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Key West is a dream vacation for families and is perhaps the most popular key along the scenic chain of tropical islands off the southern coast of Florida. There are endless things to do in Key West, from world-class snorkeling, jet skiing, fishing and kayaking to vibrant shopping, fascinating museums and historic restaurants. While a lot of things here are geared toward adults, there are many reasons to vacation with family, but finding a kid-friendly hotel isn’t the easiest task among swanky resorts. So we’ve rounded up the best family-friendly places to not only stay but to truly enjoy the island with your kids.
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Oceans Edge Key West Hotel & Marina is a newer construction, offering that craved “old Key West” influence within its charming architecture and does a good job accommodating families. Six different pools, including heated options, allow guests generous space to spread out. Rooms are well sized, so those with multiple people in the group don’t feel too cramped. Complimentary paddle boards and kayaks are available for the day and serve as a great way to get out and about in the turquoise water. A restaurant and hourly shuttle bus mean you probably won’t need your car.
Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina offers an airy, laid back and tropical vibe—everything Jimmy Buffet would want it to be. It sits right against the waterfront, which is especially nice since accessible beach space isn’t too common on Key West. Cruise ships dock and set sail daily making for an interesting thing for the kiddos to watch, and there’s an abundance of family-friendly things to do nearby, which is right there, within walking distance. The best part may be that you’ll hardly find a reason to load up the kids in the car because everything is so close by.
Southernmost Beach Resort
Sitting right on an accessible portion of a sandy beach, Southernmost Beach Resort is one of the best Florida Keys resorts. Multiple pools are onsite, and a game room adds to the list of things to do. Families here are welcomed with open arms, and the staff will go the extra mile to accommodate younger guests. At the on-site cafe, bartenders will even whip up non-alcoholic daiquiris and pina coladas for kids.
This modern hotel more than accommodates families, with larger suites with separated areas available. Book a room with a patio if you can, because it’s a great spot to soak in sunsets and the up close marina views. Restaurants within the hotel serve dishes with fresh, local ingredients and offer options for picky eaters along with an award-winning location. Parking is free, and there’s a shuttle here as well.
Looking to splurge? The Marker offers a luxury experience while having kids in tow. Pools for adults and families are separate, cutting down on any tension between folks wanting to separate from the mayhem family trips can sometime bring. The location is optimal, being steps from major attractions as well as Duval Street, and the food, whether from room service or the restaurant, is versatile and quite delicious.
Mallory Square and the Southernmost Point of the US, just 90 miles from Cuba, are within walking distance—if you’re in Key West you’ve got to at least get your pic at the significant site. The small pool area features a spouting waterfall, which is particularly exciting for little ones, and overall the water isn’t very deep, making the area quite ideal for families. Everything you need for a day in the sun is provided, from skin protecting umbrellas to fresh towels. The complimentary breakfast is a big perk, with solid choices like eggs, fruits and whole grain breads.
With different floor plans to choose from, parents can opt to give their kids a totally separate bathroom and bedroom. While there’s lots of sandy areas around, you’ll have to take the free shuttle to the real beach—be sure to schedule an appointment. But four onsite pools, including a separate serenity pool for adults, provide lots of fun in the sun opportunity. A huge bonus are the provided lounge chairs when you do decide to trek to the beach, because beach gear and a car full of kids don’t mix well.
Still technically in Key West, Sunset Key is a tiny piece of land a mere 500 yard boat ride away. These cottages form this lovely little village, and it’s pure sanctuary for families. Some houses even have their own pool, but the central pool is zero entry, offering great play space for toddlers. It’s easy to ferry back over to downtown Key West, and kind of fun too. Sunset Key is the best of both worlds, offering seclusion, it’s own restaurants and one of the best beaches around, while still being close to all Key West is famous for.
Ibis Bay is a restored 1950s resort with true Key West style, and a fun, colorful environment that couldn’t be more fitting for a family vacation. Coveted beach area sits right outside room patios, where you’ll find lounge chairs and hammocks. Rescue animals are around the property, as Ibis Bay helps rehabilitate and house island animals. One of the best restaurants in Key West, The Stoned Crab, is a part of the resort, and is THE place to get stone crab claws and Key West Pink Shrimp. Onsite activities include glass bottom kayaking and paddle boarding– try going at night.