Best Florida Beaches for Families

A Beach for Everyone on our Peninsula

(This article was originally posted over on Mom It Forward – make sure to check out their site for all kinds of great recipes, tips and ideas).

One thing about living on a peninsula surrounded by water is that I have had years to explore the numerous beaches throughout Florida. And now as a parent of a rambunctious toddler who thinks she is a fish, I have spent the last few summers looking at our state’s beautiful beaches with a new eye — the eye of a parent looking for a great day at the beach. This experience, combined with my over 25 years of Florida living, has helped me craft my list of Best Florida Beaches for Families.

Best Florida Beaches for Families

Best Picnic Beach

Jetty Park in Cocoa Beach, on the east coast of Florida, was always where my family went to watch the Space Shuttle launch when we were children. But now, even with that era gone, Jetty Park continues to be a great camping and picnic beach with tons of pavilions, places for grilling, and a family-friendly, deep beach.

Best Natural Beach

The Canaveral National Seashore is true, unspoiled nature located between Titusville and New Smyrna Beach on the east coast. There are no buildings, no vendors … nothing but true, unspoiled Florida beaches nestled along the portion of Florida’s coast held sacred during the space era. The drive to the beach makes you feel like you are taking a trip back in time to a more natural, untamed Florida. (But, rest assured, there is a bathroom.)

Best Quick Trip Beach

Honeymoon Island is located on Florida’s West Coast, just north of Clearwater (near Tampa). It is a beautiful state park with all the food and facility amenities a family needs, making it easy to visit on a whim. The beautiful, crystal clear gulf coast waters make this destination perfect for shell hunting (even for most squeamish family members), since you can see right down to the sand while you play in the ocean.

Best Serene Beach

Amelia Island is a favorite couples getaway, but with gorgeous family resorts and rentals available on this northeast Florida beach, it is also perfect for families. The beach is developed just enough to provide wonderful amenities, as well as fun historic areas, while still feeling serene, quiet and relaxing.

Best Overall Beach

This should say “best overall beaches” because I cannot pick my favorite South Walton beach on Florida’s Panhandle. My husband introduced me to South Walton when we were dating years ago, and somehow I get him to take us there almost every year for a week of beautiful beaches, great food, and family events. There are 15 beaches in South Walton, ranging from the traditional, laid-back beach community of Grayton Beach, to the beautiful Seaside (remember The Truman Show? It was shot there). South Walton is a top-notch destination for a week away at the beach—there are different types of rentals for any family size and, I promise, every single restaurant accommodates children. You can find a family event every single night of the week during high season.

All in all, Florida has so many beaches that this list can not possibly cover every single one. But regardless of which family beach trip you choose, go with fun in mind and sunscreen in hand.

– Julia

Nicknamed “Julia Child” at a young age, our own Julia is most at home in the kitchen. Lately, she has combined her culinary talents with a new hobby—fitness and healthy living. As a result, her recipes reflect an intriguing balance between eating well without sacrificing flavor. Outside the home, Julia is a consummate event planner, and spent the first ten years of her career as a publicist before expanding her portfolio of talents with the launch of Live Pretty in 2010. Balancing the busy demands of career and family, Julia lives with her husband and daughter in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her work in marketing, she serves a number of community organizations and initiatives in Central Florida.


  • August 11, 2012


    An added note about Amelia Island. Elizabeth Pointe Lodge ( is a favorite of ours. Because of its close proximity, my wife and I love to escape to Elizabeth Pointe Lodge – beautiful B&B on the beach. You will feel as if you’re in a movie scene. We recently learned (after attempting to get a reservation at the Lodge) that they also manage other beach properties – condos, single family homes. Reasonably priced getaways at our finger tips. Amelia Island varies quite a bit in it’s offerings – from the Ritz to tear-down type bungalows. But, you’re on an island. Enough said.


  • March 10, 2014

    Kelly Rogers

    Thank you for all these lovely reviews of different beaches in Florida. I also read in one blog that beaches in Clearwater received an award last year. I hope I can visit Florida with my children. 🙂


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