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Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Florida's Best Beach Spots for Family Fun.  If your next Florida vacation requires a beach we have a few suggestions worth considering. Florida has a beach to fit every family's personality. Fort Walton Beach Sand Dune Jump
 
Think about escaping to the beach and enjoying sun, sand, and waves. Add to the short list surfing and boogie boarding, art walks and shopping, fishing, snorkeling sailing and a turtle quest. Try tasty shrimp, sample lobster and do not miss the key lime pie. I am partial to Crescent Beach because our family lived on the beach for two years and we enjoyed the change of seasons, grand storms and crazy tourists stuck in the sand but last fall I journeyed to the Keys and on our trip we discovered a delightful beach on the oceanside of Marathon. The water was shallow, clear and most inviting, like being in the Bahamas without the crowds. It is a secret find worthy of note. The suggestions as follows have all been tested by families who know about beaches. Crescent Beach sea OatsPpathway to the Sea

St. Augustine Beach & Crescent Beach - Beach Bikes, Alligators and a Lighthouse. 
 Adjacent to St. Augustine Beach and anchoring the Southern end of Anastasia Island, the un-crowded and comfortable atmosphere is ideal for a family getaway. There is enough to do but not too much to do. For anyone dreaming of a beach vacation, Crescent was made to order. Most rent a condo or a beach house and set their own pace. Once you leave the mainland and cross over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (a.k.a. The Matanzas River), there is really no need to leave the barrier island. There’s a beach, surf, sand, almost always sunshine, sometimes a pleasant breeze, creating the perfect scene for a family vacation. The vacation options are endless. Off Beach Bonus: Check out the world famous St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Zoological Park and Bird Sanctuary located just one mile east of the Bridge of Lions – the park is home to the twenty-three species of crocodile including rare white alligators. (999 Anastasia Blvd., St. Augustine, Florida 32080. (904) 824-3337 or www.alligatorfarm.usDiscovery: Right off the beach Fiesta Falls Miniature Golf is a great night out for the whole family. (818 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine, FL 32080. (904) 461-5571 or www.lafiestainn.com/saint-augustine/fiesta-falls-mini-golf. (Detalis www.staugustinebeach.net)Bath Tub Beach in Martin County
 
Hutchison Island - Pelicans, Butterflies, and Bathtub. Located just east of Stuart, and a half-hour north of Palm Beach is beautifully preserved Hutchinson Island, a narrow barrier island bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. At the southernmost tip of the enchanting island is “Bathtub Beach,” named for the shallow, clear lagoon created at low tide by a natural coral reef located just offshore. It is a perfect setting for children’s enjoyment or snorkeling. The park is bordered by protected undulating sand dunes. There are no bathrooms at Bathtub Beach currently but there are bathrooms about 100 yards north at Rocks Beach. For the curious, an environmental exhibit explains how Bathtub Reef was formed. Need to know: Beach conditions are visible minute-by-minute on the beach cam posted at the county website. Toll-free 1 -877-585-0085, (772) 288-5445 or www.martincountyfla.com

Jupiter Beach - Watch the rocks, walk the trails. On Jupiter Island, at the edge of the sea, “blowing rocks,” provide a daily show. In addition to the natural Anastasia limestone rocks, it is also an island sanctuary, providing an ever-changing window on a variety of natural habitats. Off Beach Bonus: Explore a boardwalk at Blowing Rocks Preserve. Follow the interpretive signs along the Indian River Lagoon, whisper in the butterfly garden, stroll the beachside nature trail. For an escape from the heat of the day, The Hawley Education Center has displays and rotating exhibits that explain the value of area. Need to know: Beach conditions are visible minute-by-minute on the beach cam posted at the county website. (Toll-free 1 -877-585-0085, (772) 288-5445 or www.martincountyfla.com)
 
Vero Beach - Sea Turtles, Shopping, and Great Art. Located under the flight path of Pelican Island residents, Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge stretches for almost twenty miles along the Atlantic Coast and provides safe sanctuary for nesting sea turtles and creating remarkable experiences for humans. It is recognized as the largest sea turtle nesting area in North America. From April through September the ancient night nesting rituals occur when loggerheads, leatherbacks and an occasional green return to the beach to deposit eggs. Need to know: Several organizations conduct guided night time turtle quests which provide a front row observation point to witness the turtles during nesting. This activity is not-to-be-missed if you have children eight years of age or older. It is a field trip extraordinaire. Off Beach Bonus: Named as one of the premier art towns of America, Vero Beach is without a doubt an artist's haven. The Vero Beach Museum of Art anchoring Riverside Park validates the importance of art to the community. The dramatically beautiful facility showcases nationally and internationally recognized exhibitions, provides studio art classes, humanities-based programs, concerts, workshops, cinema, and special events. Each year the Museum conducts a Museum Art School offering hands-on studio art activities to children ages 3 to 15. The one and two-week camp sessions (comprised of half-day classes) are scheduled Monday through Friday from May through August. (Details (772) 567-3491, ext.110 or www.indianriverchamber.com)Naples Beach Resort on Florida's Gulf Coast
 
