. However, a lot has changed over the past 5 years and Naples is now incredibly family friendly. The funny thing is that most of the things we love about Naples have been here for more than 5 years. What has changed is the attitude towards young families. With more young families living in the area and even more visiting each year, Naples is quickly reinventing itself from a retirement community to a family friendly destination.
There is so much to do in Naples for families. The city has a zoo, a children’s museum, multiple parks with splash pads, and so much more. For a list of things to do with kids in Naples, read this post.
- A day trip to the Everglades to ride an airboat
- A walk in Olde Naples on 3rd Street South, located close to the Naples Pier
- A trip to the Children’s Museum of Naples in the afternoon when it’s too hot to be outside
Panama City Beach
The best family friendly activities on a beach in Florida
Never in my life have I visited a beach that has so much to do. When you drive through Panama City Beach you feel like everything was built just to entertain visitors.
What makes Panama City Beach family friendly?
I grew up in Alabama, near the panhandle of Florida. All my life I thought I knew that Panama City Beach was for crazy college spring breakers. What I didn’t realize was that Panama City Beach is actually one of the most family friendly beaches in all of Florida because of all the things to do. Even better: it’s an affordable beach destination. There are so many activities in the town that it’s almost impossible to describe them all. Read this post for a list of activities that are great for families.
- Indoor activities for kids when it’s raining or too hot in the afternoon. Get a full list of ideas here.
- A walk through Pier Park
- A visit to Shipwreck Island water park,
The best family friendly beach in Florida with the widest beach
If your idea of a family beach vacation includes sitting on the beach all day and walking around town, then Clearwater beach is the best beach for you. The wide beach’s white sugar sand is the softest powdery sand in all of Florida, making it the best beach for families who just want to enjoy the beach.
What makes Clearwater Beach family friendly?
Clearwater Beach is very pedestrian friendly, with loads of family friendly activities located in a hub near the Pier 60. The pier hosts sunset festivals 364 days a year and is home to the Sugar Sand Festival each spring where sand sculpture artists create elaborate sand art. Clearwater Beach also has a wide variety of well priced accommodations for any budget.
Clearwater is also home to Winter the dolphin, the star of Dolphin Tale. She lives with her friend Hope, star of Dolphin Tale 2, at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Check out some more reasons to visit Clearwater in this post.
- A water taxi ride from the beach to Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- Sunset celebration on Pier 60
- A day trip to Honeymoon Island State Park
The best family friendly beach in Florida to surf
Looking for the best beach to surf in Florida? The rougher waters of the Atlantic make Daytona Beach the perfect place for families who want to surf while on vacation in Florida.
What makes Daytona Beach family friendly?
Once considered the spring break capital of Florida, Daytona Beach is surprisingly family friendly. In fact, the low prices for beachfront hotels make Daytona Beach one of the most affordable family-friendly destinations in all of Florida. While most of the Florida beach towns have torn down older hotels to make room for pricier condos, Daytona Beach is still home family-owned hotels and motels right on the beach.
There is also so much to do for kids in Daytona Beach. Get the full list of kid friendly activities here in this post.
- A day trip to Ponce Inlet to explore the lighthouse and science center
- A walk around the Riverfront Shops with a stop at Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory
- A Friday night concert at the Daytona Beach Bandshell
Sarasota/ Siesta Key
The best family friendly beach in Florida to explore nature
If you love eco-tours and learning about marine biology, Sarasota is the best family friendly beach destination for you. Sarasota is on the Gulf of Mexico, but also on Sarasota Bay. The bay is an estuary that serves as a nursery for baby fish, sea horses, sea stars, dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and more. It’s such an exhilarating experience to see these sea creatures up close and personal in the wild!
What makes Sarasota family friendly?
Sarasota is also home to Siesta Key, one of the safest beaches in the world for kids. Siesta Key is positioned in a way that it doesn’t get much of a current at all and virtually no riptide, making it incredibly safe for kids to swim in the Gulf of Mexico.
There are also so many activities to do in Sarasota that are not only geared to kids, but can entertain adults too. Attractions like The Ringing Museum of Art and Mote Marine are great for all ages. Get more information about things to do in Sarasota by reading this post.
- An eco-tour with Sarasota Bay Explorers when you visit Mote Marine
- A walk around St. Armond’s Circle to shop and dine
- A visit to Lido Key where you can spend time exploring Sarasota Bay on one side of the key and the Gulf of Mexico on the other
The best hidden gem of a family friendly beach in Florida
My family actually asked me to refrain from writing about Navarre Beach because they are afraid that once people know about it, it won’t be a hidden gem anymore. As much as I’d like to keep Navarre Beach my little family secret, it’s such an amazing place that I can’t help but share it with the world.
What makes Navarre Beach family friendly?
Navarre Beach is family friendly because there is very little to do other than spend time with family. There aren’t any touristy restaurants, exciting beach activities, or flashy shops. It’s the sand, the Gulf of Mexico, and your family. It’s the best place to unplug and just relax with all sorts of old fashioned family fun like frisbee on the beach, game nights, and hard core star gazing.
- Check out Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center
- Go to the Panhandle Butterfly House
- Visit the Gulf Breeze Zoo
More Family Friendly Beaches in Florida
The list doesn’t stop here! While these 8 are my top favorite, there are still many more amazing Florida beaches for families. Here are a few more you might want to check out:
- Fort Walton Beach
- St. Pete Beach
- Venice Beach
- Hollywood Beach
- South Beach
- Fort Lauderdale Beach
- Cocoa Beach