Home to an abundance of theme parks and one very famous mouse, Florida is a beloved vacation destination for families with kids and kids at heart. But the Sunshine State is about more than just amusement parks. Its beautiful beaches and state parks make for a memorable family vacation all on their own—and the best Florida beach resorts are perfectly tailored for families.
Florida Resorts: The Best Beach Hotels
Ranked among the top family beach resorts in the whole country, Florida’s best beach hotels and picture-perfect waterfront resorts offer the kinds of accommodations, activities, and amenities that are custom-designed to please the entire family. Beyond everyday perks like flat screen TVs, coffee makers, and a hotel fitness center, the amenities at these hotels start with things like epic outdoor pools, movies under the stars, and private balconies to take in the ocean views. And they only get better from there.
1. South Seas Island Resort
Captiva Island, Florida
Both Captiva and neighboring Sanibel are barrier islands easily reached from mainland Fort Myers by causeway, but don’t let the ease of access fool you—this is authentic Florida with hardly a chain store in sight. Some of the most colorful seashells in the world pepper the island’s beautiful beaches, and savvy shell collectors know that an hour before and after low tide is prime time to find sand dollars, conch, and the rare Junonia washed ashore.
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South Seas Island Resort enjoys a 2.5-mile swath of perfect coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, with hundreds of seashells blanketing the clean sand. Once the site of a key lime plantation, today guests can enjoy getting up close with Captiva’s ecosystem and marine habitats when they take a beachside walk under the guidance of the resort’s trained naturalists.
Multiple outdoor pools, waterslides, and fishing off the dock are some of the many additional ways ways to have fun at South Seas Island Resort. Like many Florida beach resorts geared toward families, the hotel offers a range of dining options to tempt tiny appetites.
2. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Amelia Island, Florida
An unspoiled wisp of a barrier island, Amelia Island’s 13 miles of pristine beaches offer sand dunes and unfettered access to the Atlantic Ocean, with a forest of giant oaks draped in Spanish moss nearby just for good measure. The island provides loads of family activities, too, including a visit to well-preserved Fort Clinch State Park and a hands-on shrimping eco-tour. Though it feels remote, Amelia Island is only a 30-minute drive from Jacksonville International Airport.
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Of all the beach hotels on Amelia Island, the Ritz-Carlton best embodies beachside elegance. The hotel enjoys a magnificent location on an often-empty beach, and there’s an indoor-outdoor flow to this resort that showcases ocean views at every turn. The patio, with comfy sofas and over-sized chairs grouped around a large firepit, overlooks the dunes. A series of wooden boardwalks leads to the beach, where dolphins swim close to shore. And the Ritz Carlton offers activities that take full advantage of the beach resort’s location, including kayak excursions and surfing lessons.
The Ritz Kids program for children ages five to 12 provides this age group with a plethora of hands-on diversions, too. The Kids Night Out is a supervised evening program offered by Ritz Carlton that’s popular with families: Kids can have dinner, watch a movie, and play games, while parents enjoy a child-free evening. For a special treat, book a pirate tuck-in at bedtime.
3. Hammock Beach Golf Resort and Spa
Palm Coast, Florida
Northeastern Florida’s Palm Coast enjoys many miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. The clean and sandy beaches are the big draw, as is the area’s laidback vibe—it’s a genuine slice of coastal Americana with locals fishing off the pier, teens surfing the waves, and kids building sandcastles by the water.
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Hammock Beach Golf Resort and Spa boasts a multi-level fantasy pool complex with twisting slides and a lazy river, tennis courts, and a full-service spa that sets it apart from other beach hotels. And on those rare days when the sun isn’t shining, there’s a large indoor pool complex with table tennis and foosball options as well. The resort is known for its golf course, with links that play directly alongside the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, offering dramatic ocean views.
The grounds at Hammock Beach are carefully maintained and the rooms are amenity-filled, but it doesn’t feel fancy or stuffy. For guests ages four to 12, there are on-site morning and evening supervised programs for an additional fee.
4. Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa
Palm Beach Island, Florida
Palm Beach has a reputation as a preppy playground. And while you will find a fair share of polo players, former presidents, and Lilly Pulitzer prints here, the county’s crown jewel is its 47 miles of Atlantic Ocean surf.
Situated on a private beach surrounded by tropical gardens, the exclusive Eau Palm Beach resort goes above and beyond other Florida beach resorts right from the start with a gorgeous lobby that boasts sweeping ocean views and a cooling tropical breeze, plus swanky guest rooms that feature playful pops of nautical colors.
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Slather on the kid-friendly sunscreen and leave yourself plenty of unstructured time to build sandcastles and jump the waves at the resort’s beautiful beach. The supervised on-site kid’s club includes a climbing wall and a staff who make rambunctious young guests feel welcome from the get-go, freeing parents to try an outdoor yoga class, a treatment from the full-service spa, or a dip in one of the splendid swimming pools.
5. Sandpearl Resort
Clearwater Beach, Florida
On Clearwater Beach, the sand is as soft as sifted flour and as white as fresh snow. The warm Gulf waters are a shade of blue that’s fit for a jewelry box. Add a pier and the palm tree-lined Beach Walk Promenade, and you’ve got a seaside dream.
