While most people imagine Miami to be a place for adults, party animals, socialites and celebrities, it is also a destination suitable for the entire family – provided that proper planning for a smooth, family-friendly vacation is done beforehand.Be sure to arrange a holiday that everyone shall not forget.
First of all,you should find a hotel in the South Beach that could home you and all your kids in either huge suites or adjoining rooms. That is the most important thing that you should settle before thinking about the places to bring your kids.
You should also consider eateries with kid friendly menus instead of the typical high-end cuisine that would make children barf, as well as places which would allow kids to join in the fun without having to stare in horror at topless models and frolicking youngsters.
Ready For Your Miami Family Vacation?
Located at 1530 Washington Avenue, Mariott Courtyard seems to be a good choice to start with. It is at a strategic location, which is very close to the popular Lincoln Road Mall, very nice, and is two blocks away from the Miami Beach Convention Center, where the sand, sun and sea is accessible.
This smaller version of the first Mariott at Miami Beach offers family the choice to connect guests rooms, or up to 4 suites if you are willing to part with more money. Unfortunately, there are no children programs at this hotel, but you could wow the kids by bringing them to have a bird’s eye view of Miami Beach at their rooftop pool deck.
The Marriot Courtyard provides convenience as well to travel around to attractions. The cafes at Washington Avenue and Espanola Way as well as the shops around are quit accessible with the stroller set.
We have done all the research for you so you wouldn’t have to walk around and survey yourself. Which makes it a smart choice for you to read this article. With just 25 cents, take a ride at the “South Beach Local” and it would bring you to most of Miami Beach’s best attractions, which is accessible between Lincoln Road Mall and South Pointe Park.
There are 8 one bedroom suites available for smaller families. Older children would enjoy the 32 inch flat screen TV as well as the high speed internet access. Although there are no programs available for the children, they are able to rent game consoles and movies from the front desk. And one perk for the parents is an in-house Starbucks available downstairs.
Besides the Mariott Courtyard, another suitable accommodation for family with kids are the beach front resorts all along Collins Avenue. These resort houses are family friendly, and around the area, your neighboring guests would mostly be – you guessed it, other families. There are usually services where you could drop off your children to be cared for while you adults go and rekindle that honeymoon romance you wish you were able to get on – without the kids around.
If you are looking for something high-end for your entire family to enjoy, then you should take a look at Ritz-Carlton South Beach located at One Lincoln Road. This ocean front hotel offers the choice of one bedroom suites or two adjoining rooms for families.
You could request for an extra child friendly roll away beds. Now, the best feature of the Ritz Carlton for families, is hands down their in-house children’s program which would take care of your children aged 5 to 12 years old for you with pool-side activities and games for half a day, and even full day.
This is especially for that alone time you had been longing with your partner during your South Beach vacation with your family. The folks at the Ritz Kids Camp starts working at 9am, and all you have to do is register your kids and leave them there with sunscreen and swimwear, and they would be in the care of qualified supervisors.
These folks would have your kids occupied with fun activities such as face painting, shell finding, creating crafts and so much more. However, this service is not free as you have to pay for it – which is worth it for that alone time that you crave during one f those days while having your Miami vacation with your family.
Drop your kids there while you and your partner enjoy a rejuvenating couples massage at the Ritz Spa, as well as dinner for two at the in-house Evolution Restaurant headed by chef David Bouley.
If you fear the Ritz Carlton might burn a hole in your pocket, head over a block away at 1601 Collins Avenue and you will find the family oriented Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Although the kids program at Loews had been shut down due to building of a new spa targeted for the parents, they are still as children and even pet oriented as ever. Family with children would receive a special gift complimentary from the hotel for the little tykes.
In fact, they offer a pet friendly room for families who could not part with their lovely pets. The hotel would give a complimentary pet feeding bowl with treats and a complete guide with maps to the local pet shops and services. Loews Miami Beach Hotel are now renewing their kids program to make the stay for families an enjoyable one.
Depending on the size of your family, you could choose either connecting suites or junior suites for you and your family. Roll out beds could be requested, and the suites are quite spacious, over a span of 750 square feet which allows space for up to 2 roll away beds.
Parents could crash at the king sized bedroom, while the children could have fun at the hall, crashing at the couch bed and roll away beds requested. The kids would also love to know that they are allowed to borrow Game Boys at the desk, as well as DVD players with age appropriate titles to help them curb boredom – which rarely happens.
There are five different award winning eateries to choose from at Loews.
There is the Emeril’s which serves up New Orleans style of cooking, Preston’s which serves amazing American influenced steaks, and the SoBe café bar by the pool which serves awesome grilled food and relaxing choice of beverages.
