Who’s ready for some fun in the sun at these 9 best Florida beaches for families? Fortunately for parents looking to flock to a warmer paradise, the Sunshine State boasts plenty of kid-friendly attractions! Whether you’re prioritizing extreme water sports, lounging seaside on a beautiful shoreline, or family activities around town, Florida is guaranteed to have what you’re searching for in a vacation. Explore Tarpon Bay in Sanibel Island, for example, or visit Everglades National Park while in Naples. From Pensacola all the way down to Anna-Maria Island, we’ve compiled a list of the 9 Best Florida Beaches for Families for all kinds of interests! Use it as a resource to help plan your next itinerary with kids!
Siesta Key is one of the best Florida beaches for families! Accessible by car, Amtrak, or airport, lounge on three miles of Sarasota’s white quartz shoreline while kids splash, frolic, and build sandcastles. For a family lunch, Siesta Beach also has picnic tables, a tennis court, and a playground to keep little ones occupied. Adventurous children can also enjoy watersports, ranging from kayaking to snorkeling and parasailing. Siesta Key is famous for dolphin and whale spotting too, which you can book locally to get a closer glimpse! Outside of the beach area, families can also explore Siesta Key Village, a boulevard lined with boutiques, restaurants, and ice cream shops. On Sundays, visit the Siesta Key Farmers Market for fresh produce, seasonal goods, and cute trinkets. Each week in Siesta Key also ends with an interactive drum circle, a dance party filled with props like hula hoops, instruments, and more!
*Be aware that while Siesta Key beach is great for kids, it’s also known to occasionally carry dangerous rip currents.
Destin is a glittering turquoise gem within Florida’s Emerald Coast. Located off Fort Walton and accessible by car or airport, it’s world-famous for fishing, exquisite dining, and lots of family fun! Plus, with twelve different access points, vacationing along this beautiful 8-mile beach is sure to be a breeze. At Henderson Beach State Park, find a shallow waterfront perfect for little ones and spotting dolphins, sea turtles, or rare birds. Aside from sunbathing, hit the waves by parasailing, kayaking, and other watersports also offered in town. Daredevil kids may particularly love a visit to Gator Beach at Fudpucker’s, a famous family-friendly restaurant that hosts an interactive Alligator Game Show! Outside, the city itself boasts a lot of kid-friendly attractions, like the celebrated Big Kahunas Waterpark or the Track Family Recreation Center for mini-golf, go-karting, etc. At night, stroll through the iconic Destin Harbor Boardwalk for dinner and some ice cream!
Sanibel Island is a natural oasis tucked in Florida’s Western coast. A short drive from Fort Myers, it’s known for its stunning landscapes, family attractions, and its landmark, Sanibel lighthouse! Spend your days at the kid-friendly Bowman’s Beach for calm waters, a sizable playground, and extra privacy from crowds. Along its shores, seashell collectors will love Sanibel Island’s variety of shell shapes, sizes, and colors! Active families can also traverse miles of paved bike trails spanning the island. Or, hit the water in a canoe, paddleboat, or pontoon to explore Tarpon Bay! Sanibel Island’s seclusion from mainland Florida also provides a home for a variety of exotic wildlife, which you can learn more about at sanctuaries like the J.N Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. No matter how you spend your days, sunsets are when Sanibel Island truly comes alive. Venture to the lighthouse for an incredible vista over the horizon!
*Those planning to visit Sanibel should be cautious of its abundant “no-see-ums” insect population around dawn and dusk.
Head to Pensacola for a perfect family vacation at one of the best Florida beaches for kids! Located along the safe and shallow Santa Rosa Sound, its emerald waters host beach fun for all ages, accessible by car or flight. Dip your toes in sugar-white sand on Quietwater, a tranquil enclave to spot wildlife like hermit crabs, loggerhead turtles, and seagulls. Businesses along Little Sabine Bay also provide rentals for kayaking, wave running, and paddle boats. Big Lagoon State Park offers complete immersion in nature across acres of natural saltwater marshes and oak trees. For a more action-packed day, kids can also zip line at Adventures Unlimited! To dive into Pensacola’s history, visit Historic Pensacola, Europe’s first U.S. settlement. The Wentworth and Naval Aviation Museum are both open to the public. And don’t forget to take a stroll along the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk to discover boutiques, restaurants, and live performances!
