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Travel destinations, beaches and attractions and things to do in Florida. Documented by RESIDENTS of Florida.

Discover the 12 Best Beaches in Florida for Families

Discover the ultimate 12 destinations for families seeking sun, sand, and sea in the enchanting state of Florida. From white sandy coastlines to turquoise waters, Florida boasts an extensive array of family-friendly beaches that are bound to make your vacation unforgettable.

Whether you’re in search of gentle waves for young ones, exciting water activities, or simply a serene spot to unwind, this guide will unveil the 12 best beaches in Florida for families. Embark on a coastal adventure and create cherished memories with your loved ones amidst the splendor of these stunning beachfront destinations.

best beaches in Florida for families
Family memories are made on a beach like this!

Why Florida is the Perfect Destination for Family Beach Vacations

Florida is the perfect destination for family beach vacations. With its stunning beaches and family-friendly attractions, it offers a memorable experience for all.

The state’s beautiful coastline is dotted with numerous beaches that cater specifically to families. From the white sands of Clearwater Beach to the vibrant atmosphere of Cocoa Beach, there is a beach in Florida for every family to enjoy.

The abundance of family-friendly activities such as water sports, beach games, and sandcastle building make these beaches an ideal choice for families looking to create lasting memories.

Additionally, Florida’s warm climate ensures that families can enjoy the beach year-round. So, if you’re planning a family beach vacation, look no further than the beaches in Florida for an unforgettable experience.

There is no preference in the order the best beaches in Florida are presented. They are all exemplary beaches that our family loves as residents of Florida.

Clearwater Beachbest family beach in Florida - clearwater beach

Overview: Clearwater Beach, located on the Gulf Coast, is a popular choice for families. With its soft white sand, gentle waves, and numerous family-friendly attractions nearby, it offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment. Families can enjoy beach volleyball, water sports, and even take a dolphin-watching cruise. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter the Dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale, is also a must-visit attraction. Clearwater Beach has been named one of the best beaches in Florida several times. Few other beach destinations have the activities, attractions and family-friendly atmosphere of this popular beach on the West Coast of Florida.

Things To Do on Clearwater Beach

Places to Stay on Clearwater Beach with Prices

VRBO’s Clearwater Beach

Nearest Airports – Tampa (TPA), St. Pete/Clearwater (PIE) 30-40 minutes

things you need when flying

Siesta Key Beachbest beach in Florida for families

Overview: Siesta Key Beach, situated near Sarasota, is renowned for its powdery white sand and shallow, calm waters, making it an excellent choice for families with young children. The beach offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and volleyball courts. Families can also explore the nearby Siesta Key Village, which features shops, restaurants, and ice cream parlors. Siesta Key Beach is ranked one of the top beaches in the world with wide sandy shores, showers, playgrounds and quaint island setting. We have written about Siesta Key Beach many times and it has been rated as the number one beach in the United States several times. The wide beach offers many advantages to families who enjoy beach games and plan fun things to do together.

Things To Do on Siesta Key

Places to Stay on Siesta Key with Prices

VRBOs Siesta Key

Nearest Airport – Sarasota/Bradenton (SRQ) – 25 minutes away, Tampa (TPA) 90 minutes away

Amelia Island Beachesbest beach in Florida for families amelia island

Overview: Amelia Island’s beaches, nestled along the northeastern coast of Florida, offer visitors a serene and picturesque coastal escape characterized by soft sands, gentle waves, and natural beauty. With over 13 miles of shoreline, Amelia Island boasts a variety of beach experiences, from secluded stretches perfect for peaceful strolls to bustling areas ideal for family picnics and water sports. The island’s wide, sandy beaches provide ample space for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing, while the clear Atlantic waters offer opportunities for surfing, paddleboarding, and fishing. With its unspoiled landscapes, breathtaking sunrises, and abundance of outdoor activities, Amelia Island’s beaches enchant visitors with their laid-back charm and timeless appeal, making them a beloved destination along Florida’s northeast coast. There is lots of history on Amelia Island also – see one of our trips here. This is one of our family’s top three best beaches in Florida for families.

