The Northwest part of Florida is known for having some of the most beautiful coastline in the state. Often referred to as the Emerald Coast, it offers crystal clear warm Gulf water and silicone white beaches to enjoy. If you are thinking about visiting this region with your kids in the near future, here are the best family beaches in Florida Panhandle we recommend visiting!
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Seagrove Beach is one of the best Florida Panhandle beaches for families with good reason. This tucked-away beach area is only a mile and a half long and is surrounded by magnolia and pine trees, making it look like a place that has stood still in time.
But don’t let its old Florida charm appearance fool you. Seagrove has many charming shops, great cafes, and historical spots to enjoy outside of the coastal area. But make sure that you spend the day at the beach too soaking up the sun and enjoying the crystal-clear water and squeaky white sand.
You can enjoy snorkeling, paddle boarding, and other adventures in the warm waters and look for sea turtles that may be swimming by.
Looking for a very relaxing day? Then head to one of the least crowded beaches in Florida Panhandle, Navarre Beach. Located near Pensacola, it is a large beach that is most famous for snorkeling. There are three man-made reefs that you can explore with your kids.
This place is a hidden gem that never gets too crowded; it explains why it is one of the beaches in Florida Panhandle for families. Mostly only locals enjoy it because it is large, quiet, there is plenty of space to play in the sand and the water is always the perfect temperature.
While you are at Navarre Beach, make sure that you check out the pier, walk one of the sandy nature trails, and stop to watch the dolphins play out in the water. When you are done for the day, stop by the Gulf Breeze Zoo and see Lions, Rhinos, and Giraffes up close and personal.
Henderson Beach State Park
Henderson Beach State Park, this beautiful beach area just outside of Destin is easy to get to from Highway 90. The sugar sand beach is a mile long and has some of the largest dunes in Florida making it one of the best family beaches in Florida Panhandle where your kids can do a lot of activities.
Enjoy a day in the exceptionally warm Gulf waters or just relax and sunbathe. The State Park has 60 campsites that you can rent, fishing areas, a hiking trail, and picnic areas. Once you leave the beach, a quick drive into Destin will put you in an area for some of the best fresh seafood you will find in the entire state.
St. Andrews State Park – Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach is one of the best beach towns in Florida Panhandle for families to visit. It is a classic, laid-back very pedestrian-friendly Florida beach town with pastel-painted buildings, little cafes and shops, and a wide coastal area for everyone to enjoy.
The main Panama City Beach is often referred to as one of the best beaches on the Gulf Coast and is definitely worth visiting, however, if you want to enjoy one of the best family beaches in Florida Panhandle, you will want to go to St. Andrews State Park.
It offers visitors a pristine area that is never crowded and perfect for snorkeling and surfing. You can also enjoy picnicking, fishing, hiking, and bird watching at St, Andrews. The park has recently been renovated since Hurricane Michael, so there are many new things to enjoy. This is definitely one of the Panhandle’s best-kept secrets.
Pensacola Beach, located on the barrier island right outside of Pensacola and is an expansive beach area. Glistening white sugar sand and blue-green water that is exceptionally warm and perfect for swimming make it one of the best beaches in Florida Panhandle for families.
Pensacola Beach has an amazing pier that you can walk down, moreover it is one of the best wheelchair accessible beaches in Florida so handicapped family members are more than welcome here. Many people enjoy fishing here as well. If you want to see the dolphins up close, you can take a dolphin tour and go out by boat to an area that always has dolphins swimming.
After a long day spent by the ocean, drive back over to the mainland to enjoy sightseeing; there are some great historic forts there and indulge in amazing seafood.
Johnson Beach National Seashore
Johnson Beach is located on Perdido Key, and visitors enjoy both the Bay and Gulf waters when they visit this area. One of the things that set this place apart from others is that its location places it in the perfect position for dolphin watching.
Johnson Beach is the best beach for families in Florida Panhandle if your kids love to bird watch. Over 300 species live or visit this island each year. Many of which are endangered and cannot be seen anywhere else.
The sugar sand is perfect for sunbathing, walking, or playing games. The water is perfectly warm, and there is always a slight breeze, making even the hottest days seem perfect. Most of the structures at Johnson beach are new due to recent hurricane damage. Make sure to stop at the visitor center to find out about all the tours you can take here.
The beautiful Mexico Beach area just east of Panama City Beach was ground zero for Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm in 2018, but is slowly regaining its status as one of the best Florida Panhandle beaches for families to enjoy. The storm was one of the strongest ever to make landfall in the United States, and the area was labeled as officially “wiped out” by the federal government.
But time heals nature, and slowly this secluded Gulf Coast beach is regaining its status as one of those places you must visit during a Florida beach trip. As the area is rebuilt many new shops and eating establishments have come to the area. The city surrounding city is as clean and fresh as the beach area
Mexico Beach is a nice place to enjoy pleasantly warm waters and a flourishing wildlife area. The beach is very wide, and you can do many activities and very few crowds around.
St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve Visitor Center – Port St Joe
St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve, located in the hidden Florida beach town of Port St. Joe is another of the best family beaches in Florida Panhandle that is often overlooked, therefore it remains quiet.
The preserve is connected to the beach area and gives this outdoor experience an entirely new meaning. The State Buffer Preserve at St. Joseph is a cool collection of saltwater marshes, bogs, and land that contains some of the most interesting animals, insects, and plants that you can find anywhere.
When you are done exploring the preserve or have spent enough time on the beach, make sure that you come back to St. Joes for a fabulous seafood dinner and boutique shopping.
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When it comes a beach vacation, Vic is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, peaceful seaside getaway or a family trip to the ocean. She enjoys exploring new places, trying out various water sports and most of all, loves sharing her tips with those seek out their next adventure.