One of the best things about living or vacationing in Florida is that there are so many beaches to choose from. From beautiful stretches of sand on the Atlantic side to little-known gems on Florida's Gulf Coast, there are more than enough options for every family to choose from.
So whether you want a quiet, secluded beach that has everything you need within walking distance, or a vibrant shoreline where your kids can partake in many activities, or maybe even learn how to surf, there's a beach for you in Florida!
My family and friends have visited several beaches along the Sunshine State's coastlines (both East and West), and I've compiled the ultimate list of best Florida beaches for families below. While this list isn't comprehensive, it does include some of my go-to spots for families with young children as well as those families looking for fun activities beyond just relaxing on the sand.
Family Vacation In Florida
Florida is a great place to vacation (or staycation) with your family! There are many different types of beaches that you can visit. For example, if you are looking for a beach that is active, there are many places where you can go parasailing, jet skiing, and surfing.
If you want to relax on the beach and get some sunbathing in, then beaches on the West Coast of Florida are the perfect place for you.
Beaches along 30A in North Florida or along the Southern Gulf of Mexico have white sand beaches that stretch for miles along the oceanfront. Thus making it an ideal place for families who want to enjoy time together while still enjoying all the activities Florida has to offer!
Best Gulf Coast Beaches
30A is the name for a stretch of Florida's Gulf Coast from Panama City Beach to Destin Florida. It is home to some of Florida's most pristine beaches (Watercolor, Santa Rosa, Seaside, Seagrove) and it is known as the Emerald Coast due to the gorgeous emerald-colored water. Calm warm water makes this an ideal place for families and sunbathing. This is definitely one of my top picks of the best Florida beaches for families.
St. Pete Beach
This beach is another beautiful beach along Florida's Gulf Coast. It's located in Central Florida and offers activities for all types of families. There are relaxing seaside retreats as well as busier larger hotel chains.
Clearwater Beach is north of St. Pete beach and is home to Pier 60, where you can watch dolphins and manatees swim by. You will find larger condos and hotels here but the water is beautiful and the beaches are long.
Indian Rocks Beach
This is a hidden gem and is a wonderful place to get your beach on with a family-friendly atmosphere and a wide selection of dining options. There are plenty of VRBOs in the area and the water is calm and beautiful. This is another best Florida beach for families!
Siesta Key is the quintessential Florida beach town with smaller hotel chains and condo rentals. There are plenty of local restaurants to choose from that offer up local fare, plus beautiful white sand beaches and sparkling blue waters.
Boca Grande Beach
This barrier island is a beautiful well-known island in Southwest Florida to Floridians. It has a small-town charm where residents and tourists get around by golf carts. You can find many luxury rental homes as well as the beautiful Gasparilla Island Club Estates. Explore miles of pristine shoreline while enjoying some excellent seafood fare at one of its many fine restaurants.
Overall Best Florida Beaches for Families
We have listed the overall best Florida beach towns that the whole family will love. With all of the activities, it's easy to find something you like, and even if you don’t want to swim, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the warm weather. The restaurants here are also great if you want a break from cooking at home.
Best Small Town Florida Beaches for Families
If you’re looking for a smaller town with plenty of charm, check out this list. Small towns are great for families because they tend to be more laid-back and slower-paced than their larger counterparts.
They also offer a variety of food and entertainment options that can easily be explored in just one day or over several days, depending on the length of your trip.
Plus, small towns often have lots of historical sites that might interest your kids as well as outdoor activities like hiking or biking trails nearby where they can let off some steam after spending time indoors at night (because yes, most small towns don’t have much nightlife).
Port Saint Joe is a great option for families wanting to experience a small-town vibe. It's near Cape San Blas which is another great option. Both beaches are located in Northwest Florida. You won't find hotels in this part of the Florida panhandle so look into home and condo rentals from your favorite rental website (Vrbo or Airbnb).
Captiva Island and Sanibel Island are located in Southwest Florida. Both of these Islands give the off quintessential Florida island vibes. Captiva Island has a larger resort, South Seas Island Resort, and Sanibel has smaller boutique hotels. You can easily find rentals for both islands by checking out your favorite vacation rental website. Most visitors leave their cars parked and get around by golf carts and bikes. When you arrive on these islands you are immediately transported to island time.
Most Beautiful Beaches
Destin has some of the most beautiful beaches that encompass the softest white sand. Besides the beach, there are so many family activities to join in like themed golfing and go-cart racing. There are several top-notch dining choices as well.
Fort Lauderdale has many family-friendly beaches for families who want to vacation near Miami. Some of the best include Las Olas Beach and Pier Park, which features an amusement park, restaurants, and shops on the pier as well as several miles of walkable boardwalk that connects to shops and restaurants at Port Everglades (the area’s main cruise ship terminal).
Naples is one of Florida's most glamorous destinations-this city offers some great activities for families with kids in tow! One option is spending time at Vanderbilt Beach where you can rent paddleboards or kayaks from nearby vendors during certain times throughout the summer months; another option would be taking advantage of Naples' proximity to Marco Island and visiting Marco's beautiful beaches too!
Best Florida Beaches for Families on the East Coast
The best Florida beaches for families on the east coast include Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, and Cocoa Beach.
Ponte Vedra Beach is located in Northeast Florida and offers many local attractions like golfing, fishing and snorkeling. Plus there are plenty of restaurants nearby if you want to grab dinner after your day at the beach or stay overnight in one of their many hotels if you want to make a weekend out of it.
St. Augustine is another great beach town that’s perfect for families because it has plenty of history—it was founded by Europeans over 450 years ago! You can spend hours exploring all its historic sites like Castillo De San Marcos National Monument (a fort from 1672) or The Fountain of Youth Park (home to an actual spring). If you need a break from sightseeing this city has some amazing restaurants as well as bars where adults can enjoy drinks while kids play at an indoor arcade next door called Laser Tag Arena Family Fun Center!
Daytona Beach is another family-friendly destination with plenty of things to do besides just sunbathing or swimming in the ocean: there are race car experience packages at the Daytona Speedway, fishing charters, a water park, and outlet shopping.
There are so many beaches in Florida to choose from when planning a family vacation. Hopefully, these top picks will help make your decision easier! You'll have no shortage of activities or amenities at any of these locations.
A list like this can never be exhaustive, but we hope it's a good jumping-off point for you to find your own perfect stretch of sand in Florida.
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Hello! I'm Tiffany and I'm a creative travel writer, mother to three awesome kids, and a Floridian. We like to visit beautiful Florida beaches, Florida State Parks, and everything in between! I like to write about our travel adventures and provide tips to other families traveling or relocating to the Sunshine State.