Clearwater’s dazzling shoreline invites everyone to take a dip! Accessible by drive, Amtrak via St. Petersburg, or flight, this paradise along Florida’s central coast boasts scenic sunsets, miles of sugar sand, and plenty to keep families entertained. The beach also offers umbrellas and chairs to rent, so even if it’s crowded, you’ll still find space to sprawl out! Eco-tours are popular here too, given the area’s abundance of dolphins, shells, and other marine life. For more extreme sports, older kids can also rent jet skis, parasail, or go snorkeling! You’ll also love the small-town ambiance in Clearwater’s village and along Pier 60, where you’ll find the legendary eatery Frenchy’s South Beach. Then, venture to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to meet local celebrities Winter and Hope from Dolphin Tale! Of course, when evening falls, check out the nightly Sunset Festival. The four-hour extravaganza showcases musicians, street performers, and even some pirates!
Navarre Beach is one of the best Florida beaches for kids. Accessible by car or plane, it’s perfect for a peaceful family getaway! Here, splash in Santa Rosa Island’s calm waters on a compact shoreline, just east of Pensacola. Florida’s longest, The Navarre’s Beach Pier is also great for water sports, like paddleboards, jet skiing, or boogie boards. The Navarre Children’s Park offers a playground with beautiful views of the area’s landscapes, dotted with colorful houses! Parents can also just relax while kids play with community beach toys thanks to the “Borrow Bin,” a toy trove near Navarre’s Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. Come back to learn more about Florida’s sea turtles. (And maybe see some for yourself!) At the Marine Science Station, kids can also explore interactive exhibits related to ocean life. Or, visit adorable creatures like dolphins, sea lions, and seals, at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park!
Panama City is one of the best Florida beaches for families for a reason. Alongside a 27-mile shoreline, it also has two state parks, delicious seafood restaurants, and is accessible via plane or car! Relax among Panama Beach’s many family-friendly access points, like Schooner’s or Spyglass, a bit more secluded for younger kids. Along the pier, local joints like Ocean’s Bar and Grill serve tasty oysters, clams, and more! St. Andrews State Park also encloses a protected “kiddie pool,” and a public beach known for watersports. To explore more uninhabited enclaves, visit Camp St. Helen State Park, featuring trails, Lake Powell, and the famous Rainbow Cottages. Plus, in the spirit of Panama City’s fame as a popular tourist attraction for amusement parks, make time for a trip to Race City PCB. To cool down on a hot day, Shipwreck Island waterpark is another great option!
Anna-Maria Island is an idyllic seaside escape along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Accessible by drive or flight, this seven-mile-strip sits separate from Florida’s mainland for secluded family fun! It also dates back to 1911, giving it an authentic, historic ambiance. Spend your days sunbathing on popular family-friendly beaches like Coquina, Holmes, or Manatee, each featuring calm waters, picnic areas, and other amenities for kids. In addition to water sports, kayak eco-tours are also a popular attraction here, mainly to spot local wildlife like dolphins or whales. Larger areas, like Bayfront or Manatee Park, also boast public beaches, playgrounds, and other facilities. Afterward, stroll restaurants, boutiques, or spot birds along the famous Anna Maria City Pier, a 700-foot-long historic landmark. For a more old-Florida-style experience, the nearby Bridge Street Pier is also a great place to grab sweets. If you’re a donut lover, though, don’t miss dessert at The Donut Experiment!
Naples is another one of the best Florida beaches for families! Known as the “Paradise Coast,” this laid-back area is reachable by Amtrak, airport, or car ride from nearby Fort Myers. Picturesque like a postcard, Barefoot Beach Preserve offers turtle spotting, soft white sand, and shallow waters for little kids. Lowdermilk Park, a beachfront park with two playgrounds, volleyball courts, and a concession stand, is also popular with all ages! Outside of Naples Beach, places like the Naples Botanical Garden or the Naples Zoo provide a glimpse at local wildlife in a controlled habitat, perfect for shaking up your day plans. Or, explore a public beach with wildlife and water sports, Clam Pass Park, or drive farther to Everglades National Park. All offer families something fun and unique! By evening, however, don’t forget to head back to the Naples Pier to watch boats zip past a beautiful sunset.
Little ones will love a visit to these best Florida beaches for kids! No matter where in Florida you choose, though, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the quality time spent with your loved ones. We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the 9 Best Florida Beaches For Families!
A special thank you to the Families Who Love to Travel Facebook community who helped with the research for finding the best Florida beaches families will love. They are a group of like-minded families who love adventure and exploring through travel. Join the Facebook community and the Instagram community to connect with other families who love the unique experiences travel has to offer
Which one is your favorite? Share why in the comments!