All five restaurants offer menus suitable for kids, as well as provide portable tabletop DVD players usually used by parents to distract children while they enjoy a quiet dinner. There are plenty of fitness programs as well at Loews, both got parents and children. The KidsFit program would help to teach your children about fitness and nutrition.
Right at 1717 Collins Avenue lies the Surfcomber Hotel, a moderately priced popular hotel. Offering both city view and ocean view rooms and suites, the Surfcomber is often booked way ahead of time. Located only two blocks away from the Miami Beach Convention Center and directly north of the Ocean Drive hubbub.
Another Hilton owned hotel is located at 1430 Ocean Drive is the Hilton Grand Vacations Club.
With furnishings inspired by the Art Deco era, this hotel boasts over 52 rooms, all of them suites, all design for an intimate experience. It is strategically located right across Lummus Park and closely to the ocean. Depending on your family size, you may choose either the one bedroom suite which could home up to 4 guests, while the two bedroom suites could home up to six guests. The Hilton Grands Vacations Club does not have a pool, however there is a sun deck and a Jacuzzi hot top at the rooftop.
When choosing hotel and accommodation for your family it all comes down to your budget. Once you have chosen a place to stay, it is time to decide if you want to rent a car so you could bring your family to enjoy the highways of Miami.
However, be advised that Miami is so convenient, most guests prefer to take the bus and taxis, and even walk by foot to enjoy the Miami experience. Now that you have gotten a place to crash for your family, it is time to start deciding on where to go during your Miami vacation and how to get there. Read ahead for more family friendly tips.
Family Friendly Activities And Places To Visit
Unlike busy towns like in the big city, Miami is stroller-friendly for those who are bringing their kids around, and walking around on foot is not something difficult. In fact, most tourists agree that the only time a taxi ride is taken during their stay at Miami is the ride to and from the hotel and the airport.
Taxi rides from the airport to most Miami hotels costs under $40. Getting anywhere around Miami is quite easy as they have a great transportation system which covers most of the central, important and attractive places.
If you do not plan to rent a car for hire during your stay at Miami, consider taking a walk at Lummus Park while you enjoy the ocean breeze walking through Ocean Drive. You would be able to see in-line skaters and cyclers enjoying themselves riding around Lummus Park, so if you have your little one with you, be careful of bumping into one.
If you feel like joining in the crowd for a bike ride or taking your kids for inline skating at the park, head over to Fritz’s Skate Shop at 730 Lincoln Road, or the Miami Beach Bicycle Center at 601 Fifth Street. Using bicycles and inline skates is a very portable and hassle free way to enjoy Miami Beach, as you could admire the Art Deco district or stop by the beach to take a breather.
Remember to keep yourselves hydrated, and apply a generous amount of sunscreen for you and your family. Your children would most definitely enjoy eating out at Front Porch Café located at 14th Ocean Avenue, serving dishes that would please even the most fussy eater.
Another[/do]perfect spot to bring your family is at Lincoln Road, especially the Lincoln Road Mall. The Lincoln Road Mall offers an open air shopping experience with plenty of clothing boutiques and eateries to choose from. You could also stop by the antique shops and obscure galleries around the mall.
There are plenty of crafts for you to buy as a souvenir, and your kids will be entertained by street performers such as balloon-twisting clowns. If you want to bring your kids to see much more interesting items that they could buy and treasure, head over to the Lincoln Road Flea Market on every Sunday before dawn right up until 5pm, where there are vintage items and antiques sold there.
Every fall season there’s also a Farmer’s Green Market nearby the flea market. Be careful though as there are so many things that you would want to buy, and before you notice it, you might have already burn a hole in your wallet.
At the Lenox Avenue intersection, located at 1040 Lincoln, lies one of the best choice for a great family dining experience – the Segafredo Café. It could be very tiring walking around touring Miami Beach with your family, so it is time to treat everyone with a good, hearty dinner. You are able to choose from a fountain side seats to the assorted couches indoors. Replenish the energy of you and your little ones with their specialty Panini sandwiches and hearty beverages such as their super strong espresso.
The Segafredo Café is a popular spot to rejuvenate among shoppers at Lincoln Road Mall from day until night. It is also pet friendly, so it is the place to go if you brought your dog for a walk and decided to take a rest. Diners would be entertained with good selection of family oriented music which shall help you relax while you refill your energy.
If you feel[/do] like having burgers instead of the fancy stuffs served there, head over to 1025 and you will find Johnny Rockets, one of the most popular place to eat among family with kids. The restaurant is themed like the 50s, and the menu offers children friendly meals. With retro music filling the atmosphere, and classic jukeboxes to enhance the 50s mood, families would enjoy the place, especially when the waiters and waitresses wears 50s inspired clothing and serves up balloons to the kids.
