14 Best Family Beaches in Florida (and Where to Stay Near Each)

From secluded state parks to action-packed stretches of sand, these are the best family beaches in Florida.
Siesta Beach is one of the best family beaches in Florida (Photo: VisitSarasota.com)
Siesta Beach is one of the best family beaches in Florida (Photo: VisitSarasota.com)

Warm water, soft sand, plenty of sunshine—there’s nothing quite like the best family beaches in Florida when it comes to family beach vacations. Whether you prefer playing in the surf on the Atlantic side or floating in the peaceful waters of the Gulf of Mexico, there’s a Florida beach just right for your next family vacation.

The Best Family Beaches in Florida

As a Florida-based mom and frequent traveler around the Sunshine State, I’ve been up, down, and all around Florida’s beaches over the years, often with my daughter in tow. From secluded state parks to action-packed stretches of sand, there’s a beach for every age, interest, mood, and style. Here are my picks for the most family-friendly beaches in Florida.

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1. Anastasia State Park Beach

St. Augustine, Florida

Anastasia State Park in Florida (Photo: FloridasHistoricCoast.com)
Anastasia State Park has four miles of white quartz sand beach (Photo: FloridasHistoricCoast.com)

You’ll find four miles of white quartz sand beach at Anastasia State Park in historic St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States. A raised boardwalk travels over the dunes between the parking lot and beach, and animal lovers should keep an eye out for gopher tortoises, dolphins, and all kinds of birds. (The park is located on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail).

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Lifeguards monitor a designated swimming area from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and other amenities that rank this among the best beaches for families in Florida include covered picnic pavilions, restrooms, The Island Beach Shop and Grill, and free beach wheelchairs upon request. When you’re done swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, you can rent a bike, paddle board, or kayak to explore more of the park.

Where to Stay Near Anastasia State Park Beach, Florida

Anastasia State Park’s 139 campsites offer a scenic and convenient spot for pitching a tent by the beach. If that’s not your speed, try the Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort. The newish hotel features one- and two-room suites, some with balconies and ocean views, and amenities like a large outdoor pool, free breakfast and evening reception, and a lobby bar that specializes in rum-based drinks.

2. Red Reef Park

Boca Raton, Florida

Red Reef Park in Florida (Photo: Discover The Palm Beaches)
The amenities at Red Reef Park make it one of the best family beaches in Florida (Photo: Discover The Palm Beaches)

In Boca Raton, the 40-acre oceanfront Red Reef Park has all of the most important amenities to make it one of the best family beaches in Florida, including year-round lifeguards, picnic and barbecue areas, public restrooms, and even a playground. It’s also home to a recreational snorkeling reef that was completed in 2021, a waterfront nine-hole golf course, and walking trails.

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The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is located inside the park as well, and the whole family can add to a day at the beach with a visit to its Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility and outdoor aquariums representing different Southeast Florida marine habitats.

Where to Stay Near Red Reef Park, Florida

Turn your Florida beach vacation into a sophisticated getaway at The Beach Club at Boca Raton, where you can enjoy a private stretch of beach with food and beverage service, three pools, a fleet of bicycles, a beachside fitness center, and water taxi service. The 212 guest rooms and suites feature coastal-meets-modern decor, Nespresso coffee makers, and a complimentary mini bar and snacks in the room.

3. Deerfield Beach

Deerfield Beach, Florida

This portion of coastline on Florida’s East Coast has been certified a “Blue Wave” beach by the Clean Beaches Coalition, which means it has met certain criteria for excellence in areas like water quality and beach conditions. And Deerfield Beach isn’t just a nice place to swim, it’s also a safe Florida beach destination for families as well with lifeguards manning nine towers along a one-mile stretch every day throughout the year.

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Deerfield Beach’s International Fishing Pier also extends almost 1,000 feet out into the Atlantic. You can rent fishing rods and buy other necessities. Sand volleyball courts can be found on the north side of the pier, and surfing is allowed between the north side and south of tower number seven. If you’ve never ridden the waves before, Island Water Sports holds free Saturday morning surf lessons on the beach and also offers private and group standup paddleboarding and skimboarding lessons.

Where to Stay Near Deerfield Beach, Florida

Located right across the street from the beach and fishing pier, the pet-friendly Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort offers 172 modern guest rooms and suites, some with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the ocean. When you’re not on the sand, you can head to the hotel’s fitness center or heated pool and hot tub, or walk to the many nearby shops and restaurants.

4. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater Beach in Florida (Photo: VisitStPeteClearwater.com)
Clearwater Beach is a perennial favorite for family beach vacations in Florida (Photo: VisitStPeteClearwater.com)

A perennial favorite for family beach vacations in Florida, Clearwater Beach draws legions of visitors each year to its sugary white sand and clear shallow waters. Lifeguards watch over this stretch of the Gulf of Mexico, and family-friendly amenities include a playground, volleyball nets, and restrooms.

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The 1,080-foot Pier 60 rents and sells fishing gear, and there are lots of restaurants and shops within easy walking distance. Given its immense popularity, it’s smart to plan your parking strategy in advance and secure your spot on the early side. 

Where to Stay Near Clearwater Beach, Florida

Book one of the 253 guest rooms and suites at Sandpearl Resort and enjoy access to a 700-foot stretch of private beach, where you can rent a cabana and get food and beverage service from the hotel’s Tate Island Grill. Send the little ones to the kids club for nature walks and arts and crafts, then book a treatment at the Spa at Sandpearl for the grownups.

5. Hollywood Beach

Hollywood, Florida

Want a lot of options for your day at the beach? Head to Hollywood Beach, which sits between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Yes, there’s a very pretty swath of sand leading to the Atlantic Ocean, where lifeguards keep watch every day of the year. But there’s so much that makes this one of best beaches in Florida for families, and you can access it all by heading out on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk.

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This 2.5-mile paved brick pathway travels along the shore past an array of beachfront shops and restaurants, the Hollywood Beach Theatre, and Charnow Park, where you’ll find playgrounds and a splash fountain for the kids. You can rent bikes for pedaling the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk or visit one of the self-service PADL kiosks to rent paddle boards for some family time out on the water. 

Where to Stay Near Hollywood Beach, Florida

With a prime location right on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk and the laidback vibe for which the brand is known, the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is a great pick for Florida family beach vacations. The hotel’s 369 guest rooms offer tropical style and waterfront views, and amenities include two beachfront pools, a waterslide, a FlowRider Double surfing simulator, and several dining spots for enjoying a cheeseburger in paradise or refreshing margarita. 

6. Cocoa Beach Pier

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Surfing Lessons on Cocoa Beach, Florida (Photo: Florida's Space Coast Office of Tourism)
Kids can learn to surf with private or semi-private lessons on Cocoa Beach (Photo: Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism)

Tweens and teens will love the beach scene at legendary surf spot Cocoa Beach Pier in Cocoa Beach, the closest Florida beach town to all the best Orlando theme parks. Grab a spot on the sand to watch experienced shredders ride the waves at what’s considered the “East Coast Surfing Capital,” or book a private or semi-private surf lesson to try hanging ten yourself.

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This isn’t necessarily a relax-on-the-sand kind of beach, but families with older kids will find lots of activity and good people watching. Like most of the best family beaches in Florida, Cocoa Beach has year-round lifeguards, showers, and beach volleyball courts. Its namesake pier is lined with shops and restaurants extending 800 feet out into the Atlantic. 

Where to Stay Near Cocoa Beach Pier, Florida

The oceanfront Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort has loads of two-bedroom suites with full kitchens, two bathrooms, and easy access to the beach. But you don’t even need to go down to the sand to make a splash thanks to the hotel’s Wakulla Falls Water Park with a pool, splash pad, and lazy river. 

7. Crandon Beach

Key Biscayne, Florida

Crandon Park Beach in Florida (Photo: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau)
The water is calm at Florida’s Crandon Park Beach thanks to an offshore sandbar (Photo: Greater Miami CVB)

A two-mile stretch of soft white sand in Key Biscayne, family-friendly Crandon Beach consistently earns praise for its beauty and calm waters thanks to an offshore sandbar. (Lifeguards are on hand just in case, of course.) The beach offers plenty of parking and a wide range of amenities that put it among the best family beaches in Florida, including concession stands, picnic areas with grills, cabana rentals, beach wheelchairs, and kiteboard equipment rentals and lessons.

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There’s a whole lot to explore here beyond the beach, too, like the Crandon Park Amusement Center with its restored carousel and outdoor roller rink and the self-guided nature trails by the Crandon Park Visitor and Nature Center.

Where to Stay Near Crandon Park Beach, Florida

Many of the rooms at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne Miami have private full- or half-balconies with views of the Atlantic Ocean or Biscayne Bay. Kids will love the hotel’s 1,200-foot stretch of beach, zero-entry pool, and Ritz Kids program offering all kinds of nature-focused activities in partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. Grownups can serve and volley at the largest tennis center of any Ritz-Carlton or book one of the more than 60 treatments available at The Ritz-Carlton Spa. 

