Beaches & Islands - 20 min read

20 Best Family-Friendly Beaches in Florida (Fun Activities For All)

Margaret Carter

Margaret Carter, Updated October 23, 2022

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If you’re looking for family fun in the sun, you’re sure to find it in Florida. Still, it’s not always easy to narrow down the choices and figure out which beaches are family-friendly and which ones are party central. Don’t worry; we’ve done the hard work for you! 

Below, you’ll find 20 family-friendly beaches in Florida with tips on the best places to eat, some enjoyable excursions nearby, and the top resorts and hotels.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet beach where the kids can happily play in the sand, or a boardwalk full of adventure, we’ve got you covered. Sit back, relax, and start planning the perfect vacation for your family.

The addresses and phone numbers provided are for the local tourist centers, when possible, or points of interest. Tourist centers are a great place to get informational booklets with discount codes for the local excursions! 

1. Destin – Fort Walton Beach


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If white sandy beaches and great hotel deals on the Gulf Coast sound perfect for your family, Destin – Fort Walton Beach is the place to go.

The water is a gorgeous sparkling green, and the sand is 24 uninterrupted miles of fractured quartz, making for the ultimate aesthetic beach duo.

Head to James Lee Park for meandering boardwalks surrounded by nature or Okaloosa Island for ice cream and fireworks. For great dining, try Stewby’s Seafood Shanty!

There are many public beach access points to choose from, or you can snag a vacation rental for a bit of privacy along the water. Whatever you decide, you won’t regret the family bonding time with so many fun adventures along the shoreline. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Hilton Sandestin, The Henderson Beach Resort, Hampton Inn & Suites, Village Inn, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Best Western Sugar Sandestin 

Address: 1540 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32558
Phone Number: (800) 322-3319
Website: https://www.destinfwb.com
Best Time to Visit: November
Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

2. South Beach


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South Beach is the perfect family vacation spot if you want classy eats and fancy vibes with plenty of fun for the kids. There’s ample room to rollerblade and ride bikes, and the nightlife scene is fantastic but doesn’t have that party life vibe spilling out onto the sand. 

For extra fun, you can take a drive to Haulover Beach Park. It’s open from sunrise to sunset and is a great place to go fishing or just hang out in the water. Nearby, you’ll find Yardbird Table & Bar and Big Pink, both of which are kid-friendly restaurants with fantastic food. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Nautilus by Arlo, SLS South Beach Miami, Mondrian South Beach Miami, Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Residence Inn by Marriot, Acqualina Resort and Spa

Address: South Beach, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Website: https://www.visitflorida.com/places-to-go/southeast/south-beach/
Best Time to Visit: March through May
Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Related Read: The 17 Best All-Inclusive Florida Keys Resorts for Families

3. Amelia Island


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Located a short drive from Jacksonville, Amelia Island boasts 13 miles of gorgeous sand, abundant wildlife, and beautiful water along the Atlantic Coast.

Unlike many Floridian beaches, Amelia Island isn’t crowded, giving you and your family plenty of space to explore and make memories. This beach is all about being laid back and relaxed on vacation. 

Activities available include kite surfing and dolphin watching, with excursions like Fort Clinch State Park, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, the Amelia Island Lighthouse, and Egans Creek Greenway Trail.

If you’re interested in a resort-type atmosphere, make reservations at Omni Amelia Island Resort, a highly rated, family-friendly hotel. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Amelia Hotel at the Beach, Omni Amelia Island Resort, Courtyard Marriott, Seaside Amelia Inn, Springhill Suites, Beachside Motel, The Villas of Amelia

Address: 102 Centre Street, Amelia Island, FL 32034
Phone Number: (904) 277-0717
Website: https://www.ameliaisland.com
Best Time to Visit: September and October
TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

4. Cocoa Beach


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Cocoa Beach is where science meets sunshine. It’s less than an hour from Orlando, with all the fun adventure parks, but just south of Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. That’s right, your family can enjoy fun in the sun with a whopping side of NASA! 

You’ll find Cocoa Beach Pier nearby, with tons of restaurants, pristine waters with tourist-style beaches, and the perfect combination of river walks and seaside strolls.

It’s also a short drive from Merritt Island, which is on the other side of the Indian River Lagoon. This is the perfect choice for a jam-packed vacation full of things to do and places to see that are still calm enough to take an afternoon off and just enjoy the waves.

