When I say Miami, do you think “adult vacation?” It’s time to change your mind!
There are so many fantastic things to do in Miami with kids…you won’t even be able to do them all in a weekend! So pack your bags. We’re going to Florida!
Below, you’ll find the top things kids will love…plus our favorite places that work for adults, but are also kid-friendly (because that’s the way we prefer to travel)….and then several restaurants that will make mom and dad just as happy as the kiddos!
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MIAMI’S TOP ADVENTURE FOR KIDS
Zoo Miami is the largest and oldest zoo park in Florida! In addition to a special Everglades animal exhibit (with a river ride!), you’ll find species from Africa, Australia and Asia. Get a lay of the land by starting with the monorail ride around the park, and be sure to finish at the Critter Connection petting zoo.
When you start to feel the heat, head for the water park…just be sure to watch the clock for scheduled animal feedings and events throughout the zoo. We love the giraffe feedings!
Speaking of feeding…when it’s time to feed your own kiddos, there is food at one of four restaurants inside Zoo Miami, including a newly opened indoor seating cafe in the Everglades area of the park.
Get Your Guide is a great place to purchase Zoo Miami tickets. Get your General Admission tickets here and skip the lines!
MIAMI BIKE TRAILS
Looking for family bike trails in Miami? There are many miles of trails with beautiful scenery that are begging to be enjoyed during Miami’s year-round sunny weather. Check out these favorite trails from Biking Kids.
WATER PARKS ARE EVERYWHERE
If you and your little ones are adventurous water park enthusiasts, you won’t have a hard time finding one in and around Miami, plus tons in the Sunshine State.
Though we have not been, Tidal Cove Aventura Water Park looks pretty cool. There are tons of slides, a lazy river, a surfing simulation, and more.
Visiting during the winter holidays? The World’s Largest Holiday Theme Park, Santa’s Enchanted Forest, takes up space not too far away in Doral, FL. The kids are going to love it (and so will you.)
SEE THE CITY FROM THE WATER
Want to feel like a Miami local? Then hit the water and see the lights and action from a boat or yacht charter! Miami truly is a year-round destination, blessed with perfect sandy beaches, stacks of local culture and a sunny disposition that brings back visitors again and again. Whatever brings you to Miami, one of the best things to do in the city is hit the water on board your own private rental. Charter a yacht with a skipper to enjoy the thrills of sailing the South Florida coast, or find your Miami boat to make a splash with your friends or family.
Sailo is our favorite place to rent a boat when we’re in Miami. For example, you can reserve this one for just a few hours pretty affordably. Don’t worry about a boating license because it comes with a skipper. This one is a little more for a half-day but includes sodas, waters, beer and wine, and allows for more people onboard…plus there are not extra fees and you can add on jet skis! I’d love to do this one in the late afternoon so we could jet ski a bit and then watch the sun set from the water!
Yeah – it’s a splurge. But it’s pretty economical considering it covers the price for everyone over a 4-hour period. Plus, can you really go to Miami without boating?? Miami is also a popular port for cruise ships.
MIAMI CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
56,000 square feet of awesome-ness for kiddos can be found at the Miami Children’s Museum. It has received myriad accolades from Best Museum in Miami to Best Children’s Museum. The kids will love it! There are so many great play areas.
There are far too many exhibits for us to mention here, but favorites include the “Health and Wellness Center” where toddlers can measure their long jump and explore an obstacle course. On weekends, kids can climb the Mt MiChiMi rock wall! And finally, the Sketch Aquarium – first launched in the US right here in Miami, kids will love “drawing” in the digitized underwater world.
FROST MUSEUM OF SCIENCE
If STEM is on your agenda, then make time for the Frost Museum of Science. This truly is a world-class science museum, with six floors of interactive exhibits, plus a 250-seat planetarium and 3-level aquarium!
Exhibits in the North and West Wings include an immersive laser show, an Everglades exhibit, and a biology exhibit. And did we mention the roof? You’ll find a lunar terrace for stargazing and a solar terrace with a city-farming exhibit. And we haven’t even scratched the surface!
