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15 Best Beaches In Florida Keys For Families

best beaches in florida keys for families

The best beaches in Florida Keys for families practically promise days full of sunscreen, ice cream, and margaritas.

This collection of coral islands and white-sand beaches, is tucked up against the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. 

The archipelago is primarily known for its breathtaking coral displays, but it also has several beautiful shady beaches where you can escape the intense Florida sun (Anne’s Beach and Sombrero Beach).

A major draw here, is the year-round beach weather.

We’ve handpicked the 15 best beaches across the Florida Keys to help you know where you can bring your family on your next trip!

1. Dry Tortugas National Park

Complete Guide on How to Visit Dry Tortugas National Park by That Adventure Life

  • Location: The ferry terminal and ticket booth location are at 100 Grinnell Street, while the parking location is at 300 Grinnell Street.
  • Website: www.nps.gov/drto

 

The Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles west of Key West. The park is only accessible by boat or seaplane and is 100-square miles of mostly open water with seven small islands. 

The Dry Tortugas is one of best places for diving and snorkeling not just in the Keys but all of Florida.

Be sure to visit Fort Jefferson, snorkel the blue waters, check out the superlative coral reefs and marine life, go on the best birding adventure.

You can also opt for a Dry Tortugas camping experience during your visit.

2. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

An Adventure in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo by The Key Largo Dude

  • Location: 102601 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037, USA
  • Hours: 8:00AM – Sunset
  • Website: pennekamppark.com

 

At John Pennekamp State Park, the most well-known beach is Cannon Beach.

A few palm trees offer some shade but you need to get here early to claim your spot. Be sure to anticipate where the sun is moving. 

Snorkeling is a popular activity here. There are so many different kinds of colorful fish, sponges, rays and needlefish.

Make sure to swim a little bit offshore to observe the anchor and cannon from a 1715 shipwreck.

Admission

  • Multiple-occupant vehicle, $8 plus 50 cents per person up to eight people.
  • Multiple-occupant vehicle, $2.50 each additional person (over the eight).
  • Single-occupant vehicle, $4.50.
  • Pedestrian or bicyclist, $2.50 per person.

3. Smathers Beach

Exploring Smathers Beach by Barefoot Vlogger

 

Smathers Beach is the crown jewel of Key West’s public beaches, known for its soft, imported Bahamian white sand, gentle turquoise waters, and vibrant atmosphere.

Smathers Beach is Key West’s largest beach and has water activities like kayaking and parasailing.

Stretching for about half a mile along the southern shore of Key West, Smathers Beach offers ample space to spread out and soak up the sun. Whether you prefer building sandcastles with the kids, reading a book under a palm tree, or simply relaxing on the pristine sand, you’ll find your perfect spot.

Smathers Beach offers a plethora of water activities for the adventurous soul. You can also rent snorkeling gear and explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and coral reefs.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Popularity: Smathers Beach is a popular spot, especially during peak season and spring break. If you’re looking for a more secluded experience, consider visiting on weekdays or during the off-season.
  • Amenities: While Smathers Beach offers some basic amenities, it’s not as developed as some other beaches in the area. Be sure to pack everything you need for your day, including sunscreen, towels, and snacks.
  • Parking: Parking can be challenging, especially during peak hours. There are several paid parking lots near the beach, but they fill up quickly. 

4. Sombrero Beach

Relaxing Scenic Walking Tour with Binaural at Sombrero Beach by MileMarker4K

 

Sombrero Beach is a beautiful public beach located on Marathon Key, in the heart of the Florida Keys. Unlike the more touristy beaches in Key West, Sombrero Beach offers a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of amenities and activities to enjoy.

Sombrero Beach has soft, white sand that’s perfect for sinking your toes into and clear, shallow waters ideal for swimming, wading, and playing. The gentle waves make it a safe and enjoyable spot for families with young children.

There are plenty of Shadey Picnic Areas and there’s a Turtle Nesting Sanctuary: From April to October, Sombrero Beach becomes a vital nesting ground for Loggerhead turtles. 

