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From bustling waterfront areas to tranquil shorelines, Florida is home to a wide range of beautiful beaches that boast outdoor activities the entire family can enjoy. Whether you’re looking for gentle surf for the little ones to wade in the water, secluded island getaways or pearly white sand to create sandcastles, you’re spoiled for choice in Florida’s 1,200 miles of sandy shores. Here are our top picks for the best family-friendly beaches in Florida.
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Clearwater beach is one of the most famous white sand beaches in Florida, known for its lively atmosphere and family-friendly perks. Beach-goers are captivated by musicians and street performers at Sunsets at Pier 60, a free nightly event that caters to beachgoers of all ages. Deep-sea fishing, boating, jet-skiing, and scuba diving are also popular activities where it is not uncommon to spot sea turtles, rays and schools of dolphins.
Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States, Siesta Beach is in Siesta Key, an eight-mile barrier island that runs along Florida’s Gulf Coast. This picture-perfect beach has been most notably recognized for the sugary white sand, being described as the most pristine and finest in the world. Families can revel in the fine quartz powder that gives this beach undoubtedly a magical quality, allowing it to stay cool under the powerful Florida sun.
Fort De Soto Park is a diverse coastal habitat that surrounded by miles of sugary sand. It’s a great place to take the entire family, where you can spend the day out on the water in a kayak, cruising your way through the paved trail on two wheels, or casting a line off the fishing pier. Go swimming and kite surfing or search for colorful seashell treasures found along its wide stretch of sand.
Amelia Island is perfect for families looking for a laid-back vacation combined with an Old Florida ambiance. There aren’t high-rise buildings or big-chain hotels, just miles of picturesque shoreline and small, mom and pop shops. Cruise the area on a bike, hop on the Amelia Island Trolley for a tour of the town or head out for a sunset sail along the waterfront, then head to nearby Fernandina Beach to explore its charming brick streets.
Laid back with predominantly warm, calm waters, Sanibel Island and nearby Captiva are a favorite for families traveling with children. Famous for shelling, you will find beachgoers bent over scouring the beach for colorful treasures in what has affectionately been coined as the “Sanibel Stoop.” Ride a bike through J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, go on a high-speed catamaran cruise or escape for a day of exploring Lovers Key State Park.
Families will delight in the 13 miles of wide, white sand beaches in New Smyrna, as this quaint beach town is lined with mom and pop restaurants, sidewalk cafes and bed and breakfast accommodations. Its golden sands offer a quiet respite that is perfect for a day of beachcombing, surfing and kitesurfing. Take a scenic eco-tour of the Indian River Lagoon or pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoor landscapes at Lake Ashby Park.
A sun-drenched jewel nestled against the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is the largest barrier island in the Ten Thousand Islands. The perfect escape for families with kids, here you’ll find a combination of low-key friendly vibes that are highlighted in the local seafood restaurants and water-based activities such as kayaking, dolphin watching and eco-tours. Naples Beach is nearby where you might spot sea turtle nesting or dolphins splashing about in the water.
A stunning strip of paradise along the Gulf, Longboat Key offers a land of quiet landscapes. It’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Sunshine State, perfect for those looking to spend their time shelling, birding and taking romantic moonlit strolls. Nature enthusiasts can join eco-tours that explore the lagoons and mangroves to the wildlife viewing opportunities at Quick Point Nature Preserve or go on kite surfing, kayaking or paddle boarding excursions.
Grayton Beach is a funky area with Hemingway-style wooden homes situated in side streets paved with crushed oyster shells. A quaint area with a motto of “Nice Dogs, Strange People”, you simply can’t beat its famous one-mile shoreline of clear emerald green waters. Hit the nature trail, kayak through the nearby Western Lake, or bike through the 4 miles of pine flatwoods. You can also explore its colorful cottages, art galleries and boutiques.
The oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is a popular family-friendly destination. The city’s beaches stretch from St. Augustine Beach to Vilano Beach, where idyllic state parks and public beaches provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy its wide sands, peaceful atmosphere and diverse wildlife. You can also an afternoon at the unspoiled Anastasia State Park, where its scenic trails and four-mile beach are the perfect escape from the city’s bustle.
Fort Walton Beach is an excellent family-friendly destination on Florida’s Emerald Coast. While it boasts 24 miles of picturesque coastline, it also offers plenty of non-beach related activities. Take the kids to see the marine life at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park or explore hands-on exhibits at the Emerald Coast Science Center. If beach hopping is your thing, the family will enjoy the quiet landscapes of nearby Navarre Beach and Miramar Beach.
Located on the Atlantic Ocean coastline, Delray Beach is a small beach town that is perfect for families. Without the crowds of tourists, you can enjoy its small-town charm and beautiful beaches all to yourself. Surfing, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling are at the top of any itinerary to Delray Beach, while a dose of culture can be found at the Japanese-inspired gardens at nearby Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens.
St. George Island is a barrier island dotted with sea oats and sand dunes that stretch for 28 miles along the shore, boasting a lack of high rises or chain stores. Soak up the Old Florida ambiance at this slow-paced beach getaway, where cycling, fishing and kayaking are popular outdoor adventures. Take a sunset cruise to enjoy the beautiful landscapes from a distance, or relax on the soft sugary sands and spot dolphins frolicking in the water.