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10 of the best destinations in Florida for year round family vacations

Last updated 23rd March 2024

Florida is always a top destination for families, but where is the best destination in Florida for family vacations? We asked, and Visit Florida answered with 10 top places to take your kids any time of year.


All-round best destination in Florida for families, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg: best destination in Florida for kids of all ages

St. Petersburg, glimmering between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, draws a young, hip crowd with unique boutiques, ice cream parlors, kid-friendly breweries and museums.

The world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum offers story times, tours and workshops for kids. Or for an artisanal culinary experience, check out Locale Market where the food hall is a shopping and dining immersion experience with a mix of prepared foods, restaurants, bakeries, a coffee bar and beyond.

Of course, there are also the white-sand beaches for fun in the sun and water. And for a family-friendly history, head to Fort De Soto Park’s North Beach, with its wide tidal pool begging to be splashed in. Kids will enjoy running from the lagoon to the Gulf and spotting seashells of every color and size.


Key West, Florida

The Florida Keys: for lazy days and island vibes

A chain of subtropical islands known for their natural beauty, The Florida Keys shimmer with aquamarine water, mesmerizing sunsets and a vast array of wildlife.

Stretching from Key Largo down to Key West and easily accessible by car, boat or plane, the Keys have great appeal for families who want to get away from it all, but also enjoy some of the exciting experiences on offer.

Kids can get a taste of Keys history and culture with visits to the Ernest Hemingway House and Museum, the Harry S. Truman Little White House or the Eco-Discovery Center. Although, finding  sunken treasure on a dive at The Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum or a trip to Ripley’s Believe It or Not will delight them just as much.

And if  you’re looking for diving and snorkeling on the only living coral reef in the U.S., prefer close encounters with dolphins and turtles, or are keen to explore historic forts, you’ll find it all in the Florida Keys.


Mix beach dazzle with authentic neighborhoods in Miami

Miami: the best destination in Florida for children’s museums

Miami is well known for its glittering nightlife and busy beaches, yet it’s also a culturally enriching experience for adults and kids alike.

Museums in the area explore everything from the marvels of space and tech to the wonders of our planet, all catering to curious young minds. You should try the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science for hands-on learning and the Miami Children’s Museum is the one for artistic immersion. And it might be a city but wildlife experiences are bountiful in and around Miami. So go looking for anything from birds to crocodiles and dolphins, you won’t be disappointed.


Sunset over South Walton

South Walton: for 26-miles for sugar-white beaches

South Walton, in Northwest Florida, boasts 26 miles of sugar-white sand beaches, turquoise water and 16 acclaimed beachside neighborhoods, each with its own personality and style.

Also in South Walton, luxury accommodations, challenging golf, eclectic shops, unique art galleries and award-winning dining are all parts of the area’s distinctive character. You’ll find outdoor activities aplenty within the four state parks, a state forest, 15 rare coastal dune lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

Plus, the first Underwater Museum of Art in the U.S. opened in the Gulf waters less than a mile off South Walton’s beaches, where it rests on the sea floor about 55 feet below the surface and is made up of sculptures created by local and nationally recognized artists. Visitors can SCUBA dive to view the museum, or snorkel to check it out from a comfortable depth above the installations.


Gleaming Fort Lauderdale beaches

Fort Lauderdale: the best destination in Florida for navigable waterways

Fort Lauderdale, known as the Venice of America, has 165-plus miles of navigable waterways, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Everglades. Best news? Visitors can hop on and off water taxis that travel through some of these canals, and the Intracoastal Waterway, to visit top attractions, hotels, restaurants and shopping areas.

Kids of all ages will enjoy the Museum of Discovery & Science in downtown Fort Lauderdale and Young At Art Children’s Museum is a great choice for younger children. However, the animal-lover and budding environmentalist isn’t forgotten here either, as a visit to the Everglades, Butterfly World and Flamingo Gardens will quickly prove.


Doing the Disney dance of joy in Orlando

Orlando: the best destination in Florida for theme parks

The world’s theme park capital keeps every extravagant promise it makes — and then some. Magical for younger kids, end-to-end excitement for teens and fantastic for multi-generational family vacations, Orlando is the #1 destination in the United States.

Seven of Orlando’s theme parks are among the top 10 visited amusement parks in the country, hosting millions of visitors each year. And it’s here that families will find iconic theme parks like Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, plus a variety of water parks, dining and nightlife.

Beyond the theme parks, families with budding astronauts will love the Space Coast. There, you’ll find the Kennedy Space Center, while nearby Cocoa Beach offers relaxing and breezy ocean time.

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Lazy days at Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach: mixes days by the sea with Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach is an affordable destination with year-round sun and it’s seeing a revival with a slew of new hotels and world-class shopping centers.

The famous 23-mile beach may be the biggest draw, but there’s plenty of adventure, culture and fun on offer for the whole family. There’s so much to explore, with many kid-friendly attractions within easy reach, including the Marine Science Center, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and the Boardwalk Amusement Area and Pier.

Then sports fans can watch the Daytona Tortugas in action, and of course catch a race at the Daytona International Speedway.


The Ringling Museum, Sarasota

Sarasota: best destination in Florida for circus lovers

This Gulf Coast city is teeming with family-friendly attractions. Sarasota Art lovers will enjoy The Ringling, a bay-front oasis that was once the estate of John Ringling and includes a museum of art, a circus museum, a rose garden, a historic mansion and an Asian art center.

The Children’s Rainforest Garden at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens simulates a tropical rainforest and has all sorts of activities for children, such as the amphitheater and village shelter, research station, canopy walk and rope bridge.

Though if kids want to get hands on, Mote Aquarium is home to more than 100 species of marine life. Here, both children and adults can enter the “Shark Zone” and try touch tanks where they can feel sting rays, sea cucumbers and other sea life.


Manatee, Crystal River, Florida

Crystal River: the magnificent manatee capital of the world

For a special Florida animal encounter, a visit to Crystal River, the Manatee Capital of the World is a must. Here, epic springs, fed by the Florida aquifer, are the natural choice for manatees to seek warm water shelter when temperatures in Florida waters fall below 65 degrees.

Crystal River is the only place in the United States where visitors can legally swim with manatees and the guides are trained to make sure everyone treats this beloved and threatened species with the utmost care and respect. Though there are plenty of other ways to see manatees in their natural environment too, from kayaking to paddle-boarding to visiting the boardwalks at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River and the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa.


Masonry Flort, St. Augustine

St. Augustine: the best destination in Florida for history lovers

The nation’s oldest city comes alive for the entire family in St. Augustine where history lovers can discover the pirate-themed museum, the nation’s oldest masonry fort, an iconic lighthouse and archaeological sites.

Kids will love the boat rides, train and trolley tours, cannon firings and the opportunity to get close to dolphins.

Then you can test the waters of St. Augustine that first brought the Spanish explorers to its shore hundreds of years ago with a boat ride or catch the zip line through the forest at nearby ZIPStream Castaway Canopy Zipline Adventure.

Find out more about Florida family destinations at Visit Florida