Things To Do on Amelia Island

Places to Stay on Amelia Island with Prices

VRBOs Amelia Island

Nearest Airport to Amelia Island – Jacksonville (JAX)

Naples Beachbest Florida family beach Naples

Overview: Naples Beach, situated along the southwestern coast of Florida in the city of Naples, offers visitors a luxurious and idyllic coastal experience renowned for its uncluttered white sands, clear turquoise waters, and upscale ambiance. Stretching for miles along the Gulf of Mexico, Naples Beach provides the perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. With its gentle waves and soft sands, the beach caters to both relaxation and recreation, attracting families, couples, and solo travelers alike. Naples Beach is complemented by a range of amenities, including beachfront resorts, upscale dining options, and boutique shops along nearby Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South. Whether enjoying a leisurely stroll along the iconic Naples Pier, taking in a stunning sunset over the Gulf waters, or indulging in waterfront dining, Naples Beach offers a quintessential Florida coastal experience characterized by luxury, natural beauty, and sophistication.

Things To Do in Naples Florida

Places to Stay in Naples with Prices

VRBOs Naples Florida

Nearest Major Airport – Southwest Regional Airport (Fort Myers) (RSW) 45 minutes away

Cocoa Beachfamily beach in Florida - cocoa beach

Overview: Cocoa Beach is an ideal destination for families seeking a fun-filled and memorable beach vacation. With its soft, sandy shores, gentle waves, and warm Atlantic waters, Cocoa Beach provides the perfect environment for children to swim, build sandcastles, and play in the surf under the watchful eye of lifeguards. Families can enjoy a wide range of activities, including beach volleyball, kite flying, and shell collecting, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Beyond the beach, Cocoa Beach offers family-friendly attractions such as the iconic Cocoa Beach Pier, where visitors can dine, shop, and fish, as well as nearby attractions like the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which offers educational and entertaining experiences for all ages. With its relaxed atmosphere, abundance of recreational opportunities, and proximity to family-friendly attractions, Cocoa Beach is a fantastic choice for families looking to create lasting memories together.

Things To Do in Cocoa Beach

Places to Stay in Cocoa Beach with Prices

VRBOs Cocoa Beach

Nearest Airport to Cocoa Beach – Orlando International Airport (MCO) 75 minutes away

St. Pete Beachbest beaches in Florida for Families St. Pete Beach

Overview: St. Pete Beach, situated on a barrier island off the Gulf Coast, is always one of the top beaches in Florida for families  seeking a laid-back beach experience. With its warm waters, soft sand, and stunning sunsets, it offers a picturesque setting for family outings. The beach is wide and long with water slides, mini-golf, beautiful hotels and plenty of restaurants. Always rated as one of the top beaches in Florida for families. St. Pete Beach is only about 20 miles away from Clearwater Beach and just a few miles from the many attractions of St. Petersburg. The large beach and the amenities for families are among the top destinations in Florida.

Things To Do in St. Pete Beach

Places to Stay in St. Pete Beach with Prices

VRBO’s St. Pete Beach

Closest Airport to St. Pete Beach – St. Pete/Clearwater (PIE) 25 minutes away, Tampa (TPA) 50 minutes away

West Palm Beach best family beach in Florida west palm beach

Overview: West Palm Beach is an excellent choice for a family beach vacation due to its combination of beautiful beaches, family-friendly attractions, and vibrant atmosphere. The city boasts several great beaches along its coastline, including Palm Beach Municipal Beach and Lake Worth Beach, offering soft sands, clear waters, and ample space for families to relax and play. Lifeguards ensure safety, and amenities like picnic areas, playgrounds, and beach equipment rentals cater to families’ needs. Beyond the beach, families can explore attractions like the Palm Beach Zoo and many more providing entertainment and educational experiences for all ages. Additionally, West Palm Beach’s downtown area offers shopping, dining, and cultural attractions, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

Things To Do in West Palm Beach 

Places To Stay in West Palm Beach with Prices 

VRBO’s West Palm Beach

Closest Airport to West Palm Beach – Palm Beach Airport (PBI)

Sanibel Island Beachesbest family beaches in Florida Sanibel

Overview: Sanibel Island is an ideal destination for a family beach vacation due to its sunlit shores, abundant seashells, and tranquil atmosphere. Known as the “Seashell Capital of the World,” Sanibel’s beaches offer endless opportunities for families to explore and collect unique shells along its sandy coastline. With gentle waves and shallow waters, the beaches are perfect for children to swim, build sandcastles, and play in the surf. Families can also enjoy activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and wildlife watching, with opportunities to spot dolphins, manatees, and numerous bird species. The island’s relaxed vibe, stunning sunsets, and family-friendly amenities, including picnic areas and restrooms, ensure a memorable and enjoyable beach vacation for families of all ages on Sanibel Island.