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Beachside Hotel and Suites, La Quinta Inn, International Palms Resort, Hilton Cocoa Beach, Cocoa Beach Suites, Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach, Best Western, Four Points by Sheraton

Address: 1300 N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
Phone Number: (321) 783-7549
Website: https://www.cocoabeachpier.com
Best Time to Visit: March through May
Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Related Read: 30 BEST Things To Do With Kids Key West, FL

5. New Smyrna Beach


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South of Daytona, New Smyrna Beach is 17 miles of coastline that is absolutely beautiful and known for the excellent surfing conditions for experts and amateurs alike. Nearby, you’ll find Canaveral National Seashore, perfect for a day trip to explore the sandy beaches for shells. 

The local area gives off a small beach town vibe, and the easy access to Daytona offers the best of both worlds if you want intense fun without the constant partying. It’s also well known for the artsy-vibes, with many boutiques, murals, and artisanal architecture. 

While you’re there, check out the Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, the Marine Science Park, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. For family-friendly dining, try Norwood’s Restaurant & Treehouse Bar or Yellow Dog Eats. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Coastal Waters, The Shores Hotel and Spa, Perry’s Ocean Edge Resort, Sea Vista Resort, Best Western New Smyrna, Hampton Inn New Smyrna, Coconut Palms Beach Resort II, Ocean Trillium Suites

Address: 2237 FL-44, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
Phone Number: (386) 428-1600
Website: https://www.visitnsbfl.com
Best Time to Visit: May through December
TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

6. Clearwater Beach


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Clearwater Beach stays true to its name. The water is gorgeous and clear, with white sandy beaches and many resorts designed for family fun.

It’s one of the more expensive choices on our list, but it’s entirely worth the extra money for the classy atmosphere and family-friendly aesthetic.

If you’re an active family that likes to avoid tourist traps, Clearwater offers parasailing, rollerblading, biking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and fishing off Pier 60. 

Downtown Clearwater has casual, upscale seafood restaurants, and there are tons of beachfront parks with picturesque dunes.

Fun activities include the Jolley Trolley, dolphin cruises, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. For family-friendly dining, be sure to check out Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill and Clear Sky Cafe! 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Sheraton Sand Key, La Quinta Inn, Gulfview Hotel, Coconut Cove All-Suites Hotel, Terrace Garden Inn, Innisbrook – A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort, Chart House Suites, Sandpearl Resort

Address: State Rd 60, Clearwater Beach, FL 33756
Phone Number: (727) 447-7600
Website: https://www.visitflorida.com/places-to-go/central-west/clearwater-beach/
Best Time to Visit: October through December
TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

7. Daytona Beach


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If you’re looking for some serious fun in the sun, Daytona is the answer. It’s not quite as family-friendly (read party free) as most on our list, but it’s still a great place to go with the kids in tow since parents deserve a vacation, too!

The whole family will have a blast at what’s considered the world’s most famous beach. To keep the kids happy, check out Sun Splash Park, The Daytona Zipline Adventure, Daytona Lagoon, or Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory.

If you’re into racing, you’ll also find the Daytona International Speedway. For family-friendly eats, try Caribbean Jack’s, Hog Heaven’s BBQ, Bronx House Pizza, or Sloppy Joe’s. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Hilton Daytona, The Daytona – Autograph Collection, Oceanfront Inn and Suites, Hard Rock Hotel Daytona, Holiday Inn Resort Daytona, The Cove on Ormond, Bahama House

Address: 12 South Ocean Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Phone Number: (386) 253-0254
Website: https://www.daytonabeach.com
Best Time to Visit: March through May
Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

8. Sanibel Island Beach


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Sanibel Island is your quintessential beach getaway. It’s a 12-mile-long island off the west coast of Florida near Fort Myers. There’s a gorgeous causeway connecting it to the mainland, and it’s an excellent place for a family vacation. You won’t find nightlife and partying, just calm sandy beaches and happy families. 

There are nine resorts on the island, with excellent reviews and dozens of condos to rent for a bit more seclusion. When you go, check out the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, which has hands-on exhibits and Lighthouse Beach Park with Instagram-worthy driftwood along the sand.

