Miami with kids is a lot of fun and one of the main reasons we love it are the sheer number of excellent beaches in the city
But which are the best beaches in Miami for families?
Beaches such as South Beach – also known as Muscle Beach – might sound familiar but they’re not the best for kids. South Beach has big waves and no natural shade, which rules it out for most family outings.
Having lived in Miami for a while now, my kids are well versed in the best spots for sand castle building, shady siestas and picnic pitches. This is our pick of the best family-friendly beaches in Miami. and have come up with a short list of the best family beaches in Miami.
Guest post by Philippa, a mum of two living in Miami, Florida.
Best beaches in Miami for families
Some of the best 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. Our family love to spend lazy Sundays here visiting the beach and eating alfresco.
Crandon Park Beach, Key Biscayne
Crandon Park is one of the best family beaches in Miami. It offers soft sand, natural shade, and shallow calm waters.
Park next to the grassy picnic areas and stroll past peacocks and geckos until you reach the beach. We often come here loaded with refreshments, buckets and spades and deck chairs, and find a handy palm tree for shade.
The beach is a favourite spot for kite boarders 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 are a new mom and your baby likes an early start then Crandon Park Beach is a lovely place to watch the sunrise. Take advantage of those early mornings and drink in the colour of Miami with a flask of tea, beach blanket and bubba in tow.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne
At the southern most tip of Key Biscayne is Bill Baggs State Park and beach, one of the best beaches in Miami. 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.
We visited here during my first time in Miami and I was straight into the clean, warm waters where a group of Cubans invited me and my eight-year-old daughter Maya to join their ocean volleyball game. It was a boisterously fun episode with the two teams leaping, frequently missing the ball and then collapsing into the waves in ripples of laughter.
It is here, in this pocket of Floridian nature, where I spotted my first wild raccoon raiding an abandoned picnic table. The children love to spot animals in the wild and were charmed by the cheeky raccoons’ antics. For a little recharge after a hectic week, this is one of my favourite things to do in Miami with kids.
Matheson Hammock, Coral Gables
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.
This beach is ideal for very small children; first time waders who are learning to stay afloat. The ocean has created a little lagoon where kids can play safely. The lagoon is stitched with palm trees offering shade.
This is a locals’ beach – bring your own BBQ and cool box to set up camp for the day. My daughter loves to chat to the fisherman who cast their lines over the rocks by the marina. Floridians frequent here to catch fresh crab and snapper. Matheson Hammock is perhaps one of the most family-friendly beaches in Miami. It has a laid back vibe and also offers kite surfing and yacht hire.
South Pointe Beach
I know I ruled out South Beach from my list of the best beaches in Miami for families but rules are meant to be broken!
Hugging the cutting edge contemporary designed South Pointe Park – at the southern tip 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 a little-known local secret. The beach area has wonderful family-friendly facilities including restrooms, a splash pad, a kid’s play area, a Blissberry frozen yoghurt stand and lots of green space.
The beach couples divine views across the Atlantic Ocean with close-up glimpses of boats floating through the inlet. Out of all the beaches in Miami for kids South Pointe is a strong contender for one of the most fun family things to do in Miami.
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 my kids love to nature spot on this beach where there are huge lizards, pelicans and manatees.
The beach looks out onto the clear shallow waters which lap private Fisher Island and there are picnic tables under the trees and an outdoor centre where you can hire kayaks and paddle boards. Next to the beach are several bike trails suitable for children and adults alike. There is also a 30min hiking trail which skirts the coastline. The beach does not have any toilet facilities (except at the outdoor centre).