5 Great Family Beaches in Florida
By Lauren Tjaden
From bustling Daytona Beach to charming Siesta Key, these Sunshine State destinations have at least one thing in common: They are the best Florida beaches for families.
Fabulous family-friendly beach getaways share some qualities. Their beaches are gradually sloping, so your little ones can wade in and out of the water easily, and their waters are shallow. In addition, they feature ample restrooms and showers, as well as attentive life guards. They offer plenty to do, for everyone from tiny tots to teens to mom and dad -- and it’s as obvious as fins on a fish that affordable accommodations are a must!
These Florida beaches offer all of this and more: read on to see which of the best family beaches in Florida sound like your family’s perfect cup of sunshine.
1. Clearwater Beach
Snuggled against the Gulf on Florida's central west coast, lively Clearwater Beach greets you with offers of parasailing, rides on a ‘pirate’ ship, and a long pier stretching into the Gulf. Its luscious sugar-sand and clear, shallow waters will soothe your soul and rejuvenate your relationships. Nightly sunset celebrations on Pier 60, countless watersports options and family-friendly resorts promise to keep your whole team entertained, making it one of the best family beaches in Florida. While you’re in the area, make sure to splash over to Clearwater Aquarium to meet Winter-the-Dolphin, star of the movie ‘Dolphin Tale.’
2. Siesta Key
Located in Sarasota in central west Florida, award-winning Siesta Key boasts activities like watersports and snorkeling. It also offers a charming village brimming with affordable restaurants and shops, and the convenience of a trolley, making it one of the best Florida beaches for families. Erin Duggan, communications director for SCVB, says, “Siesta Key is a great spot for families because it offers such a variety of things to do --right at their fingertips.” This features a concession stand, an ice cream shop, volleyball courts, and a playground, plus one of softest white-sand beaches your toes will ever encounter
3. Amelia Island
In northeast Florida, you can discover beautiful, historic Amelia Island. This laid-back destination boasts miles of wide, quiet, Atlantic beaches. The whole gang will love kayaking, horseback riding on the beach and discovering history firsthand at Fort Clinch State Park. And, as Gil Langley, President and CEO of Amelia Island CVB, points out, “Both the Ritz-Carlton and Omni Amelia Island Plantation offer amazing children’s programs, giving parents quality, guilt-free time to explore on their own.” Make sure to visit Fernandina’s Beach’s unique shops and eateries – and don’t leave without indulging your sweet tooth at ‘Fernandina’s Fantastic Fudge.’ There are so many things to do in Amelia Island that your family won't want to leave.
4. Panama City Beach
27 miles of stunning white-sand beaches mean there’s a Gulf-front room with your family’s name on it in vibrant, affordable Panama City Beach, located in northwest Florida. President and CEO of Panama City Beach CVB, Dan Rowe, says, “We offer something for everyone – from our array of family-friendly restaurants and enriching eco-adventures to exhilarating watersports and interactive attractions.” There’s more: Pier Park offers a staggering million square feet of shopping and entertainment, and the city’s event calendar is overflowing with family-friendly happenings. That's reason enough to have it on our list of best family beaches in Florida.
5. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach’s unique ocean park atmosphere is exciting – and it’s perfect for families! The bustling city makes everything easy. Throw your gear in the car and drive out to snag your perfect beach spot. Or, opt for the car-free beach. And that’s just the tip of the sandbar. As Daytona Beach CVB spokeswoman Tangela Boyd explains, “Our beach and recreational vendors are located right on the beach. They offer everything from snacks to sunscreen and experiences that include bicycle, scooter, boogie board and ATV rentals, and even surfing lessons.” Attractions away from the beach include Daytona Lagoon waterpark, the Marine Science Center, Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station, and Daytona International Speedway.