Naples - Sea Shells, Trolleys, and a Teddy Bear. The ceremony of releasing feet from shoes to sand cannot be duplicated in words it must be done. For many it is an essential part of connecting to Florida. For teens the beach near the Naples Pier is the place to hang. For a beachfront sunset ceremony, the members of the Wren-Faust family recommend The Naples Municipal Fishing Pier. For families with teens that demand a little more action, Lowdermilk Park in Naples has volleyball and picnic facilities fronting the beach. Lowdermilk also has a duck pond and a play area just for little tykes. The Naples coast contains more than seven miles of beautiful beaches ideal for shelling and sunning. Barefoot Beach in Bonita which provides shaded picnicking and calm warm waters. Off Beach Bonus: The Teddy Bear Museum has more than 3000 bears on duty to entertain and charm. They conduct story time each Saturday and during the year also have Teddy Bear teas for young visitors. Need to know: Naples Trolley Tours offers narrated tours about the town pointing out more than 100 points of interest. It makes convenient stops along the way and is a fun way to access shopping area. (Details (239) 434-4698 or www.naples-florida.com/beach.htm)
 
Cocoa Beach & Space Coast - Seagulls, Sea Shells and Space Shots. The Canaveral National Seashore is a stunningly beautiful and remarkably untouched 40-mile stretch of beaches. It is one of the last remaining sections of the Atlantic Coast where time seems to have stood still - tiny sand crabs scurry for the dunes as pounding feet mark the sand’s surface and brown pelicans patrol the beach in avian formation. The scene is wild and quieting at the same time. During the cooler months storms churn up beach treasures from all over the world; from sea beans and cowry shells to crusty bottles and driftwood, beach time is always discovery time. Year-round recreation includes fishing, boating, canoeing, surfing, sunbathing, swimming, hiking, camping, nature and historical trails. Off Beach Bonus: Try a day with FunDay Discovery Tours out of nearby Melbourne. The company offers eco-tours with 16 unique half, full day and evening guided tours. Their tours are a great way to see manatees, dolphins, alligators and a huge assortment of wildlife in “Real” Florida with highly acclaimed and certified eco-guides. (1905 Atlantic St., Ste. 325, Melbourne Beach, FL 32951. (321) 725-0796 or www.fundaytours.com) Need to know: Seminole Rest, a part of Canaveral National Seashore, is rich in history stemming from thousands of years of Native American occupation. It represents the pioneer era of settlement in Florida, and was the scene of many of the first North American encounters among Europeans, Africans, and native inhabitants. (Details (321) 267-1110 or www.nps.gov/cana or go to www.space-coast.com)
 
Fort Lauderdale - Sunshine, Shopping, and a Water Taxi. Visit the “Venice of America” Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. All along the seven miles of beaches are great ways to enjoy your beach stay – from boating and wind surfing, to volleyball, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and rollerblading. Fort Lauderdale’s famous coastline is punctuated by an array of shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and entertainment venues. For those just looking to relax, the breathtaking views of the Atlantic are fabulous. Off Beach Bonus: For those looking for a nighttime activity that’s out of the ordinary, the Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour is just the thing. Starting at Las Olas Boulevard the tour moves along the historical New River and takes in the most haunted places in Fort Lauderdale. (SE 6th Avenue & Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. (954) 290-9328 or www.fortlauderdaleghosttour.com) Discovery: An obvious destination benefit for teens on vacation with the family is the Water Taxi. For parents it means stress relief and for tens it means freedom from sitting in the car, in traffic with parents and younger siblings. Frequent service is provided daily from 10:30 AM to midnight allowing passengers to get on and off at 11 stops throughout the area. An all-day pass costs $20 for adults $13 for kids ages 5-11. (Water Taxi, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316. (954) 467-6677)
 
 
Content researched and poste by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images from Family Travel Files, Martin Country,  and Naples Beach Resort and Florida Tourism for Fort Walton Beach.  Copyright updated 2017. 
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