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You know you've made the right choice on a resort when you don't leave the grounds your entire stay. Or, maybe you leave once or twice — but that's just for dinner reservations. Where you stay makes all the difference on vacation, especially when traveling with young children. Luckily, Florida is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the country, so you won't have any trouble finding kiddie-approved restaurants, babysitting services, and splash pads just for tots. Here, some of the most family-oriented, beachfront options available.
Best Overall: Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
Situated a two-hour drive from Walt Disney World, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is the ultimate destination for families looking to extend their theme park vacation. Activities reflect the resort's beachfront location, with body-boarding, kayaking, and a surf school among the watersport offerings. Make family memories on the nine-hole miniature golf course, or at the Mickey Mouse-shaped swimming pool with its two-story slide. The Disney Discovery Club provides supervised entertainment for kids aged four to 12, giving parents the opportunity to enjoy a massage at the spa or a cocktail at the Atlantic-view bar.
Casual beach bistro Wind & Waves Grill specializes in fresh seafood but also offers a wide range of kid-friendly options. Don’t miss Goofy’s Beachside Character Breakfast on Saturday mornings, or the evening Sing-Along Campfire. Spacious rooms and villas are made with families in mind and sleep four to nine people. All rooms entertain with a flat-screen TV and Blu-ray player and are geared toward self-catering with a toaster, microwave, and mini-fridge.
Best All-Inclusive: Club Med Sandpiper Bay
Club Med Sandpiper Bay takes the guesswork out of budgeting for your family vacation by including everything (from meals to activities) in the initial rate. The resort stretches along the banks of scenic St. Lucie River. It has its own small beach and is just a 15-minute drive from the Atlantic beaches of Hutchinson Island. Age-specific kids’ clubs start with Baby Club Med (ages four to 23 months) and go all the way up to Club Med Passworld (for teens aged 11 to 17). Child-friendly activities are legion and include everything from circus workshops to cooking classes.
The whole family benefits from pro coaching at the Club Med Academies. Try your hand at tennis, sailing, or golf, or opt for a more out-there pastime like flying trapeze. In the evening, utilize the Pyjamas Club babysitting service while you enjoy after-dark entertainment. The Market Place serves global fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while family rooms sleep up to eight people and boast beautiful furnished balconies.
Best for Romance: Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
Five-star Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa is the ideal compromise for parents who want to keep the family happy while also spending some quality time together. From the champagne welcome to the lush garden surrounds, the stage is set for romance from the moment you arrive. The hotel has two swimming pools, a private beach, and three clay tennis courts, while family-friendly activities range from stand-up paddleboarding to surfing lessons. Children aged five to 12 are eligible for the AquaNuts kids’ program, giving you time to reconnect.
Embark on the Champagne and Caviar Couples Journey at Eau Spa, or book a private oceanfront cabana for some much-needed R&R. There are four restaurants, including family-oriented Breeze Ocean Kitchen with its ocean views and tasty Floridian cuisine and romantic Stir Bar & Terrace, where you can sample cocktails and small plates around a sea-view fire-pit. Guarantee a little extra privacy by booking a Lanai Terrace Suite with a private garden, a separate bedroom, living room, and two bathrooms.
Best Urban: Loews Miami Beach Hotel
Parents hoping to enjoy some urban culture while still making time for family fun will find the best of both worlds at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Ideally located in trendy South Beach, the hotel overlooks golden shores with a private play area for kids. Adrenaline-fueled activities range from WaveRunner tours to surfing lessons, while a daily resort fee entitles you to banana boat rides and unlimited kayak, paddle board, and boogie board use. Teens will especially appreciate the Rec Room, with its video games and vintage arcade center.
Pop fountains, noodle floats, and a concierge make the Loews pool a great place to spend the day. Alternatively, SOBE Kids Club entertains your little ones while you take a well-earned break. Choose a half- or full-day program and look forward to hearing tall tales about scavenger hunts and treasure dives. There are five restaurants to choose from, including child-friendly Preston’s Market and laid-back Miami Joe Coffee Co. All rooms and suites come with complimentary Wi-Fi and a smart TV.