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Limited Shade: While palm trees offer some shade, it’s recommended to bring your own umbrella or sunshade, especially during peak hours.
  • Parking: Parking can be limited, especially during peak season and weekends. 
  • No Lifeguards: There are no lifeguards on duty, so swim cautiously and supervise children closely.
  • Admission is free.
  • Restrooms and showers are available near the beach.
  • Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach.

5. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Beach

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Beach in Key West offers a blend of history, natural beauty, and recreational activities.

The calm waters invite swimming, while vibrant coral reefs just offshore tempt snorkelers to discover a teeming underwater world. Rent kayaks or paddleboards for a serene exploration of the coastline, or cast a line from the jetty and try your hand at fishing.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Entrance Fee: There is a $6 per vehicle entrance fee to access the park, which includes the beach.
  • Limited Shade: While palm trees offer some shade, it’s recommended to bring your own umbrella or sunshade, especially during peak hours.
  • Restrooms and Showers: Conveniently located restrooms and showers are available near the beach.
  • Lifeguards are on duty during peak season.
  • Pets are not allowed on the beach.

6. Higgs Beach

Higgs Beach in Key West by Florida 4K

 

Higgs Beach stretches for over half a mile along the Atlantic Ocean, boasting soft, white sand that’s perfect for sinking your toes into. 

The calm, shallow waters are ideal for swimming, wading, and building sandcastles, making it a haven for families with young children.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Parking: Parking can be limited, especially during peak season and weekends. Arrive early or consider alternative transportation options like biking or taking a taxi.
  • Restrooms and Showers: Restrooms and showers are available near the beach, but they can get crowded, especially during peak hours.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, as the Florida sun can be intense.
  • Admission is free.
  • Lifeguards are on duty during peak season.
  • The Higgs Beach Dog Park is open from sunrise to sunset.

7. Harry Harris Beach Park

Discover the Beauty of Harry Harris Park by The Key Largo Dude

 

Harry Harris Beach Park in Tavernier, Florida Keys, is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in the archipelago for families vacationing with kids.

This expansive park, situated halfway between Key Largo and Islamorada, features a soft sand beach and a shallow, rock-free entry. It is appropriate for kids of all ages.

Swimming is good in this area because a substantial rock seawall shields the calm seas from the Atlantic. Additionally, the fishing from the jetty and breakwater is noteworthy.

A basketball court and baseball diamond are available for older children who might still need to expend some energy. Small children can spend some time exploring the expansive playground.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Park Fees: There is a park fee on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays of $5 per person over 16 years of age, applicable to non-residents only.
  • Limited Concessions: While there are no restaurants or concession stands within the park, it’s a short drive to Tavernier where you can find plenty of dining options.

8. C.B. Harvey Rest Beach

Chickens at Rest Beach by Gina’s DIY Ideas

  • Location: White Street and Atlantic Boulevard, Key West, FL 33040, USA
  • Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
  • Website: cityofkeywest-fl.gov/

 

C.B. Harvey Rest Beach, also known as Rest Beach, is a charming little public beach in Key West, Florida, offering a peaceful escape from the busier stretches of sand.

Rest Beach is a smaller beach compared to others in Key West, stretching for about 300 yards along the Atlantic Boulevard. This creates a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a quieter beach experience.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Limited Facilities: Rest Beach has fewer amenities compared to some other Key West beaches. There are no lifeguards on duty, so swim cautiously and supervise children closely. There are also no restaurants or shops within the beach itself, so pack snacks and drinks if you plan on staying for a while.
  • Parking: Parking can be limited, especially during peak season and weekends. Consider arriving early or using alternative transportation like biking or taking a taxi.
  • Admission: Free

9. Sunset Park Beach

Sunset Park in Key Colony Beach by COLOURFUL WORLD

 

Sunset Park Beach, also known as Key Colony Beach, is a stunning stretch of coastline nestled in Marathon, Florida Keys.

It’s renowned for its vibrant sunsets, soft white sand, and calm turquoise waters, making it a perfect spot for relaxation, swimming, and soaking up the quintessential Florida Keys atmosphere.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Limited Shade: While palm trees offer some shade, it’s recommended to bring your own umbrella or sunshade, especially during peak hours.
  • Parking: Parking can be limited, especially during peak season and weekends. Arrive early or consider alternative transportation options like biking or taking a taxi.
  • No Swimming Restrictions: While the waters are generally calm, there are no lifeguards on duty, so swim cautiously and supervise children closely.
  • Admission is free.
  • Restrooms and showers are available near the beach.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the beach.