In our opinion, the best money-saving option for exploring the city is the Miami Sightseeing Pass. Pick Day Passes or the FLEX Pass, and then select from over 30 different attractions, big and small.
Once a rock quarry, this area of Coral Gables was refurbished into a spring-fed pool in 1924. It is open to the public for a fee, and on a hot day, it is worth the price of admission! In fact, the Venetian Pool is the only swimming pool on the National Register of Historic Places. Cool, right?
As I said, it is spring-fed…so the water is cold. We visited in late spring and it was packed, and my boys could only stay in a few moments at a time because of the temps. No worries – they played in the man-made beach area and noshed on treats from the cafe.
There is a small area that is relatively shallow (the foreground in the photo above) that is ideal for younger kiddos…but older kids will love swimming out to the waterfall. Lifeguards are on duty!
The Miami Seaquarium is a 38-acre oceanarium near downtown Miami, and is the oldest oceanarium in the US. You can watch a show, swim with dolphins, see a number of exhibits, and more.
See manatees, sea turtles, penguins, and more. Learn about wildlife rescue and marine animal care, or attend one of the amazing special events held here, like their Flipper’s Fall Festival. You’ll also find a play area just for kids here, called Sharky’s Playground Island. Get your Seaquarium tickets here and skip the lines.
Part zoo, part theme park…the kids will have a blast at Jungle Island, especially with the wide variety of “play” available.
Soar in the rock climbing and zip-lining area, feed the animals in the petting zoo or play with the kangaroos. Watch the animal shows, and even get up close and personal with lemurs and sloths!
EVERGLADES SAFARI PARK
An airboat ride through the Everglades is a MUST, and Everglades Safari Park is where you need to make it happen. You can see an alligator show, and even hold a baby alligator and get a photo. You can even TRY alligator bites! (Hint: Tastes like chicken.)
The airboat ride is about 45 minutes; you have a chance to see wild alligators but remember that they will likely be hiding in the warmer months. This is the best airboat alligator experience you’ll find in the Miami area. TripShock offers great deals on tickets. Get your Everglades Safari Park tickets here.
Read More: THE BEST EVERGLADES TOUR FOR YOUR NEXT FLORIDA ADVENTURE
We took the boys to a number of playground parks when we visited, and Bayfront Park was our favorite. Parking was easy (get the parking app) and we loved that it was right on the water. Mom and dad watched the million dollar yachts coming in and out, while the boys played on the playground.
There is a cool slide between the parking and the playground. It looks like a piece of art, but it’s a spiral slide for kids! We also appreciated the shade trees, and loved hanging with local families.
This park is MUCH larger than just the playground area – there are concerts here, yoga in the park, weddings and more! Oh – and in the Intercontinental Hotel next to the playground, there is a restroom next to a Starbucks. You’re welcome.
Crandon Park sits on the northern end of Key Biscayne, and it is an exceptionally family-friendly beach destination. It’s about 2 miles long, and is consistently named one of the best beaches in the nation. You’ll find concessions, restrooms, and plenty of picnic spaces.
Crandon Park is known for it’s beach, but there is also a golf course (a former PGA Senior Tour stop), and a nature center.
Looking for more family-friendly fun in Miami? Try one of these amazing Miami adventures!
- Go parasailing in Biscayne Bay. Enjoy parasailing, one of the most exciting and thrilling adventures that everyone should experience at least once. Enjoy a smooth flight 400 feet above the water, with spectacular views of Miami.
- Take a private helicopter tour. Experience Miami from the skies with this private 30-minute helicopter tour. See South Beach’s breathtaking skyline, Key Biscayne, Fisher Island, the Venetian Islands, the Port of Miami and more.
- Spend the day in Key West. Hop on an air-conditioned bus from Miami Beach. See 31 Caribbean Islands while being driven through the Florida Keys. Spend 6 hours exploring the Famous Key West.
BEST SPOTS TO MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of South Florida with a trip to Flamingo Gardens. A 60-acre wildlife sanctuary and botanical gardens, the park is home to over 80 kinds of animals and 3000 species of plants. Adventure through the paths and relax among the trees, stop in at the Wray Home Museum, or visit with American alligators, Florida panthers, and of course flamingos. Lovers of nature, wildlife, and plants will not want to miss this hidden gem located just outside Miami in Davie!
