The state of Florida has over 600 miles of beaches, and the popularly visited South Florida area draws in millions of people each year. But with this popularity comes a lot of different crowds, which is why families need a guide to the best family-friendly beaches in South Florida. Luckily, that’s exactly what this article will explore.
We’re unpacking six of the best family beaches in South Florida, including:
- Crandon Park Beach
- Hollywood Beach
- Cocoa Beach
- St. Augustine Beach
- Fernandina Beach
- Clearwater Beach
Each of these beaches is selected for its kid-friendly amenities, emphasis on family fun activities, and clean shorelines. Keep reading, as we unpack the must-see things at each of the six South Florida beaches and what makes them so ideal for families of all ages. Let’s dive into it!
1. Crandon Park Beach (Key Biscayne)
Crandon Park Beach is a two-mile public beach in Key Biscayne, across the Rickenbacker Causeway from Miami, FL. This beach is open from sunrise to sunset, making it a family-friendly beach destination filled with wildlife like sea turtles and songbirds, as well as coastal dunes.
Key Biscayne’s beach is safe for children, as an offshore sand bar protects the beach from crashing surf.
Families can travel nearby to Crandon’s Family Amusement Center for indoor activities, or enjoy park activities, such as EcoAdventure tours offered, self–guided nature trails, kiteboard/kayak rentals, picnic shelter rentals, and guided hammock hikes. Field trips are regularly going on at this beach, where children come to see the natural wonders in all their glory.
Cost of Admission: $5 to park Monday-Friday, $7 to park Saturday or Sunday
Must-See Things in Key Biscayne
- The mangrove boardwalk that leads to a fossilized reef overlook
- The Rusty Pelican waterfront restaurant
- Miami Seaquarium
2. Hollywood Beach
Florida’s Hollywood Beach is located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Families with older children and teenagers will enjoy the live music, waterfront resorts, restaurants, and 2.5-mile Hollywood Beach Broadwalk promenade.
Water sports and activities are also popular among teenagers and families at this beach, where pristine waters await you. And to make it extra easy to get from place to place, you can utilize the Hollywood Sun Shuttle for just $1/person.
This is a clean, no-smoking, no-alcohol beach in an area rich with visual arts and cultural attractions.
Cost of Admission: Beach access is free (but parking prices vary)
Must-See Things in Hollywood Beach
- The Anne Kolb Nature Center (1,500 acres of protected mangrove wetlands)
- ArtsPark, where regular art demonstrations, festivals, concerts, and movie nights occur
- Yellow Green Farmers Market (dog-friendly and a great place for parents of teens to stop in the mornings)
3. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is located just south of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This is the ideal destination for families with children who love science, rockets, history, and more.
Parents can golf, and older children and families can voyage out on deep-sea fishing adventures here. There are also various eco-tours where you can get a glimpse of manatees, dolphins, and other wildlife.
There are even surf shops throughout the city, as well as opportunities for kids and families to learn how to surf together.
Cost of Admission: beach access is free ($15.00 per vehicle to park)
Must-See Things in Cocoa Beach
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
- The 800-foot Cocoa Beach Pier with fishing, dining, shopping, and arcade games
- Downtown Historic Cocoa Village
4. St. Augustine Beach
St. Augustine Beach is actually situated on one of South Florida’s islands – Anastasia Island. This beach is a part of Florida’s Historic Coast, and it is dotted with a large fishing pier, beachside pavilion, and beach volleyball court.
One of the main attractions for families and children is the splash park, which is at the St. Johns County Pier. Additionally, you can partake in swimming, boogie boarding, surfing, kiteboarding, and other water sports. There are plenty of private home rentals, hotels, and accommodations, as well.
Cost of Admission: $10/day for non-residents, $5/day for handicapped individuals, and $5/day for active military with ID (parking rates vary)
Must-See Things in St. Augustine Beach
- A1A Beach Boulevard, which has lots of dining, from seafood to grills, Mexican food, and ice cream parlors
- Old Town Trolley Tours
- Marineland Dolphin Adventure (very kid-friendly)
5. Fernandina Beach
Fernandina Beach extends for 13 miles of crystal clear waters and is located in Nassau County, FL, on Amelia Island.
It’s a relaxed, family-friendly beach with plenty of restaurants, shops, and beautiful wildlife including shady oaks. This destination is well-suited to families looking for a quieter beach, such as those with children who can’t yet walk (infants, etc.).
The beaches here have boardwalks, as well as playground units for children to enjoy.
Cost of Admission: (around $2/person, depending on which park you access the beach through)
Must-See Things in Fernandina Beach
- Historic Fort Clinch State Park
- Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival
- Downtown Fernandina Historical Walking Tour
6. Clearwater Beach (Sand Key Park)
Last but not least, Clearwater Beach (part of Sand Key Park) is located in South Florida’s namesake city of Clearwater. It’s known for its laid-back atmosphere and generally calm waters, which is a great environment for small children to enjoy the ocean.
Parasailing, paddleboarding, and jet-skiing are common activities at Clearwater, and you can also enjoy fishing charters and natural attractions.
Family-friendly accommodations are not far away, and there are plenty of seafood, grill, and bistro-style restaurants to avail of.
Cost of Admission: free with metered parking
Must-See Things in Clearwater Beach
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- Pier 60 (boasts of crafts, artistic performers, and other attractions each night)
- Little Toot Dolphin Adventure
When browning for the best family beaches in South Florida, we hope you’ll give consideration to the above six recommendations. Each of our suggestions is affordable, family-friendly, clean, and ripe with activities for both nature-lovers and consumers alike.
And with family-friendly lodging, exciting events, restaurants, and piers nearby, these destinations are perfect for children (from tots to teens).