Florida’s best sandcastle-building beaches

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What child doesn’t get engrossed in the simple pleasure of building a sandcastle on a glorious Florida beach? This sandy pastime has lost none of its appeal along Florida’s fabulous coastline and has even been elevated to an art form. Prestigious sand art competitions tend to take place in November. Here are some of our favourites.

Key West, Florida Keys

There are many reasons to head to the beaches of Key West right at the tip of the Florida Keys, but a highlight is its International Sand Art Competition. This year, the event takes place from 21 to 25 November at the Casa Marina Resort. Kids will be wowed by the creations, from sand warriors to intricate trains.

Visit the Casa Marina Resort over this Thanksgiving weekend to watch artists at work, including world renowned sand sculptors such as Dan Belcher from St Louis and Jooheng Tan from Singapore. Families are welcome to create their own sculptures, cast their vote for the People’s Choice award, dig for treasure, have a drink on the beach and listen to some island style music.

Siesta Key, Sarasota

The vast Siesta Beach on Siesta Key in Sarasota has shallow waters, layers of white quartz sand – which stays cooler than other kinds of sand, rarely burning little feet – and daily lifeguard protection. And after the beach’s famous fiery sunset, families can still play on the sand in the moonlight; the sand is that incredibly reflective.

Sand castle-building is a given, but for the real deal, head to Siesta Key in November for The Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival, this year taking place from the 9th to the 12th. Staggering in their intricacy and inventiveness, this is definitely an event not to miss.

Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers

This long sandy beach on the seven-mile-long Estero Island, a barrier island facing the Gulf of Mexico, is another gem for families in search of the simple pleasures that a sugary white sand beach brings, perfect for little ones to dig in or bury mum and dad, and calm, warm water to have a paddle. You may even be lucky enough to spot dolphin out to sea.

Head to Fort Myers Beach from 16-25 November 2018 for the Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship, this year hosted by Wyndham Garden Hotel.

Santa Rosa Beach, South Walton, Northwest Florida

For children who want to learn the art of sand sculpting, head to Santa Rosa Beach in Northwest Florida where sand castle-building lessons are offered. Your little ones will soon be creating fairy tale castles and glorious sea creatures.

Santa Rosa beach is a well-loved Florida town with a lively beach neighbourhood and retreats like Point Washington State Forest.

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