10 best family beaches in Florida

Last updated 18th June 2021

With 1,350 miles of sunny shoreline, Florida is blessed with a myriad of wow-factor beaches bursting with family fun.

1/10 Siesta Beach

The vast Siesta Beach on Siesta Key in Sarasota has shallow waters, daily lifeguard protection and layers of white quartz – which stays cooler than sand, rarely burning little feet. After a fiery sunset, families can even play on the sand in the moonlight, the sand is so reflective or join in on the Sunday drumming circle. Half-day kids summer camps are available in sand sculpting, beach volleyball and junior lifeguarding.

Top beach adventure: Take to the water and learn how to sail with a number of local companies in Siesta Beach.

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2/10 Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is known for its powder soft sand, as well as its clear shallow water, always a pleasant temperature for little ones and never too rough, and has been ranked no. 1 Best Beach in the U.S. for 2019, 2018 and 2016. Families will love the watersports, sand volleyball and the scenic winding BeachWalk promenade with its surf shops, restaurants and hotels. Don’t miss the nightly sunsets at Pier 60 celebration with crafters, live music and food stalls. Stroll north and you come to the wilder Caladesi Beach with its kayaking and canoe trails through the mangroves or head to nearby Honeymoon Island State Park with its sandbar creating a natural kiddie pool.

Top beach adventure: Take a high-flying parasailing trip above the crystal blue water and maybe spot some dolphins.

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3/10 Sanibel and Captiva

The sheltered waters of the Gulf of Mexico make for gentler coastal action and a haven for families with young kids. Sanibel’s Bowman’s Beach is renowned as a top spot for kids to search for seashells. And the theme continues on neighbouring Captiva, where soft Captiva Beach yields sand dollars, though it’s illegal to take live ones.

Top beach adventure: Go fishing from Sanibel Fishing Pier located bayside of the Sanibel Lighthouse.

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4/10 Panama City Beach

Located in northwest Florida this hidden gem offers 27 miles of silky sand, miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as emerald green waters that flow in from the Gulf, giving this area its nickname of The Emerald Coast.

Top beach adventure: Ahoy! Join a Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise where kids can be a pirate for a day.

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5/10 Grayton Beach

This protected state park beach in northwest Florida is home to sugar-white sand and emerald green water backed by large sand dunes.

Top beach adventure: Camp in the wonderful state park right by the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, tidal lakes and freshwater ponds.

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6/10 Daytona Beach

Daytona isn’t just a beach, there are dozens of legendary attractions that make this the perfect family holiday. From the 23 miles of sandy beaches, to the Daytona International Speedway and newly opened shopping centre and lively restaurant hub of One Daytona, there’s something for every age.

Top beach adventure: Surf lessons are huge here. Bond with your kids as you take to the waves with your board.

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7/10 Fort Lauderdale Beach 

Fort Lauderdale Beach boasts more than seven miles of gorgeous sand. Beach goers can go wind surfing, jet skiing and snorkelling or just sit back and take in the ocean breeze. Opposite, this famous coastline is lined with shops, restaurants and cafés.

Top beach adventure: Join the locals in a game of beach volleyball.

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8/10 South Beach Miami

South Beach Miami, the iconic Atlantic beach with its Art Deco cool and colourful lifeguard stands, may be famous for its high life, but it is also a thrilling place for families with its high octane vibe.

Top beach adventure: Rent a DecoBike for the day and cycle the length of the beach boardwalk, taking in views of the beach and cityscape. citibikemiami.com

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9/10 Florida Keys and Key West

Head to the tip of America for some subtropical beach fun. Think palm-lined streets, tin-roofed conch houses including Ernest Hemingway’s pad, fishing, diving and famous fiery sunsets that sink into the Gulf every evening.

Top beach adventure: Snorkelling in tropical waters surrounded by colourful fish on the USA’s only living coral barrier reef.

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10/10 Pensacola

In Pensacola, you’d think that sugar-white sand and emerald green water would be the highlight of a family vacation, but it’s just the beginning. As America’s first settlement, this Gulf Coast city is home to a living historic district perfect for kids, fresh beach bites for everyone and a downtown filled with culture.

Top Beach Adventure: Rent a kayak or paddleboard and navigate around the waterways of Pensacola. From the Gulf to bays and lagoons, this is fun the whole family can enjoy.

Find the best family-friendly places to stay in Pensacola