Florida offers endless family vacation destinations from coast to coast. With so many to choose from it can be hard to narrow your options down to a few. Here, you’ll find a short list of fun vacation resorts we’ve discovered over the years and have had great experiences with our families during our stay.
As always with vacation planning, take the time to research dates and check out the hotel’s packages. On peak dates rates can be pricey, but if you play with timing a bit you can book for 1/2 the standard rate!
Sarasota, Florida is an excellent place for a Florida family vacation. It’s where our family’s love for Florida began. Located on Florida’s west coast, Sarasota offers beautiful white sand beaches, calm blue-green waters, a walkable downtown with plenty of shops and eating establishments, and plenty of family-friendly attractions.
Lido Key Beach Resort, Lido Beach – This resort is on the beach, family friendly and only a short distance away from St. Armand’s Circle shopping and nightlife. The resort’s pools are both beachfront adding an extra treat. Relax in a lounge chair, admire the turquoise waters, and take in all this white sand beach has to offer.
Zota Beach Resort, Longboat Key – Ok, this one may be better without the kids but it’s beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico and offers all the amenities you expect in a resort. Upscale and contemporary, this resort feels far from home. It has a lovely pool area with private cabanas and again, it’s beachfront! This resort is great for older kids (9 plus). We say this because it’s not a cannon-ball in the pool sort of resort.
The Florida Keys
Hawk’s Cay Resort – Located on Duck Key, Hawk’s Cay is a very manageable drive from Miami and the perfect place for a week long beach stay. Book a room in the resort or in a 2-4-bedroom townhome. The resort offers the Camp Hawk Environmental Education day camp for kids, several different dolphin experiences, five pools including a pirate ship pool, a lagoon, a spa and fitness center, tennis center, golf cart rental, and loads of water sport options.
Tranquility Bay – Located on Marathon Key, Tranquility Bay is another perfect choice for a week long beach vacation. The resort is peaceful and relaxing and is a great option if you’re looking for a beach house feel. The resort offers guest rooms as well as 2-3 bedroom townhomes that feel like your own home with a water view. With a swimming lagoon, private beach, putting green, garden pool, water sports, and on-site restaurant and tiki bar, there’s no reason to leave the resort once you arrive.
The Renaissance Vinoy Resort – If you want to explore someplace new and upbeat and local is your thing, St. Pete is a perfect getaway and The Vinoy is an excellent kid-friendly resort option. The Vinoy is located on the waterfront of Downtown St. Pete, a top US destination to visit for food, arts and culture, activities, a bustling local scene, and world-class museums. The hotel is absolutely stunning both inside and out and offers spacious rooms and suites. For kids, The Vinoy provides a Kids Night Out on select Saturday evenings 6-10pm, various poolside activities, and dive-in movies. During the Holidays The Vinoy hosts special events just for kids!
Best of all, you will be in the heart of St. Pete where restaurants and breweries offer plenty of kid-action while you enjoy your stay too. You’ll find outdoor games like corn hole and bocce right on Central Ave! Check out Great Explorations Children’s Museum for interactive play and the Dali Museum for a surreal experience.
While you’re there be sure to do a walking tour of the murals that grace Downtown. The kids will love the larger than life artistic expressions. Check out the Ultimate List of Street Art to find your way.
Don’t forget – you’re just minutes from the beach too! We love Fort Desoto for an off the beaten path beach day.
Orlando is definitely a Florida family vacation destination most people have on their radar. This theme park mecca includes Disney World, Universal Studios and Seaworld. What if you’re in the mood for an experience beyond theme parks? Orlando has that too. Here are our two favorites:
The Gaylord Palms – There are A LOT of Orlando options but give this one a try. It’s enormous with nice rooms and a huge atrium filled with paths, ponds, fish and baby gators. The pool area is amazing; The Cypress Springs water park includes a huge water structure “tree house” for kids of all ages to climb and explore, 7 waterslides, a zero-entry pool and a surf rider experience. With so much to offer it’s perfect for a lowkey weekend away where you don’t even need to leave the resort. Try it in May or October for lower rates.
West Gate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo – Located south of Orlando you’ll find a Florida-style dude ranch! Horseback riding, fishing, a mechanical bull, archery, horseshoes, a petting farm and accommodations ranging from guest rooms in the lodge to teepees, to glamping tents to bring your own tent. Check. It. Out!
Amelia Island is located on the east coast of northern Florida. Amelia Island offers a heightened level of southern charm in its food and its vistas. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island is a coveted Florida family vacation destination.
Ferdinando Beach is excellent for family fun and surfing while the Historic District has plenty of shopping and dining options. A laid back southern experience everyone will remember is what you’ll find here.
For an Amelia Island getaway the Omni Resorts and The Ritz Carlton are nice options for all the same reasons these two brands are always top options: luxury, location and top level service. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, there are plenty of fabulous VRBO or Airbnb options up and down this east coast island.