The string of tropical islands, just off the southern tip of Florida, that make up the Florida Keys is a popular vacation destination. Millions of people flock here for sightseeing, snorkeling, water adventures, nightlife, shopping, dining, and more. You’ll find plenty of resorts to make your Florida Keys family vacation a memorable one. Just minutes away from your resort you can find historic sites, living coral reefs, and the chance to swim with dolphins and pet sea creatures. Whether you're looking to walk the trails of a state park or visit a wildlife sanctuary you'll find a world of kid-friendly adventure on this beautiful island chain.
Fun things to do in Key Largo with kids
Key Largo is the self-proclaimed diving capital of the world and is home to one of the largest artificially-created living coral reefs on the globe, the first of its kind in the Keys. Many of the attractions in Key Largo are of the aquatic variety, so don't forget your bathing suit. From petting dolphins to laying out on soft sand in the sun next to clear turquoise waters, Key Largo is an outstanding destination for your family vacation in the Florida Keys.
See a living ecosystem at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is an underwater state park, the first of its kind. It covers about 70 nautical square miles and features mangrove swamps, relaxing hammocks, and of course, a tropical undersea world. Grab your scuba or snorkeling gear and check out the underwater marine life, get out on the water in a canoe or kayak, go swimming, or walk the many hiking trails. Many of the snorkeling tours here are accessible, so visitors who use wheelchairs can see the wonderful, magical aquatic world up close.
Swim with the dolphins at Dolphins Cove
Dolphins Cove is 5 acres of warm lagoon water filled with intelligent, playful dolphins. You and your kids over 7 years old can dive into the waters and swim right alongside the dolphins. The dolphin swim area is enclosed and away from the open water to keep it safe for everyone. Lifejackets keep everyone afloat, and instructors give a 30-minute class on dolphin safety before you dive in. You can also enjoy activities like painting with dolphins and a trainer shadowing program. This is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to do with your kids in the Florida Keys.
See the historic Spiegel Grove Wreck
The Spiegel Grove Wreck is a shipwreck right off the shore, which sunk in 2002, and today is a popular site for divers and snorkeling. When ships go down they almost always become a home for an entire ecology of undersea life, in many ways an artificial reef of their own. The reef ranges from 45 to 130 feet deep, and there are guided expeditions available to assist amateur divers in exploring safely, making it a great option for your Florida Keys family vacations.
See live crocodiles at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1980 with a mission to protect crocodiles in Key Largo. These misunderstood creatures have been poached and villainized in the media and while they can be dangerous, they are also rare and wonderful. Visitors can't interact with the crocs, but they can learn all about their endangered habitats, explore a colorful butterfly garden, and see 50 interesting native plant species. It's a great kids’ experience that combines wonder and education, perfect for your Florida Keys family vacation.
Enjoy great food at some of the best Key Largo restaurants
Key Largo has some of the best seafood restaurants around. If you want to enjoy great food just minutes away from your lodgings, you can find a kid-friendly restaurant right in your Florida Keys resort. If you're looking for variety, however, you may find all the different kinds of eats you want just steps away. At these eateries, you can find seafood including classic fried fish, shellfish and mollusks, sushi, and more. Most of what you find is made with fresh-caught seasonal fish right off the docks. If you like, you’ll also find ethnic food, old-fashioned burgers, and steak.
Head for the upscale Florida Keys family resorts at Islamorada
Islamorada is made up of several smaller islands about 90 minutes south of Miami. They tend towards a more upscale clientele, but they're also one of the sport fishing capitals of the world. You'll still find a lot of Florida Keys family resorts here as well as a wide range of beaches, state parks, hiking trails, museums and, of course, lots of tropical island paradise outdoor adventures. Settle in and get out and about to find some fun and exciting things to do with kids here in the Florida Keys.
Visit Indian Key Historic State Park for ruins, hiking, and nature
Indian Key Historic State Park offers a wide range of exciting outdoor adventures and activities to do with kids in the Florida Keys. It's an uninhabited island, so you won't find clubs, restaurants, or shops here. What you will find, however, are the ruins of an ancient civilization that you can explore. The island also has tons of natural hiking trails and lush green scenery with stunning ocean views. It's not a traditional beach, as there aren't stretches of sand on which you can relax, but you can walk right up to the waterline.
Interact with animals at the Theater of the Sea
The Theater of the Sea offers great opportunities for family vacation activities just steps away from your hotel or Florida Keys family resort. You can catch live shows with sea lions, parrots, reptiles, and other marine life. You can also, for an extra price, get the chance to feed sea turtles, paint with sea lions, and get in the water and swim right alongside a nurse shark. A single ticket gives you the chance to see all the shows, which run every 2.5 hours. Between adventures you can head to Lagoon Beach for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.
Have exciting outdoor adventures at Robbie's of Islamorada
Robbie's of Islamorada is among the more popular attractions in the Keys. Here you can rent a kayak and head out to the smaller outlying islands to explore ancient ruins. Your family can get on board a charter boat and go out to the sea to fish, while you meet other vacationers and make new friends. You can even get out for some water sports adventure on a jet ski, parasailing experience, or just take a cruise with the family under the brilliant Florida sunset. All of it is a few minutes away from Florida Keys family resorts.
Learn about diving at the History of Diving Museum
At the History of Diving Museum, you'll learn all about this popular tropical pastime. Exhibits have been collected over more than 40 years and represent the entire history of diving from the earliest deep-sea diving suits to modern scuba gear. As you explore the exhibits, you'll learn about some of the most famous divers in history and get to know their stories. Of course, you'll want kid-friendly activities on your Florida Keys family vacation. The museum has you covered with special exhibits and activities targeted just for kids.
