Picturing Miami instantly evokes warm sun, blue skies, palm trees and miles of gorgeous, white sand beaches. However, not all of its famous beaches are created equal. Some Miami beaches are decidedly more party-oriented than family-oriented. Others are beautiful and quiet but hard to access. So how does a family decide which beach to go to in Miami? What are the best beaches in Miami for families?
Discover the best family beaches in Miami, Florida in this article. Plus, use our handy list of criteria to help you decide which beaches your family might like to go explore in Miami.
The best beaches in Miami for families:
Use this list as a starting point for some great family-oriented Miami beaches:
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is located in Key Biscayne in Miami. There is a fee to enter this State Park, as well as a toll to cross the bridge by car, however, it is worth the cost. There are hiking, skating and biking paths, a beach (no lifeguards), a historic lighthouse, picnic pavilions, fishing and paddling options. Even better, pets (on a leash) are allowed too!
Key Biscayne is not part of the Florida Keys, it is actually part of the city of Miami. However, it has a totally different vibe than the city of Miami and is worth spending the day exploring not only the beaches but the rest of the area as well.
Crandon Park Beach, Key Biscayne
Also in Key Biscayne, Crandon Park Beach offers Eco-Adventures, golf and tennis, and a top-notch nature center. It consists of 800 acres of mangroves, sand dunes and beaches. Your family can even rent a private cabana to spend the day in luxury! Children will love the Amusement Center with its historic carousel and roller rink.
Lummus Beach Park, Miami Beach
Miami Beach is a barrier island off of Miami and is easily accessible by three major causeways. Lummus Beach Park is located at the southern end in South Beach. While South Beach can get rowdy at night, Lummus Beach Park is a great place for families during the day and offers the quintessential South Beach experience.
Lummus Beach Park is over 10 blocks long. Ocean Avenue on one side offers historic architecture, many choices of restaurants and world-class people-watching. The wide beach on the Atlantic side offers endless play. There are two large playgrounds (one for younger kids aged 2 to 5 and one for older kids), beach equipment rentals, and bike and skate rentals too.
Oleta River State Park, Miami Beach
For an entirely different experience, head to Oleta River State Park in North Miami Beach. At over 1,000 acres, Oleta River is Florida’s largest urban state park. There is a fee for entry, however, once in the park, there is a wide variety of activities to entertain the family. From mountain biking, to paddling, fishing, snorkeling and swimming, Oleta is a great place for families.
North Beach Oceanside Park, North Miami Beach
North Beach is located on the north end of Miami Beach (hence its name). North Beach Oceanside Park is a tranquil beach oasis. There is plenty of room in this expansive park to find a quiet place to relax. There are lifeguards on duty at the beach, plenty of walking trails, picnic pavilions and playgrounds. Parking is also plentiful and inexpensive along this area of North Miami Beach.
Want to explore more Miami beaches on your own? Here’s how.
Miami, although beautiful, has a checkered past when it comes to the city and its beaches. Nowadays, thankfully, there are many family-friendly beaches to choose from when it comes to finding a beach for you and your loved ones, regardless of age. It all comes down to selecting the best beach that meets your needs as a family. Ask these questions to help your research.
Is the beach located in a safe area?
Probably the most important consideration is if the beach you are looking into is in a safe area. While many of Miami’s beach neighborhoods are perfectly safe, you want to make sure there haven’t been recent crime sprees in the area. A great resource to find out about crime in a beach neighborhood is by looking it up on CrimeGrade.org.
Consider how you plan on getting to the beach and how much stuff your family will be bringing to the beach (car break-ins and thefts of personal belongings are usually the most common petty crime near beaches). If you plan on leaving your car for an extended period, take your personal belongings with you, and always make sure there is a family member attending your belongings on the beach.
Is the beach mellow enough for families?
Miami’s beach scene is world famous, and also infamous, for Spring Break. If traveling with a young family, be aware that many of Miami’s normally quiet, mellow beaches will be more crowded and more, ahem, lively, than usual during Spring Break. Police resources will be diverted more towards patrolling and controlling certain notorious areas and not as available in other areas.
Of course, with school-age kids, Spring Break may be the only option for a time to travel to Miami. In that case, finding a beach that is a little off the beaten path might be the best option if you are looking for a mellow beach vibe. The beaches of Key Biscayne and North Miami Beach are good options if that’s what your family is into.
Is it relatively easy to access and get in and out?
This is another important consideration, especially for families with young children. Will you be sitting in traffic for hours? What will parking be like? Is there a long walk from parking to the beach? If not using a car, is the beach accessible using public or private transportation?
Apps like Google Maps can help estimate traffic times depending on what day and even what time of day you’d like to arrive at the beach. Arriving earlier and leaving later are usually the best options when traveling by car to the beach. When parking, pay attention to parking enforcement rules. Some areas are stricter than others and certain neighborhoods restrict non-resident parking.
Another option which can be a fun adventure for families is the trolley. Miami and Miami Beach both offer a free trolley system which you can track on their respective apps.
Is the water safe?
A not-so-common consideration is how safe is the water at the beach? The majority of Miami’s beaches are on the Atlantic Ocean. Many beaches will have lifeguards on duty during the day however you should be mindful of weather and ocean conditions before getting to the beach. Even the strongest swimmers can be caught off-guard by powerful ocean rip currents.
For not-so-strong swimmers, or for those just wanting calmer waters, Oleta River State Park is in the protected water of Biscayne Bay. Most of Key Biscayne’s beaches are also in calm, shallow and protected waters.
Are there amenities at the beach?
Just being at the beach is a wonderful thing. However, sometimes a little extra is even better! Amenities such as restrooms, playgrounds, equipment rentals (umbrellas or chaises), and food can make-or-break a long day at the beach with the family! Luckily, most Miami beaches list available amenities on their websites. Keep in mind, the time of year can have an impact on availability of certain amenities.