7 Best Family-Friendly Beaches In Florida

Home to over 1,200 miles of coastline, Florida is the ultimate destination for a family vacation. From white sandy beaches, beautiful weather year-round and big cities full of culture, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

With so many cities to choose from,  we’ve put together a list of the best family friendly beaches in the Sunshine State. 

1- Daytona Beach 

Once considered to be the Spring Break capital, you will be pleasantly surprised by Daytona Beach’s family-friendly atmosphere. 

Beachfront hotels are priced surprisingly low compared to other beach destinations. There are also stretches where you can drive your car along the beach!

The streets are lined with touristy gift shops, restaurants, ice cream shops and candy stores. There’s rooftop tiki bars for the adults and arcades for the kids. There’s a ton of free beachfront parking as well! 

The Daytona Boardwalk has rides, arcade games, dining options and even free concerts and shows from May-September. 

Quick Recommendations: Ponce De Leon Lighthouse, Marine Science Center, Daytona International Speedway, Lighthouse Point Park.  

Tip: Unless you’re specifically visiting for bike week, try to avoid early to mid March as it’s quite busy and may be a little loud for the little ones. 

2- Manasota Key 

This small beach town located on a small island is very low key and quiet, the perfect place for a relaxing family vacation.

From the active community of residents and visitors who travel by bike and foot rather than by car, the uncrowded beaches, dolphins swimming along the shallow coast and kayaking in the Lemon Bay, this location was the best time we’ve had when visiting Florida. 

Quick Recommendations: Stump Pass Beach State Park, paddle board or kayak in the Lemon BayLock ‘N Key Restaurant, SandBar Tiki and Grille.

Tip: Walk along the coast in the early morning to find shark teeth! 

3- Clearwater Beach 

Trip Advisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice for being the #1 beach in America, Clearwater Beach is snuggled against the Gulf on Florida’s west coast and is known for it’s pet and kid friendly atmosphere. 

The sugary white sand and clear, calm and shallow water is perfect for kids to swim and relax. There are chairs and umbrellas available to rent and dining options just a short walk away. 

 

 

Quick Recommendations: Sunset Festival at Pier 60, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Eat at Frenchy’s, take a boat tour with Mega Bite

Tip: Have your camera at the ready when the sun begins to go down, you won’t want to miss Clearwater’s world famous sunsets! 

4- Cocoa Beach 

Located on Florida’s Space Coast, Cocoa Beach is considered to be the closest beach to Disney World and Orlando – just a little over an hour drive. 

It’s considered to be one of the ultimate beaches for families in Florida due to the countless activities and atmosphere. This is a really popular spot for surfers so it’s quite fun to relax at the beach and watching them “rip up some waves!”. 

Stretching 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, the famous Cocoa Beach pier is a fun spot to grab a bite to eat, listen to live music and visit the gift shops. 

Quick Recommendations: Dinosaur Adventure Zone, Historic Cocoa Village, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Kennedy Space Center

5- St. Augustine Beach 

America’s oldest town, St. Augustine is one of the more unique places to visit in all of Florida. The historic downtown is lined with cobblestone streets filled with shops and restaurants.

The ambiance is unlike anywhere else and is sure to be an amazing experience with the whole family. The heavy waves at the beach is perfect for boogie boarding or surfing if your family enjoys water sports! 

Quick Recommendations: Try the famous Jalapeno Popper Burger at Gas Full Service Restaurant, St. Augustine Lighthouse, Alligator Farm, The Fountain of Youth

6- New Smyrna Beach

Located roughly 15 miles south of Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach is an excellent alternative or could even be a day trip if you’re staying in Daytona. 

The 1.5 mile boardwalk is very impressive and full of shops and beach-front dining options. The wide shores are perfect for biking or kayaking and the 73-acre Smyrna Dunes Park is a must see in the area. 

Tip: Please note that New Smyrna Beach has a reputation as “The Shark Bite Capitol of the US” so while it’s perfectly safe for families to swim in most areas, try to avoid swimming near the inlet and jetty area. 

7- Panama City Beach 

Located in the Florida Panhandle, the clear water and white sand make Panama City Beach the perfect treat for families seeking a relaxing getaway in the sun!

Other non-beach activities include Pier Park, a 900,000 square-foot shopping center designed similar to a boardwalk. Aside from shopping, you can also find restaurants, souvenirs and activities for the kids such as the small amusement park. 

Quick Recommendations: Gulf World Marine Park, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, St. Andrews State Park

There’s plenty more family friendly beaches in Florida, however these made our personal short-list when visiting The Sunshine State. What are your favorite beaches to visit in Florida? 

 

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