Greater Miami Beach, FL
The beaches of Greater Miami are one of the world's most popular destinations, drawing more than 10 million visitors annually. Families are drawn to this area by its tropical resort appeal, new and expanded attractions, the beautiful beaches, natural treasures such as Everglades National Park, and the region's family friendly resort hotels. Stretching from Sunny Isles Beach to the tip of South Pointe, the Miami Beach area encompasses more than 15 miles of white sand. The Travel Channel has named it one of the nation’s top ten beaches for four years.
With its year-round mild climate, Miami Beach is an excellent destination for families who like to spend their time on the beach or enjoying the great outdoors. Within this wide expanse, the perfect location can be found for almost any family activity. Key Biscayne's Crandon Park features a carousel and playground suitable for younger children, and Matheson Hammock Park offers a gentle lagoon style beach just right for toddlers. Teens enjoy shopping and people watching on South Beach, while active families can go canoeing through the Florida Everglades or charter a fishing boat at Haulover Beach.
Water sports lovers will be drawn to Biscayne National Park’s 173,000 acres, 95 percent of which is aquatic. The park encompasses the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay, living coral reefs, and 40 of the northernmost Florida Keys. At the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, families can join snorkeling and diving excursions, take a glass bottom boat tour, or rent canoes and kayaks.
Coral Gables' Venetian Pool is another popular family destination. Formed from an old coral-rock quarry and fed 820,000 gallons of spring water daily, the Venetian Pool is considered to be one of the world's most unique municipal swimming pools. It's a great alternative to the beach, and is hailed as one of the best destinations for families by locals and tourist guides alike.
Visitors to this area will find a wide range of accommodations from which to choose. Some of the best options for families include:
Le Meridien Sunny Isles Beach: This 26-floor, European sleek and chic resort hotel is located directly on the beach in the most northern area of Greater Miami Beach. The resort offers 214 tastefully decorated one- and two-bedroom suites that are perfect for families traveling with children. Each of the suites features a pullout queen-sized sleep sofa in the living area, multiple bathrooms, a washer/dryer, and a full-size kitchen, providing an opportunity for considerable savings on family restaurant bills. A large Publix supermarket is conveniently located nearby. Units are well equipped with a plasma television, DVD/CD player, high speed Internet access, and other amenities. Balconies provide spectacular ocean views from all suites, although the two-bedroom units and the penthouse suites have the best direct views. Located on along an expansive strand of golden sand, this resort is an excellent selection for beach-loving families. The resort provides luxurious beach chairs, sand toys for kids, and kids menus at its restaurants. The property also includes a small pool, a well-equipped fitness center, and a 6,000 square foot spa. For more information on the resort, call 800-543-4300 or 305-503-6000, or visit the resort’s website at www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien.
Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne: With its lush palm trees and white sand beaches, Key Biscayne has a secluded, tropical island feel. Located just five miles from downtown Miami, the family friendly Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne is Miami’s only AAA Five Diamond resort. The 402-room luxury resort is situated on a 12-acre stretch of oceanfront property with 1,200 feet of sandy beach. Accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton include guestrooms, suites, and two bedroom suites that are perfect for larger families. The resort keeps kids happy at their beachfront Ritz Kids Pavilion with its Ritz Kids programs specifically designed for children ages 5-12. Full-day, half-day and Saturday “kids’ night out” programs are offered year-round. Kids enjoy an exclusive children’s swimming pool, the resort’s outdoor playground, and a variety of games, activities, and special trips. In addition to the Ritz Kids program, children’s menus are provided at all resort restaurants and babysitting services are available. The resort boasts a 20,000 square-foot ocean-view spa with 21 treatment rooms and more than 60 treatments, and an extensive Tennis Garden with 10 soft clay courts and one hard court. One of the state’s top municipal golf courses is located five minutes just five minutes from the resort. For more information, call 800-241-3333 or visit the resort’s website at www.ritzcarlton.com.
Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables: Although not located on the beach, the Biltmore Hotel wows families with its old world architecture and enormous 23,000 square foot pool. Built in 1926, the Biltmore is a National Historic Landmark. The resort’s 300-foot copper clad tower may remind kids of the hotel featured in Walt Disney World’s memorable “Tower of Terror” ride, but that’s part of its charm for families. Parents and kids alike quickly fall in love with the resort’s beauty, lavish amenities, and welcoming staff. The hotel is situated on a lush, 18-hole championship golf course, and offers 10 lit tennis courts, a state-of-the-art 12,000 foot spa, babysitting, kids menus, and the legendary swimming pool where Johnny Weismuller of Tarzan fame broke a world swimming record. Poolside cabanas are available. For more information, contact the Biltmore Hotel at 800-727-1926, 305-445-1926, or visit the resort’s website at www.biltmorehotel.com.
Loews Miami Beach Hotel: Families and teens clamoring to stay in the heart of hip South Beach will be pleased with the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Located directly on the beach in the Art Deco District of Miami’s vintage village, the 790-room Loews Miami Beach Hotel is close to South Beach’s stylish shopping and cozy sidewalk cafés, and provides easy access to the area’s happening beach scene. Guests are pampered at the resort’s massive oceanfront free form pool, where pool attendants provide chilled towels and fresh fruit and cabana boys spritz them with aloe and Evian mists. Loews caters to families with their Family Concierge program, which helps families with vacation planning at the resort and in the Greater Miami area. In addition, the Loews Loves Kids program provides welcome gifts for children under 10, childproof room kits for children under 4, supervised recreational programs, game lending libraries, and special children’s menus at the resort’s restaurants. The resort’s T. Loews program caters to teens ages 13-17 with a special amenity gift and lending library of items such as DVD players, teen books, board games, and other items. Multigenerational families can take advantage of Loews Generation G program, which is designed to meet the multifaceted needs of intergenerational family vacationers. For more information, contact the resort at 305-604-1601 or 800-23-LOEWS or visit the Loews website at www.loewshotels.com.
For more information on taking a family vacation in Greater Miami Beach, visit www.miamiandbeaches.com or call 888-76-MIAMI (U.S. and Canada only) or 305-447-7777 for a free vacation guide. Additional information may also be obtained from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau offices at 305-539-3000.