Things To Do on Sanibel Island

Places to Stay on Sanibel Island

VRBO’s Sanibel Island

Closest Airport to Sanibel Island – Southwest Regional Airport (Fort Myers) (RSW) 40 minutes away

St. George Islandbest family beaches in Florida St. George Island

Overview: Families choose St. George Island, Florida, for beach vacations due to its pristine beauty, uncrowded shores, and abundance of family-friendly activities. With its expansive stretches of soft, white sand and clear, emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, St. George Island offers a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle of larger beach destinations. Families can enjoy building sandcastles, swimming, snorkeling, and beachcombing without the crowds often found in more touristy areas. The island’s laid-back atmosphere, charming seaside cottages, and lack of high-rise developments create a sense of nostalgia and escape, providing families with an opportunity to reconnect and create lasting memories together in a serene coastal setting. Additionally, St. George Island offers outdoor adventures such as fishing, kayaking, and nature trails, ensuring there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy during their beach vacation. Camping is also available at St. George Island State Park. This is one of our family’s top three best beaches in Florida for families and vacations for seclusion and less crowded beaches.

Things To Do on St. George Island

Places To Stay on St. George Island with Prices

VRBO’s St. George Island

Closest Airport to St. George Island – Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH) 2 hours away

Marathon – Florida Keysbest Florida beaches for families Marathon

Overview: Marathon, located in the heart of the Florida Keys, is a picturesque island city renowned for its stunning natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and vibrant marine life. Situated midway between Key West and Key Largo, Marathon is often referred to as the “Heart of the Keys” due to its central location within the archipelago. The city is surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters and is home to numerous beaches.

We recommend one of Marathon’s most notable attractions – Hawks Cay Resort, a luxury island resort located on Duck Key, just a short drive from Marathon. Hawks Cay Resort offers upscale accommodations, including hotel rooms, suites, and villas, all set amidst lush tropical gardens and overlooking the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The resort boasts a wide range of amenities for families and activities for guests of all ages, including multiple swimming pools, a full-service spa, tennis courts, and a marina offering water sports rentals and excursions. Families will appreciate the resort’s kid-friendly facilities, including a children’s club, splash pad, and daily activities such as snorkeling lessons and dolphin encounters. This is one of our family’s top three best beaches in Florida for families and big family beach vacations in Florida.

Things To Do in Marathon

Hawk’s Cay Resort with Pictures and Prices

VRBO’s Marathon – Florida Keys

Closest Airport to Hawks Cay – Key West International Airport (EYW) 90 minutes away, Miami International Airport 2 hours away

Panama City Beachbest family beach in Florida

Overview: Panama City Beach is an excellent choice for a family vacation on the beach, offering miles of beachside coastline, warm Gulf waters, and a wealth of family-friendly attractions. Families can spend their days building sandcastles, playing beach games, and swimming in the clear turquoise waters, all while soaking up the Florida sunshine. The beach is equipped with amenities such as lifeguards, restrooms, and showers, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for families with children. Beyond the beach, Panama City Beach offers an array of attractions and activities suitable for all ages, including water parks, amusement parks, mini-golf courses, and wildlife encounters. Families can also embark on dolphin-watching tours, or take part in adventurous water sports like snorkeling, parasailing, and jet skiing. Note: While we love Panama City Beach amenities for families, we suggest families not visit during Spring Break season March-April 15th.