While locals complain that openings of restaurants such as the Gap and Pottery Barn takes away the charm out of Lincoln Road Mall, these places provides a comfortable zone for families. Another popular place to eat for families is Pizza Rustica at 667 Lincoln where they offer order per slice with toppings of you and your children’s choice.
Kids would love this, especially with the extra cheese. Zeke’s Roadhouse is located at 625 Lincoln, and they sell the cheapest beer around to adults priced at $3, while the kids could enjoy their hot dogs and soda pop.
Party With The Monkeys
Head over to[/do]at 14805 SW 216th Street in Cutler Ridge and your kids would love it if you take them to the Monkey Jungle there. Opened all the way back in 1933, and originally as a place to study primates, it is now a wildlife park where visitors are allowed to walk in the enclosed center with the monkeys running free.
Buy some raisins from the gift shop for your little ones and give them the experience of feeding the ever hungry monkeys.
However, be very careful here as the monkeys here are free, and could get in very close distance. Whether your child wants to feed them or not, do watch closely for naughty monkeys. There is also a Wild Monkey Swimming Pool and their exhibition of the Amazonian Rain Forest.
There are various activities and the trainers there would be more than happy to answer questions regarding the primates. However, if your children do not fancy the wildlife, enjoy a game of bowling instead at the Lucky Strike Lanes off Lincoln Road.
Dining Options For the Family[/do]
Head over to 1654 Meridian Avenue to enjoy the Cuban cuisine at David’s Two Café. They offer a very good menu, and the prices are affordable. Among their signature dishes is the Arroz Con Pollo, a Cuban cuisine which serves yellow rice with chicken in a huge portion – enough to pass around. Another good choice is the Bistec Empanizado, and this is popular among childrens, a steak which had been sliced thin and breaded, served alongside rice with black beans. Definitely a must try for the parents is their Café Cubano, a super strong espresso that would re-ignite that energy for a continued walk.
When you bring your family on a vacation at Miami Beach, you should be on a budget as the headcount is higher and it is easy to overspent. However, it does not pose a problem to dine with a budget. For a good and affordable breakfast, head over to 516 Espanola at Espanola Way and enjoy the French pastries at A la Folie Café.
If you and your kids love pizzas, Hosteria Romana is located just nearby at 429 Espanola.
The waiters here are very sporting and they do their best to entertain guests while taking orders. For hearty sandwiches intended for beach picnics, La Sanwicherie at 229 14th Street east of Espanola. Their fresh baked croissant, known as baguette is very delicious, especially if you add on sliced meats, and salads with sauces. Their juice bar offers healthier drinks like vegetables and fruits smoothie.
If you are not a fan of sandwiches, and would prefer grilled hot dogs and beef, head over to Dogma at 15th Washington. Another affordable steakhouse and grilled food is at Classic Steakhouse located at 1 Washington Avenue. During the quiet nights, bring your family over to Taverna Opa to experience a truly Greek dining experience at 36 Ocean, where it is loud, and party all week long.
Once you had enough of the boisterous Greek diner, you could tryout Smith & Wollensky, which is very much the opposite. It has a great view of the sea though. Once everyone is full with dinner, take a family walk at South Pointe Park.
There are plenty of places for you to bring the kids if they ever have sweet tooth and feel like having some ice cream. Frieze Ice Cream Factory is one of the popular spots to head to which would help quench that sugar crave, located at 1626 Michigan Avenue.
They offer a variety range of flavors which would satisfy any ice cream freak. They also serve sorbets for those who want to watch their figures while enjoying the sinful taste of delicious ice cream. The Ice Box Café is worth a visit as well at 1657 Michigan Avenue, as it is dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as the “Best Ice Cream in America“. This place is perfect for family, but it only opens during brunch, lunch and dinner times. You could enjoy their ice cream at the sidewalks, perfect while taking a walk.
More Family Friendly Fun In Miami![/do]
Head over to Genius Jones or Gap Kids at 1001 Lincoln if you want to bring your kids out for clothes shopping and toy shopping as well. It is close by to the recently mentioned Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley which has a ‘rock and roll’ theme, which open their doors to kids only until 9pm, before it turns into a fully blown sports theme nightclub.
For a more wild and wet experience with your kids, bring them down to Flamingo Park at the 11th Street and Jefferson Avenue for them to enjoy and experience Miami’s unique under water park. Right at the center of Miami Beach’s residential area, this public park is well maintained, and there are also stuffs for the parents such as a gym, and sports complex to enjoy.
