Story originally appeared on www.hiltongrandvacations.com.
With 663 miles of beaches from which to choose, there’s a Florida beach to satisfy every taste. From quiet and quaint to perennially popular and every style in between, Florida beaches are some of the best, making them an ideal choice for memory-making family vacations.
Here are six family-friendly beaches worth considering for your next Florida vacation.
1. Amelia Island
If you’re in search of a relaxing beach destination with old-world charm, consider vacationing on Amelia Island. Situated about 30 miles northeast of Jacksonville, Amelia Island features 13 miles of beaches, including Amelia Island State Park.
Saddle up for horseback riding on the beach, or enjoy an afternoon at Main Beach Park, where you’ll find a playground, picnic tables and volleyball courts for fun the whole family can enjoy.
The island is also home to championship golf courses and Spanish moss-draped oak trees, creating the perfect backdrop for an adult’s golf game or a romantic stroll, respectively.
While you’re here, make sure you check out these family-friendly attractions:
- Fernandina Beach offers free parking and soft sand for playing.
- Get up close and personal with dolphins and manatees at Windward Sailing School.
- Take a river cruise to admire wild horses and undeveloped beaches or opt for hands-on fun and sign up for shrimping.
2. St. Augustine Beach
No matter where you go in St. Augustine, odds are you’ll stand face to face with American history. Founded by the Spaniards in 1565, this northeastern Florida city is brimming with historic cobblestone streets and colonial architecture.
Situated 5 miles southeast of St. Augustine’s historic district, you’ll find St. Augustine Beach, a Florida mainstay featuring roughly two miles of sugar-white sand and clear water.
Its kid-friendly splash pad, and historically small waves, make this beach a top choice for families. If you find yourself visiting on windier days, take advantage. The waves will be ideal for surfing and bodyboarding.
When you aren’t relaxing on the beach, be sure to:
- Try to spot a ghost on a nighttime ghost tour.
- Search for treasure at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum.
- Learn about the conservation efforts at St. Augustine Wild Reserve.
3. Cocoa Beach
Located just 45-minutes east of Orlando, Cocoa Beach’s proximity to the City Beautiful and surf-friendly waves make it a popular beach retreat for families. While visiting the Space Coast, be sure to relax along the stretch of sand by the Cocoa Beach Pier.
At the Pier, beachgoers have restaurants, bars, beach equipment and prime fishing spots at their fingertips, making spending a day at the beach stress-free.
If surfing is more your style, Cocoa beach is just the place to catch a wave or, if timed right, watch the pros compete in a surf competition. Then, stop by Cocoa Beach’s Ron Jon Surf Shop for a keepsake, the world’s largest surf shop.
Visitors who have had their fill of sun can explore Historic Cocoa Beach Village, which is home to fine cuisine, casual shopping and live music.
Add these things to do to your shortlist:
- Learn to surf with the famous Ron Jon’s Surf School.
- Discover fossils at the Museum of Dinosaurs & Ancient Cultures.
- Plan a family beach picnic at Lori Wilson Park.
4. Fort Myers Beach
The calm, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico make this destination arguably one of Florida’s best family beach vacations. Families visiting Fort Myers can enjoy white powder sand between their toes on family walks and access to a long list of things to do.
Beyond the beach, families have access to entertaining attractions and historical sites like the Edison & Ford Winter Estates & Botanical Gardens. Be sure to spend a day or two relaxing at the Lovers Key State Recreation Area, where your family can hunt for seashells and watch for wildlife.
You can also:
- Explore Manatee Park, a wildlife and nature reserve with walking trails and kayaking.
- Take a catamaran cruise around Fort Myers Beach.
- Set sail on a Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise.
5. Sanibel and Captiva Islands
Just an hour from Fort Myers, sister islands Sanibel and Captiva are great options for a low-key family beach vacation. Peddle your way around on bike-friendly trails, streets without stoplights (or chain stores) and explore one of the best shelling beaches in the country.
Enjoy time as a family searching for sand dollars and conch shells before having a picnic near the historic lighthouse, which dates back to 1884. If you’re a bicycle enthusiast, you’ll be in heaven as you hop on two wheels to explore the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge — a 5,000-acre wetland and bicycle trail dream.
Then give a few of our favorite things to do a try:
- Step into the waist-deep water at Bowman’s Beach and dig your feet into the sand to find shells.
- Enjoy a sunset family dinner and explore the gift shops on Captiva.
- Spend an evening out as a family at the Schoolhouse Theater — a historic Sanibel landmark that began as a one-room schoolhouse in 1896.
6. Marco Island
As the biggest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is a favorite thanks to its canal-lined streets and crescent-shaped beach facing the Gulf of Mexico. The bright-white sand beaches of Marco Island offer tide pools for exploring, shelling and breath-taking sunsets.
Tiger Tail Beach Park is a great family beach, complete with a playground, picnic facilities and calm waters for paddle boarding.
Here are a few more ideas on how to spend your time on the island:
- Board a catamaran cruise and see if you can spot dolphins, manatees and sea turtles.
- Rent a pontoon boat and set sail for a family fishing excursion at Isles of Capri Marina.
- Take the Hemingway Water Shuttle to Keewaydin Island. Be sure to check out one of the floating restaurants for which the island is known.