Another place of interest may be J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge which has fantastic fishing and birding. For kid-friendly meals, try The Island Cow and the Blue Giraffe Restaurant. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Sanibel Island Beach Resort, Marriott Sanibel, Anchor Inn & Cottages, Seaside Inn, Sanibel Sunset, Waterside Inn, Outrigger Beach Resort, Lighthouse Resort Inn, Pink Shell Beach Resort, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Address: 1159 Causeway Blvd, Sanibel, FL 33957
Phone Number: (239) 472-1080
Website: https://sanibel-captiva.org
Best Time to Visit: December through February
Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

9. Deerfield Beach


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South of Palm Beach, Deerfield Beach stays true to its namesake, with abundant wildlife along the beautiful sandy beaches. It’s known for the Deerfield International Fishing Pier, where you can rent rods and buy bait for a fun day of fishing the waters.

You’ll also find great family activities, like Butterfly World, Quiet Waters Park, Tradewinds Park and Stables, and Splash Adventure Water Park. 

For fun dining, try The Whale’s Rib, The Cove Waterfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar, Casa Maya Grill, or the Dandee Donut Factory. You’ll also find some amazing hotels nearby with reasonable prices and all-inclusive packages. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Wyndham Deerfield, Embassy Suites, Doubletree by Hilton, Comfort Inn Oceanside, Club Lux Resort, Royal Blues Hotel Relais

Address: 200 NE 21st Ave, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
Phone Number: (954) 480-4407
Website: https://www.deerfield-beach.com/1420/International-Fishing-Pier
Best Time to Visit: December through February
Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

10. Fort DeSoto Park


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Fort DeSoto Park is an 1136-acre stretch of beach in Pinellas County with over 328 different species of bird, beautiful white sandy beaches, and family fun galore.

It’s located near Saint Petersburg on the southernmost key of Saint-Jean, meaning you’ll have 360-degree views of gorgeous Gulf waters. There are several campsites in the park or resorts and rentals nearby.

There are ferry services to Egmont Key and Shell Key for a fun daytime trip. This isn’t a tourist attraction-heavy vacation. It’s all about appreciating nature and enjoying the sun and sand while sitting next to a campfire.

There are playgrounds, boardwalks, hiking trails, fishing spots, and more. If you want to include a few attractions, you can easily drive into St. Pete for the day. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts (if you’d rather not camp): Dolphin Beach Resort, DeSoto Beach Hotel, Sunset Vistas Beachfront Hotel, Bilmar Beach Resort, the Don CeSar, Hotel Zamora, Miramar Beach Resort, Isla Bahia Mar 

Address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Phone Number: (727) 582-2100
Website: http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/05_ft_desoto.htm
Best Time to Go: January to May
Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

11. Vero Beach


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Close to South Beach, Vero Beach is the “Hamptons of the South.” The public beaches are very well kept, and the dining and shopping options are a cut above your average Florida vacation while offering prices lower than the surrounding areas.

It has a charming village vibe and is perfect for a wholesome family vacation. While there isn’t much to do in terms of tourist attractions, the white sandy beaches and pristine waters offer a calm and relaxing getaway.

You can take a day trip to one of the larger cities for a bit more excitement if that’s a requirement for you and your family. For family-friendly dining, try The Crab Stop, Ocean Grill, Mrs. Mac’s Fillin Station, or Casey’s Place. There are also two well-reviewed ice cream shops, Smiley Riley and Sweet Kiss. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Holiday Inn & Suites Vero, Staybridge Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites Vero, Captain Hirams Resort, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel, Costa d’Esta Beach Resort

Address: 1216 21st St Vero Beach, FL 32960
Phone Number: (772) 567-3491
Website: https://www.visitflorida.com/listing/visit-indian-river-county-visitor-center/25312/
Best Time to Visit: March through May
US Travel Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

12. Siesta Key


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Siesta Key is a beach in Sarasota on the Gulf that is both lively and fun. There are turtle sanctuaries, parks, boardwalks, and must-see excursions everywhere.

You can sign up for an electric bike tour of the beach, rent kayaks and paddle boards, explore the mangroves for manatees, or find the perfect fishing spot at the end of a pier. 