Get your Flamingo Garden admission ticket from our friends at TripShock and save 10% with the code. Book tickets and see the code here.
LITTLE HAVANA FOOD & CULTURAL TOUR
This was my favorite part of our entire 18-day Florida road trip. I love love love this tour, and I highly recommend it. If you are in Miami for just a half-day or for a full week, TAKE THIS TOUR.
Does it work for kids? YES! Allow me to be honest for a moment…my kids hate walking, and they are not adventurous eaters…and they enjoyed this tour as well. Another perk? There is a kid-priced ticket…pretty rare! And if they are not eating, they are free. We bought one kid-priced ticket and they shared the bites…this worked well because they are not big eaters and the bites were enormous.
You can see their website for all the tastings…the kids’ favorite was at the fruit stand shown above, Los Pinarenos Fruteria. We tried a Cuban drink called guarapo. It is made from “juicing” sugar cane…just add ice! They loved seeing the juicing machine, and savoring this amazing drink.
There are also Cuban sandwiches, ice cream…and when we stopped for an authentic mojito, they had non-alcoholic mocktails waiting for the boys! Check out all the Little Havana tours from our partner at TripShock.
ROBERT IS HERE
This fruit stand specializes in rare and exotic fruits (though you’ll find your traditional favorites here too). We tried Guanabana for the first time and LOVED it — it tastes like pineapple cotton candy (and it is said to be a cancer fighter)!
The boys picked out mangos, baby bananas, miracle fruit (so much fun!) and a coconut of course. They drilled a hole so we could drink the juice, and then they cracked it open for us.
The big draw to Robert is Here are the smoothies and milkshakes….you’ll stand in line, but it is worth it. All it is is fruit and ice (smoothie) or fruit and mile (milkshake.) They also have guarapo!
BILL BAGGS CAPE FLORIDA STATE PARK
The lighthouse was closed for tours when we visited, but we enjoyed exploring the lightkeeper’s house and taking photos of the outside of the lighthouse. Weekends offer hours for climbing, so plan your visit better than we did.
We like Bill Baggs Cape because even though it was Spring Break in Miami during our visit (ie large crowds), there were very few people here.
It is easy to enjoy the 1.5-mile stretch of beach. Dr. Beach (who named Bahia Honda State Park a top beach) also named this beach one of the best in the US. There is a reef off shore, so the waves are tame, making it ideal for kiddos. You can also rent a bike (they have quad bikes!), an ocean kayak or a hydro bike.
Read More: 21+ SENSATIONAL THINGS TO DO IN MARATHON FL
In our opinion, the best money-saving option for exploring the city is the Miami Sightseeing Pass. Pick Day Passes or the FLEX Pass, and then select from over 30 different attractions, big and small.
SOUTH POINTE PARK
At the southern-most point in Miami Beach is South Pointe Park, which is where you need to be for sunset. The views are spectacular, and the vibe is much more laid back than you’ll find off Ocean Blvd.
Go well before the sun sets though, because there is much to do. There are cute seating areas, a playground and splash ground for the kids, a pier for viewing the ocean and skyline, and of course….the beach!
The locals gather here to walk, jog, and hang out. We also enjoyed “sightseeing” near Smith and Wollensky, the upscale steakhouse at the park. It was a little too fancy for a stop with our kids, but the boys enjoyed playing Frisbee nearby so we could see the cars pulling up…so many Corvettes, Lamborghinis, Porsches….even a Rolls Royce.
We also did a photo shoot with Flytographer while we were here, which was a great way to remember our vacation. We’ve done this at a few fun destinations before, but especially loved the backdrop here! Use my link here to get $25 off your shoot, if you want to try it!
Read More: 17 BEST FLORIDA BEACHES FOR FAMILIES TO RELAX AND UNWIND
If you want to escape the city, head to Pinecrest Gardens, which is essentially a tropical rainforest in the middle of Miami. It’s a popular place for locals to bring the kids because it is quiet and clean, with a friendly staff, affordable prices, and plenty of shade.
