My husband and I grew up in different coastal communities of South Florida. We cherish memories of endless shell collecting, body surfing in turquoise waters and chasing seagulls away from our picnic lunches.
We’ve traveled the world hunting shells, sea glass, and coastal castles, yet exploring the 1,350 miles of sensational seashores in the Sunshine State always surpasses our expectations. Drive your car on the packed sand In Volusia County. Sink your toes into the silky, powered crystal seashores along the Panhandle and the Emerald Coast where the kids can put their imagination to work and construct epic sandcastles. Dive in with world-class snorkeling alongside schools of tropical fish and dazzling reefs just a step off the shores in Monroe County.
Sweeping vistas, warm weather and the welcoming, sweet smell of citrus surely await, whatever your style of exploring. Whether you’re looking to hit the links, immerse yourself at an award-winning spa or the underwater world with a scuba dive, splash around at a waterpark, or you just want a quiet slice of sand a short drive away from a swampland adventure, these are the 10 best family beach resorts in Florida.
10 Amazing Family Beach Resorts in Florida
Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort — Destin
The crystal clear waters and powder-white sand of the Emerald Coast are frequently calling us back to the family-friendly Destin area, and there’s no better place to set anchor than at the 2,400-acre Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort complete with a seven-mile stretch of beach on the property. Accommodations are all vacation-rental style apartments, complete with kitchens and space to spread out, from simple studios to four-bedroom luxury penthouses and everything in between.
The property boasts four resort areas and overflows with family activity to delight children of every age: movies and entertainment, fishing, paddlesports, golf, tennis, parasailing, and some of the best beachcombing and bike trails in the nation. Play a round at Dunes Mini Golf or just relax on the beach. Amenities, including bicycles, kayaks, tennis rackets, fitness center, boogie boards, and the resort-wide tram, are all included at no extra charge.
Parents can enjoy a day at the spa while kids ages 4-12 explore Club KZ, their fully supervised, interactive, daytime drop-off kids program with a focus on local wildlife. Parent’s Evening Out is also a kid pleaser with an educational pizza party while mom and dad enjoy a date night. Make sure to visit the Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin and take a ride on the charming carousel or visit the Baytowne zip line. Test your balance on the Sky Trail ropes course and explore over 40 retail and dining options.
While the plethora of activities and gorgeous resort property will keep you busy, you don’t want to miss venturing off-property for a class to craft an incredible, artistic creation of broken glass and preserve your vacation memories at Mary Hong’s Shard Shop.
However you fill your days, the memories you build at Sandestin are sure to be priceless. (Speaking of building, make sure you build a sandcastle before you go.) And that’s all just the tip of the iceberg, so download the resort’s mobile app to keep up to date on the schedule of events and tram transportation throughout the Sandestin Resort.View Resort
Cheeca Lodge & Spa — Islamorada
The iconic Florida Keys are not to be missed, and Islamorada, Sportfishing Capital of the World, is home to the casually elegant Cheeca Lodge, an outstanding family beach resort. Make use of the included bikes, sea kayaks, fishing gear, game room, and more. Take a stroll or cast a line along their 525-foot fishing pier. Enjoy the day snorkeling just offshore on the living reef, home to over 500 species of fish. Take a swim in one of two pools or the saltwater lagoon. Eat on-site or savor the catch of the day, oceanfront, at Lazy Days. Feel like a date night? Take advantage of the babysitting service and head to Chef Michael’s for “food to talk about.”
Take your water sports to a new level with parasailing over the shallow-waters or with a SCUBA class. Enjoy the breeze and a meal at the oceanside Tiki Bar while the kids swim in the neighboring pool. Pamper yourself in the spa or play a round of golf on the Jack Nicklaus designed nine-hole par three course while the kids learn about the ecosystem or paint a coconut in the award-winning Camp Cheeca.
Stay tuned and pack your bags, as Cheeca Lodge gets ready to unveil a third pool and second Tiki Bar after extensive renovations.View Resort
Omni Amelia Island Plantation — Fernandina Beach
Along Florida’s First Coast, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation is a 1,350-acre island playground for children of all ages just 35 miles from Jacksonville. The Omni Kids Crew program treats your kids like royalty from the moment you arrive by providing a special backpack with fun goodies created just for them, and milk and cookies are delivered by room service. Teens will love the Gamer’s Lounge, featuring the latest in high-tech games alongside old-school favorites like foosball and air hockey. Families will make lasting memories as they roast marshmallows at a private beachside bonfire. Together, you can shoot for an eagle at Heron’s Cove Adventure Golf or watch for actual eagles along the nature trails and at the educational nature center.
Looking to go beyond the beach? Immerse your family in the farm-to-table culinary scene known as the “Chef’s Playground,” with the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Sprouting Project. Guests of all ages are given a chance to blend their own hot-sauce, tour an apiary and taste multiple varieties of honey, and even visit the gardens and greenhouse.