8. Clam Pass Park Beach

Naples, Florida

Clam Pass Park Beach in Florida (Photo: Naples Marco Island Everglades CVB)
Clam Pass Park’s 35 acres of coastal habitat is a great place to spot wildlife (Photo: Naples Marco Island Everglades CVB)

A three-quarter-mile boardwalk travels through a mangrove forest down to the beach at the popular Clam Pass Park on Florida’s Gulf coast. Like other family-friendly beaches in Florida, visitor amenities include public restrooms, a snack bar, and a beach concession that rents chairs, cabanas, canoes, and kayaks. There are no lifeguards here, but the City of Naples’s Beach Patrol monitors area beaches every day of the year and assists with any medical emergencies that arise. Loaner life jackets and a beach wheelchair are also available.

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Clam Pass Park’s 35 acres of coastal habitat is a great place to spot birds, butterflies, and a variety of marine life, and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida offers guided nature walks Monday through Saturday from December to April.

Where to Stay Near Clam Pass Park Beach, Florida

Stay in style at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, a 474-room property situated on 23 acres with access to three miles of beach. The whole family will find ways to have fun here, with a list of amenities that includes three pools (one with a waterslide), complimentary bicycles, an 18-hole championship golf course, 15 tennis courts, a luxe spa, a fitness center, and seven restaurants or bars.

9. Siesta Beach

Siesta Key, Florida

Siesta Beach in Florida (Photo: VisitSarasota.com)
Siesta Beach is routinely recognized as one of the best beaches in Florida for families (Photo: VisitSarasota.com)

Twice named “best beach in America” by Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman, Siesta Beach is also one of the best beaches in Florida for families. Located on Siesta Key near downtown Sarasota, this kid-friendly beach has a wide expanse of soft, powdery white, quartz-crystal sand that somehow doesn’t get hot in the Florida sun. It’s situated on a stretch of the Gulf of Mexico that is usually pretty calm, and its colorful lifeguard stands look good in vacation photos (and help you remember where you spread your beach towel).

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Siesta Beach also has pretty much everything your family might need right on site, from newish restrooms and places to rent beach gear to a playground and options for buying food and drinks. Visit on Sundays to catch the legendary Siesta Key Drum Circle rhythmically usher in the sunset. 

Where to Stay Near Siesta Beach, Florida

Head south down the sand from Siesta Beach and you’ll eventually wind up at the Hyatt Residence Club Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach. Two-, three-, and four-bedroom condo-style accommodations feature kitchens, washers and dryers, and lots of room for the whole family to spread out. A beachfront pool offers a sand-free swimming option, and the on-site fitness center makes it easy to squeeze in a workout.

10. Manatee Public Beach

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Manatee Public Beach in Florida (Photo: Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau)
Manatee Public Beach has everything families need for a Florida beach vacation (Photo: Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Start your Manatee Public Beach day at Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe with an order of all-you-can-eat pancakes. This is also the spot on Anna Maria Island where you can rent chairs and umbrellas; find beach restrooms, showers, and changing areas; and pick up T-shirts, towels, and other necessities at the gift shop.

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Lifeguards are on duty watching over the Gulf coast shoreline, and a playground and volleyball courts offer alternatives to swimming. End the day back at the cafe area with an ice cream cone or drink at the Bamboo Beach Bar.

Where to Stay Near Manatee Public Beach, Florida

Each of the 31 guest rooms at Anna Maria Beach Resort features private balconies or patios and kitchenettes or full kitchens. The beachfront property also offers amenities like complimentary beach set-ups, a pool with cabanas available for rent, a fire pit, barbecue grills, and outdoor games for plenty of Florida beach vacation fun.

11. Fort De Soto Park

Tierra Verde, Florida

Fort De Soto Park in Florida (Photo: VisitStPeteClearwater.com)
The scenic setting and public amenities make Fort De Soto Park one of Florida’s best family beaches (Photo: VisitStPeteClearwater.com)

The three miles of beach at the 1,136-acre Fort De Soto Park on the west central coast of Florida have earned “best beach” honors from both Tripadvisor and “Dr. Beach” in years past, and it’s not hard to see why. Start with the scenic setting among five interconnected islands, where from certain spots you can take in sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa, and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Add in all the amenities here, from a playground and picnic shelters to fishing piers and canoe and kayak rentals, and you easily get one of the best family beaches in Florida.