Kids will adore the petting zoo, splash ground, and playground. You can feed the koi fish, or take on a game of dominoes or oversized chess. They host an array of fun special events here throughout the year, so make sure to check their calendar.
Miami’s Wynwood Art District will blow your artistic mind, with murals from artists around the world. It was started in 2009, when the late Tony Goldman saw an opportunity to reform the appearance of the Warehouse District’s large concrete walls (with no windows).
Since its inception, the Wynwood Walls program has seen over 50 artists representing 16 countries and has covered over 80,000 square feet of wall.
There are a number of tour opportunities here…walking tours, biking tours, early access tours….but with kids, we preferred to go at our own pace and I’m glad we did. The boys loved it, and had a ton of questions. I recommend downloading the app before you go, so you can learn about each artist.
Finally, three more pieces of advice: Go early so you can take your selfies and photos with a smaller crowd and without baking in the sun; prepare to stay longer than you plan, because it is breathtaking and there is so much to see; and cool off with an icee from a street vendor for the kids and a delicious (best in Miami??) nitrogen cold brew from Panther Coffee...right near the Walls.
PS – If you want a guided tour with the kids, we recommend this one. It’s affordable and only an hour.
VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDENS
James Deering was an industrialist and antique collector from Paris who built a grand home just outside Miami, which is now the Vizcaya Museum.
Are young kids going to LOVE this place? Probably not, but it is great for older kids to get a glimpse of European architecture, and everyone is going to love the gardens on the water, and the labyrinth.
Skip the guided tour, and go at your own pace. If the kids will allow it, dress them in their cutest for photos — this is a popular photo spot for wedding and quinceanera…the backdrops are gorgeous.
CORAL CASTLE MUSEUM
The Coral Castle might appear uninteresting to those who don’t know the story…so be sure to share this tale of true love before visiting.
Latvian Edward Leedskalnin loved a woman 10 years his junior and was all set to marry her, when she cancelled the wedding the day prior. In a pledge to his love for her, he set to building her a monument that is now Coral Castle.
This 5 ft, 100 lb man created the monument by himself, using hand carve tools only – 1,100 tons of coral rock! He started in 1923…and finished the sculptures by 1940, at which time he started building a wall around them. According to records, the coral walls weigh 125 pounds per cubic foot. Each section of wall is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 3 feet thick, and weighs more than 5.8 tons!
PIRATE BOAT ADVENTURE TOUR
Set sail for the ultimate in fun on a Miami Pirate Boat Adventure Tour. Feast your eyes on this completely authentic pirate ship, with dual masts, and enjoy breathtaking views from the multiple decks.
You’ll listen to lively music, sail around and see the sights, and the grown-ups can have a drink or two from the cash bar. (There are also snacks you can buy for the kids.) You’ll have the opportunity to see Star Island, the Venetian Islands, and more.
The tour is appropriate for all ages, and children under 3 are free. Ready for some pirate action? Grab your tickets here.
OLETA RIVER STATE PARK
Dubbed Florida’s Largest Urban Park, Oleta River State Park is about 30 minutes north of Miami. There are 15 miles of trails for biking, a beach, cabins, and more. But the real draw here is the ability to kayak through the mangroves of the Oleta River…or tackle the Haulover Inlet that leads to Biscayne Bay.
When you’re ready to cool off, change into swimsuits and enjoy swimming or snorkeling off Biscayne Bay in their saltwater lagoon.
If you’re a child of the Miami Vice era, then you can’t visit the city without taking a speed boat ride! The kids will love it, too.
Jet Boat Miami offers 30 min tours for “adrenaline junkies” — you will be going “pedal to the metal,” doing twists, turns, and getting SOAKED! Kids need to be 3yrs or older, and if you (or the kids) get sea sick or scared easily…opt for their yacht experience instead.
AMPHIBIOUS DUCK TOUR OF SOUTH BEACH
Climb aboard for a fun-filled excursion by both land and sea on this 90-minute Amphibious Duck Tour of South Beach.