Things To Do in Panama City Beach

Places to Stay in Panama City Beach

VRBO’s Panama City Beach

Nearest Airport to Panama City Beach – Panama City Airport (ECP) 30 minutes away, Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH) 90 minutes away

St. Augustine Beachbest family beach in Florida St. Augustine Beach

Overview: St. Augustine Beach is an exceptional choice for a family vacation due to its blend of history, natural beauty, and family-friendly attractions. With its wide, sandy shores and gentle Atlantic waves, St. Augustine Beach provides the perfect environment for families to relax, play, and explore. Beyond the beach, families can discover the rich history of St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city, by visiting landmarks like the Castillo de San Marcos and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. The city also offers family-friendly attractions such as the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, and the St. Augustine Wild Reserve. With its combination of sun, sand, history, and entertainment, St. Augustine Beach promises a memorable and enjoyable family vacation experience. Our family considers this a must-do when grade school children start history classes. One of the best beaches in Florida for families interested in historical vacations in Florida.

Things To Do in St. Augustine Beach

Places to Stay in St. Augustine Beach

VRBO’s St. Augustine Beach

Nearest Airport to St. Augustine – Jacksonville (JAX)

Best family beach in Florida - Memories making
You can’t plan these kinds of memories except at a family friendly beach in Florida.

Tips For Planning a Memorable Florida Family Beach Vacation

Planning a memorable Florida family beach vacation involves several key considerations to ensure everyone has a fantastic time. Here are some tips to help you plan:

  • Choose the Right Destination: Research different best beaches in Florida for families to find one that suits your family’s preferences and needs. Consider factors such as proximity to attractions, amenities, water conditions, and budget.
  • Book Accommodations in Advance: Secure accommodations early, especially during peak seasons, to get the best options and prices. Look for Florida family-friendly resorts, vacation rentals, or hotels with amenities such as pools, kids’ clubs, and beach access.
  • Pack Essentials: Make a packing list to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable vacation. Essentials may include the proper sunscreen, beach towels, hats, swimsuits, beach toys, snacks, and reusable water bottles (save $$ by filling them up at hotels and water fountains).
  • Plan Activities for All Ages: Research family-friendly activities and attractions near your beach destination. Consider water sports, boat tours, amusement parks, nature reserves, museums, and cultural experiences that appeal to everyone in the family.
  • Stay Sun-Safe: Protect your family from the sun by applying sunscreen
    best family beach in Florida Beach Flags
    Know these life saving flags that you may see in Florida Beaches.
    regularly, seeking shade during peak hours, wearing protective clothing and hats, and staying hydrated. Encourage kids to take breaks from the sun to prevent sunburn and heat exhaustion.
  • Set a Budget: Establish a budget for your vacation and stick to it. Look for deals and discounts on accommodations, attractions, and dining options to save money without sacrificing fun. See our money saving tips for Florida.
  • Plan for Downtime: While it’s tempting to fill your itinerary with activities, make sure to schedule downtime for relaxation and rest. Allow time for spontaneous beach outings, leisurely walks, and quality family bonding.
  • Be Flexible: Stay flexible and open-minded during your vacation, as plans may change due to weather, unforeseen circumstances, or the interests of family members. Embrace the unexpected and go with the flow to make the most of your time together.
  • Capture Memories: Bring a camera or smartphone to capture special moments and memories during your vacation. Take plenty of photos and videos to document your family’s adventures and create lasting keepsakes.
  • Enjoy Quality Time Together: Above all, prioritize spending quality time together as a family. Disconnect from screens, distractions, and work obligations to fully immerse yourselves in the beauty of nature and the joy of being together on vacation. Relax, unwind, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
    Beaches Packing Checklist
Final Thoughts on the Best Florida Beaches for Families

A family beach vacation in Florida is the ultimate getaway for families seeking a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. 

With its stunning coastline, pristine beaches, and an array of family-friendly activities, Florida offers an unrivaled experience for creating lifelong memories. Whether it’s building sandcastles, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, or exploring the vibrant marine life, Florida’s beaches provide endless opportunities for family bonding and fun. 

So, why settle for anything less when you can have the best? Plan your family beach vacation in Florida today and embark on an unforgettable journey. Download our packing guide for Florida to make the most of your trip and create cherished moments that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on the perfect family vacation—start planning now!

Map of the Best Beaches in Florida for Families

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