The Sandpearl Resort is located on a 700-foot stretch of beach. Florida’s first Silver LEED-certified beach resort, it was built with the goal of contributing to the environment in a positive manner without sacrificing one ounce of creature comforts. The welcoming staff makes guests feel at home from the moment they enter the luxurious lobby. Guest rooms and suites are decorated in soothing earth tones that mimic the natural hues of the seascape, with stunning ocean views.
The beach hotel’s family-friendly amenities include a gigantic lagoon-style swimming pool, Camp Ridley kid’s club, outdoor movies by the pool, and nightly s’mores served on the beach.
6. Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is a good vacation choice for families who crave a beach getaway with the excitement of a big city. There are more than a dozen beaches, all public, with light blue water and soft sand. Beyond the beach, the city’s zoo, Seaquarium and children’s museum are fun options. You can also immerse yourself in Cuban culture while exploring Little Havana, check out the Art Deco buildings lining Ocean Drive, and visit the colorful murals at Wynwood Walls open-air art gallery.
A revered Miami Beach landmark for more than half a century, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach sits on 22 acres of the city’s oceanfront. A visual stunner among Florida beach resorts, the Fontainebleau blends elements of Miami’s glamorous golden era (think Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack) with stylish modern design. The beach hotel offers 11 swimming pool experiences, including an interactive waterscape for kids. With miles of beach at its doorstep, it’s easy to enjoy the day relaxing on a chaise longue under an umbrella, rent a kayak, or swim in the sea.
After a day outdoors, enjoy Miami’s eclectic dining scene or eat in one of the hotel’s on-site restaurants, all offering special kids’ menus.
7. Hawks Cay Resort
Duck Key, Florida
A chain of islands south of Miami, the Florida Keys are famous for their laidback atmosphere that feels a million miles away from the state’s many theme parks. In the heart of the Florida Keys is Hawks Cay, a classic beach resort midway down the chain of Keys, dotted with a sweep of palm trees and lush vegetation. Guests come here to swim in the sea, splash in the multiple swimming pools, fish, kayak, play tennis, and bask in the sunshine.
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When you arrive, you’ll walk into the light-filled lobby, past the row of comfy rocking chairs on the front porch, and won’t help but notice the tropical color palette that’s as cheerful as a fruit cup. In addition to standard guest rooms, the resort offers two-and three-bedroom villas perfect for multigenerational family vacations. They’re decorated with low-key contemporary furnishings that suit the casual feel of so many classic Florida beach hotels.
At the on-site kid’s club, Camp Hawk, guests ages five to 12 can learn about the delicate Florida Keys ecosystem. Teens have their own separate drop-in space for video games, pizza parties, and other age-appropriate diversions.
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A pod of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins lives at Hawks Cay, making it the only beach resort in the mainland U.S. to offer dolphin interactions. Stand on the dock and watch them play, or book an in-water experience.
8. Edgewater Beach Hotel
One look at the white sand, palm trees, and azure Gulf waters and you’ll understand why Naples is considered some of the most stunning coastline in the United States. At Naples Pier, you can take a stroll, look for dolphins, and watch the fisherman reel in the day’s catch. The white sand stretches for miles and the calm waves of the Gulf of Mexico are easy for even the youngest visitors to enjoy. Naples is also home to a zoo, botanical gardens, and the interactive Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, so there’s plenty to do beyond the beach.
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The vibe at the Edgewater Beach Hotel is chic and casual. The 125 suites are both attractive and functional, with a kitchen, living area, and separate bedroom, a hit with visiting families seeking spacious accommodations at an oceanfront location. Outside your suite’s door sits a stellar swath of soft sand where you can relax in a comfy beach chair, rent a kayak or SUP, or go for a swim in the warm water. There are two heated swimming pools and delectable onsite dining options, too.
9. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
Vero Beach, Florida
Situated on Florida’s Treasure Coast, Vero Beach is a paradise for nature lovers, boasting miles of unspoiled Atlantic beaches as well as the Indian River Lagoon, North America’s most diverse estuary and home to a large population of manatees.
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One of the top Disney hotels in Florida, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort sits on an idyllic swath of sand and sea. Unique among Florida beach resorts, Vero Beach is also nesting ground for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle and was built to have minimal impact on the turtles’ nesting patterns. After a few hours on the beach, kids can continue splashing in the Mickey Mouse-shaped outdoor pool and slipping down the Pirate’s Plunge water slide. Accommodations include traditional guest rooms and roomy villas with kitchens popular with Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members.
10. Acqualina Resort and Residences on the Beach
Sunny Isles Beach, Florida
If you’re looking for a seaside haven just minutes from both Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Acqualina Resort and Residences on the Beach is perfection. It’s set on over four acres with its own stunning beach for guests. Families love the oceanfront soccer field, dual basketball hoop, and marine biology-inspired activities. And with four swimming pools, including one at the spa and one reserved for adults, there are plenty of ways to stay cool. The Beach Club pool is surrounded by comfy lounge chairs and private cabanas while the Recreational Pool is the epicenter of games and activities led by the friendly staff.
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Guest rooms and suites are richly appointed with classic furnishings, private terraces, and bathrooms with marble floors. Tech-savvy teens will enjoy large format plasma flat screen TVs and up-to-date multimedia perks. Many suites have full kitchens, while the multiple on-site dining options should satisfy everyone’s appetite.