Experience all the top sights of iconic South Beach while riding in a state-of-the-art, manufactured marine and auto vehicle that can tackle the highway as well as the surf. Fun is the name of the game, so get ready for a seriously entertaining odyssey through the palm-tree lined streets and sparkling waters of Miami. The kids will love it!
SPLURGE ON THE BAHAMAS
Bimini, the nearest island to the US, is about a 2-hour catamaran ride away. You spend about 6 hours on the island, with plenty of time to relax on the beach, take in some water sports or try the local restaurants. You can rent a golf cart to get you around the island easily. In the late afternoon the ferry will take you back to Florida.
Bimini is known for white sand and fresh, mineral-rich pools. Ernest Hemmingway even wrote To Have and Have Not on the island during his fishing breaks.
You have the option of adding a day pass at the Hilton Resort on the island, which we recommend if you have kids. It just makes life easier. In fact, you can even stay overnight here and catch the ferry back the next day.
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EATS ADULTS AND KIDS WILL ADORE
My Atlanta friends will find that The Wharf is a lot like The Roof of Ponce City Market…only on the water! By night, it’s for the adults, but during the day it is family-friendly.
There are lawn games, like cornhole and ping pong, live music, rotating food trucks, a bevy of yachts pulling in, and so much fun. If you want a more formal lunch, try the seafood at Garcia’s. And yes, Fido is welcome.
What started as an award-winning food truck now has a permanent home in Coral Gables. And what kid doesn’t love a grilled cheese?? There are dozens of options to choose from at Ms. Cheezious that will also make mom and dad happy – like the Frito Pie melt, or the Italian.
Save room though! You MUST get the S’Mores Sandwich for dessert!
LOLO’S SURF CANTINA
Lolo’s is right across from Miami Beach, so make it a treat when you are visiting there…just get an outside table. After the kids down their tacos, try the Corn Cake with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream for dessert — divine. Then send them over to the playground at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Park, where you can watch them play while you order a margarita.
Tuesday’s come with 1/2 price tacos, or their Tacos, Tequila, and Sunshine happy hour from 4 pm until closing.
BISCAYNE BAY BREWING COMPANY
Searching for a local craft beer? Head to Biscayne Bay Brewing Company, where you can get a flight. It’s not easy to find, but don’t give up.
Yes, it’s a candy store…but you can also eat at Sugar Factory! There are all the staples kids enjoy, and the Chinese Chicken Salad works for the adults.
The milkshakes are over the top here — there is even a Bacon Cheeseburger Milkshake! Whoa!
JAXSON’S ICE CREAM PARLOR
There are a plethora of food options at Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor, but Food Network and GMA didn’t come for the 2 dozen varieties of wraps and hot dogs…the star is the ice cream! People have been coming to Jaxson’s since 1957 for excellent ice cream.
Ice cream sodas, parfaits, floats, and goblets…there is even a monstrosity called the Kitchen Sink! Try the Chocolate Suicide or a Turtle Sundae. For the boys? A Strawberry Split: Strawberries over three scoops of ice cream, topped with a cherry, plus an extra side car of whole strawberries.
They’re open really late, which makes for a fun late-night adventure when you’re on vacation.
WHERE TO STAY
Trying to decide where to stay with kids? We recommend either Acqualina Resort & Spa or Loews Miami Beach. The Loews has tons of great dining options, including one of our favorites – Miami Joe Coffee Co.
Come in for a cup of freshly roasted coffee or a scoop of Azucar Ice Cream, locally churned in Little Havana.
Read More: 19 BEST RESORTS IN FLORIDA: SERENE ESCAPES THAT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED
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MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO FLORIDA
- YOUR FLORIDA VACATION
- FT LAUDERDALE WITH KIDS: 17 Things To Do In Fort Lauderdale With Kids That Even Adults Are Sure To Love
- MIAMI BOAT RENTALS: 9 Awesome Options You’re Going To Love
- MARCO ISLAND: 16 Amazing Things To Do In Marco Island, Florida
- STUART: 21 Things To Do In Stuart FL For A Fun & Affordable Family Vacation
- MORE MIAMI: 41 Kick-Ass Cheap and Free Things To Do In Miami For Tourists And Locals
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