Florida is a big state, offering a plethora of vacation destinations. Orlando is on every family’s radar and is a wonderful family vacation. However, there are many other great places to visit in The Sunshine State. From a friendly chat with Visit Florida’s Family Insider, Carrie McLaren, I learned about 4 fabulous beach destinations perfectly suitable for families. McLaren travels around her state with her husband and two daughters. Here are 4 of her suggestions.
Courtesy of Ameila Island
Crossing the border into Florida, the first island floating in the Atlantic Ocean is Amelia Island. It boasts 13 miles of beautiful beaches, 117 holes of world-class golf, 2 spas, numerous tennis courts, restaurants, and shops. Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards have voted Amelia among the Top 10 North American Islands for the 7th consecutive year in a row. This accolade speaks volumes. Among the many outdoor activities, travelers can go horseback riding, spend an afternoon kayaking, throw a fishing line out in the ocean, or take a river cruise. If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on an all terrain Segway for a tour through Fort George Island State Park, Kingsley Plantation, and Talbots Island. For more information, go to ameliaisland.com.
Courtesy of Hilton Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort & Spa
Looking for a resort you never have to leave? Your answer is the Hilton Sandestin. The resort has just completed a huge renovation, giving all its guests a vastly improved experience. This resort features 3 pools, a kids club, mini golf, and casual and fine dining. Family suites are available that feature a kids area with bunk beds and a flat screen television. Golf course, tennis courts, fitness center, and spa are fabulous amenities for the adults. A short drive away is Destin where visitors will find plenty of shopping, entertainment, and nightlife. For more information, go to sandestinbeachhilton.com.
Courtesy of Visit South Walton
In Florida’s Panhandle, there are 16 beautiful beach neighborhoods in the South Walton area. Travel & Leisure magazine named one of them, Seaside as one of the “Best Beaches on Earth” for families. It’s a uniquely built community of pastel houses and picket fences. If you’re a movie fan, you may recognize Seaside as the setting for The Truman Show. Lazy beach days, riding bikes to the ice cream shop or browsing the local shops are on everyone’s to-do list. Chain stores have yet to be allowed to open in Seaside, so all the shops and restaurants are locally owned. There is a family-friendly community spirit that makes this destination a Mom & Dad favorite in the South Walton area. For more information, go to visitsouthwalton.com.
Courtesy of TradeWinds Island Resort
On St. Pete Beach, TradeWinds Island Resort is a great spot for kids of all ages. On a 20-acre beachfront playground, families can enjoy a variety of water activities including an offshore waterpark with slides, trampolines, and obstacle course. Take a break in one of the floating cabanas.
Tweens and teens can fly up in the sky in a jetpack, learn to surf, or catch the waves on a stand-up paddleboard. On the property, vacationers enjoy 5 pools, mini golf, and paddle boats. Within the Tampa-St. Pete area, there are a wide variety of family attractions. Check out the Florida Aquarium in Tampa where kids can have a Backstage Penguin Tour, schedule a dolphin boat tour from the dock, or let little ones play in the Splash Park. Visit Busch Gardens to catch some thrilling rides and view exotic animals. For more information, go to tradewindsresort.com.