10. Anne’s Beach

Kiteboarding at Anne’s Beach by Elite Watersports

  • Location: Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset

 

Anne’s Beach in Islamorada, Florida Keys, is a charming little stretch of sandy paradise offering a diverse experience for sun-seekers, families, and water enthusiasts.

We try not to play favorites, but this beach is very special. If you get here early, you could spend the entire day here. Work from beach, anyone?

Known for its expansive shallows, Anne’s Beach is perfect for wading, paddling, and enjoying the warm, calm waters. This gentle environment makes it an ideal spot for families with young children and beginner swimmers.

A winding boardwalk meanders through the mangroves, connecting the two parking areas and offering a serene walk with stunning views of the water and lush vegetation.

Several covered picnic pavilions scattered along the beach and boardwalk provide shaded spots for enjoying a family lunch or a romantic afternoon picnic.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Restrooms and outdoor showers: Conveniently located restrooms are available near the beach.
  • Limited Shade: If you snag a picnic pavilion you’ll have share all day.
  • Food Options: There are no restaurants or concession stands on the beach. Bring your own snacks and drinks or pack a picnic lunch.
  • Parking: The two parking areas at the north and south ends of the beach can fill up quickly during peak season and weekends. Arrive early or consider alternative transportation options like biking or taking a taxi.
  • Admission is free.
  • Lifeguards are not on duty, so swim cautiously and supervise children closely.
  • Pets are allowed on the beach if kept on a leash.

11. Curry Hammock State Park

Curry Hammock State Park in the summer of 2020 by Traveling Robert

 

Curry Hammock State Park is the largest undeveloped area between Key Largo and Big Pine Key. The most seasoned tourists and even the locals are be drawn in by this unspoiled haven.

Curry Hammock State Park’s 1,200-foot-long sandy beach fronts the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunbathing, swimming, exploring the beach, watching birds, snorkeling, and kiteboarding are all well-liked activities.

From the beach and kayak launch areas, visitors have seen manatees, sharks, dolphins, stingrays, tarpon, and more. 

The Florida Keys environment depends on the mangrove swamp, rockland hammocks, and seagrass beds protected by the park.

Every fall, Curry Hammock hosts a record number of peregrine falcons and serves as an essential habitat for various local and migratory species, which is great for Florida Keys birding enthusiasts. 

On tranquil days, paddlers search for their private paradise, while on windy, crazy days, kiteboarders fill the park with their activity and excitement.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Restrooms: For daytime visitors, a restroom with a cold outdoor shower is in the day-use area. All facilities are ADA accessible.
  • Mosquitoes: Be aware that mosquitoes can be prevalent, especially during warm and humid weather. Pack insect repellent and consider wearing long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn.
  • Admission fees are $4.50 per vehicle with one person or $5.50 per vehicle with two or more people.
  • Pets are not allowed on the ebach.

12. Calusa Beach

Relaxing Scenic Walking Tour with Binaural at Calusa Beach & Bridge by MileMarker4K

 

Calusa Beach is a white sand beach with palm trees that slopes gently into warm, azure waters. 

Calusa Beach is a portion of Bahia Honda State Park and one of just a few excellent beaches in the Florida Keys that is fully natural. It is rather small, encroached by grass, and has room for only a few picnic tables, offering a seaside location from which to enjoy the goods sold at the beach’s food and souvenir vendors.

Its waters are quiet enough for small children to enjoy and are close to the nearest parking spaces. The historic Bahia Honda Bridge borders the waters on its western side. 

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Limited Shade: While palm trees offer some shade, it’s recommended to bring your own umbrella or sunshade, especially during peak hours.
  • Parking: Parking can be limited, especially during peak season and weekends. Arrive early or consider alternative transportation options like biking or taking a taxi.
  • No Lifeguards: There are no lifeguards on duty at Calusa Beach, so swim cautiously and supervise children closely.
  • Admission is included with the park entrance fee of $8 per vehicle.
  • Restrooms and showers are available near the beach.
  • Pets are not allowed on the beach.

