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The perfect escape after a long winter, Florida’s sunny coastal areas provide families with plenty of sun, sand and warm ocean breezes. Want to avoid the crazy college crowds? Here are our picks for the best spring break destinations for families in Florida.
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Captiva & Sanibel Islands
Beautiful barrier islands on the Gulf Coast, Captiva & Sanibel Islands are a great place to take the entire family during spring break. Embrace the laid-back lifestyle and soak up the stunning scenery, where you can spend your days collecting colorful seashells that have washed up onshore. 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.
A sun-drenched jewel on Florida’s west coast, Marco Island boasts white sand beaches, quaint seafood restaurants and water-based activities. You’re spoiled for choice with outdoor adventures at Barefoot Beach, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park and Naples Beach, while fishing charters, dolphin watching tours and shelling are also popular during spring break. Enjoy thrilling water slides at Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, observe otters at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary or browse the interactive exhibits at Golisano Children’s Museum.
St. George Island
If you and your family are looking to immerse yourself in some of Florida’s most tranquil landscapes over spring break, visit St. George Island. Escape the crowds at this Northwest Florida gem nestled along the Gulf of Mexico, where the entire family will enjoy climbing the 92 steps up Cape Saint George Lighthouse for beautiful views of the island, taking a scenic bike ride along the 17 miles of paved bike paths and can enjoy a peaceful picnic at the undeveloped beaches on St. George Island State Park.
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island boasts an Old Florida ambiance where speeds never exceed 35 mph and is a perfect destination for families. This laid-back island offers a tranquil escape during spring break, where you can cruise around the seven-mile barrier island on two wheels, go fishing or hop on a kayak and spot dolphins and bird rookeries up close. Play a round of miniature golf at the Fish Hole, climb the pirate ship at Coquina Beach or enjoy snorkeling, kayaking or dolphin watching excursion.
The Florida Keys
With its laid-back tropical vibes and an abundance of water activities, the Florida Keys are an easy choice for families wanting some outdoor fun. Explore the colorful reefs and snorkeling opportunities at Dry Tortugas National Park or visit the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center to get up close to Florida’s marine animals and ecosystems, while kids of all ages can be entertained by the exhibits at the Key West Shipwreck Museum and swirling butterflies at Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
Soak up the Old Florida ambiance in the spring break family destination of Amelia Island. You won’t find high-rise buildings or big-chain hotels, just 13 miles of uncrowded, picturesque shoreline dotted with mom and pop shops. Hop on a bike and explore the area on two wheels, enjoy a narrated journey on the Amelia Island Trolley for a tour of the town, then head out for a memorable sunset sail along the waterfront. Make sure to stroll the brick streets of nearby Fernandina Beach and go beachcombing for seashell treasures.
If a pristine beach is what you’re after, visit Siesta Key, as it’s considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. This eight-mile barrier island is noted for its sugary sand that is the finest in the world, while its abundance of water-based activities makes it an ideal destination for families. Enjoy boating, parasailing, kayaking or snorkeling, then enjoy The Ringling museum, Marie Selby Botanical Garden and Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in nearby Sarasota.
Fort Walton Beach
Escape the spring break crowds in Pensacola and visit Fort Walton Beach instead. It is an excellent family-friendly destination on Florida’s Emerald Coast with 24 miles of picturesque coastline. The family will love meeting marine life at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park or exploring the hands-on exhibits at the Emerald Coast Science Center. A perfect destination for beach hopping, you can also take day trips to nearby Navarre Beach and Miramar Beach.
A beautiful coastal town in Palm Beach County, Delray Beach was once voted the “Most Fun Small Town in America” by USA Today. You and your family can spend a day collecting seashells at the sun-kissed beach, explore the Japanese-inspired landscapes at Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens and marvel at the array of colorful fish and coastal creatures at Sandoway Discovery Center. Take the kids to the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum to learn about the local history and enjoy its interactive exhibits, artwork and live performances.
A city made famous for its picturesque inlet, Jupiter is an alluring spring break destination where you’ll find plenty of natural landscapes to explore. While Juno Beach offers a beautiful shoreline, you can’t leave without seeing the sea turtles at Loggerhead Marine Life Center. Visit the unique limestone shelf at Blowing Rocks Preserve, go on a paddle adventure through John D. MacArthur Beach State Park or go hiking, surfing and beachcombing at Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.
If your family enjoys history, there’s no other place to be other than St. Augustine. Founded in 1565, you and the kids can take a walk along its cobbled streets and admire the grand 17th-century Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Marvel at the unique albino alligator at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, drink from the Fountain of Youth or see some of the city’s most iconic points of interest on the Old Trolley Tour. Soak up the sunshine at the quiet shores of Vilano Beach or climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
St. Pete Beach
A hotspot for families, St. Pete and nearby Fort De Soto Park are known for their pristine shoreline and outdoor adventures such as swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. See a collection of Surrealist artwork in The Dali Museum, admire the lush foliage in the Florida Botanical Gardens and meet curious underwater creatures at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Wander through the lush landscapes of Sunken Gardens, or escape the crowds with a quiet hike through Weedon Island Preserve.