Florida’s best beaches for families
The Sunshine State is home to hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches. So here are my suggestions (in no particular order) of some of Florida’s most child-friendly beaches.
1 Siesta Key near Sarasota
Voted best US beach in 2011 by coastal expert Stephen Leatherman (Dr Beach) Siesta Key is one of the safest beaches for small children and its soft sand is ideal for building sandcastles.
2 Cocoa Beach
Located on Florida’s Space Coast, Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando (an hour’s drive away) making it the perfect place to relax after the excitement of Orlando’s theme parks. Down the road is Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre - you can see space shuttle launches from the Cocoa Beach. Out of this world!
Another beach near Orlando (just over an hour’s drive away), Daytonais packed full of family-friendly attractions with everything from mini-golf and rock climbing to the Daytona Lagoon Waterpark.
4 Clearwater Beach
A hotspot for families, Clearwater Beach in St Petes has loads to keep kids entertained and is only 20 minutes from Tampa Bay and Busch Gardens. Or you could opt for a two-centre stay in Orlando, just two hours away.
5 Panama City beach
Fans of watersports should head to Panama City Beach (http://www.visitflorida.com/Panama_City_Beach) on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Shipwreck Island Waterpark (http://www.shipwreckisland.com/) has a themed area for children and the boating and fishing in Panama City Beach is brilliant for families.
6 Fort Desoto County Park Beach
The award-winning Fort De Soto Park in St Petes has a natural sandbar off the coast that creates a shallow lagoon and its clear warm water makes it a safe place for kids to swim. There are also playground areas and you may even spot dolphins off the park’s Gulf Pier
7 Sanibel Island