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You can also explore the park’s namesake Spanish-American War-era fort, try to spot some of the more than 300 species of birds that have been seen here, and wander the seven miles of paved trails through the park. There’s even a special dog-friendly area where the family pup can go for a swim. The only drawback? There are no lifeguards on duty at the park.

Where to Stay Near Fort De Soto Park, Florida

The park includes a 236-site family camping area with special spots for camping with pets and amenities like grills, washers and dryers, modern restrooms and showers, and a campground store. Or go for a completely different experience and book a room at the historic Don Cesar, a luxe beachfront hotel with 277 guest rooms and suites, a spa, two outdoor heated pools, and complimentary bicycle rentals.

12. Stuart Beach

Stuart, Florida

Stuart Beach in Florida (Photo: Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing)
Lifeguards are on duty all day long at Stuart Beach in Florida (Photo: Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing)

The entire family can enjoy Stuart Beach, where there are lifeguards on duty all day long. And when the kids need a break from the beautiful beach, there’s volleyball and basketball courts to keep them entertained.

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Bring a cooler backpack and pack a lunch to enjoy at a covered picnic table or grab something to eat or drink at the Seaside Café. Beach chairs, umbrellas, and other beach essentials are also available for rent to make your day on the sand more comfortable. After lunch, head just across the street to the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center to learn more about stingrays, sea turtles, and other creatures you might have seen swimming by.

Where to Stay Near Stuart Beach, Florida

There are two ways to stay at Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort. You can opt to stay close to the waves in condo-style suites at the Sandpiper Beachfront Tower or choose the main hotel to be closer to the resort’s three pools, golf course, and marina. Either way, you can’t really lose at this family-friendly Florida hotel that sits on 200 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River.

13. Grayton Beach State Park

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Grayton Beach in Florida (Photo: Walton County TDC)
Grayton Beach’s 100-acre coastal dune lake is a unique geological feature (Photo: Walton County TDC)

The 2,000-acre Grayton Beach State Park on the Florida Panhandle includes a mile of beach with sugar white sand and emerald-hued water ideal for swimming and surf fishing. There are no lifeguards here, but the park does offer family-friendly amenities like picnic pavilions, restrooms, and a beach wheelchair that can be reserved.

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You can also explore a one-mile nature trail near the beach or paddle the park’s 100-acre coastal dune lake, a geographical feature found only in a few other places in the world. (Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the park.) 

Where to Stay Near Grayton Beach State Park, Florida

Book one of the 30 two-bedroom, one-bath duplex cabins at the park (they have central heating and cooling, kitchens, and screened-in porches) and you’ll be just minutes from the beach. Or stay at the well-situated WaterColor Inn and Resort, where most of the guest rooms and suites overlook the Gulf of Mexico and amenities include multiple pools, a lazy river, beach bonfire service, and access to bike, kayak, and paddle board rentals.

14. Russell-Fields City Pier and Beach

Panama City Beach, Florida

Russell-Fields Pier in Florida (Photo: Visit Panama City Beach)
Dogs are welcome along portions of Russell-Fields Ciry Beach in Florida (Photo: Visit Panama City Beach)

Everyone in your family will find something to love about Russell-Fields City Pier and Beach in the Florida Panhandle beach. That includes your four-legged critters, who can enjoy the Dog Beach on the west side of the Russell-Fields City Pier (dogs must be leashed).

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The whole area is known for its white sand and emerald Gulf of Mexico waters, and there’s also beach volleyball courts, restrooms and showers, and lifeguards on duty from April through Labor Day weekend. Head out onto the 1,500-foot Russell-Fields City Pier for some fishing or wildlife spotting, or walk across the street to Pier Park for lunch or a little shopping to get out of the sun.

Where to Stay Near Russell-Fields City Pier and Beach, Florida

Families have lots of room to spread out at SpringHill Suites Panama City Beach Beachfront, where some suites include bunk beds and all make it easy to get out on the sand. A free breakfast buffet is served daily, the outdoor pool overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, and on-site dining options include a poolside bar and grill and an ice cream and coffee shop.

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Beth Luberecki is a Florida-based freelance writer who writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics for a variety of publications and websites. She enjoys exploring destinations close to home and farther afield with her husband and teenage daughter. Visit her website at bethluberecki.com or find her on Instagram at @bethlubereckiwrites and @findingfloridafun.

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