Visit the 13 islands of Marathon
The 13 islands that comprise Marathon are perhaps best known for their stunning, crystal-clear, turquoise waters and boating activities from getting out on a sailboat of your own to renting a charter ship for fishing or a cruise. Most of the beaches here are dog friendly, so you'll see lots of furry friends running around. Beyond the beaches, you can find barrier reefs, state parks, and aquariums to explore and enjoy as you learn all about the delicate ecosystem of the aquatic world here beneath the waves. It's an exciting place to adventure from your family-friendly resort in the Florida Keys.
Relax on the sands of Sombrero Beach
Sombrero Beach is one of the highlights of the beaches all across Florida Keys family resorts and beyond. The soft white sands and clear turquoise waters here are where it all begins, but it also stands out as a completely wheelchair-accessible beach. Amenities here include public bathrooms and showers. You can enjoy a pickup beach volleyball game at the courts on the beach, or take respite from the sun in the many shaded areas. It's a beach that's very much geared towards everyone.
See one of the largest barrier reefs in the world at Captain Pip's
Captain Pip's Marina and Hideaway is both one of the Florida Keys family resorts and a popular visitor attraction where you can book a 3-hour snorkeling trip to see everything from lobsters and seahorses to thousands of species of tropical fish. You can get on a boat that offers a sightseeing deck and lets you enjoy your time out on the water, and whether you want to dive in and get wet or you just want to look out over the ocean you're sure to have a great time and see some amazing marine life.
Have Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters
Local publications have voted Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters the best place to take the kids for 5 years, which makes it an ideal option for your Florida Keys family resorts vacation. If you're looking for Florida Keys kids attractions, this one lets them get hands-on with many marine species of all sizes and shapes. You can explore on your own, or get on the schedule of guided experiences.
Head for the wildlife refuges and sanctuaries on the Lower Keys
The Lower Florida Keys are known as the location for national marine sanctuaries and wildlife refuges, which allow you to have in-person animal encounters. Many of the species you'll find here are types of animals you won't see in other places. This area is also famed for its Stock Island cultural festival, frequented by artists from all over. It's an outstanding option for a vacation with kids in the Florida Keys to make unique memories for a lifetime.
Have freshwater adventures on Blue Hole lake
Blue Hole offers the rare opportunity in the keys to experience a freshwater lake. It's located on a refuge where you can see rare species of deer and many other animals. An abandoned rock quarry lets you catch photos of what can only be described as an alien landscape. Just steps away from your Florida Keys family resorts, you'll find the Jack Watson Nature Trail where you can see hundreds of different species of plants and animals, get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and get back to nature for a little while.
See the endangered deer subspecies at National Key Deer Refuge
The National Key Deer Refuge is located at Big Pine Key and allows you to catch a glimpse of the Key deer, a subspecies of white-tailed deer that is on the endangered species list. They're smaller than normal deer, and visitors find them adorable. You can also see at least 16 other protected species of fish and wildlife here, making it a vital and important refuge center for environmental preservation. The visitor center can teach you all about these species and why it's important to preserve them.
See the birds at Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge
The Great White Heron is a species of bird that's not only native but unique to the Florida Keys. At the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, you'll find not just these majestic birds, but over 250 other avian species. The refuge is spread over more than 123,000 acres of land which are also designated fishing areas, so you can cast a line and pull in your dinner that night. Boating is also permitted here so whether you've got a sailboat, kayak, or canoe, it's a great place to get out on the water. Best of all, it's only a short trip to get here from many Florida Keys family resorts.
Party all night at the clubs in Key West
Key West is hands down party central in the Florida Keys. This is the place where the nightlife is hopping and you'll find dancing and great music anywhere you go. However, that doesn't mean it's an adults-only destination. You can find a lot of Florida Keys family resorts here with tons of things to do with the kids. It's the southernmost city in the United States with plenty of aquatic fun and adventure.
Visit the public beaches and historic site at Fort Zachary Taylor
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park offers tons of great things to do on your family vacation in the Florida Keys. It all starts with the ruins of the fort itself, built before the Civil War, which stands as a reminder of the early days of the United States. The fort stands on a beach which has many amenities you won’t find everywhere in the Keys like restrooms, a concession stand, and picnic tables. Explore history and then hike nature trails, go snorkeling, and swim all day.
Visit the fairytale world of Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
If you love butterflies (and who doesn't?), just a few minutes away from your Florida Keys family resort you can find a true fairytale world at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Not only will you be surrounded by brilliantly-colored butterflies of just about every variety, you'll also get to see lovely and playful flamingoes moving about. The facility also has an onsite gift shop where you can find books and souvenirs to remember your trip.
See tropical species at the Key West Aquarium
The Key West Aquarium offers the traditional aquarium experience with sharks, rays, jellyfish and thousands of bright, colorful tropical fish from around the world, but it's much more than that. The aquarium also has a special touch-tank area where kids can interact with many different kinds of sea life and even hold things like giant hermit crabs and starfish. Of course, kids love sharks, and the shark exhibit is sure to thrill them while also educating them about these misunderstood undersea predators, who are actually more closely related to rays than to fish. Be sure to snap some photos of the sharks from the underwater viewing area so you can remember your exciting family vacation in the Florida Keys.