10 Best Family-Friendly Beaches and Pools in Miami

Umbrellas and chairs along Miami Beach, Florida

Summer in Miami is hot, and there's no getting around that. Luckily, there's plenty of things to do in Miami. Since we're surrounded by water, there's miles of public beaches along the coast and plenty of beach access via public parks. Not only that, the Miami area has plenty of great family-friendly pools and water parks for kids of all ages. Many towns in Miami including Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and the City of Miami Beach have parks with pools and most offer swimming lessons, essential for children living in South Florida.

If you're looking for things to do with kids in Miami, here are Miami's best family-friendly beaches, pools and water parks.

1. North Shore Open Space Park

This beachfront park is at the northernmost end of Miami Beach and is a favorite with families.  It's also known as North Beach Oceanside Park. In addition to eight blocks of ocean beach, the park offers a playground, picnic tables, plenty of space for your pup to run around, and barbecue spots. Consider this spot when you're figuring out what to do in Miami today.

2. Crandon Park Beach

This is one of several popular beaches on Key Biscayne.  An offshore sand bar makes the waters calmer, and lots of palm trees make the beach area shadier than many others. The park offers cabanas with showers for rent, a roller-skating area, a carousel, a playground, a golf course and a tennis center.

3. Bill Boggs Cape Florida State Park

This park is at the southern tip of Key Biscayne and is great for swimming, because there are fewer waves. The park also has a bike path, nature trails, places for fishing and a historic lighthouse. There are no lifeguards so it's important to be a little more cautious in the water.

4. Hollywood Beach

This beach is just north of Miami-Dade County, but its Broadwalk (nor boardwalk) and funky vibe make it a great place for families. Unlike most of Miami-Dade's beaches, the Hollywood Beach area has restaurants, shops and motels along the beach, though the new Margaritaville Resort has made the vibe a bit more upscale in recent years.

5. Venetian Pool

Venetian pool in Miami, Florida
Image via TripAdvisor/Viviane C.

On your list of what to see in Miami should include The Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. This pool is unique and is the only swimming pool on the National Register of Historic Places. It was dug out of a coral rock quarry in 1923 and is filled with spring water from the underground aquifer. The pool has waterfalls, grottoes, loggias and a bridge. It's usually open year-round, except for major holidays, though it will be closed for renovation December 2018 through January 2019. Children under 3 (or still in diapers) are not allowed, and any child not 38 inches tall has to provide proof he or she has reached age 3.

6. Grapeland Water Park

This perennial favorite park, run by the City of Miami, has special areas for younger and older children. Shipwreck Island has two slides, a shallow water play area, splash fountains and a waterfall – all for children smaller than 48 inches tall. Bigger kids can enjoy Pirate's Plunge, which offers three twisty water slides, water-shooting cannons and splash fountains. For those who prefer a regular swimming pool, the heated Captain's Lagoon offers deep water and shallow water for swimmers and non-swimmers.  The Buccaneer River Ride provides a calm coast through the water in a big inflatable vessel. Some of the areas require that life vests be worn, though some are provided. Put this place on your list of fun things to do in Miami with family.

7. Flamingo Park Aquatic Center

If you're looking for South Beach family activities, consider Flamingo Park. This South Beach park has two pools, one for lap swimming, and another with a play pool that goes from 0 to 15 inches deep. There also are locker rooms with showers, chairs and umbrellas for shade. The park includes a tot lot/playground, sports fields and a dog park area.

8. Oleta River State Park

This 1,048-acre state park on Biscayne Bay in North Miami Beach offers all kinds of opportunities for fun, including activities parents and older children can do together. The sandy beach is great for young ones since there is no surf, but note that there also are no lifeguards.  When you get tired of swimming, you can canoe, kayak, fish, hike or ride along the miles of off-road bicycle trails for which the park is well known. You can even camp here in the simple (but air-conditioned) cabins.

9. Matheson Hammock Park

This county park in southern Coral Cables has a man-made atoll pool along Biscayne Bay, plus a low-key beach that is perfect for families. The park also includes a marina, a snack bar and a restaurant. You can also learn to sail at the Castle Harbor Sailing School, picnic around the lake or take to the trails for hiking or biking.

10. Paradise Cove Water Park at C.B. Smith Park

One of the nicest nearby water parks is just over the county line in Pembroke Pines.  Paradise Cove Water Park includes four five-story water slides that provide a twisty ride into a four-foot-deep pool, if you're at least 42 inches tall and can swim. There is also a 410-foot tube ride. Younger kids can enjoy an all-ages water playground, with an 18-inch pool and three smaller water slides. If you're worried about finding things to do in Miami with toddlers, you'll be relieved to know that there is a separate water playground with a 12-inch pool for kids 5 and younger. You can rent umbrellas and bring in your own coolers of food and drink.

About the author

Teresa Mears

Teresa Mears is a website publisher, writer, blogger and editor in South Florida who was raised to be frugal. After working as a newspaper reporter and editor, she moved her career online. In addition to running Miami On The Cheap, Florida On The Cheap, Fort Lauderdale On The Cheap, Palm Beach On The Cheap, Living on the Cheap and other websites, she writes about personal finance for U.S. News & World Report and other publications.

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