Kids in South Beach? South Beach, Miami is known for bikinis, bodies, architecture, and partying. Where do the kids fit in? While these are hardly the kinds of things your kids will enjoy, there are tons of wonderful things for them to do in South Beach. You just have to know what you’re doing.
Here’s a quick primer for parents who can’t give up their South Beach dreams but who have kids to bring along. Trust us, it’s still possible to have a good time! Just follow this advice from families who have gone before you.
1. Just Go Outdoors
Since it’s warm and sunny year-round, you can spend time outdoors just about any moment you wish, and many kid-friendly attractions of the greater South Beach area are outdoors. First of all, you can’t go wrong with the beach. There are miles and miles of beaches in the greater Miami area, and the beach in South Beach alone is wide and long enough to accommodate everyone who wants to soak up the sun or take a dip in the ocean.
There are also kid-friendly resorts with enough activities to tire out even the most energetic children on vacation.
2. Be Prepared
1. Number one item to bring with you is sunscreen. Always protect your childrens’ skin from the sun, and especially if you’re traveling in Southern Florida! Even if you’re coming to South Beach in January, the sun is stronger here than most of the other 48 contiguous states. Even in January, your kids (and you) can get burned, even if it doesn’t look like or feel like it. Look for waterproof (sport) sunscreen that will stay on through sweat and swimming, and re-apply every few hours. The sun is no joke in Florida!.
2. Insect repellent might be necessary at night, and depending on what time of year you’re traveling to South Beach. Mosquitoes are serious here at night.
3. Carry water with you everywhere you go. You and your children will need to constantly re-hydrate. When the weather is hot, or even just a little warmer than you’re used to, your body needs more water. If you are on South Beach, there aren’t too many places to buy water so bring it with you from the hotel. Otherwise, you’ll have to cut your beach time short as you go in search of a cool drink.
3. Dine Out the Right Way
Dining out is one of the most popular activities in South Beach Miami. You will see restaurants everywhere along the beach, on Lincoln Road, and every side street in South Beach. And, if they can squeeze a few tables onto the sidewalk or a courtyard, these restaurants will offer outdoor dining.
With kids in South Beach Miami, it’s always good to opt for the outside tables. First of all, you’ll better be able to watch the people go by, if you like that, and second of all your kids will have a little more room to “be themselves” without bothering other customers quite so much. You may not see many kids’ menus, but it doesn’t hurt to ask the waiter about splitting a meal and whether there is a charge for that.
3. Pick the Right Type of Accommodations
To have the least amount of stress in South Beach and the best time for everyone in the family, don’t stay at a trendy nightlife-oriented hotel. South Beach Miami is known for late night partying and fabulous nightlife, and some hotels cater to this lifestyle, while others offer quieter lodging.
Most of the hotels in South Beach are family-friendly but few of them will have organized activities just for kids. You can rent apartments for your vacation, which gives you more space and the ability to cook while on vacation…sounds life fun to some and too much work for others, but the option is there.
If you are traveling with your kids to South Beach in the summertime, which is when most family vacations take place, you are in luck because that is actually the offseason in South Beach Miami. Look for hotel deals. Lots of hotels even let kids stay free, or offer discounts for kids on rooms and for dining. For example, some hotels might offer free breakfast for kids under 12.
Look for rooms with a fridge and microwave in the room, since this can make all the difference when traveling with your kids. Some rooms can be very small in South Beach Miami so ask about room size.
4. Know About Beaches, Attractions, and Parks for Kids
The best beach in South Beach Miami is the Third Street Beach. If you rent a car, take your children to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area in Key Biscayne.
You can also hit Crandon Park while you’re there, which is one of the top-rated beaches in the country. At low tide, the sand bars are accessible out to 500 yards and ideal for kids to play in. The park also has a Family Amusement Center. The Center has a historical carousel, a playground, a spray fountain, a roller rink, and a kids’ ride through the tropical jungle of Crandon Gardens. You can spend a whole day here with your family.
The Miami Seaquarium, which is just outside of South Beach on the way back into Miami, is a wonderful day trip for you and your kids. They have a Dolphin Exploration Program which is an amazing chance to swim with the dolphins, although kind of pricey. You do get snacks and towel, and admission to the Seaquarium in the price, to mitigate the cost. You’ll need reservations for swimming with the dolphins.
Parrot Jungle and Gardens is also on the overseas road connecting South Beach with the mainland, and thus just minutes from South Beach. There are not only parrots here but also other animals and creatures. There are lots of interactive displays and things to do here for kids.
One Last Word
The key to keeping kids (and adults!) happy is to plan ahead. Research hotels and resorts online before making any reservations. Look for places with a pool, and get yourself a book – there are several- that tells all about traveling with kids in the Miami Beach area. These books should have a list of annual events as well as special offers for restaurants and hotels, for people traveling with children. Most importantly, take time out to breathe and enjoy the sun.
Author: Captain Damon grew up in south Florida and makes his living on the water. He is the owner of FKF Charters and runs boat trips for visitors year round.