Before I visited Miami, I immediately thought glitz, glam, fashion and nightlife. It wasn’t necessarily a destination that springs to mind for the family. Based on the southerly point of east coast America, it has a strong Cuban influence.
I feel embarrassed to point that out, but I honestly didn’t know that 70% of people in Miami speak Spanish as a first language. Apart from the bright lights, it felt like we never left Latin America. I hardly heard anyone speak English throughout our two nights in Miami.
Miami is a big place that needs longer than a few nights to explore properly. Not to mention the surrounding areas. A Miami to Key West road trip is highly recommended.
There are not many places in the world that have a beautiful beach and a fun city side by side. We highly recommend investing in a city pass so you can see all the great things the city has to offer. Check out prices on the Miami City Pass here.
We had decided to stop on a Miami family vacation on our way to a cruise that left from the Miami Port. If you are doing the same, its worth allowing some time to explore before your onward journey.
We only got to spend two days exploring all in things to do in Miami for kids, so we also asked some friends who had been there to help us list all the great things going on.
Without further ado, here is our play, sleep and eat guide to the best things to do in Miami with Kids.
Play – The Best Things To Do With Kids In Miami
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science – Kids Museum Miami
Everyone I asked for advice about what to do said the Frost Science Museum was not to be missed. The hotel receptionist suggested Frost Science was one of the best museums in Miami for kids, better than the Miami Children’s museum.
We only had time to visit one but we got input from a friend who was at the Children’s Museum, you can read about it below.
Four buildings make up the enormous indoor educational playground. Everything from an aquarium to a planetarium is housed at the downtown waterfront museum. There are lots of hands-on learning activities and workshops for kids.
There is so much going on, it’s impossible to cover the entire area in one day with a toddler. The aquarium was a real hit, featuring an impressive amount of species and a beautiful glass viewing tank.
The onsite restaurant can get quite busy but the food is good so might be worth nipping for lunch a little earlier than the crowds. A day at the museum is definitely one of the top Miami kid’s activities especially if you catch some rain on your trip and need some indoor time.
Miami Beach With Kids – Miami Family Vacation
Our hotel was situated right on the front of Miami Beach. It was pretty inevitable that we would end up spending most of our time there. And why not?
I have never seen white sand like it, the water was such a beautiful blue colour, and our little one was entertained with all of the kids beach toys provided by the hotel.
Whether or not you stay on the beach, a day spent on the beach is an obvious must as far as Miami family attractions go. The beaches in Miami are some of the most tropical places in the US.
The sunsets are epic and well worth the wait into the evening. Water sports are in an abundance so whether you want to sit and relax or do something a little more crazy, Miami Beach caters for everyone.
Explore the Board Walk – Family Attractions Miami
The board walk runs for kilometres along the beach. It’s the perfect place for some family fun in Miami. It’s a great spot whether you want to take baby for a run / jog in their stroller or take a leisurely family walk.
Renting a bike is also a great option to see as much of it as possible and have a lot of fun!
The views along the way are beautiful and people watching is just as interesting. Seriously is it just me or is everyone super good looking in Miami?
There is plenty of opportunity to escape the hot day time sun as some of the boardwalk is canopied with plants for shade, perfect for little ones.
Miami Children’s Museum – Kids Activities Miami
The Miami Children’s Museum is a very unique museum and one apt for kids. It was opened on Watson Island in September, 2003. Since then the museum runs different interactive exhibits and classes related to art, culture and community.
Their agenda is to get the kids interested in learning by making it a fun and playful activity. And this learning is not about a particular curricular subject. But rather kids learn about their culturally diverse community, interaction, communication and other important skills while playing around, participating or just watching the exhibits of the museum.
Some exhibits like “Sea and Me” and the “Ocean Odyssey” are very popular among the kids. These teach about the world of sea creatures in a fun way. Then there are painting exhibits, mazes like “Castle of dreams” and “Mt MiChiMu” which the children can climb up like a mountain.
