South Beach For Families

South Pointe Park

Splash Around South Beach

Jungle Island

Meet the wildlife at Jungle Island

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By: Carolyn Keating

While South Beach primarily conjures up images of well-toned adults frolicking on the beach and partying till the wee hours, the area should not be overlooked as a family-friendly destination. It’s walkable, it’s got cool hotels to explore, and there are cultural activities for all ages. Located in Miami Beach’s southernmost section from the tip of the island at South Pointe Park and north to 23rd Street, it encapsulates the historic Art Deco District. Travelers and locals alike love the European feel of South Beach with its outdoor cafes, chic shops and stylish restaurants, along with the lovingly preserved historic architecture.

Beach Days For the Whole Family

Miles of sandy shoreline and blue ocean waters make the beach one of South Beach’s main attractions. Whether you stay at an oceanfront hotel or pack up your bags for a beach day, there’s plenty of family bonding time to be had in South Beach. The water is warm, and the beach is ideal for building sand castles, playing paddleball or soccer and, of course, relaxing. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent from vendors all along the beach and, if your family really wants to splurge, you can rent a beach cabana at one of several Miami Beach hotels. While you’re having fun in the sun, don’t forget to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. Be sure to visit Lummus Park, which runs along Ocean Drive from 5th to 15th streets. Lummus Park has restrooms, a tot lot, volleyball nets, room to bike and skateboard and numerous grassy, shaded areas. Stop by the Art Deco Welcome Center at 10th Street to get the kids acquainted with what Art Deco is all about. You can grab helpful maps and information here and even take a self-guided tour.

Espanola way
Stroll along Española Way

Dine Outdoors with the Gang

South Beach offers plenty of great spots to eat with kids in tow. Dining al fresco is easy here, plus kids feel less confined when they’re eating outside, so it’s a definite win-win. Lincoln Road is a must-see stop on South Beach. This outdoor mall has plenty of shaded cafes, cool shops, trendy locals and pampered pooches. The Lincoln Eatery food hall offers more than a dozen eateries serving up everything from tacos and sushi to deli fare. And, since everyone’s on vacation, there’s a rooftop cocktail bar where mom and dad can get ice-cold mojitos. Also on Lincoln Road, The Café at Books & Books has an appealing kids’ menu, along with a great bookstore for picking up some new reads. Burgers, fries, hot dogs and grilled cheese will quell hunger pangs at Shake Shack, which is always a crowd pleaser. For delicious ice cream, head for The Frieze, which boasts all-natural ingredients along with non-dairy options. For great people watching and upscale Cuban food on Ocean Drive, try Larios on the Beach, owned by superstar entertainer Gloria Estefan and her producer husband, Emilio.

In the evening, take a stroll along Española Way. This short, shaded block is closed to traffic and lined with charming Spanish Mediterranean Revival buildings. Embrace Española’s lively atmosphere and know that the notorious gangster, Al Capone, used to gamble with his pals at the 1920s era Clay Hotel, on the corner of Washington Avenue. Yummy guacamole and tasty enchiladas are just two of the delicious dishes at Española Way’s casual Oh! Mexico restaurant.

Bass Museum
Marvel at modern art at The Bass museum

Grab a Little Culture

The last Sundays of each month are Family Days at The Bass museum, with activities from 2-4 p.m. and free admission for all ages. The museum regularly exhibits cutting-edge contemporary pieces. Its manageable size makes it easy to get through in an hour or so, making it a child-friendly cultural experience. Housed in two Art Deco synagogues, the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU explores Jewish art and culture. Docent-led tours illuminate the saga of the lovingly restored building and recount the history of the Jewish community on Miami Beach. Again, it’s not a huge institution, so a visit here doesn’t tire little legs and little feet. If classical music, movies and picnicking is your thing, catch the New World Center’s free outdoor “Wallcast” concerts and movies. The bougainvillea-shaded lawn is a focal point and ideal for an Instagram post.

Miami Children's Museum
Play and learn at Miami Children's Museum

Kid-Centered Attractions

For stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Downtown Miami and cruise ships sailing out to sea, head to South Pointe Park. The park has family-friendly walking trails, a playground and a splash park for the little ones. The only caveat is limited parking. For a larger space to play and swim, the 36-acre Flamingo Park offers a lap pool and a water playground for kids. There are basketball courts, a soccer field, softball field, tennis center, restrooms and a tot lot/playground. Two of Miami’s best children’s attractions, Jungle Island and the Miami Children’s Museum, are located close by on Watson Island. It’s just 20 minutes by ride share or car to these popular kid-focused fun spots. One thing you can be sure of: in South Beach, families will never run out of fun things to do.

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