Best for Nature Lovers: South Seas Island Resort
If you’d rather escape the city hubbub, head to South Seas Island Resort. Nestled amidst a 330-acre wildlife preserve on idyllic Captiva Island, the resort boasts Gulf views and a 2.5-mile private beach. You’ll share your temporary home with dolphins and manatees, and activities are endless with guided bird walks, catch-and-release fishing trips, and shelling excursions. Future conservationists can learn more about the ocean at the Sanibel Sea School Day Camp, for children aged six to 13.
In addition to Camp Skullywags for kids aged three to 11, the resort offers dedicated activity programs for toddlers and teens. After working up an appetite, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, including popular 1950s-style diner Scoops & Slices. Accommodation is just as varied; opt for a waterfront room or suite in the Harbourside Hotel, or book a unique vacation home with up to nine bedrooms for a family reunion. Adult amenities include a nine-hole golf course, a tennis academy, and a spa.
Best Boutique: High Noon Beach Resort
Families that prioritize quietude and authenticity over an exhaustive list of amenities will love family-operated High Noon Beach Resort. Located in the quaint seaside town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, it comprises four separate buildings set just 50 feet from the beach amidst landscaped tropical gardens. There are plenty of family-friendly floor plans to choose from, including one- and two-bedroom apartments decorated in simple beachy tones. For the most boutique experience, book the Beach House.
With two ensuite bedrooms, a large living room, dining area, and kitchen, this is a true home away from home. The terrace overlooks the ocean and boasts a tiki hut barbecue area. Whichever room you choose, you have access to two heated swimming pools and a shuffleboard court. Snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and boating are all offered in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and although the hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant, it's just steps from popular Caribbean eatery Aruba Beach Café. Beach towels, bikes, Wi-Fi, and parking are all provided free of charge.
Best for Luxury: Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
This five-star Four Seasons Resort graces the beachfront of affluent barrier island Palm Beach. After reopening in November 2018, after extensive renovations, it is a luxurious escape defined by ivory and white furnishings and plenty of pale marble. Despite its sophisticated appearance, it’s geared toward families with a Kids For All Seasons entertainment program (for children aged three to 12), tennis courts, and a blissful palm-fringed swimming pool. A dedicated watersports team offers everything from banana boat rides to captained catamaran rentals.
On rare wet weather days, the Computer & Game Room awaits. Children under six eat for free, either at laid-back Seaway restaurant or at Florie’s, where a two-Michelin-starred chef serves the finest cuisine from both south Florida and France. All rooms are luxuriously appointed with the latest tech and marble bathrooms. Choose the Sea Breeze Suite for two separate bedrooms, a spacious living room, and direct, private access to the pool. Other highlights include a spa and 24-hour fitness center.
Best B&B: Coconut Palm Inn
Coconut Palm Inn is a magical B&B located on a sunset-facing lagoon in the Upper Keys. Start your day with the hotel’s sunrise reception — a complimentary spread of freshly squeezed orange juice, coffees, teas, fruits, and bread. Spend the morning playing on the private beach or in the heated outdoor pool, and the afternoons swinging in a hammock beneath the palm trees. Complimentary kayaks, fishing poles, paddleboards, and bikes provide fun for guests of all ages, while ping-pong and giant Jenga are reliable fallbacks on rainy days.
There's no restaurant on-site, but you can fire up the charcoal barbecue grills or gather for s’mores around the fire-pit. Family-sized suites come with a full kitchenette for basic self-catering, in addition to air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and cable TV. All suites have a private porch or balcony and afford parents some privacy with a second bedroom or a sleeper couch in the separate living area. Yachting families love this B&B for its twin docks.
Best Historic: The Don CeSar
A Historic Hotel of America, the pink palace that is The Don CeSar is a timeless St. Pete Beach landmark. It first opened its doors in 1928, playing host to F. Scott Fitzgerald and serving as a base for convalescing airmen during World War II. Today, it’s a Gatsby-esque getaway suited for the whole family, with a private beach and two heated outdoor pools. Amenities range from watersports rentals to complimentary bikes and drive-in movie nights.
Camp CeSar offers full or half-day sessions for kids aged four to 12 and involves your little ones in beach crafts, sand castle contests, and more. Kids’ Night Out events on Fridays and Saturdays give you the freedom to enjoy an adult evening at the bar or spa. There are six restaurants, with Uncle Andy’s Ice Cream Parlor being the firm favorite among younger guests. If you need extra space, the two Penthouse suites come with separate bedrooms, a living room, and kitchenette. Plus, there’s even a pet program for furry family members.