Water sports, hiking and nature trails, biking, and segway or golf-cart rentals are all excellent ways to explore the 3.5 miles of beachfront on the east, marshland, and Intracoastal Waterway to the west. As with every great family resort, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation features a fantastic kids program called Camp Amelia. Children from 4-10 can participate in engaging, educational activities while mom and dad relax in the spa or hit the links.View Resort
‘Tween Waters Inn, Sanibel — Captiva Island
Wake up and enjoy a morning cup of coffee from your living room balcony, gazing at the manatees in the lagoon outside your window. Feel at home away from home at the charming and quaint 13-acre ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa, located on a gorgeous stretch of sugar-white sand just in between the Gulf Coast island beach towns of Sanibel and Captiva. With history dating from 1931, and a notable slew of guests including Theodore Roosevelt, you’ll experience the laid-back, rustic luxury of all that is Captiva Island at its finest here. Accommodation choices include standard rooms, multiroom suites, and laid-back, historic seaside cottages.
While you’re in the area, get some local history at the National Shell Museum and be amazed at incredible island sunsets. Sure, you can enjoy water sports, fishing and some of the world’s most epic shelling, but don’t miss the unforgettable family fun of the Captiva Crab Races, which raise money for local charities, on-site at the Crow’s Nest Restaurant on Monday and Thursday. Or if you’ve got a sweet tooth to treat, dine at the Bubble Room for an enormous piece of cake and endless amusement with the memorabilia on the walls.View Resort
Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa — Jensen Beach
Just over the bridge from Stuart, Florida, and right in my backyard, is the gorgeous and all-new Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa. Your family will love the affordable luxury of this Opal Collection resort and the hidden jewel of Florida’s Treasure Coast, named for all the recovered treasure from ancient Spanish galleons sunken just offshore. Relax on the seashore, chill at the tiki bar, build a sand castle, swim in the oceanfront pools, charter a fishing boat, take a paddle, fly a kite, or explore sea life up close at the nearby Oceanographic Center. At the end of a busy day, cool off at Sailfish Splash Waterpark or the splash pad and pier at Indian Riverside Park.
Any car buffs in your family? Kids of all ages will get excited about the incredible collection and display of antique cars and trucks at the Elliott Museum. Prefer something more adventurous? Explore history and seashore rock formations at the House of Refuge Beach. Or immerse yourself in sea life at the tide pools and do some snorkeling at Bathtub Reef Beach. Looking for small town charm? Plan your visit during February and attend the Martin County Fair. You’ll fall in love with the area, too, and see why it was voted “Happiest Seaside Town in America.”View Resort
Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa — Jupiter
Catch the ocean breeze and splendid watercolor sunrises over turquoise waters from your balcony of the Jupiter Beach Resort. Relax with your family in the hammock garden or stargaze by the fire pits. Stroll across the street to the fantastic park or to the Maltz Theatre where you can catch a Broadway-style show. Meander the shops, grab a meal, or rent a jet ski at Harbourside Place. Try the shuffleboard or tennis courts at the resort. Then, get a real workout climbing the 105 cast iron steps to appreciate the view and salty air from the top of the historic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.
No visit to Jupiter is complete without getting out on the turquoise waters, especially when the tide is high. Feeling adventurous? There’s no shortage of adventure on these waters. Launch a kayak at Sawfish Bay Park and paddle over with your picnic to the motor-prohibited island preserve at Fullerton Island. Looking for more of a workout? Head out with Stand-Up Paddleboard fitness instructor, Tash, and try some SUP yoga. Need more adrenaline? Ride the waves with Aloha Surf School. Kite or wakeboard with Jupiter Kiteboarding. If you prefer to take control, rent a boat or a jet ski with Jupiter Pointe Boat Rentals.
Just want to relax and experience the calm of the Jupiter waters? Don’t miss a visit to DuBois Park. This gem of a beach park and lagoon with playground is a national award-winning treasure. Or, just take a leisurely ride and get a sneak peek of the rich and famous lifestyle on Jupiter Island aboard the Manatee Queen.
Now let’s dine like a local. First, grab a breakfast empanada and a tasty latte at Subculture. Kids will love the smoothies or acai bowls at 3 Natives. Don’t miss lunch on the river under the shade of the banyan trees and the smoked fish dip at Guanabanas. Then, wind down at a casually elegant dinner with a view at the family-friendly U-Tiki Beach where you’ll overlook the lighthouse and can see boat traffic passing through the famous inlet.
Environmentally-conscious travelers will want to head to Jupiter’s sister town of Juno Beach and the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Their mission: “To promote conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.” Check the calendars and the webcams, and you may even be lucky enough to watch a sea turtle release. Or, schedule a turtle walk to see a hatching for yourself. Besides turtles, your family will love the educational ecosystem aquariums, the pirate ship play area, and the Juno Beach pier just across the street.View Resort
The Breakers Resort — West Palm Beach
On the island of Palm Beach is the iconic Breakers Resort. As a family, wander the walking paths behind the enormous Beach Club to experience The Breakers’ Family Entertainment Center — 6,100 square feet of indoor and outdoor space completely dedicated to kids’ activities. Whether you stay to play and head down the slides or drop off your kids, they’ll think you’re the coolest parents ever! Imagine unwinding at the spa or taking on the links while they make new friends on the huge outdoor playground. Have youngsters? The Breakers’ Family Center features a toddler and children’s playroom, complete with delightful toys and games. Older kids? Don’t worry, they’re covered with an extensive variety of age-appropriate activities including nature walks, science labs, snorkeling lessons and more.