Moreover, the museum also organizes camps including Spring, Winter and Summer camps filled with activities for kids in Miami, with options for many different age groups. One can participate at individual activities and exhibits or even take a membership of the museum, which is available online at their official website.
The museum also has ‘toddler and mommy classes’ which make a toddler’s transition to school as smooth as possible by helping them adjust to a safe and loving environment, similar to school, while allowing them to be besides their mommy.
Surely, everyone can find something suitable for their kids to enjoy and learn here, no matter what the age group of the kid is. So if you are looking for things to do in Miami when you travel with kids and toddlers, definitely keep this museum on your list.
Take an Art Deco Architectural Tour
A great option for investigating the history of Miami, is by taking the Art Deco Architectural audio tour. If you are looking to get out with kids, this is a great way to get them into the fresh air and exercising as well as learning a little bit about the history of the local area.
Head on down to The Art Deco Welcome Center at 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Fl (10th and Ocean) where you can pick up your map and i-pod based audio tour. It will cost around $25 per adult, and kids are free! The friendly staff will give you your equipment and show you how to use it.
The self-guided walking tour introduces you to the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo) styles found within the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District.
Throughout the tour you can explore hotels, restaurants, and other commercial structures. You can even pop inside to admire a number of interiors.
Because the tour is self-guided, you can do it at your own pace. Being able to go at a kid friendly pace, and take in the Miami culture makes this one of the best things to do with family in Miami in our book.
There are many cafes and restaurants to stop at along the way for snacks and drinks… or lunch! Commentary is provided in one of four languages: English, Spanish, German, and French. Self-guided tours are available seven days a week, from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Flamingo Park Miami – Miami Parks for Kids
Flamingo park is located in the heart of Miami and is filled with some lovely Miami activities for kids. It’s got two pools, a lap pool and a kiddie pool. The kiddie pool is filled with fun interactive water features.
It also has an elaborate tot lot/playground that benefits the developmental progression of children’s climbing abilities, early social and cognitive development, youth health and fitness.
They renovated the tot lot not too long ago and tripled the equipment. It now includes a Fit Kid Elementary area with a toddler lot, swing set, and 5-12 year old area that includes a rock climbing wall. The playground also features an original choo-choo train from the 1950’s.
Between the kiddie pool and the tot lot and the beautiful area, flamingo park is definitely one of the top things to do in Miami with toddlers.
Come to swim, play in the playground, play sports in all the different courts and fields or just have a picnic. You might even spot a flamingo but they are pretty hard to find!
Visit The Everglades – Miami Attractions For Families
Take an airboat tour of the everglades to see nature in action. Explore the wetlands and try to spot alligators, turtles and snakes! As the boat takes you through the area, your guide will teach you a bit about the wetlands and their history. Find out more about the boat tour here.
If you get boat sick, or just want to organize a DIY tour, you can easily visit without a guide. The Shark Valley Visitor Center is only about an hour drive from Miami. It costs 30$ per car to enter, and the entrance covers seven days.
By the visitors center you can either book a tram tour, or explore the trails by foot or by bike. Bicycle rentals are also available from within the park.
If you plan to explore the everglades be sure to be prepared with some good mosquito repellent! You can check out our favorite family mosquito repelling products here.
Explore Little Havana – Family Activities in Miami
Little Havana might not be specifically geared towards kids but it’s got plenty to keep the whole family happy. Take in the colorful Miami neighborhood, enjoy some amazing Cuban food and culture, and you can even stop for a baseball game at Marlin’s Park!
If you get lucky or plan well, you might even catch one of Little Havana’s amazing street festivals.
Be sure to stop at the elaborate costume shop Casa De Los Trucos, it’s open year round and has every costume you can imagine and then some.
Grab an ice cream at Azucar, widely known as one of the best ice cream shops in Miami. Not only is it delicious, but it’s packed with unique and exotic flavors like plantain, meringue and more!