While you’re there, check out the Siesta Farmer’s Market with the kids so they can learn a thing or two about sustaining the local wildlife! You might also want to try a few of their top-rated restaurants, like Siesta Beach Eats, The Hub Baja Grill, and the Old Salty Dog. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Siesta Key Beachside Villas, Tropical Breeze Resort, Turtle Beach Resort & Inn, Lido Beach Resort, Siesta Sands Beach Resort, Tropical Beach Resort, Hyatt Residency, The Seaspray Resort

Address: 948 Beach Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242
Phone Number: (941) 706-1253
Website: https://www.visitsarasota.com/siesta-key
Best Time to Visit: March through May
Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Siesta Key

13. Pensacola Beach


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With beautiful beaches, outstanding parks, fabulous hotels, and fantastic restaurants, you can’t go wrong with a family trip to Pensacola. There are also tons of fishing charters, sunset cruises, dolphin tours, and crabs on the beach at night.

You’ll find the National Naval Aviation Museum, Fort Pickens, the Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, Gulf Breeze Zoo, and The Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier, all within a short distance of the beach itself.

For family-friendly dining, check out Shaggy’s, The Grand Marlin, Peg Leg Pete’s, Flounders Chowder, the Water Peg, or Red Fish Blue Fish. There are also many fantastic food trucks out and about during lunch! 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Hilton Garden Inn Pensacola, Quality Inn & Suites, Sole Inn & Suites, Margaritaville Beach Hotel, Portofino Island Resort, Surf & Sand Hotel, Beach Club Resort 

Address: 1401 E Gregory St, Pensacola, FL 32502
Phone Number: (800) 635-4803
Website: https://visitpensacolabeach.com
Best Time to Visit: Mid-September through October
TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Related Read: 20 BEST Things To Do in Pensacola With Kids

14. Delray Beach


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Nestled on the east coast just north of Boca Raton, Delray is a small artsy city with a spectacular beach. You’ll find lots of neat things to see, like The Pineapple Grove Arts District and the Wakodahatchee Wetlands.

The Main Street in town is lively and fun, while the skyline is studded with palms for the perfect sunset photographs. 

There are many great family restaurants, such as Deck 84, Ellie’s Diner and Flamingo Ballroom, and Gourmet Killer Hot Dogs. You’ll also find yacht rentals, complete with a captain and crew, Rapids Waterpark, and the South Florida Science Center.

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Hyatt Place Delray, Hilton Garden Inn, Residence Inn by Marriott, Delray Sands Resort, Crane’s Beach House, Aloft Delray Beach, Delray Breakers, Opal Grand

Address: S Ocean Blvd, Delray Beach, FL 33483
Phone Number: (561) 243-7352
Website: https://www.delraybeachfl.gov/
Best Time to Visit: March through May
TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

15. Manatee Public Beach


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North of Sarasota and Siesta Key, Manatee Public Beach on Anna Maria Island is the best of both worlds. You can camp on Siesta Key and do fun outdoor excursions, or stay in St. Pete and spend the day exploring the sandy dunes and seeing the wildlife.

If the wetlands aren’t flooded, there’s a great watch tower that will let you see miles out in either direction. It’s a very popular spot and tends to get crowded midday, but it’s quiet in the mornings and evenings.

It’s also one of the few beaches with free parking in the area, though it’s limited. If you and your family are sand castle builders, this is the beach for you. The sand is quite compact and will work well for a nice strong structure. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Homewood Suites, Hyatt Place, Cedar Cove Resorts, Compass Hotel, Tropical Beach Resorts, Carlisle Inn, Anna Maria Island Beach Resort, Lido Beach Resort

Address: 4000 State Rd 64 and Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
Phone Number: (914) 742-5923
Website: https://www.mymanatee.org/departments/parks___natural_resources
Best Time to Visit: March through May
Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

16. St. Augustine


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Located on Anastasia Island, St. Augustine  Beach is a lovely bit of land along the Atlantic coast. The sand stretches as far as the eye can see, and there’s a pier perfect for fishing.

Even better, you’ll find a playground, splash pad, and volleyball courts within walking distance. Be careful while you explore, as this is one of the top turtle nesting beaches in the area. 

There are ample accommodations to choose from, whether you’d like a full resort or a small AirBnB. There are also many kid-friendly restaurants, including Beachcomber, Sunset Grille, Terra & Acqua, and The Hyppo. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Southern Oaks Inn, The Flagler Inn, Anastasia Inn, Homewood Suites, The Ponce St. Augustine, Rodeway Inn, Villa 1565 Historic Hotel, Sebastian Hotel, The Cozy Inn, The Conch House Motel

Address: 350 A1A Beach Blvd, St. Augustine, FL
Phone Number: (904) 461-2033
Website: https://www.staugbch.com
Best Time to Visit: March through May
TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

17. Hollywood Beach


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Hollywood Beach is like stepping into the past and visiting Florida 30 years ago. It’s all about riding your bike along the sand, fishing barefoot from the wooden walkways, and just spending time together.