Want to head off-site and explore the island? Stroll along the famous shops of Worth Avenue, cycle past the homes of the rich and famous and their mega-yachts on the waterways of the paved Lake Trail, which begins at the Flagler Museum.
Up for some exploring with the kids? The area boasts the fantastic Palm Beach Zoo, and a hands-on Science Center. Have budding artists? Get cultural at Norton Gallery of Art. Want something a bit more exotic? Get the cameras ready, hire a VIP tour through Lion Country Safari, and experience 1,000 wild animals up close and personal. Where else can you feed a giraffe and see rhinos roam right at your window? Take your bathing suits, because the whole family will make a splash at the water-play area.
While dining on site at the Breakers is certainly five-star, foodies will love nearby restaurants, including our favorite family-friendly local gourmet spots, Buccan and Grato. Visiting on a Saturday? Take the whole crew over the bridge to the West Palm Beach Green Market.
If you’re traveling for the holidays, make a note to visit the resort around Christmas, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the famous gingerbread displays.View Resort
Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, Hollywood
Inspired by the lifestyle and words of Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is a fabulous, family-friendly four-diamond resort in the funky and eclectic beach town of Hollywood, Florida. Skate or stroll the award-winning Hollywood Beach Boardwalk and enjoy the laid-back vibe. Rent a stand-up paddleboard and cruise the Intracoastal. Chill beachside at one of two family-friendly pools, waterslide, or the multiple tiki bars.
Looking to take the laid-back vibe to another level? Rejuvenate yourselves in the spa. Ready to get an adrenaline fix? Hop on the FlowRider® Double, one of the most talked about surfing simulator experiences in the world.
The Parakeets Kid’s Club provides games, crafts, and activities while mom and dad visit the adults-only 11th-floor rooftop pool and License to Chill Bar. Nearby, visit one of our favorites, the engaging Museum of Discovery and Science for hands-on, educational fun and watch a first-run IMAX film while you’re there.View Resort
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa — Bonita Springs
On 26 tropical acres overlooking Estero Bay on the Gulf of Mexico and the accompanying stunning sunsets is the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. You’ll go down in your kids’ minds as the coolest parents ever after they spend time on the lazy river, a series of triple waterslides, and spend an afternoon playing family corn hole, giant Jenga or giant Connect Four competition.
Enjoy an educational stroll through the property’s mangrove walking trails. Dive deeper into local history and beauty at the Edison-Ford Winter Estate along the river. The family will be amazed at the interactive learning area, and you’ll love the gardens and the old Model-Ts.
Plan a custom, private eco-tour with Master Naturalist, Captain Brian. Ask him to take you to lunch at Cabbage Key, accessible only by boat, for a cheeseburger in paradise. Stop at Cayo Costa State Park for some of the most incredible shelling and nature in the world. Make sure to have your waterproof cameras ready because the dolphins will jump alongside the boat.View Resort
TradeWinds Island Grand Resort — Clearwater Beach
This gulf-front property offers access to two neighboring resorts in one area — the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort and the Guy Harvey Outpost, a short five-minute walk apart. Stay at one and play at both! Your kids will jump for joy when they see the incredible floating obstacle course, including trampolines and the opportunity to slide down a three-story “High Tide” slide. While the slide is amazing, kids might be more excited about snorkeling in the 33,500-gallon fish tank with over 200 species of fish. Even if you don’t take the plunge, kids of all ages will appreciate the touch tanks and multiple aquariums for viewing.
Voted one of the 100 Best Family Resorts in the U.S., the TradeWinds Island Grand Resorts is the place to turn your kids into pirates at Pirate Island or superheroes at Super Hero Camp. Kids can try shore fishing with training from Captain Tim or make try their hand at arts & crafts at the KONK kids center. Check out their calendar of events and poolside parties for making the most of your family fun.
The abundance of family activities onsite at both resorts, including the floating obstacle course, snorkeling experiences, mini golf, oceanfront pools, and water sports on the Gulf’s clear waters means you never need to leave your resort on your family holiday. In addition to the slides and floating playground, the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort nightly rate and resort amenity fee includes many extras such as complimentary beach cabanas, non-stop rides on the Surf Simulator, s’mores at Guy Harvey Outpost, complimentary parking and much more.
Whatever your preference for Florida’s beaches, you’re sure to leave with some check marks on your bucket list. But the best part? Your hearts will be filled with treasured family memories of sandcastle building under watercolor sunsets, tossing frisbees alongside crystalline waters and whimsically wading through tide pools together.View Resort