14. Founders Park Beach

Drone tour over Founders Parks Beach by CapturedByCulley

 

Founders Park Beach in Islamorada is a vibrant hub bursting with fun and recreation, offering something for everyone under the Florida sun.

A spot for swimming on a gorgeously maintained shallow water beach in the clear Florida Bay. The amenities of Founders Park Beach include Tiki huts, picnic tables, grills, a pavilion, a sand volleyball court, shade trees, kiddie playgrounds, outdoor showers, and restrooms. 

At the Park Office, volleyballs are available for rental. On the beach, no glass, booze, or pets are allowed. Grills provided in the picnic area must be used.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Limited Shade: While palm trees offer some shade, it’s recommended to bring your own umbrella or sunshade, especially during peak hours.
  • Parking: Parking can be limited, especially during peak season and weekends. Arrive early or consider alternative transportation options like biking or taking a taxi.
  • Alcohol and Glass Prohibited
  • Dog Park Playtime: Let your furry friends run free in the designated dog park, featuring agility equipment and plenty of space for them to socialize and exercise. Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
  • Admission is free for guests staying at Islamorada resorts and hotels, $8 for adults, and $5 for youth (3-17) and seniors (65+) for everyone else.
  • Lifeguards are on duty during peak season.

15. Coco Plum Beach

Coco Plum Beach in Marathon, Florida by On Location 365

  • Location: Coco Plum Dr, Marathon, FL 33050, United States
  • Hours: 7:30 AM to dusk every day
  • Website: cocoplum.com

 

Coco Plum Beach in Marathon, Florida, offers a mix of serenity and family fun, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

Coco Plum has a lovely stretch of soft, white sand. Whether you’re building sandcastles with the kids, sunbathing with a book, or strolling along the shoreline, the beach provides a peaceful escape from the everyday hustle.

Sheltered by a natural barrier, the beach enjoys calm, shallow waters with gentle waves. 

There is a covered chickee (pavilion) that is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Coco Plum Beach is also a turtle-nesting beach.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Limited Amenities: Unlike some other beaches in the area, Coco Plum has limited amenities. There are no restaurants, shops, or lifeguards on duty. Be sure to pack everything you need for your beach day, including water, snacks, sunscreen, and beach towels.
  • Parking: Parking can be limited, especially during peak season and weekends. 
  • Admission is free.
  • Pets are not allowed on the beach.

Explore The Best Beaches in Florida Keys for Families

Florida is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the Florida Keys are no exception. The crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand make it a slice of paradise. They are not just a great spot for sunbathing and swimming; you can also explore nature trails and enjoy some fantastic snorkeling.

Each Key has its own charm, so whether you’re looking for lively beach scenes or a peaceful escape, the Florida Keys have something to offer.

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Best Beaches In Florida Keys For Families FAQs

The archipelago is primarily known for its breathtaking coral displays, but it also has several beautiful beaches where you can escape the intense Florida sun. A major draw is the year-round beach weather.

These are the top seven best beaches across the Florida Keys to help you know where you can bring your family for the next trip! 

  1. Dry Tortugas National Park
  2. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
  3. Smathers Beach
  4. Sombrero Beach
  5. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Beach
  6. Higgs Beach
  7. Harry Harris Beach Park

The beaches in Bahia Honda State Park at MM 36.8 in Big Pine Key have long been considered the nicest beaches in the Florida Keys, according to consensus. The beaches in Bahia Honda are also not artificial; they are natural.

After being devastated by Hurricane Irma, the 2.5-mile-long Sandspur Beach on the island’s Atlantic Ocean side was reopened in the spring of 2022.

Have you ever pondered which Florida Keys islands would be the best option for your upcoming getaway? And if you’re thinking about taking a trip to the Florida Keys soon, you might not know which island is the best place to go, given your preferences.

Key West is ideal if you’re looking for many things to do, things to do, and places to go. However, Key Largo is the place to go if you’re seeking a more leisurely holiday with outdoor activities.

Janelle
Author: Janelle

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