The entrance fee for the kids are priced at only $4, and they would be able to have fun at the park’s interactive pool. The place opens at 8.30 in the morning until sunset, and there are many amenities to enhance the experience there. Flamingo Park is definitely the place to head to for families who are staying at hotels without pools like the Hilton Grand Vacations Club. If you brought your dog along, you could take it for a walk at Bark Park, where all the local dog lovers takes their canine for a walk there.
If you are willing to travel slightly further, you should definitely make a stop at Watson island, where there is a tropical zoo that goes with the name of Parrot Jungle Island located off I-395 and the MacArthur Causeway. This tropical zoo is where your kids could see wilds cats, monkeys, birds, and their popular attraction – Godzilla, a 40 pound lizard.
Let your kids experience closeness to nature, or if they are the cowardly cat types, they could just sit back and watch the shows. They have plenty of exhibitions shows called the Reptile Giants, the Winged Wonders, and the Wild Encounters which could last for up to 20 minutes.
The kids also have the chance to feed the animals there which had already been tamed and train, as well as the opportunity to take pictures with the unique animals there. When hungry, you could bring your family to the Lakeside café which serves plenty of food suitable for your family, all at an affordable $5 or less.
If your family loves outdoor action, take them to the Sunny Isles Oleta River State Park where everyone could enjoy bike rides, kayaking and canoeing. If your family is truly up for the adventure, take them for the off-road bike trails while you enjoy the outdoors and the fresh air from the mangrove forest mixed with the smell and breeze of the ocean nearby. Swimming and saltwater fishing is also allowed there.
The Blue Marlin Café nearby there located at 2500 North East of 163rd Street lives up to the eco-mood, and they serve pretty good seafood. The kids meals are also affordable which are below $7 offers a variety of choices for the finicky ones.
Your nature and wildlife loving family would most definitely enjoy horseback rides available at the Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park located at 1725 NE 135th Street which opens from dawn to dusk. If your kids are afraid to ride the horses, they could opt to brush, pet and feed the ponies instead.
While you are already around there, head over to Knaus Berry Farm, a fruit stand which offers freshly picked fruit shakes like their popular fresh strawberry milkshakes and thick and creamy cinnamon swirl. During the months from January to early April, visitors could pick their own fruits to be blended at the orchard. However, it is only opened from 8 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening. It is closed on Sundays and every April until Thanksgiving.
Still in the mood of the wildlife, bring your children to check out the Miami Metro Zoo at SW 124th Avenue. Grab the Coral Reef Max bus at Dadeland South Metrorail Station to hitch a ride to the zoo. Try to make it there to watch the wildlife shows slotted at noon, 2.30pm and 4pm. Every hour there are keepers roaming the zoo, giving talks and showing various demonstrations regarding the animals there. There is also a Pelican Feeding time and not to mention a famous magic show among the kids called Animagic.
For those who still crave for wildlife adventures, head over to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in key largo, which is America’s first undersea park. Founded all the way back in 1963, this park covers a span of 178 nautical square miles and is a home to millions of aquatic life, beautiful coral reefs and mangrove swamps.
There are so many choices of activities to do such as fishing, camping, swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling, watching coral reefs, sailing tour and the popular glass bottom boat tour. When everyone starts to have a rumbling tummy, head over to Islamorada Fish Company and enjoy the great seafood served there. If you plan to travel North Miami, bring your family to Mutineer Restaurant located at Palm Drive as it is worth the stop. Not only do you get to enjoy the scrumptious meals there, but you also get to feed waterfowls and goats with allowed food such as crackers.
Back To The Sandy Beaches
It is your final few days in Miami, so it is time to enjoy the sandy beaches of Miami Beach. A family friendly beach would be Biscayne Bay, especially with their tour boats which could bring you and your family on a Miami Beach tour.
The Duck Tours offer the best boat tour rides as they choose the best spots for sightseeing, and is often a hit with families. Another popular tour ride is the El Loro Pirate Ship, a more pirate themed tour, which is suitabel for your children.
A whole day at the beach would make anyone hungry, so bring your kids for a hearty snack at the food court located at the second floor of the Bayside, or if its dinner time head over to Los Ranchos instead to enjoy latin inspired steaks and seafood grills. The prices here are quite affordable as well. For a more American meal, head over to Hard Rock Cafe located at 401 Biscayne Boulevard.
There are so many things to do in Miami for a special family time. There’s nobetter way to bond with your family compared to taking them on a family vacation, and Miami provides the chance to experience among the best family vacation. Just be sure to make proper planning ahead, and you should be able to enjoy your time with your family and ensure everybody return home with smiles on their faces.
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