There are myriad reasons to go to Miami on holiday; the colourful Cuban culture, the Art Deco buildings along Ocean Drive, the seemingly endless number of outdoor activities, and days and days of sunshine.
But what’s the real reason you want to visit Miami? To go to the beach of course!
If you’re heading to Miami with kids and looking for the perfect place to feel the sand between your toes then read on for our pick of the best beaches in Miami for families.
Miami boasts dozens of beautiful beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the city has an incredible 35-mile stretch of beachfront, running from the tip of South Beach north to Sunny Isles, then circling Key Biscayne.
Along this inimitable stretch of golden sand you’ll find every kind of beach possible from dog-friendly ones to historic ones to beaches perfect for parties and others ideal for watersports. And, of course, there are lots of family-friendly beaches too.
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Best beaches in Miami for families
Some of the best white-sand beaches for children in Miami are situated on Key Biscayne, which is located a few minutes drive across Rickenbacker Causeway from Downtown Miami. It is a high-end residential area, peppered with hotels, eateries and a state park.
Crandon Park Beach
Crandon Park in Key Biscayne is one of the best beaches in Miami for families. It offers soft sand, natural shade and warm, shallow, calm clear waters that are idea for snorkelling.
Park next to the grassy picnic areas and stroll past peacocks and geckos until you reach the beach.
The beach is a favourite spot for kite surfers and has many other activities on offer such as paddle-boarding and canoeing. Crandon Park has great facilities including restrooms and picnic shelters. If you plan on spending the day here then it’s worth bringing a picnic with you.
One of the best things to do at Crandon Beach is to visit the Crandon Park Amusement Centre, home to a historic carousel, an old-fashioned outdoor roller rink and a handful of marine play sculpture at the beachfront playground.
For a break from the surf and sand, stop by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Centre where naturalist-led trips teach children about the natural environment. Trips include exploring fossils reef tidal pools and hiking. Wishing the centre itself are interactive exhibits, a saltwater and mangrove aquarium, touch tanks, and a skull and bones trail.
Oleta River State Park
Oleta River State Park in North Miami Beach is the largest urban park in Florida. It’s perfect for families with 15 miles of bike paths (plus bikes to rent), canoe rentals, paddleboarding, and hiking trails as well as a divine beach.
If you’re visiting with young children then Oleta River State Park is ideal with shallow, calm waters and the perfect sand for castle-building competitions. Don’t concentrate too hard though, dozens of dolphins call Biscayne Bay home and like to show off from time to time.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
At the southern most tip of Key Biscayne is Bill Baggs State Park and beach, one of the best beaches in Miami for families. You have to pay a small entrance fee but it is worth it for the tranquillity.
The beach is fringed with clusters of dunes which slope down to the soft sand and shallow waters. You’ll also find the Cape Florida Lighthouse here, which was constructed in 1825 and is the oldest standing structure in Greater Miami. Climb all 109 steps to the top for panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and then tour the lighthouse keeper’s cottage for a glimpse into Florida’s past.
Bill Bagg is also a designated National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site having been the secret meeting place and port for fugitive slaves waiting to escape to safety in the British Bahamas.
This is a great place to come for an active beach day. Fishing, kayaking, windsurfing and cycling are all popular here. Spend the day being sport and then wind down and watch teh sun set at The Cleat, a family-owned restaurant serving Cuban food and fresh seafood.
One of our favourite beaches in Miami for families has to be Haulover Beach. It’s one of the best places in South Florida to fly a kite (you can rent one from Skyward Kites if you don’t have your own) and is home to an excellent skate park and pump track. There’s a tennis center, golf course and dog park, too. And beach wheelchairs are available to rent.
The one thing Haulover Beach doesn’t always have is clothing! Yes, the stretch of sand between lifeguard towers #12 and #16 is home to one of the most well-known nude beaches in the world. If your idea of a good time involves a swim suit then make sure to park your beach chair elsewhere.
Matheson Hammock Park
Most family-friendly beaches in Miami are situated north of South Beach with the exception of Matheson Hammock which lies off the majestically Banyan canopied Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables.
This beach is ideal for very small children thanks to the man-made atoll pool that’s naturally filled by the tides of Biscayne Bay. It’s ideal for first time waders who are learning to stay afloat. The lagoon is bordered with palm trees offering shade.
This is a locals’ beach – bring your own BBQ and cool box to set up camp for the day. Floridian fishermen come here to try their luck, often catching fresh crab and snapper. If ordering dinner sounds easier (and it usually is!) then book a table at Red Fish Grill for fresh seafood and a glass of wine.
South Pointe Beach
Hugging the cutting edge contemporary designed South Pointe Park at the very top of Miami beach lies a pocket of sand where the commotion of the city stops.
For a Miami family vacation in the heart of the city, this place is the perfect spot. The beach area has top notch family-friendly facilities including restrooms, a splash pad, a picnic area, a kid’s play area, a frozen yoghurt stand, and lots of green space.
There’s also plenty of spots for crabbing and the the 450-foot-long pier, which is a popular spot for fishing and to watch kayakers, surfers and Jet Skiers. From here you can also catch panoramic views of the South Beach shoreline, PortMiami’s cruise ships, Downtown Miami’s skyline and Fisher Island.
Virginia Key Beach
Tucked away at the end of Virginia Key is a quiet little beach which is great for a stroll or cycle. It’s an oft overlooked family beach in Miami but it definitely deserves a spot on the list of the best beaches in Miami for families because of its fascinating history; Virginia Key was once Miami’s “Coloured Only” beach.
Today it’s a popular spot for its biking trails, picnic tables, and walking trails. There’s also a mini train that runs through the wetlands and beachside cabins you can rent in all teh colours of the pastel rainbow. Although the water here is warm there are deep sections and you must be aware of possible undertow. This is why Virginia Key is a wading beach only; swimming and fishing are not allowed.
Virginia Key is also a great place to spot manatees in the wild.