Adrenaline Jet Boat Tour – Fun Things to Do With Kids in Miami
If you want to take a tour of millionaires row and other Miami sites but want to turn it into fun activities in Miami for kids, a jet boat tour is the way to go. This activity is only for kids 3 years old and up.
With the Adrenaline Junkie Jet Boat Tour you will embark on a thrilling jet boat ride that is packed full of 360° twists, 180° spins, drifting, and high-speed cruising.
The tour departs from Sea Isle Marina, and heads towards the San Marco Islands. You will also get to see Memorial Island, Star Island, and Hibiscus Island.
When your done taking in the beautiful islands, you’ll head over to see the houses of the rich and famous on millionaires row. The trip ends with a high-speed cruise back to the Marina.
Catch a Free Outdoor Movie – Things to do with Kids, Miami
From October to May every year, Soundscape Park hosts a free outdoor movie night once a week. The movies tend to be family favorites and are the perfect way to end an action packed day.
The park is also right next to the New World Center which holds a symphony, so it’s an excellent place to come and have a picnic, and listen to the sounds of the orchestra.
It’s also located right near Lincoln road, so you can head over there to get a bite to eat or do some shopping before your movie starts.
Best Miami Hotel For Kids
The Palms Hotel and Spa
We stayed at the fabulous Palms Hotel and Spa. The elegant and luxurious accommodations attracts a variety of guests. Everyone from families, to young groups of friends and the business man.
There is clearly something for everyone at the beach front, center of the hotel. It’s not called The Palms for nothing. Tall lush green plants in the lobby make it feel like you are stepping into a tropical haven.
Elaborate chic doors, giant chandeliers, and the most beautiful scent create an airy, relaxed feel. The only issue with having such a lovely hotel is we didn’t want to venture far to explore Miami.
The centre point of the hotel is the outdoor swimming pool surrounded by cabana style open massage rooms, colourful sun loungers and shades.
There are a couple of terraces facing onto the pool from the hotel restaurant and bar creating plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors whether its Al Fresco dining or sipping on a cocktail.
There is direct access to the beach from the pool where the hotel will serve you and provide loungers and shade. They have lots of buckets and spade and a mountain of sand to give kids a head start on making castles.
It’s literally the best location you could ask for in all of Miami. The views from our room on the 8th floor were stunning. We pulled a chair up to the window as we were getting the kids off to sleep to enjoy a glass of wine and watch some windsurfers do their thing.
We are always very keen on hotels that do everything they can to protect the environment and contribute to sustainable travel. The Palms Hotel have thought about everything from the personal cleansing products to the materials used in the furnishings.
It was heart warming to learn they contribute to the local community through a non-profit organisation that supports food growing gardens.
They are very keen on organic and sustainably sourced products. The spa uses all Aveda products. They offer some amazing treatments. However, I found it hard to escape the kids. Instead, I had a mobile hair stylist come to our room during our stay.
Desperation set in after travelling around Central America for so long. I found Eric on Yelp. He was so flexible and did an awesome job. Top tip if you need to be beautified for the Miami scene ;)
Where to Eat in Miami with Kids
Big Pink is widely recognized in Miami travel literature as a restaurant recommendation. Its easy to see why with the large portions of comfort foods, vegetarian options and great cocktails.
Italymania pizzeria, based on Miami Beach has a lovely shaded outdoor terrace. The stone baked pizza with fresh ingredients are delicious and suit all the family.
I loved the rocket and fresh mozzarella toppings with a sprinkle of olive oil. Whilst hubby loved the pasta dishes, there were many different options.
Santorini by Georgio
I always love eating greek food. It’s filling, nutritious and fresh. Who doesn’t love a greek salad or a babaganoush? The white and blue Greek interior is the perfect place to unwind. They have happy hour from 4-7, so wether its nibbles, dinner or both, it’s a must try restaurant in Miami.
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Disclaimer: We worked in Partnership with the UK based Miami Tourism representative to promote the area as a destination for families. As always all views expressed are entirely our own.