Our picks for the best white sand beaches in Florida for families are:
- Siesta Key Beach
- Pensacola Beach
- Perdido Key
- Destin Beach
- Santa Rosa Beach
- Anna Maria Island
- Fort Myers Beach
- Longboat Key
- St. Pete Beach
- Grayton Beach
- Fort Walton Beach
- Navarre Beach
- Clearwater Beach
In the rest of the article, we’re going to look at each of these 13 beaches in more detail and learn what makes them so great for families.
Siesta Key Beach
Located just a hop and a skip from Sarasota, the dazzling sand at the Siesta Key Beach ranks it as one of the most gorgeous beaches in Florida. Not only is the sandy part of the beach really wide, giving kids plenty of space to play, but there is also a wide variety of attractions nearby, ranging from food vendors to Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
If you’re visiting Pensacola and staying downtown, the city’s beach is a no-brainer for a family visit. More than that, the beach is pet-friendly, so even the four-legged members of your family can join in the fun.
Pensacola Beach is well taken care of, so your little ones can enjoy both clean sands and crystal-clear waters to splash around in. The boardwalk and pier allow for plenty of out-of-water activity if there are any unconfident swimmers in the family or if you just don’t want to get wet.
Perdido Key might almost be cheating because it doesn’t sit entirely within Florida, with a portion of its 16-mile stretch in the neighboring state of Alabama. Because this beach is a bit less tamed than many of the others, amenities may be limited, but if your family is after a serene day among nature and would prefer scenic views to bustle, this one’s for you.
If what you are looking for is a full package for a family day out, Destin Beach should be high on your list. Located in the Florida Panhandle, a day here can be split between traditional beach activities, like sunbathing and splashing around in the water, and adjacent attractions, like the scenic Henderson State Park that also acts as one of the public access points to the beach.
Santa Rosa Beach
Santa Rosa Beach offers visitors more of an extended beach vacation. With its many rental houses and hotels, but isolated from busy downtown areas, this makes for a wonderful multi-day experience for a family that wants some time away. The beach stretches on for miles and is sandwiched between lush greenery and turquoise waters, offering not only gorgeous scenery, but a nice variety of it too.
Anna Maria Island
About equidistant from St. Petersburg and Sarasota, though easier to get to by car from the latter, is the idyllic Anna Maria Island. With its sandy shores located on the Gulf-facing side of the island, you can enjoy the view of the open waters as your little ones build sandcastles and tiptoe among the waves lapping the shore.
Fort Myers Beach
Located to the southwest of Fort Myers proper, Estero Island hosts Fort Myers Beach. A popular destination, prepare to see plenty of families, fishermen, and even boats enjoying the ideal geography along this waterfront. If that becomes too much for you as the day goes on, you can take your family to any of the attractions in the town that nestles the beach itself.
Heavily protected by the city of Longboat Key, whose limits the beach falls within, this one is an amazing destination for families that enjoy nature in all its glory. The beach is teeming with wildlife, and with enough luck, your children can spot everything from shorebirds to sea turtles swimming in proximity, making it a must-see beach for families with budding naturalists.
St. Pete Beach
Located in Pinellas County, St. Pete Beach offers a luxury experience under almost perennial sunshine. Whether you are staying at the resort or just visiting for the day, the Gulf waters offer an unbeatable view, and the soft sands give comfort to any beach-goer.
Directly off the beach, the town offers plenty of amenities to suit the needs of any family, from museums for the erudite among us, to hiking trails for the active ones, to comedy clubs for those who just want a good laugh.
Perhaps the best for families with toddlers and small children, Grayton Beach has tons of very shallow water for little ones to splash around in, and although popular, its massive area means you won’t have to worry about crowding if you would prefer to avoid it.
Note that this is a state park, which is great for keeping everything wonderful and pristine, but it also means that there is a fee to enter. The highest admission fee at time of writing is only $5, so it won’t break the bank, and you get the satisfaction of contributing to this amazing destination’s upkeep.
Fort Walton Beach
Sitting between Destin and Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach offers a variety of attractions for families. The white sands and bright waters offer the traditional beach experience, but if you have members of the household interested in animals, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park will give them all the opportunity to learn about the local wildlife. If you’re more of an active type, you can enjoy a round of golf.
Another offering for families that are after a quiet, relaxed day out is Navarre Beach in Pensacola. Located away from most of the town’s rush, this beach will give you that chilled, laid back experience that is so hard to find on many popular beaches.
Although it’s named for the city, Clearwater Beach nonetheless lives up to its name with crystal-clear water that is also shallow enough for little ones to splash around in without peril. A cornucopia of activities nestled within this idyllic little beach means never-ending fun for the whole family.