Family Beach Vacation Ideas
Beautiful beaches, calm Gulf waters and tons of fun things to do nearby – it all adds up to make St. Pete/Clearwater ideal for families.
Parents, rejoice! The kiddos will love St. Pete/Clearwater as much as you do. From sand dollar-hunting in a tidal lagoon to setting sail on a pirate ship, there’s a lot to keep the little ones entertained both at the beach and nearby.
Stay at a Resort that’s Made for Families
An inflatable waterpark. A bungee trampoline. A resident pirate named RedBeard. That’s just a taste of the fun they’ll find at TradeWinds Island Grand and its sister property, RumFish. At night, roast s’mores by the fire or watch dive-in movies in a beachfront pool. And speaking of diving, you can get right up close to local sea life in the 33,500-gallon tank at Rumfish with the resort’s “Swim with the Fishes” experience. And you don’t even have to stay here to enjoy it all: TradeWinds offers a day pass that gives you access to pools, the High Tide Slide and more. For more family-friendly resort options, check out the video above.
Meet Sea Creatures at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
All of Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s resident dolphins, otters and sea turtles will give curious kids a close-up look at the aquarium’s marine life rescue and rehab work and ocean conservation efforts. Take it to the next level with a narrated boat tour of calm Clearwater Bay.
Catch a Kid-Friendly Sunset Celebration
Every evening, Clearwater’s bustling Pier 60 turns into an all-ages celebration during Sunsets at Pier 60. You’ll find artisans making and selling their wares, musicians and jugglers performing and a huge playground nearby (in case your kids need to run off some steam before bedtime).
Go On a Pirate Cruise
Climb aboard the Pirate’s Ransom for an adventure that’ll delight swashbucklers of any age: Captain Memo’s Original Pirate Cruise sails from Clearwater Beach daily for two hours of games, dancing on the deck and perhaps a little mystery. You’ll find another great pirate cruise sailing out of John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk to the south: Here, the Royal Conquest offers young buccaneers oodles of maritime fun (tip: come early so the whole family has a chance to explore the shops and restaurants at John’s Pass). Both cruises serve soft drinks for the kids and adult beverages for the grownups on board.
Fly a Kite or Zoom Down a Waterslide
You know a town named Treasure Island is bound to have fun around every corner. Exhibit A: the massive inflatable water slide on the beach near the 104th Avenue parking lot (across from Publix supermarket). A couple of bucks, and the kids (and you!) can climb the steps to experience the thrill of slip-slidin’ to the bottom. Bonus: The wide stretch of beach here is a great place to fly a kite. Find yours at Florida Windworks in nearby John’s Pass Village.
Find Treasure at Fort De Soto Park
The crown jewel of St. Pete/Clearwater’s county park system, Fort De Soto Park’s North Beach is much-loved for its family-friendly features. Venture beyond the pirate ship-themed playground onto the beach to find a tidal pool perfect for little feet to wade in. There’s a seasonal lifeguard here for when the little ones go digging in the gentle Gulf waters in search of purple shells and white sand dollars (leave the grey ones behind, as they are alive). You’ll also find bike rentals you can take on the park’s six-mile paved trail (including surrey bicycles that seat up to eight!), a mile-long beach where dogs can run off-leash, and a long fishing pier.
Splash Around at the St. Pete Pier
Just a short drive from the beach communities, downtown St. Pete’s biggest and newest outdoor attraction, the St. Pete Pier, offers hours of waterfront fun. Kids will have a blast cooling off at the splash pad. They’ll find entertaining ways to learn about sea creatures and the environment at the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center. Kids can try their luck at the fishing deck (and meet pelicans up close while there). The Glazer Family Playground is a wonderful spot to use up some extra energy. Plus, you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly food options.