There’s a beautiful boardwalk, Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, to stroll on foot or ride a foot pedal buggy down. There are also many fun things to do in Hollywood proper, with its palm-drenched roads and tiki torch-lit brick pathways.

Due to its proximity to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, you’ll find ample opportunities for kid-friendly fun and many lovely places to stay. Check out Sapore De Mare for a fancy family dinner or Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for that authentic Florida experience.

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: The Diplomat Beach Resort, Margaritaville Hollywood Beach, Ocean Inn, Seminole Hardrock Hotel, St Maurice Beach Inn, Caribbean Resort Suites, Dolphin Hollywood, May-Dee Suites

Address: 101 S. Boardwalk, Hollywood, FL 33019
Phone Number: (954) 921-3478
Website: https://www.hollywoodfl.org/1049/Hollywood-Beach
Best Time To Visit: March through May
TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

18. St. George Beach


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Located in the Panhandle of Florida near the Apalachicola River and Wildlife Sanctuary, St. George Beach is the ideal family getaway.

There are many pet-friendly entrances, and the calm, clear water coupled with the white sand is not only beautiful but not too crowded. With seventeen miles of trails to explore, you’ll never see it all without a plan. 

There are many private accommodations and beachfront condos for rent, so it’s perfect for a large family or an entire gathering. You’ll find tons of fishing charters, hot air balloon rides, sunset cruises, and even a lighthouse to explore.

You can stop by Aunt Ebby’s Ice Cream Parlor for a sweet treat or try the Beach Pit, Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe, or BJ’s Pizza and Subs for lunch and dinner. 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: St. George Inn, Buccaneer Inn, Gibson Inn, The Inn at Sea Island, Apalachicola Bay Inn, Howard Johnson Hotel

Address: 1900 E Gulf Beach Dr, St. George Island, FL 32328
Phone Number: (850) 927-2111
Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/dr-julian-g-bruce-st-george-island-state-park
Best Time to Visit: September through November
Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

19. Fort Lauderdale


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For fun in the sun and a whole city just waiting for exploration, Fort Lauderdale is the classic Florida vacation. You will find upscale hotels to small affordable condos, fancy restaurants to street eats, and busy beaches to secluded stretches of sand.

You’ll have no problem finding the perfect itinerary to keep you and your family happy. While you’re there, check out the Museum of Discovery and Science, Spacebound Trampoline Park, Bluefoot Pirate Adventures, Flippo’s, or the Secret Woods Nature Center.

You’ll also find an IMAX 3D Theater! Great restaurants for the family include Lester’s Diner, Jet Runway Cafe, Gilbert’s, The Wharf, and Lulu’s Bait Shack.

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Lago Mar Beach Resort, Playa Largo, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, Ocean Manor Beach Resort, Noble House Hotel

Address: 4201 N Ocean Dr, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308
Phone Number: (800) 921-2319
Website: https://www.fortlauderdale.gov
Best Time to Visit: December through April
Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

20. Panama City Beach


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No list of Floridian beaches would be complete without Panama City Beach. It’s the spring break haven of America, but during the calmer weeks and months, it’s a great place to take the kids.

If you head to the northernmost point of the beach, you’ll find plenty of condos to rent near sparsely crowded beaches and fantastic food. Schooner’s has beachfront seating and a kid-friendly menu.

The Pink Pelican Ice Cream Bar offers dozens of flavors that are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. You can also check out Andy’s Flour Power Cafe, Thomas’s Donut and Shake Shop, Dee’s Hangout, and Bishop’s Cafe.

Don’t forget to tour Ripley’s Believe It or Not and play a few games of mini-golf! If you like shelling, wait for a very windy day and then hit the beach with a bucket and sifter. You’ll find thousands of beautiful shells! 

Family-Friendly Hotels and Resorts: Holiday Inn Resort, The Sandpiper Beacon, Pineapple Villas, Carillon Beach Resort Inn, Palmetto Inn & Resort, Majestic Beach Resort, Sheraton Panama City Beach Golf Resort, Splash Beach Resort 

Address: 1700 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL 32413
Phone Number: 1-800-PCBEACH
Website: https://www.pcbfl.gov
Best Time to Visit: May through October
Trip Advisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

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